Archive for July, 2007

The Case Against Machines

July 31, 2007

Remember that scene in “Office Space” where the three geeks steal the fax machine (printer?) and smash it to smithereens with a baseball bat, in the middle of a field? That’s like every day in my office. My fantasies consist of moments where I lasso the photocopier on our floor, forklift it to the nearest window and launch it eleven floors down to the street with a primal scream. Of course there are obvious reasons why I’d never actually do this…I mean come on people, I am human. I mean, how am I ever going to get a forklift in the elevator?

I’m not overly concerned with any passers by down below or anything, I think worse things fall on them in NYC every day and since there are approximately seven billion ways to die in New York City at any given moment, Xerox machines falling from the sky are just one of many unforeseen circumstances we put up with every day. If that were to happen, tourists would shriek and cover their horrified faces in terror at the vision of a giant, mangled copier with limbs splaying out from underneath, whereas New Yorkers would be like, “Can you please f*cking move, you’re getting your blood all over my shoe, asshole!”

Calm down, I’m kidding. New Yorkers would never say “please”.

Today one of my coworkers – one of the ones I like, fortunately, was photocopying a stack of materials, which, if placed out on the Avenue, one on top of the other, would rival the height of the building itself. This was practically a seamless job as far as our evil Copier from Hades is concerned. Or it just likes my lovely coworker so much better than I. I guess she doesn’t kick it and say, “You like that don’t you, you little whore!” like I do.

When she’d done and I was trying to copy my one measly expense report, the machine chewed it up and spat it out. Well half of it anyway. The other half was still wedged somewhere in its innards and well…following those little diagrams inside the door that tell you how to clear a jam? They’re worse than Ikea instructions. Trillions of green knobs and pulleys and stuff you yank out and things you press and little, hot, scaldy things you burn your digits on every time because there’s a law that says in order to have a paper jam inside the machine, rather than on the peripherals, the jammed paper must be next to a metal bar the exact temperature of an erupting volcano and since the copier doesn’t generally come with asbestos gloves you just have to agree to give up the skin on your hand.

It tells me the most useless crap too (a bit like this blog entry). It boasts “tray 1 is low on paper” even though I’m using tray 4 and could not give a shit about tray 1’s deficiencies. Shut up copier. Once you can make me an omelet and a margarita then you might be relevant.


Opening the Old Oak Door To the Guv’ner’s Brain Basement

July 29, 2007

The truly awesome Miss Katrocket Radio gave me this meme type of thingy to answer so I thought I’d deviate from the office for a moment to enlighten you on the Guv’ner’s fascinating persona. I’m cross posting this to my Live Journal too because I’m a whore.

The rules: and here’s the guidelines to include in your post:

If you care to participate, leave me a comment saying “Interview me.” I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

The five:

1. You are given the opportunity to earn five million dollars for one year of work. The catch? You have to be a tour guide for the Precious Moments Museum, and you have to be NICE and say NICE and POSITIVE things about Precious Moments for that entire year. You may not utter a single negative thing (or write, record, blog anything negative), both on the job and after hours. Do you take the job or forfeit? Why or why not?

Well naturally only an imbecile of great standing would turn that job down. The key here is the five million bucks ensuring I never had to work for degenerate fucksticks ever again and quite frankly I’d stick my granny with a branding iron and sell her to an Arab for five million bucks. (It’s ok, she’d be fine, she’s not Jewish or anything.) However, given the job itself I would have a set of tactical plans in place because obviously the urge to lapse from the agreement would be intense. Plus I would have one of those insulin pens handy that people with The Diabeetus use when their blood sugar gets too high. I would have my friend C., who is an electronics genius, wire me up with a contraption that zapped me every time a swear word so much as formed in my brain or if it detected an oncoming bout of sarcasm. Secondly, I’d wire my jaws shut and not talk at all if things got really dire. I’d record a nice little ditty about the museum on tape, beforehand and hand it out to visitors so I didn’t have to say a word. Thirdly, I would go home from work every night, in some sort of frightening zombie trance (as you’d imagine) and I’d drink Cuba Libres until I thought I was Dean Martin. Fourthly, I’d call in sick a lot. Fifthly (fifthly is a word?), at the end of my term I would unleash a sea of profanity so intense, entire continents would shake like Michael J. Fox at a Parkinson’s convention. Then I might go pipebomb the museum. You know, after they paid me.

