Archive for August, 2007

How To Disappear Up Your Own Ass

August 30, 2007

Another Cruella entry briefly. It’s not a funny one but it gives you some perspective about the level of evil we are talking about.

On September 11, 2001 some serious crapola went down here in Manhattan. You might remember it? Big, tall towers, planes crashing, stuff asploding, people jumping?

That morning I was on the subway when it all started. I got to work just a few minutes after the first plane hit the WTC and a few minutes before the second. We (Cruella’s four other assistants and myself) were all huddled round the TV in her office watching the news unfold, while Cruella herself, was still home in her luxury Park Avenue apartment uptown – she never graced us with her presence until at least 11 a.m.

Now a lot was going on. Chaos reigning. Everyone in the company was trying to reach family or friends who worked in the financial district and the WTC in particular. I was trying to reach The Boy who worked at the WTC site. No one was getting through to anyone. Our phones would work but we couldn’t get a line to anywhere. Cell phones were down because just guess where the transmitters were? People were understandably a wee bit stressed.

In the midst of this chaos, Cruella calls, furious because she’d checked her voice mail and had three new messages and Cruella rule number one is: you never let the phone go to voice mail, it must be answered. This crime is akin to murdering your own mother after first sodomizing her with Erik Estrada.

One of the other assistants took her call (it figures that most of NYC can’t get a line in or out yet the Devil manages to connect).

“Have you seen the news this morning?” this assistant asks Cruella. “Have you seen what’s going on?”

“Oh that World Trade thing…” Cruella said dismissively, “Yes, I heard about that. But this phone business is not going to be tolerated. I have important clients that have to be attended to!”

We finally got rid of her and all sat down on her designer velvet sofa and watched the news come in about the plane hitting the Pentagon then the Pennsylvania plane. Most people had already left to try to get home. Cruella had called again around 10:30, right as the first tower at the Trade Center was falling.

“There’s a man I need you to call…” Cruella says. “He’s a jewelry designer. He has an ad in Cosmopolitan. He makes this sapphire ring in a platinum setting. I want one.”

At this stage only three of us assistants are left, the others having gone to rescue their kids from daycare. One of the assistants has been IMing her friend who worked on one of the higher floors at the World Trade and the connection just went dead. We’re all freaking the hell out. So, we’re all a little speechless at her request.

Her personal assistant, who was still there with me and the other girl took the phone and said, “Look. Everyone has gone home. We are about to leave. There is no public transport. There are no cell phones working. All the bridges and tunnels are shut down. Everything below 14th Street is an emergency zone. The ARMY are in the street with guns. People are throwing themselves off a 110 story building rather than burn to death and you want us to buy you jewelry?”

There was that silence you get when everything stops at once.

“But…who will answer my phones?” Cruella whined, clearly unhappy.

“Voice mail.” said her PA and hung up.

When work resumed the following Monday after a six day hiatus, Cruella was hyper and irritated because we were “out of the loop”. One of my fellow assistants’ best friend was a fire fighter who went in to the WTC and never came out. She was at work but understandably freaked. Cruella berated her all day about all the things she was messing up because her mind was elsewhere.

The part that really got me was all day long she had us write thank you notes to “important” clients who’d been calling her on her cell to make sure she was ok.

I guess they had no idea she was four miles away, uptown when this stuff happened and as soon as it got serious she got her family in her SUV and made her driver, who had to eventually find a way back to Brooklyn, take them to her Connecticut farmhouse. Of course she was fucking “ok”. If that woman ever went below 42nd Street she’d die from the cooties.

This is who Cruella is. Completely free of reality or scruples of any sort.

Advertisements

A Cruella Fate

August 29, 2007

Back in medieval times (well…2001), when I was working for Cruella de Ville, she received a summons for jury duty.

As expected, she took this about as well as a person who had been told their baby was sold to a Mexican drug cartel to pay for crack so obviously she tried her utmost to wriggle out of it. She had deferred over and over again and this was her final summons.

