Archive for October, 2007

Where The Time Goes

October 29, 2007

I used to enter Mr. Panty Waist’s time in our company’s electronic timesheet partly due to his complete technical incompetence and partly because he couldn’t be bothered to do something as mundane as account for his doings, or lack thereof, all day, by himself.

His timesheet was a constant source of annoyance to me mainly because he’d insist on leaving it for several weeks unattended despite nagging, then have a hissyfit when the Cobra, a constant thorn is his side on just about every matter, started getting shirty about the fact they couldn’t accurately bill the client until they had this information. This in turn would make me snort with indignant mirth because “accurate billing” were not two words usually found in the same sentence at The Company of No Hope. Anyway, Mr. Panty Waist would get in a tizzy, sulk, stomp around and demand I “take care of it”.

Since there were no job codes in the system for “Slept till noon”, “whined for two hours then commenced sulking”, or “read Wall Street Journal for 30 minutes while pinching a loaf”, we always had to take a little artistic license with his time and where we billed it to.

He therefore would have me bill his time in what I can only describe as “corporate code”. You see, when I say I’ve never really had a truly creative job, that’s not entirely true. Mr. Panty Waist’s timesheet was a work of fiction worthy of a Pulitzer.

His work day, according to his timesheet, would look thus:

2 hours – Description: Confidential Project
Translation, “I don’t have even the remotest inkling where the time went on this day or what I did with it. I’m sure it was important and involved sighing incessantly and farting. I know I slept till 11 a.m. I also know I arrived in a cab and it took a long time.”

30 minutes – Description: Strategic Materials
Translation, “I read Time Magazine while straining on the pot then crop-dusted the corridor on my hasty way back to my office, leaving people for the rest of the afternoon commenting on ‘that stench of rotten broccoli'”.

3 hours – Description: On-site support
Translation, “Went to the client’s and whined, ate a $100 lunch with a shot of scotch at “Pietro’s” with said client where I whined some more, mostly about people who hate me, which is just about everyone. Naturally, I will bill the client for this meal.”

30 minutes – Description: Video Work
Translation, “Talked to SBAS for about five minutes and may have mentioned the word “video” in passing, in between whining about other employees and the other partners and how they all have it in for me.”

30 minutes – Description: Conference Calls
Translation, “Actually one call. And it was less a conference call and more of a ‘call to a friend of mine at the client to discuss how Democrats are Satan and I’m totally beat because I work too hard.’ Also I arranged to meet for drinks later in the week for some more “on-site support”.

1 hour – Description: Edits to Materials
Translation, “Watched some news. Scratched head fruitfully producing impressive cloud of dandruff. Changed one word in a document, argued with The Passive Aggressive Blonde Chick over the color of the blue font and had The Guv’ner attach the Word document to an email because I am a giant camel’s scrotum who wouldn’t know how to find his own ass with both hands and a cattle prod.”

30 minutes – Description: Creative work
Translation, “Thinking bitter thoughts about fellow partners, in particular “Mr. Vagina Chin” and how he gets all the praise and yet does absolutely nothing all day unlike me, who gives it his all.”

My good friend, the Evil Queen, who worked in finance, sat diagonally opposite my desk. You could always tell when she was reviewing Mr. Panty Waist’s timesheets because I’d hear her snort fruitfully and an IM would pop up on my screen that said, “So by ‘Media Practice’ you mean, he watched baseball all afternoon don’t you?”

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Just Reminiscing…

October 25, 2007

One rainy Tuesday, the dastardly Mr. Panty Waist appeared in the office, bleary-eyed and a little tow-headed (though not at all in an adorable way), around 9:45 a.m. This monumental event in itself rendered the entire office silent for a good 30 seconds because, didn’t he know? It was still morning! Did his clock stop? And we had only been there 45 minutes ourselves! And…well, it was nowhere near time to go home, was he having a breakdown of the nervous variety? Was he confused (this was sort of like asking “Hey, was Liberace gay?”)? And had he slept in a hedge? (Mr. Panty Waist, not Liberace – he was way too fabulous and sparkly for that.)