2. Your ‘24’ moment has arrived: There’s a bomb somewhere in your home that cannot be found or dismantled, and you have five minutes to pack up and leave before it explodes. What goes and what stays?

Hmmm…Well. My cats go that goes without saying. People are generally enormous shits but animals are good spirits, loyal and kind – even ones that routinely wake you up at 3am every night to feed them “breakfast” or else they trash the living room. Then I’m thinking my passport might be a decent idea and my green card because that fucker was harder to get than it is to persuade Jessica Simpson to grasp the basic concept of tuna. I would then immediately throw my Dalek cookie jar out on the fire escape ready for the escape (who wouldn’t save the Dalek cookie jar, duh!?) and my photo albums. And that big bar of Cadbury’s I have in the fridge. Let’s get our priorities right immediately. Probably my iPod and laptop would come too, I mean all my friends live on my laptop after all. Oh yeah, then I might take my lovely boy El Codo. Depends on the mood I was in. I’m kidding, El C. I’d also escape butt naked therefore the thing I’d leave behind is my dignity. And my pants.

3. What’s your favourite scripture? Hahahahahahaha I’m totally kidding.

Thank the Lord. That gave me hives.

3. (for real this time) If your life is ever made into a made-for-TV movie, who would play you?

If my life was ever made into a made-for-TV movie I’d be played by Bruce Willis. Sure he’s a ton older than me and there’s that business of him having a penis (I guess, I haven’t looked) and no hair, but he would kick ass and might manage to make my life exciting, adding a few explosions here, a few terrorists there. Although he mightn’t be all that convincing in a dress and I’m not sure I’d like to find out. Hahaha, that suggested I ever wear a dress. Ha ha ha.

4. What has given you the most pleasure in this past year (July 2006-July 2007)?

In all honesty, this past year has sucked donkey balls. It’s been a never ending stream of poverty, frustration and I’ve had a friend die. Positives? A wealth of Irn Bru, a nice little sunny vacation at The Evil Queen’s house in Florida, the discovery of “On the Border” margarita mix and hanging out in “Vegas” with my Live Journal buddy Tony Spunk. And maybe that time some hobo pinched my ass on the train (I appreciated the attention).

5. You often write about your horrific work experiences a world of corporate incompetence – as a kid, what was your idea of a dream job?

When I was really little, I wanted to be a sky muffin. I mean an air hostess. Stewardess. Flight attendant??? WTF do they call themselves? Anyway. One of those. You see, I loved planes, everything about them, their huge size, their majesty, the roar the engines made, the fact they were going to exotic places…like Luton. And Detroit. I used to spend days at the airport with my dad watching planes take off and land. I guess he liked planes too. Either that or he had a thing for airports, I don’t know. So yeah. Then I got over the sky muffin phase and decided, why not start at the top so I wanted to be a pilot. This was going well until I realized that a) I sucked at most things mathematical. b) I sucked at science and c) I hate flying and need to be sedated before stepping onto a plane. Apparently airlines don’t like their pilots tranquilized. Well unless you want to work for Aeroflot. After that I think I just wanted to be a rock star and a writer. I still kind of have the aspiration for the latter. The former is a matter for me and the bedroom mirror only.

I Like A Challenge

July 26, 2007

We “assistants” just adore having to do things at the last possible minute. It’s a sickness of ours. We thrive on it. Really. So what if you’ve known about that Defcon Red important creative presentation to the CEO and his team at the client for about ten weeks, the presentation is this afternoon so this morning we will do about three weeks necessary prep. in about two hours.

No, honestly, don’t apologize, there’s nothing we enjoy more than giving up our morning coffee, our entire lunch hour and what remains of our sanity so that you can have 50 color, bound copies of this 300 slide presentation that you need by 2 p.m. and that you’ve known about for all these weeks. Oh what’s that? You haven’t quite finished the presentation yet, you’re still making edits? No sweat. You’ll be done by around noon you say? Well that’s great, thank you so much. That gives me a whole hour to provide those 50 bound copies of 300 pages. Of course I can have it done. It’s not like there are 3,000 people in our company and anyone else is using the two color copiers we have on the premises.

Is there anything else I can do? Oh, there is? What a pleasant surprise! Can I make 20 CDs of the presentation as well? And you need them in a half hour? No problem at all. While I’m juggling the 50 copies of this novel I’m about to bind I’ll just use my special octopus extension arm to throw in a few CDs to burn. You know, I still have my feet free, do you need anything else?