Being Cruella, however, she was under the impression that a different set of rules applied for beings of a “higher stature” such as herself, so she dutifully had our CFO and her personal butt-boy, The Cobra, call to try and convince them that really, Cruella was not at all necessary for any of their little trials as she was busy doing important things (like visiting a small Korean lady for a pedicure).

Naturally, the courts had heard it all before. In fact, if I was the person who worked for the jury selection department I would personally make it my life’s work to write a book about the most inventive excuses people give for excusing themselves from performing their civic duty. This court was having none of it. It was really sort of beautiful. You can pay thousands to a lady to carry a baby in her womb for you for nine months, you can buy shares in a private jet and spend summers on a yacht in the Mediterranean with a spoiled billionaire to sun your wrinkled old frame, but lady, when Uncle Sam wants YOU, no amount of cajoling or bullying will prevent you from hauling your spoiled carcass downtown, pronto.

This being Cruella, a woman physically incapable of doing anything for herself, she had to take The Cobra along with her for moral support, to explain the big words and to basically have someone to take the whole miserable ordeal out on. If it had been anyone else, I would have felt such overwhelming pity for the person’s having to spend such long periods of time in close proximity to her that my heart would ache with the volume of it. However, since it was the Cobra I just prayed she was assigned to a case the approximate length of the OJ trial.

Anyway, a few days after the jury duty episode, Cruella had to go to the DMV to renew her driver’s license which had already expired. I wasn’t aware she even had a license as she has people drive her everywhere. The mere thought of her in control of a moving vehicle is only slightly less scary than the thought of a buzz-cutted Britney Spears, naked, swinging by her knees from a chandelier with a baby in one hand and an Uzi in the other. (on reflection, I realize this sounds like a plausible scene – set in slo-mo – in a Robert Rodriquez/Quentin Tarantino movie).

So, she did what she always does; she took The Cobra with her to the DMV then sat out in the car with her driver, while Cobra went in, stood in line for 20 minutes and finally is told that in the United States, people have to come and renew their license themselves. So Cobra tells the guy that his boss is “a very important person” and can’t possibly come in to a government facility where there are nasty germs, fluorescent lights and people of dubious national origins. The DMV guy, presumably of dubious national origin himself, completely unfazed, replied “I don’t care if she’s the Queen of England, if she wants a license, she better get her ass in here, now!”

So a glowering Cruella had to haul her stupid, pampered, fur-coat clad ego inside and do all the necessaries herself, including having a photo taken that made her look like someone was ramming a Swiffer up her back passage.

Isn’t that a beautiful story? I love it. In moments I’m feeling a little fragile emotionally, I imagine this scenario and immediately I’m full of the joys of life.

A Heart Warming Memory

August 21, 2007

Sometimes, in your work life, all the frustrations and hair pulling become worthwhile and a little karma is dealt out.

A few years ago, my ex-boss, that whiny old assbandit, Mr. Panty-Waist, had been driving me steadily bonkers for about a month with some vague project we were supposed to present our client with. A very “important” project that was so important he never seemed to actually get anything done except procrastinating and complaining a lot about the project that we hadn’t even started, due to his inability to pull his finger out of his ass.

Naturally, this period of ridiculousness involved much foot tapping, muttering under my breath and going into the ladies’ room and shrieking with frustration when after one more day of procrastinating and whining and sulking, we’d be no further forward than the day before or the one before that.

Thursday arrived and Mr. Panty Waist told us he was going out to the Hamptons, where he kept a summer home, for a long weekend, to “think about things”. By “things” we were under no impression he meant “the project” since he couldn’t manage that in his office on a weekday, let alone on a beachfront with a highball glass in his hand and half naked 19 year old blondes running around playing volleyball. Actually, scratch that. Mr. PW is definitely asexual. Those blondes might as well be squirrels. Apparently his wife and kids weren’t going with him, he just needed some “private creative time”.