We sent the intern to the closest window to stick her head out but she reported no flying pig sightings or any ominous black hole in the sky attempting to suck the Earth in. (I seem to remember she did spot some idiot streaking down Rockefeller Plaza, however, his little white ass bobbing up and down in a sea of gray suits, but that’s par for the course in NYC).

We naturally, then put the news channels on just to be sure we shouldn’t be donning gas masks and making for the fire escape or calling our loved ones to say goodbye, since can you believe it? Mr. Panty Waist is in the building before noon!

We did check with each other also. “You do see him don’t you? I don’t have a fever do I? I did do a lot of acid in my teens!”

As previously discussed, Mr. Panty Waist only did mornings on the most extreme occasions and those happened only a couple of times a year at best. Usually it meant he’d forgotten some important project, remembered the night before that GAAAH, it was due the next morning, peed his pants, run around in circles frightening the kids, had a tantrum including much sighing, foot stamping and pouting, called each of his team at home who all had caller ID and quietly ignored him, then spent an unhappy hour learning how his alarm clock worked.

This particular Tuesday he gazed at us all in much the same way I imagine Neil Armstrong looked around him in wonder before plopping down onto the Moon’s surface.

“What is this strange parallel universe?” he seemed to be thinking. “What are all these people doing here in the middle of the night?!”

Then he took off his coat and commenced whining and we all remembered why we liked the fact he never usually came in till mid-afternoon.

“I need coffee. Why is there no coffee in the machine? Where’s my pen? I need my pen. I have a meeting with Cruella. *SIGH* I don’t want to go. Find out if it’s absolutely necessary. I have work to do. I can’t meet with her when I have important…papers to do things with!” Whine, whine, whine. I’m playing my tiny violin you big, bedraggled fuckstick.

He’d then stop in his tracks. Something isn’t right you see. He hasn’t quite figured out what it is yet but he knows…

At last he sees it. There is no sign whatsoever of his Skankariffic Blonde Ass-kissing Sidekick (SBAS) or SBAS Jr., her younger clone, both of whom typically show up late morning and pretend they’ve been there the whole time, and to do this project, he needs to delegate and delegate fast and they are his only targets.

He blinked a few times trying to figure it out. Where are they? Are they in the bathroom? Are they at the client’s?

At this very moment the phone rang and I answered it. It was the SBAS herself with her morning inquisition to find out if Mr. PW was miraculously in yet, expecting the obvious answer.

“Yes, he’s here.” I said. I hated the SBAS, I may have hinted at it before.

You could hear her mind have a panic attack, “SHIT! Shit, shit, shit!”

“He has a project.” I added. “An emergency project.”

“Well…tell him I’ll be in about…noon.” She said and I could hear her frustration. “I have an urgent errand to run that I can’t change.”

“Oh yes, your hairdresser called to confirm your 10:30 appointment” I told her.

“I…well don’t tell him that, just say I’ll be there as soon as I can.” said the SBAS, totally busted.

“Was that her?” Mr. Panty Waist said, loping out of his office looking anxious. (Hell imagine how he feels looking in a mirror!)

“That was her.” I said. “She said she’ll be in straight away to help with the project. Well…right after her haircut.”

I could hear the Evil Queen a few cubes away, splutter coffee on her desk.

He looked most displeased.

“Where is [SBAS Jr.]?” he then wanted to know. SBAS Jr. was infamous for excuses. Big ones, small ones, elaborate ones, obvious ones, highly inventive ones – she had an excuse for every day of the week. Here are some genuine ones she submitted:

“There was a fire on our street and the fire department said we had to stick around in case they needed access.”

“My dog ran off while I was walking him. I have to find him, I might not be in for a while.”

“I woke up and my tongue was green so I got an emergency doctor’s appointment, I think I’ll have to work from home today!”

“I sprained my ankle falling downstairs.”