Oh you need a car service to take you to the client? Of course I can do that. I can do that in my sleep, if need be. It has to be here in ten minutes? Lucky I am well rehearsed in pulling sedans out of my ass. Will that be all?

Do I Look Like a People Person?

July 23, 2007

While I’m in the midst of a whole plethora of posts about travel and travel cock-ups, I should point out a little something that happened this very day, in the midst of a busy work schedule that made me contemplate just super-gluing the phone receiver to my ear to save time.

There’s this crazy little chick who, while not part of one of my client teams, does work with this team on various projects, albeit in a different capacity. This little chick occasionally pops up to visit our neck of the woods to meet with our team, full of perky, loud opinions and a deafening chatter that sounds sort of like a million birds on amphetamines, magnified through a guitar pedal.

Today this same little chick calls me, on her cell phone, from San Diego, where she is on client business. The fact is, I have spoken to her maybe once ever, so why she is calling me is a mystery. Although, apparently it’s not going to be a mystery for long.

It seems that this Crazy Little Chick was about as confused as Anne Heche at a sexuality conference, because when she called she said, “I’m in San Diego airport but I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know where the meeting is!”

Hmmm. Now it’s possible I’m being unfairly presumptuous here Little Chick, but, when partaking on a business trip, be it close to home or 3,000 miles away, one would assume that maybe taking vital information with you like, for example, where you are going once leaving the airport, might be a pretty useful idea.

As it happened I didn’t have that information either, since none of my team are involved in said trip. She was a touch annoyed at this, which bothered me about oh…not at all. She was going to go make some calls to get the information elsewhere.

Fast forward ten minutes. Phone rings and I see her cell number on my caller ID. I pick up with my utmost, polished professional corporate greeting of, “Yeeeeeeeesssssssssssss?”

“I got to the hotel!” Little Chick says, sounding a touch frantic. “But they won’t let me go to my room.”

“Are you wearing a jacket strapped with explosives?” I didn’t ask, although I wanted to.

“My reservation is there.” she said. “But apparently I need to pay for it in advance, with a credit card.”

“Yeeeeeessssssssss…” I said again, not quite sure what her point was. “They generally insist that you to pay for your stay.”

“And…I don’t have a credit card!” she said. “So they won’t let me in.”

“You don’t have a credit card.” I said flatly. “You don’t have a single credit card?”

“Well yes, I have a credit card.” She said, “But it’s in NY. I didn’t bring it with me. I didn’t think I’d need it.”

Who the hell travels anywhere without taking a credit card and stays in hotels without a means to pay for them? I mean we can book the rooms but someone still has to pay for the damn thing. Tinkerbell doesn’t just fly in on the breeze and sprinkle her magic invisibility sparkles on the bill.

“Maybe you could do some sexual favors for the Concierge?” I also didn’t suggest although again, I wanted to.

Little Chick wants to know if my boss will let her use his credit card, however, he is not only currently in another state but hello… the card is with him. Unless you have one of those little devices that Captain Kirk used to beam stuff all over the place, I fail to see how this plan could ever succeed.

“What you need…” I started to explain helpfully, “Is an ATM. Because all hotels take cash.”

She liked that suggestion even less than she liked anything else I’d said all day.

“But, I don’t have much in my account.” She said. “I can’t afford to pay for a $200 room in cash.”

“Hence why one requires a credit card!” I said. “Seeing any light bulbs go on yet?”

OK I didn’t say that. But you know I was thinking it.

The whole time this was going on I was thinking, “Why the hell is she calling me? She doesn’t even know me. I don’t work for or with her. She has a fucking assistant she can talk to!”

Finally, another company member attending the same conference paid for her room on his credit card. Meanwhile, I spent an hour of my life I’m never getting back, running around trying to figure out her problems. Joy.

Weekends Exist To Keep The Homicide Rate Down

July 20, 2007

My bosses are all traveling this week, which is nice in one way, due to the wealth of downtime and alien things like “lunch hours”, yet they are hell in another, because the second they are all incommunicado, that is when disasters happen and when disasters happen in corporations, there is not enough caffeine on the planet that will make you wired enough to solve the situation without weeping, losing three quarters of your hair and threatening people with a letter opener. Luckily, so far, all is quiet.

