An imaginary excerpt from the diary of one Olivia Markham:
Hello, I am Olivia Markham, a Southern Territory Executive at Ranchers, a non-profit organisation which is like the Scouts. I am entering the autumn years of my life – I’m 27. I used to be a litigator, but after my divorce (he cheated) I wanted to break free from the past and the pain of feeling useless and unwanted so I decided to do something completely different. I have no life, nor self-esteem even though I’m young, professional and intelligent. Not a looker anymore (27, remember). I sniff my fingers a lot. Totally by accident.
Most of my fellow Executives are 20-something kids who don’t know which fork is which but who do remember the best places to party during spring breaks. Most, but not all: one of them is my boss, Jamie, another is Melinda, my trusted mentor during the three months I’ve working at Ranchers, and the other is another colleague of mine in the Southern Territory Office, I call him Mr. Hunk (his real name is Adam Burkhardt).
As each and every member of the Rangers has to attend a 2-week seminar to learn all from our glorious organization, its philosophy, structure and processes, I am forced to fly to Texas. With Mr. Hunk (oops, Adam). Totally by accident (sensible logistics).
So, at the conference the 20-somethings are aplenty. My roommate is named Lorrie Sunkist (like the soda) – Pacific Northwest Council – and she called dibs on Adam. I’m not interested in him so I said yes. But for some reason Adam’s always near me: airplane, buss, group (we were divided into groups), lunch table, jacuzzi, my room, his room, hiking (for some reason we both got mustard on our Rangers issue teeshirts while hiking; accidentally, surely), and more jacuzzi. We trade notes during lectures. It’s like being at school but with coffee.
Lorrie is not interested in Adam anymore as she said Adam is totes hot for me. Me? I don’t know what to do.
Poor Eddie (Edward Niekirk, Jr., Greater Wisconsin Council), Adam’s roommate who likes Lorrie. But Lorrie, she uses Eddie as her personal slave. Lorrie hits other guys, like the two Chrises. She’s not a bad or mean person, just shallow and selfish. Also wants to do my hair and makeup. I let her. Wow, the results!
Me and Adam, we are getting close, but I am still unsure of myself. What to do?
Got to go to jacuzzi, promised Adam. More later.
We know where we end up but we actually are more interested in the journey. The release of the tension is greater the more interesting the travelling from A to B, from meeting to kissing. Often via hating (Pride and Prejudice) but not always (Evening Class by Maeve Binchy, one of my favourites).
There is no hate or even nasty persons in dibs, which is one of the reasons I liked it. Another reason was the sometimes overly meticulous depiction of events in the life of Olivia (which suggest that she should reduce meat consumption in her diet). When Olivia tells what happens in close proximity to Adam – a delicate hand movement followed by another, a breath, closing of bodies, or withdrawal, the myriad of thoughts that rush through her head – it feels very vivid second-by-second reconstruction of what happened. And it feels real as if I was really there.
P.S. Don’t worry about Eddie.