“My husband is having palpitations.”

“There’s a truck overturned on the Turnpike so I’m going to be in traffic for a few hours.”

They went on and on. And Mr. Panty Waist continued to fall for them.

“No idea.” I told him. “She doesn’t usually get in till later.”

He wasn’t quite sure what to do with this information so he slammed his door and sulked for the rest of the morning. There’s nothing a tardy procrastinator hates more than other tardy procrastinators. When they eventually both arrived looking a little pale and worried, he had a closed door meeting with them in his office where I hope he spanked them with a ruler and then had them do the same to him. And that the ruler had nails in it. Salty nails.

This entry has no point, except to reiterate my hatred for those people. Sorry to lead you all on and everything…

The Plastic Lady

October 24, 2007

Time for more hauntings from the Ghosts of Jobs Past…

Many moons ago, while still working in Hades at the Company of No Hope, my good buddy Timo found out that Cruella de Ville was in the market for a new car, which would be thinly disguised, financially at least, as a company car. A company car in as much as she officially, technically “worked” for the company (at least she showed up occasionally and carried lots of bags to make her look busy) although she intended to use it exclusively for personal use and the Cobra could write it off as some business expense in his usual devious manner.

She had done this same thing the previous year for a new top of the range Ford SUV that she just had to have. This particular year’s coveted gold at the end of the rainbow had been a brand, spanking new Cadillac Escalade, which loosely translated meant that one of her fabulous “ladies who lunch” friends must have procured one from daddy or hubby and Cruella was starting to feel inferior. Of course she wanted hers to be bigger, better, newer and have features she wouldn’t ever dream of using but would be able to boast relentlessly about at the country club.

Maybe it would just look good sitting outside her Park Avenue apartment? Timo and I would pray continuously that the handbrake would fail one day, preferably while she was crossing in front of the car, toting her Bergdorf Goodman shopping bags full of dead animal pelts.

Timo, while researching the car, had found a great descripton relating to the Escalade, which was quite perfect.

“…a dichotomy of luxurious plushness and cheap materials.”

Now, it was actually referring to the car but man, it described Cruella, to a tee.

I mean if the woman had actual top line classy snobbery, she would have wanted something more flashy or that carried more weight in corporate circles like a Lexus. But no.

We giggled at the Escalade description for about half an hour, mainly because we were pretty easily pleased at the Company of No Hope since we were so deprived of anything resembling actual entertainment, but also because we were (and remain) very mean people.

You had to know Cruella to appreciate how apt that description was. Especially since her face, at this point, was 90% plastic, minimum. The part that moved anyway. Botox can be a bitch. Pretty soon the Botox wouldn’t matter because no one is going to notice your wrinkles when your eyes are practically vertically parallel to your (plastic) nose.

I couldn’t vouch for her boobs or ass but the nose job she had during the spell I worked for her was pretty severe. And apparently top secret. She didn’t even tell us assistants, except her one main assistant who was under strict orders not to spill the beans but who was coerced by the rest of us into at least giving us hints.

Cruella just told us she had a bad cold and wouldn’t be coming in for a week or two.

Of course we all knew about the schnoz readjustment because we might have been overworked, delirious slaves but we were not stupid. Besides, you kind of got the gist after the seventeenth call from a plastic surgeon inquiring about her “progress” and a call from Cruella sounding like she was talking from inside the Lincoln Tunnel, asking us to buy a ton of “medical gauze that would be good for a nose wound.”

Even I knew that was a little extreme for a cold.

Meet The Cobra

October 23, 2007

I’ve mentioned a gentleman at my former, hell hole place of employment (and I use the phrase “gentleman”completely falsely) known as The Cobra for reasons you can probably deduce from the name alone. In fact, it’s probably a great injustice to snakes to suggest he could be one of them. Besides, snakes apparently have hearts. And some people like snakes!