Too quiet…

One boss, who has been an enormous pain in the rear lately, is in Florida. She has changed her travel plans so many times that even the airlines are confused as to her intent. I envision her name soon being scrawled on a “no fly” list alongside “Osama Hussein-Mohammad” and that dickwad from Oasis. She now wants to come back today one hour earlier than planned (waiting in the airport bar for an hour, chatting up the bartender while sucking down Manhattans wasn’t an option apparently). She’s flying from Miami to New York but I’m seriously considering routing her through Salt Lake City. And Chicago. Where she will be delayed until Tuesday by tornados and by which time her head will have exploded and my life will be 50% more bearable.

Still on the subject of travel, we have our own travel department here and someday soon I will come to work with an axe and murder one of our reps. This particular lady is a very nice person, friendly, jovial and totally, inconceivably incompetent. Not much frightens the Guv’ner, but she frightens me to my core.

Take, for example, the time I booked boss number one on some flights that would take him to a four day conference in Las Vegas. I call the travel department and get crazy travel rep. to make sure that the hotel we discussed for this conference is confirmed and she assures me that yes, he is all set. He is good to go. Commence launch sequence. Then the automated itinerary arrived via email and I quickly glanced at it to make sure nothing was amiss and, yes, she was absolutely correct, the hotel is booked and confirmed, just like she told me.

It’s also in Houston, Texas.

Much swearing and scurrying and threatening and changing of things ensued, while I contemplated how hard I’d have to connect with the plate glass partition in my office to actually put my head through it.

She will routinely give me flight options that don’t exist or omit ones that do.

She will swear blind we didn’t discuss something when I have notes proving we did.

She will tell me there is no way to do something in a certain time frame that another rep will not bat an eyelid at.

She will give me options for all three NY airports when I ask for flights “only to and from La Guardia” and end up booking irate boss on some flight back to Newark, despite telling me it was to La Guardia and when his car is waiting for him, peacefully, at La Guardia. I will naturally only find this out at the last minute and be scurrying around like a gerbil in Richard Gere’s back yard, trying to rectify this monumental cock-up.

It’s exhausting. And rage inducing.

But it’s Friday.

Putting the "Ass" in "Assistant"

July 16, 2007

One of the few fun perks of being an Executive Assistant (and I do emphasize “few”) is we get to read a lot of illiterate emails and documents from other people meant for our bosses and some of those emails and documents make a person scratch their head in wonder at how the sender manages to dress themselves in the morning.

The most fun though are typos. You see some marvelous typos that make you lose all decorum while indulging in a big, fart-inducing guffaw.

There was one time, while in the midst of languishing away at the hands of Mr. Panty-Waist and his lackeys, when my good friend, The Evil Queen, received an email regarding internal client discussions, within our team, which she promptly forwarded to me with a triumphant snort. The reason for that snort? What the email actually inquired about was the possibility of conducting some, “interanal discussions”, which, seriously, I would have agreed to in a second because that sounds infinitely more interesting than discussing media plans and talking points.

The best part however, was when I emailed my other good friend and coworker, Timo, to share this hilarity. Now Timo is not such a great speller himself so he aptly retorted with an all caps, “Sheiks of delight!” at the typo. Now quite obviously, he meant to say “shrieks”. However, the result was so much more fabulous. Not surprisingly, the “Sheiks of Delight”, quite apart from being in the running for the name of my next band, amused me to the point of breathlessness.

Naturally, this being me, and me having the maturity level of Pauly Shore, I spent the rest of the morning giggling intensely and occasionally snorting to myself. If The Evil Queen asked me who had the latest client invoice I would reply with, “Gee I don’t know, maybe the SHEIKS OF DELIGHT took it?”

At some point in the proceedings the two daily amusements combined into the “Sheiks of Interanal Delight” which, in contrast, sounds quite horrifying and is possibly the name of a special ops gang of terror lords that Al Qaeda would consider using on prisoners.

Quite frankly, when you work in office land you take your infantile humor where you can find it.