Frankly, we didn’t care if he went to the Moon so long as he was out of our hair.

We didn’t hear from him until the following Tuesday when he called to say he wouldn’t be coming into the office because he’d had “a little accident” and broken his leg.

We all made sympathetic noises, then had a party after he hung up. I believe cake was involved. And maybe a Panty Waist pinata.

We found out later that the reason for Mr. Panty Waist’s broken limb was that he had sipped one too many Scotch on the rocks and fallen into his pool. Which is funny enough in itself, if you know his mannerisms and great, big, clumsy body, but doubles in hilarity when you find out there was no water in the pool at the time. Hee!!!! How it is even possible to fall into an empty pool is beyond me but I didn’t care. It made my whole week.

This amused us even more than the time someone dredged up some old print ad from the seventies which showed an alarmingly hilarious photo of a grinning Mr. Panty Waist, boasting huge lapels you could house a small Hispanic nation on and sporting a startling, partial mullet, as a TV weatherman in North Carolina along with a caption about Mr. PW bringing sunshine and smiles to your morning. Clearly this TV station’s marketing was top notch and they’d obviously downed a few vodkas before coming up with the type. The mere idea of that horse’s ass being on TV talking about sunshine and hurricanes was just unfathomable, yet strangely irresistible.

Anyway, he had to lie in that empty pool for about 2 hours until a neighbor found him and called for help. I wished I’d been the one to find him. I would have paced around the top of that pool very slowly, sipping one of his vintage cellar wines, looking down at him clutching his limb, asking things like, “Does it hurt? Do you want me to get help? If I get help can I have a raise? Where do you keep the top shelf tequila?”

Damn, my fantasies are always so much better than my reality.

People Are Also Stupid

August 20, 2007

The Guv’ner is puzzled by a chain of emails between herself and a coworker, that took place today. It went a little like this:

From: The Guv’ner
To: Retard

Are you free on September 28th for meeting with blah-di-blah?

REPLY:

From: Retard
To: The Guv’ner

Sorry, no, I’m out Friday and all of next week!

From: The Guv’ner
To: Retard

Oh. Well I guess it’s lucky we’re talking about SEPTEMBER 28th then, huh!

From: Retard
To: The Guv’ner

No, sorry can’t do it. As I said I’m out all of next week.

From: The Guv’ner
To: Retard

But…next week is only August. I’m talking about the end of September. It’s five weeks away.

From: Retard
To: The Guv’ner

I won’t be back in the office until September 3rd.

At this point I decided to just stab myself in the heart with my left-handed scissors.

For Bert And T

August 18, 2007

Boys, I fixed it for ya.

People Are Strange

August 16, 2007

Sometimes the smallest task can be a touch surreal. This morning I had to order a car service for four separate trips to and from the airport for my younger boss. Normally, the routine goes, you dial the number, some dullard who hates people, therefore is ripe for the customer service industry, drones, “*sigh* Hellothisiskeishahowcanihelpyew?” sounding like they would much rather push a fork through their eyeball than give a flying crap about helping your ass. Then when you suggest you might like to reserve more than one car they sigh even louder like, “You’ve got some freaking nerve asking me to do my job when I have my nails to polish!”

So imagine my surprise when this morning, instead of a member of the plankton family, I got an awesome, drawling, laid back, Jamaican chick named Tiffany, who not only was agreeable to my four car demand but was so laid back and pleasant about it, I thought she must be dangling a giant doobie from her lips as we spoke. You can take the girl out of Jamaica but you can never take the Jamaica out of the girl.

Truly, I want some of what she was having. Nothing was too much trouble. She sounded vaguely miffed I only wanted to spend twenty minutes on the phone with her when I could so easily have booked a year’s worth of cars and she wouldn’t have broken a sweat. I swear to God I am not embellishing this conversation. Much.