The Cobra however, was a mean faced, little, red-headed man of Irish descent and possibly the most objectionable human being who ever walked the Earth. He was also the company’s Chief Financial Officer and right hand man to The Devil – Cruella de Ville. Naturally, there wasn’t a single person in the company who didn’t snarl like a rabid dog, at the mere mention of his name. Unless that mention was a suggestion about impaling him on a spike at the top of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, in which case there would be offers to take up a collection and donate the necessary crane to get him up there.

He wasn’t outwardly, obviously objectionable – at least not on first meeting. In fact, when I started working there, I had to call him to ask a question, never having met him and he was outgoing and personable. When a coworker asked me about him I said, “Well he seems nice!” and she made that loud, startled sound a chicken makes when you try to chase it round a yard, then ran away to guffaw in the supply closet.

I guess that should have been a sign. Because the Cobra, as it turned out, was many things and I can tell you from experience, personable was not one of them.

Firstly he was creepy and not-so-subtly inappropriate. He would talk to you but his eyes would be looking you up and down. Maybe he just thought the vocal chords were around the nipple area, I don’t know, he wasn’t very bright. If you watched him, say, in the corridor chatting to some female coworker, as she walked away you could see him blatantly stare at her ass the whole distance of the corridor until she disappeared out of sight, without bothering to hiding the fact. He leered.

He was known for a number of things – none of them honorable. Firstly, there was the whole Cruella’s butt-boy thing. She’d snap her fingers and he’d go running like a little puppy. Every day when she left the building to begin a busy afternoon of hair salons and manicures, he would carry her several hundred tote bags full of miscellaneous crap, down to the car for her while she berated him like a house boy, much to everyone’s amusement and satisfaction. There was something fabulously joyous about seeing him standing outside the ladies’ room holding seven bags and looking miserable while she was in there powdering her huge plastic nose for ten minutes.

Then there was his deviousness. He was condescending and a bully. He’d snoop in people’s desks, he’d open their mail, he’d listen in on their phone calls. He once fired an employee (for no good reason I may add) by leaving her a voice mail at home telling her not to bother coming in next day. Yes really.

He also had abominable personal habits that would make mere humans like myself retch with the nasty. For example, he’d mine giant boogers out of his nose while standing talking to you, examine them, then flick them off onto the floor.

Then there was the underwear thing. I don’t know what type of undies he wore (my money was on tiny Speedo type briefs and believe me, I barfed just typing that) but they always seemed to be wedged half way up his ass crack. Maybe it was a man-thong I don’t know. Whatever they were he spent half his time digging his fingers up there to pull them out of no mans land. Urgh. I understand his point though, you can’t have anything obstructing the orifice you talk out of, after all.

One time he openly hit on a coworker of mine – a tall, lithe, blonde, very pretty 21 year old who was a personal assistant to Cruella de Ville. He smirked, approached her, leaned over her desk and smirked, “Hey, there’s a motorbike show on at Rockefeller Center, you should come over with me, I’d like those losers to see me walk in there with a hot chick!” Exact words people. Did I mention she was young and beautiful and he was 55, sleazy and very married with multiple kids?

This girl though wasn’t any old meek, straight from college, 21 year old. She had balls of steel. And she wasn’t taking any of that old bullcrap from a crusty old nose-picker like him. She stood up, towering over him and loudly proclaimed, in front of the whole area, “Don’t you ever talk to me that way again. You are being inappropriate and if you ever talk to me again, I will tell Cruella you are sexually harassing me.” Then she cooly sat down and carried on what she was doing.

It was one of those moments the world just seems to fall into place. Where angels start to sing and light fills all the dark corners. He tried to joke it off then slunk off, tail between his legs to sulk in his office. But he never did bother her again. It was a delicious moment.

A few years later he fired a Vice President one day after she told her boss and the Cobra she was pregnant. Again, he picked the wrong lady to mess with as she immediately lawyered up and presented the company with a little threat of a lawsuit.