Small Tasks Mean Huge Brain Cell Suicide

July 12, 2007

Timeline of this afternoon that would induce a nun to buy a shotgun:

  1. Boss is going to airport for flight to Washington.
  2. Boss gets roped into last minute morning meeting and asks to change flight from a 1:00 p.m. flight to a 3:25 p.m. flight to accommodate this new, important meeting.
  3. New flight acquired, I call the small, local, no-name car company we are using to pick him up from the airport and distribute him, hopefully limbs intact, at the facility where he is meeting the client, in Baltimore. I inform them that his flight will now not be arriving until 4:52 p.m. Small no-name car company apologizes profusely as they are fully booked later in the afternoon as they only have two cars and cannot therefore do the pick-up.
  4. I get the name of another local company, call them, they are also fully-booked, “such short notice, blah blah blah”
  5. I call Carey Limousine who are a global organization who can get you anywhere, anytime in any city, no matter how obscure or invisible on a map. Since Baltimore is quite obvious on most maps, they agree they can do the pick-up, even though it’s only four hours notice. I make a note to kiss the first Carey rep. who has the misfortune to cross my path.
  6. Boss calls from airport. Apparently, there is “weather” afoot. Weather sufficient enough to delay most flights leaving the NYC metropolitan area and his flight, surprise surprise, is among the delayed. It now will not be leaving until 6:45 p.m. and landing close to 8:30 p.m. Thinking this a touch ridiculous, my boss tries to do something constructive and manages to get himself on another flight, with the same airline, that is scheduled to leave at 5 p.m. and arrive at BWI at 6:35 p.m. – a whole two hours earlier than his original delayed flight would have him there. Sensible huh?
  7. I call Carey again to inform them that flights are delayed and would get him in way too late at 8:30 so he is now on an earlier flight arriving at 6:35 p.m. and to give them his new flight number.
  8. Carey birth an elephant. Apparently this is not allowed. Apparently now, we will have to pay them as though his original flight still stood. In other words, we will have to pay them as though he was still landing at 4:52 p.m. and we would have to pay hourly rates from then until his new flight arrived at 6:35 p.m. plus whatever his trip costs and gratuities. Therefore we will have to pay them for two hours we are not actually using the car. Hmmmm.
  9. I tell Carey to park their sedan up their own back yard, if you get my drift. Actually, no, I didn’t, but it was tempting. I told them to cancel the car altogether because we weren’t paying their huge rates for 2 hours we weren’t going to use the car. They inform me that they certainly will cancel but they’ll also charge us $164 for the privilege because it’s within 2 hours of his original landing time (what???). Fuck me. If it’s costing me almost $200 to not use the goddamn car, I might as well keep the reservation and pay for the 2 extra hours as it works out the same. “You know…” the Carey rep told me scoldingly, “If he’d stayed on that original flight it would only cost the original trip cost as we don’t charge for airline delays!” “But, he caught an earlier flight so you wouldn’t have to be waiting two extra hours!” I pointed out. “New flight, new reservation, new rules.” She said helpfully.
  10. “Fuck you very much, bitch!”.
  11. Bang head off desk for ten minutes and call stapler a motherfucker.

Do you think there’s a restaurant in midtown Manhattan that would deliver tequila, preferably in a keg, with a tube I can hook up to a vein?

Pass The Collection Plate

July 10, 2007

Something myself and I am quite sure, most other administrative workers, tackle on a daily basis, are expense reports. Basically this means dealing with the reimbursing of dollars spent, to a bunch of people who are already richer than a hypothetical Bill Gates/Warren Buffet sandwich (now there’s a particularly repellant thought!).

Not that I am against people being paid the money they are owed – au contraire, mes amis! If you spend your own money in the process of conducting company business, the company should naturally reimburse those costs to you. It’s a great theory and one that seems quite straightforward and sensible but instead, seems to confuse people by its vast scope of possibility.

You see, I have noticed during my years slaving for mentally-scattered, workaholic people who are too important to deal with such things themselves, that the higher the title an executive holds, ultimately the more ridiculous the claims for compensation become.

For example, at my last job we often had a bunch of junior associates traveling on company business to clients’ offices to discuss plans and give new idea presentations and low level things like that. Most of them would return, exhausted and bleary-eyed, thrust a few grubby cab receipts and a hotel bill in my hand then slope off to sleep under their desks till lunchtime.

Now a similar scenario, only with someone of a much higher rank like say…a Vice President or Senior Associate, is quite different. They will present approximately one ton of expense receipts to you in an industrial sized wheelbarrow towed by a team of thirsty, grunting huskies. The receipts will be in no coherent order, either by type or date and they will have nothing to indicate exactly when the expense occurred, who it involved, where they were going or what indeed it was for. They will then get hostile and mutter and groan profusely when asked for this information, sort of like a normal person’s reaction to being asked to lie in a pile of steaming horse manure.