Me: Hi Tiffany, I’d actually like to make four reservations, if that’s ok.
Tiff: Why sure, Sugar. That is never a problem. That is why I am here! Who is the first one for?
Me: Well, they’re all going to be for [boss’s name]
Tiff: OK…I see his number comes up as [boss’s number] and his address is [boss’s address]. Will he be using that address and number?

*this in itself is impressive because normally I have to spell the guy’s name fifteen times and they still get it hopelessly wrong

Me: Yes, he would indeed. That’s great you have that, it saves me so much time!
Tiff: Well I’m happy if you’re happy. That’s fantastic! That’s super.
Me: He needs to be picked up at five a.m. on the 27th.
Tiff: Five huh? That’s pretty early! That’s wonderful! I just love early mornings. It’s so peaceful. Mmmm hmmm. Beautiful!
Me: Not for me. I’m not a morning person. I’m a night owl.
Tiff: I love mornings. I’m up at five every day. It’s just fabulous! The start of a new day!
Me: Um…ok.
Tiff: Now, he’s going to the airport? That’s great.. You know, I love the airport…
Me: Yes, the airport, thanks.

We then went through the other three reservations in much the same manner, where Tiffany pronounced her love of everything from “complete addresses” to “fabulous customers”. Honestly, I really do want what she’s on.

I hung up slightly terrified that I might just have made contact with an actual alien.

And the thing is, none of what she said was said in an even remotely sarcastic or condescending way. She really just loved everything!

This has thrown my whole day off. My brain’s having trouble comprehending.

How Not To Start A Morning

August 15, 2007

This morning I had to pick up a document from finance which included information I needed to amend, take the document to The Most Boring Woman Who Ever Lived so that she could, in turn, present it to her boss for signature.

Now even though TMBWWEL’s office is just at the opposite end of the corridor from my own, if the matter hadn’t been extremely time sensitive, I would have sent that sucker via inter office mail, rather than have to go into the monster’s lair in person.

As I’ve pointed out before, she’s not a mean lady, or even an unpleasant one in the true sense of the word, it’s just that she really is the most boring woman who ever lived. There is no human being who is still living, who is more boring. I challenge you to find anyone else with the personality of Ambien.

Firstly, she scrutinized the form I gave her and pointed out the following:

“Where [boss’s] name is printed, that’s a ten point font. We usually use a twelve point font. You see, ten point font is hard to read if your eyes aren’t great. Unless you use ten point Courier which is a larger font. However, most people don’t use Courier as it’s old fashioned. But this is Arial. Ten point Arial is a little narrow and therefore smaller to read. Twelve point Arial however….”

At this point I picked up one of those electronic pencil sharpeners with the weighted bottoms and I smashed her head in.

Anyway, to get her off the subject of fonts and their comparative sizes, I noticed she’d had a big, metallic bulletin board installed on the wall on the back of her usually, personality-less office. It was covered in photos. It was then it happened.

Not having ingested any caffeine yet, or indeed, woken up properly, I made a fatal mistake. An error of judgment, which, at any other time of day I would have been alert enough to prevent. I pointed at one of the pictures on the board – a man with a stupendous and quite alarming mustache that curled up at the ends (obviously a circus performer or child molester) – and I said, “Who is that guy?”

I might as well have said, “Hey, how about picking up that phone directory and reading it to me?”

I then was treated to a run down of EVERY. SINGLE. GODDAMN. PERSON. ON. THAT. BOARD. (the child molesting trapeze artist was her grandfather)

“This is my mom and me. That’s my mom and dad in 1945, I think they were at a party. This is my ex and I in Vegas. That was a fun trip. [aside: for YOU maybe, bub, but the guy must’ve been like ‘kill me now’] This is my ex-husband’s nephew and his twins, they’re five. When they were born they had problems with blah de blah de blah…”

Twenty fucking minutes I endured this and at the end of the tour my brain was dead as Phil Rizzuto. Holy cow!

I wasn’t back in my seat five minutes when her name appeared on my caller ID. I made that noise Marge Simpson makes when Homer’s sold the baby to gypsies again.