The Cobra went into panic overdrive. He stood his ground, they got their lawyers involved it went on and on. Eventually, the woman being pregnant didn’t want anymore stress and settled with the company for an undisclosed sum. However, the kicker was, once she received the money – and it was a generous sum – she compiled a very long, very detailed email to the Cobra naming all the deceitful tricks he’d pulled with her and others over her years with the company, naming plenty names and dastardly deeds and even backing them up with evidence she’d kept (emails and such that he insisted never existed) The email was long and had a clear timeline and documentation to back everything she claimed up. She sent the email to The Cobra but cc’d the entire rest of the company. I mean EVERYONE. It was beautiful. It was so beautiful it’s all anyone talked about for weeks. And of course when the Cobra noticed that everyone had received the email it sent him into crisis mode all over again.

I still have that email somewhere. When I need cheering up, I reread it and rejoice that someone managed to get revenge on that evil, evil place.

And the Award Goes To…

October 19, 2007

The jaded old Guv’ner is feeling all shiny and new, thanks to the bodaciously, sex goddessly splendid Miss Catherinette Singleton who knows a thing or two about fabulosity when she sees it. Apparently, I have reached the rank of “fabulous” and coming from the Queen that’s quite an honor, let me tell you. Looky at mah awawd. Ain’t it peachy?

I would like to pay it forward, as it were, to the following lovelies (excluding those already bestowed with the honor naturally – one can have too much fabulous in one’s life after all): Miss KAT ROCKET, Ms. Lady Who Doesn’t Lunch, Monsieur The Idea of Progress, Ms. Leonesse, Ms. Adventures in Self Loathing..um..Esq., Ms. Gizmorox and Herr Radloff. Basically everyone I know is fabulous, so there.

Naturally, Pistols is already in possession of the fabulous award and Bert and T. are way beyond the fabulous stage and too busy polishing their balls to bother with such nonsense. Sheesh!

Bread and Bitter

October 18, 2007

I never intended to work in an office. Not for real anyway. It was temporary you see. It was a “scheme”. It was “I will make my millions really fast and then use it to travel and afterwards I’ll get a real job!” It was complete and total denial.

You see, sitting in an office acquiring paper cuts was never on my agenda. Let’s face facts, it’s never on anyone’s agenda, ever, it just happens because the world is a great, big fucker with a warped sense of humor.

When I was six the teacher would make us write lists of possible occupations we’d like to try once we reached adulthood. Naturally, I’d be full of enthusiasm. “Why, I will fly planes of course! TO JUPITER! I will be one of Charlie’s Angels. I will invent a time machine that will allow me to come back to the ’70s and kill whoever told my mother that dressing a little child in a geometrically patterned pant suit was a terrific idea. I will eat candy for every meal, like Willy Wonka. I will be a long distance truck driver.” (Seriously, I was a weird kid, it’s lucky I’m not a serial killer. Not yet anyway. I don’t think…don’t you need like…three confirmed kills to be “serial” or something? Hello, is that the FBI at my door?)

You see, when you’re a little kid there’s no bullshitting involved. You never hear a six year old say, “You know, I think I’d like to answer other people’s phones all day, photocopy endless pages of useless crap and find inventive ways to express my buried rage by pulling paperclips apart and stabbing them into voodoo dolls of my boss.” Not once do you rub your hands together with glee thinking of all the travel plans you will make for other people only to alter and remake them twelve times before canceling them altogether the day of the trip.

This is because when you’re little you have a plan and that plan is…there IS no plan. You can be whatever you want. You have stuff to do. Your expectations are high but they’re simple. You will be an astronaut. An astronaut who will zoom all over the universe at the speed of light, chasing aliens, saving the world and slaying monsters with a large laser gun and when you’re not zapping monsters you will eat Tremendous. Amounts. Of. Pudding. And of course you see no obstacles to this plan because you are six.