In fact, there will be receipts for every penny that left the executive’s wallet, from the standard hotel room and taxi from the airport, right down to some gum they bought at the airport, the viewing of Busty Blondes Backdoor Bonanza they rented in their hotel room to “relax” and the beers they bought in the hotel bar as a nightcap. Maybe there will be a receipt in there for toiletries because Lord knows they couldn’t possibly bring their own toothpaste and deodorant from home, because the overload would crash the plane.

Then sometimes, as my boss did recently, they will consider it entirely reasonable to present a receipt for a sweater they purchased because it was, “chilly on the beach at the video shoot”. Gee, I would think that knowing you are doing a shoot, at night, on a beach, for several hours, in March, you might have considered packing something heavier than a tank-top, but that’s just me. And having forgotten to do this, I would presume, being in a major city you’d maybe…I don’t know…nip into The Gap to pick up a cheap hoodie or something instead of a designer store where you purchased a $200 cashmere. But then, I am obviously very naïve.

One of my ex-bosses, a young, thin, weaselly guy, with a predilection for striped seersucker suits in summer (try saying it three times fast!), used to present me with the stupidest receipts he demanded to be paid for. Instead of having me follow company protocol and rent him an Avis car for the trip (intermediate size, standard everything) he would go there in person and rent a sports convertible. He would routinely upgrade hotel rooms to suites (another thing we were not supposed to do, especially a comparatively junior executive like him). He would expense everything from a pen he bought when he needed to scribble something on a flight ($56), to a candy bar (89c). He once expensed a change of clothing, including a $100 tie, as he was staying more than two days. I was a little stunned that no one told him you could take clothes with you.

I see people routinely go for expensive lunches or dinners with friends then attempt to claim back the cost by claiming it was business oriented in some roundabout, far fetched way. I see people leave work at 5:30pm then present a cab receipt with a time on it of 2am with a note saying “cab home, working late” scribbled on the back. I see people present claims for every single little thing they spend money on during work hours no matter how absurd. I see people expense their $12,000 a year country club membership because they might one day entertain a client there..

Then suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks. I am the stupid one. This sort of over-the-top anal claiming of every penny is exactly why all these people are richer than a small nation while I’m using the pennies that collect in my office supplies drawer to buy a cup of coffee.

Mr Panty Waist Takes a Trip

July 6, 2007

Mr. Panty-Waist once had to take a trip to Florida for a client. He didn’t often travel for work outside of the city and I had a strong suspicion that any sort of travel that involved making informed decisions at chaotic locations such as airports, were a little beyond his brain capacity.

Before the Florida trip he had only one request – that he fly on Delta. Now, as it turned out, he didn’t request this for a sensible reason such as he collected Delta air miles or they offered him preferential treatment or something of that nature. No, he requested it for some completely random reason he pulled out of his ass, like “Delta have the most number of planes older than a year and younger than eight years, with rear-mounted engines, one cabin toilet per twenty passengers and which serve meals on a 2:1 meat:chicken ratio.” Mr. Panty-Waist was a tad nervous when it came to his feet being 30,000 feet in the air. It’s kind of ironic really, because that’s where his head was most of the time…

Whatever his strange reason I just muttered “Whatever, dickwad!” in the silent but mean little voice that lives in my head and called our travel department.

Ten minutes later he was all set with a Delta flight, bang on his time frame and I was about to relax with a Cognac and a cigar (or a tepid Diet Pepsi, whatever.) Fast forward five minutes. The itinerary had arrived from the travel department and out stomped Mr. Panty-Waist scrutinizing it, eyes about two inches from the page.
He started to make sounds like a constipated baby, which is a sure sign that something is not going swimmingly.

“This…this flight…” he whined. “This is not…what I wanted.”

“You wanted to leave around 2pm?” I asked.

“Yes but…*sigh*…”

“And you wanted to leave around 2pm on Delta?”

Huge sigh. “Yes. But…This…This isn’t right. This is…This is Delta Song This is not DELTA. What I’m saying is…this is…discount!”

He whined the word “discount” as though he were about to vomit on his own foot. If it were a physical thing it would be a steaming turd, held out in front of him at arm’s length.