“It’s ok!” she said cheerfully. “[Boss] didn’t even mention the ten point font!”

“No shit!” I didn’t say, wondering if I could lure her into the fire escape and push her down the steps. I mean accidents happen all the time on stairs, am I wrong? All the time…

When Violence is the Only Answer

August 8, 2007

Our company owns a fleet of cars. Well – about four cars to be exact – maybe more of a “fleetito”. A mini fleet. Three of those cars are owned by one enormous ad team for their exclusive use and the fourth is generic, to be signed out by any employee who needs to use it for company business.

One of my teams use it a lot. We have a very big client out on Long Island so the car is useful and saves on things like car services that cost the same as a weekend in Cabo. All we have to do to reserve the car is call a guy down in the finance department who is in charge of such matters, pick up the keys and he logs it in a spreadsheet. You then go to the parking garage downstairs, which, given this is Manhattan, we pay as much to park the damn car per month as it costs for my entire rent and bills, and you drive the car away.

Or not as the case may be.

Today, one of my team needed the car to go to a client presentation. It was her first time using the car so she went down to the garage with the keys, checked in with the management down there and was told, “No you can not have the car. Not without a signed permission note from Lisa!”

“I need a signed permission slip from Lisa…” yelled Amy, my team member, into the phone, when she called me in a panic.

“Just who the fuck is Lisa?” I replied, bemused, “And how come we’ve never needed a permission slip the other 500 times we’ve used the car?”

“The guy won’t let me have it!” she yelled back frantically. “He says, no permission, no car.”

I put her on hold and called one of our heads of finance, Carlos, whose department deals with the use of the car.

“Who the fuck is Lisa?” he said, when I explained the situation. “You don’t need permission to take the car, just the fucking keys!”

Carlos swears a lot. It’s why we get along so well. “Tell her to tell them to give her the fucking car or have the fucker call me and I’ll fucking give them permission!” he snarled. I had the distinct feeling the permission Carlos would give might involve a baseball bat and a lot of anger.

I switched back to Amy and conveyed this delicate message. Some mumbling. Lots of arguing. “He still won’t let me have the car” she said feebly. “I’m already so late I’m going to be in real trouble. He still wants a note from Lisa.”

At this point my other line rings and I see Carlos’ name on the caller ID. I put Amy on hold and pick up. “I found out who the fuck Lisa is!” he says. “She’s an admin on the other account! (the account who own the other three cars) She doesn’t have anything to do with our car so that fucker doesn’t need any fucking permission whatsofuckingever and certainly not from fucking Lisa.”

I tell Amy this and the douche still refuses to let her take the car. So I call this “Lisa” who is horrified and offers to go straight down there and beat someone’s ass. Or talk to them rationally, I don’t know which. I just know which I’d do.

Eventually, 45 minutes later, after a lot of cajoling and threats, Amy gets her car and Carlos is promising to go down there and “talk to people” probably in the same way the mob like to “talk” to people.

Me, I am ordering some popcorn, sitting back and watching the entertainment.

Do Not Feed The Admins

August 7, 2007

If there’s one thing the Guv’ner hates about a work day (actually there are many, but let’s focus here), it’s when the cafeteria promises one sort of nourishment for lunch and when you go to collect, provides something entirely different.

Like, for example, you’ve had a hard morning, typing, running around, calculating things (like best murder instrument in your desk drawer) and sticking push pins in a voodoo doll of an ex boss you still want dead, you want some comfort food. You know, some sustenance with a calorific value that would make Jenny Craig faint. So when your new spanky phone leaves you a computer generated voice mail with today’s cafeteria specials (this phone should be on the Enterprise, who else has a phone that tells them menu specials and emails them voice messages, huh!) and boasts “Macaroni Cheese” as the special main meal of the day, causing one to bounce up and down with cheerful anticipation, and drool on one’s clean shirt, it is not acceptable to provide this poor, hard-working individual with a green bean casserole instead. People in less civilized nations (like England) have been hung, drawn and quartered for less.