By the time you’re twelve, however, you’re already getting jaded. You’re like, “Astronauts indeed! That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard, I am going to be a rock star. And all the boys/girls in the world will fall in love with me and my poster will hang on every kid’s bedroom wall in every nation in the whole wide world.” Producing colorful spreadsheets and detailed bar graphs featuring fourth quarter sales of tampons never once crossed your mind. And there is nothing in the plan that says, “sometimes your entire day will be ruined because you will run out of staples.”

When you’re fifteen you’ve put away childish things. You are going to be a marine biologist, although you have no idea what that is. You’re going to be a doctor. Maybe you want to make people better and maybe you’re just a fifteen year old boy-doctor who just wants to see a naked lady’s sweater puppies.

The thing is I don’t remember anyone exclaiming excitedly, “I know! I want to spend the only youth I’ll ever have extracting chewed up paper from a Xerox machine and I will look forward every morning to filling the coffee machine because no one else ever does it and if I could leave school…like right now? I’d be like…SO stoked to perform a really slammin’ mail merge in Microsoft Word, which I could send to seven hundred people informing them of lots of great things they don’t give two shits about!”

Yet suddenly one day, there you are, sitting at a beige desk, in a beige cubicle staring at the beige printer by your side and listening to beige people around you talking about their beige lives and you realize that when you were six, you knew shit. And you hate six year old you. In fact, if you had that time machine and you COULD go back in time, you’d kick six year old you right in the kishkas.

My Mind, It Is Imploding

October 16, 2007

Good Lord, the Guv’ner has been in the need of an “Attitude Readjustment Day” lately. Last week, a full four days of total insomnia had me thinking I could fly like a bird in the sky-y-y-y. The outcome? Now I know, I can’t let Maggie go.

Goddamn oldies stations.

Anyway, the more tired I got, the less likely sleep seemed to be. And the more completely psychotic I was starting to feel. Plus I had many thoughts scurrying around my vacuous head like this:

Brain: Print two copies of document, call travel department about London. London. Monday morning flight, on American. Then I have to….wait…what am I doing? Who’s going to London? Why? Where is my scrambled egg roll? What was I doing? Something about London. Did I go to the bank? Why am I wearing two different socks? I…where is my notebook? I need…something about London. My eyelids are glued open. I think I am going to go to the bathroom.”

The problem with fatigue in the extreme is, it seems to dull the filters that operate between your brain and your mouth and you say things that usually common sense would suppress out of the desire to not get bludgeoned (or fired!) by other, less sleepy people. Things like:

Bitchy Ex-Team Member: Make seven copies of this in color please.

Me: I don’t think I work for you anymore, do I? Make them yourself.

And:

“I am busy, you can call travel on your own, no? You have fingers. I also have a finger, don’t make me show it to you.”

I should point out this was to my EX-TEAM who I no longer work for (cue: hallelujah chorus) but who are now sans assistant and satisfyingly desperate. My ex-boss was pretty desperate before but now she’s bleating like a little lamb about needing help including sending me an email that was suspiciously cordial and asking for my assistance(I was tempted to send her the phone number for the psychiatric helpline and an underground internet site on how to make your own meth), and I’ve been persuaded to help on a limited basis, temporarily till their new person starts Thursday.

I say “new” person but actually? They allotted her and her spoiled team of brats to The Most Boring Woman Who Ever Lived so I feel some sort of divine justice has just occurred. This also frees my already overloaded mind of the burden of feeling sorry for their new assistant because it’s TMBWWEL therefore, it’s called “karma”. May they drive each other to go jump in the East River.

Why People Need Therapy

October 8, 2007

Back at my favorite den of nightmarish memories, that stinking old horse’s ass, Mr. Panty Waist once called me on a cold, Monday, November morning and said, in his best whine, “I left my client pass on my desk in the office. I have to meet someone at the client’s at 11. Someone needs to walk over to [the client] with my pass and give it to me.”

Naturally “Someone” meant ME since there was no other idiot there stupid enough to do it and he damn well knew it. I could only pray that by “give it to me” he meant “And bring a cast iron frying pan and bash me over the head with it until there is no piece of my skull remaining that is bigger than a quarter.” But I knew that was wishful thinking. That man would live to be 312 and I’d have to hear about it every day.