You see Delta Song are the low cost branch of Delta. They’re a no frills, one class, cheap fared airline that gets you from A to B in a normal, chaotic, busy fashion without stuffing half cold meals down your throat or plying you with alcohol. In other words, it’s like flying coach on any other airline. However, as Mr. Panty-Waist’s motto is, “No first class, no point” he was less than thrilled with this arrangement.

“It’s either Delta Song or you fly coach on another airline.” I told him firmly. He made a face like he’d just discovered a dead rat in his pants and gave a snort of indignation.

I managed to find a flight on American but he refused it because, “I don’t fly on Airbuses and I need the engines on the wing.”

Yes, he said that.

Have you ever tried asking a travel agency, “So, what airline is it? What time does it get in? Is it an Airbus or a Boeing and I’m just curious, where does it keep its engines?”

As it happened, Delta Song was the only airline that would get the grouchy man to Florida at the right time so we had to book it. And the next paragraph is blissfully, 100% true.

The flight ended up being fully booked. It was delayed one hour. It was held on the runway for two more hours. He not only arrived in Florida three hours late and missed the meeting, he had to catch his return flight almost immediately and never left the airport. For the whole flight home, his six foot four frame was sat in a middle seat while a “Japanese child” sitting behind him, hit him over the head with her doll for the whole flight. Naturally, this was entirely my fault. Obviously, I had seated this child myself. In all honesty, I wish I’d thought of it.

For the remainder of the time I worked for him, every time we booked any sort of travel he always reminded me, like it was a bona fide option on a booking form, “I don’t want a seat with a hyperactive Asian child nearby.” like I could ask the travel agent to confirm that. “Aisle seat, check! Special meal, check! No Asian four year olds, check!”

I always meant to look that kid up and hire her for future flights. There were very few perks to my job after all and that would have been up there with a lotto win.

Last Flight to Sanity Now Boarding

July 5, 2007

There’s an unspoken law among “admins” as my boss likes to call us crazy people who keep real important folks like him afloat by filing their expenses and typing their correspondence, and that rule is, “never be complacent because complacency will bite you on the ass”.

For example, if there is a day, pretty much like today, when all is quiet, things are slow, people are on vacation and everything is winding down, don’t go and say something stupid to a coworker like, “Boy, today is dead, isn’t it? Today is the most boring day that ever lived!”

You see, on that day, the one detailed above, the clock will tick slowly around to 4:30 p.m. as you’re counting down that last 45 minutes to the end of the day and you and your sanity will notice every last second of it, until suddenly…a monumental avalanche of last minute chaos will cascade down upon your stupid head at the speed of a parachutist whose chute failed because the lines were cut by an ex lover with a grudge…


Suddenly, everyone will want something. Everyone will have to be somewhere, Monday and you’re out Friday and so it will have to be done tonight and it’s now 4:30 and you’re supposed to be leaving this damn joint, yet you know, as sure as there’s corn in a turd, that you’re going to be seeing 7 p.m. on that same clock you’ve been growling at all day and you’re going to grind your teeth down to gnarly stumps with frustration and annoyance because you are going to spend the next three hours in a hell known as “making travel arrangements for people who don’t know their ass from their elbow.” Not only will you make travel plans, these people will change said plans several times within the span of an hour and they will want to visit various cities in an order which, if you were to plot them on a grid, would look like a six year old epileptic got a pencil stuck in their fist during a seizure. Naturally, none of it will be straightforward and you will spend the good part of a decade trying to track down a hotel in Indianapolis that serves “fresh baby sea turtle steaks” on a golden platter with a side of “holy anguish” and a hearty helping of “kill me now” and the rest of that decade slamming your head between the door and the frame.

And there will be no direct flight to Indianapolis in the three hour window he needs – he will need to go to Chicago then Tampa and really, does that make sense to anybody?

And there will be no room at the Queen of Apathy hotel.

And there will be no aisle seats on the flight to Tampa and he will be offered a middle seat between a pregnant lady with gas and a fat man with a hygiene problem.

And his car won’t show up.

And his flight back to New York will be canceled.

And he will cry like a little child and be tortured by Democrats. And boy, does he hate Democrats.

That last one was wishful thinking, sorry.

Finally, seven o’clock will roll around and you’ll go home and fantasize about French Fries knowing that in a matter of hours, you’ll check your work email, because you’re responsible like that, to find that everything has changed again and you’ll have to spend half your day off redoing everything.

Happy July 4th week!