This switch does not make for a happy Guv’ner who had an egg salad sandwich with a dressing of spite just to make a protest.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, when has anything ever made for a happy Guv’ner? Well there was that one time at my last job where the mailroom guys arranged for a pitcher of lemonade in the fridge of the executive kitchen to be uh…how can I put it…enhanced with a much more alcoholically potent substance, providing many happy menial employees, one step closer to telling their boss where they could put their “monthly report”. Good times.

Guv’ner Phone Home

August 6, 2007

I had Friday off work due to our stellar Summer Friday program where we each get six Fridays during June, July and August off work, paid. Like extra vacation. Six extra long weekends. As you can imagine, the Guv’ner is very agreeable to such policies and equally enthusiastic about the week between Christmas and New Year where we also close down and it doesn’t count as vacation time. I prefer to call these days off “Necessary Homicide Prevention Days” because it does somewhat allow me time to pop Xanax like candy in order to sleep for twelve hour periods at a time and in between fill my veins with Captain Morgan’s Spiced rum and cheese (not at the same time, although really it depends on the amount of rum we’re talking about here).

Today I arrived in my office to find that things were not as I left them on Thursday, despite the fact my office is kept locked. Hmmm. The reason I knew this? Well stuff had moved around my desk as though some invisible force were trying to find something. Then I turned around to dump my bag and I saw it. The. New. Phone.

Now you may be thinking, “Geez Guv, so effing what, it’s a phone!” but you see, you clearly don’t understand. My previous phone had the numbers etched in stone. It had a horn that you held up to your ear while you yelled and a lever you had to crank to get an operator who sounds like one of those ladies from a Pathé News reel. Ok, maybe it wasn’t that bad but let’s just say it probably was really, really cool in 1976. When you picked up the receiver, instead of a dial tone you got 1970s’ “Starsky & Hutch” theme-type, funky porn music. Bow chica bow bow.

The new phone though. It made me recoil in horror, my back against the wall, while I watched it cautiously in case it decided to evaporate me or give me orders. There are buttons and options up the wazoo. I’m still pretty sure there’s an option for making coffee on there someplace… It’s on a stand which makes it stand upright and it has a glowing, full color, TV-like screen display that can tell you exactly who is calling, their number and probably even what color underpants they’re wearing, what they plan on ordering for lunch and maybe those dirty, nasty thoughts they’re having about that new girl in planning. It also tracks calls rather blatantly, so no more calling “Boys Butts R Us” or 1-800-GUN-PLEASE during my lunch hour anymore. Shame.

Naturally, I have as much idea how to use this beast as I do the cockpit of an airplane so today should be interesting.

It sure looks purty though.

Topical and Tropical

August 2, 2007

When it’s hectic and there’s paper strewn everywhere; when you can’t see my desk for pens and calculators and magazines and finance reports; when there are three half empty Diet Pepsi bottles littering my desktop and the occasional Kit Kat wrapper; when there are twelve things that need to be done now and all have priority… At moments like these I like to look at the wall by my monitor which is completely covered with a poster of a perfect blue tropical ocean beach with palm trees and I like to think that if I focus really hard, I can pretend that I’m there, on that beach, hearing the waves lap against the white sand and the palm fronds swooshing slightly in the breeze to the faraway lilt of steel drum melodies and the pleasing, wafting aroma of Malibu and pineapple…

And then the sound of frantic gurgling (because in this daydream I am also drowning my boss in the tide while screaming, “What do you mean can I stay late to prepare some binders for an early morning meeting, you sniveling shitmeister????”)

Every day I feel a little more of my sanity slipping away. Possibly to that beach. Possibly to eek out a 2 liter bottle of tequila to hide under my desk. Possibly to the nearest gun store to buy an AK47. It’s hard to tell.

All I know is my mood today is as fragile as a Minnesota bridge in rush hour.

And every bit as dangerous.