“Sure!” I said, skipping around my desk, ecstatically as I looked for silly string and some celebratory balloons! “I mean it’s only 25 degrees Fahrenheit outside and I’ve only been in bed all weekend with flu and I’m suffering from the sore throat of the century, aching limbs and I sound like I need a tracheotomy but I’d love a two mile walk in the wind to give you your building pass, even though you’re in a warm car which is practically driving past the office where your pass currently resides and despite the fact that you are also able to sign in at the client’s as a visitor without the pass, certainly I’ll bring it to you, I’d love to! I mean, I have nothing else to do here!!!”

OK I didn’t quite say that… I said “Fuck off and die you needy, whiny, ungrateful slimeball.”

Well, maybe I didn’t say that either but it was THIS close. THIS close.

I threw on about ten layers of clothing and took the pass over like he asked. Even though it was 2 miles round trip and it was cold as a witch’s tit he wouldn’t let me take a cab because, “We’re cutting down on unnecessary expenses!” Silly old fucker. “Unnecessary expenses” obviously didn’t include his daily transport via town car service to and from work twice a day, from home, for which he would slyly bill the client under some vague job description.

I took a nice, toasty bus back and raided the petty cash upon my return to reimburse myself. I quickly counted the contents of the tin to see if maybe there was enough left for a hit man but alas it was not to be.

Mr. Panty Waist, let me point out, had no idea what a bus or a subway was. I think if you stood him on the street and plonked a bus down in front of him, he’d stare at it, a big frown digging a trench in his brow, shake his head sadly and say, “No. No, sorry. I have no idea what that is. Is it a typewriter?”

I truly believe if someone forced him to take public transport to work he’d be so baffled he’d stay home until someone fetched him. Which would be never.

And really, that doesn’t sound too bad…

If Strangulation Was Legal

October 5, 2007

The Most Boring Woman in the World stopped me today as I ran to my old office to pick up some files I’d left behind during my office move, upstairs. She cornered me by the drinking fountain where there is no escape route, unless you count drowning slowly.

“So…” she said, a diatribe beginning to hang ominously in the air over her head like a think balloon, “That big dumpster outside your office…”

“My old office.” I corrected her, subtly reminding her I no longer work on her floor or her accounts therefore she has no reason to acknowledge my existence ever again.

“That dumpster shouldn’t really be left there because it’s large and will get in the way.” TMBWITW kindly pointed out.

I should note she works on the opposite side of the floor and has no reason to come in contact with my dumpster whatsoever. My “dumpster” is a large cardboard box with wheels.

“It could slip out from the wall and into the corridor and someone could walk into it and bump a shin. And well, I just thought you should be aware.”

It’s funny because last time I looked there were no blind people feeling their way along the corridor walls, haphazardly amputating appendages on stray boxes, but I suppose if one was sufficiently incapacitated by say…severe intoxication or sudden loss of limb control, one could conceivably graze the edge of the cardboard container and get a light bruise. They’d have to be pretty toasted though. I mean the corridor has LIGHTS and everything.

“It has to be there till Friday, so everyone else can purge all their old files we no longer need.” I told her. “And there is still a good six foot passage at the side of it. You’d have to eat a LOT of Baby Ruth bars to have a problem passing that without injury!”

She made a disapproving noise. “We really need to be careful not to breach Health & Safety regulations. Plus [name of our Company President] might see it and be annoyed.”

“I don’t see why.” I replied. “He’s the reason we’re all moving in the first place – to make room for his people. He already commented favorably about my cunning recycling of all the paper stuff.”

This flummoxed her for a moment but she wasn’t done quite yet. She leaned in a little and whispered.

“Now HE’S here…” she said, nodding towards the President’s office, “Having obstructions around might lower the tone of the floor.”

“This floor?” I asked, so incredulous that my voice hit an octave even Mariah Carey can only dream of. “This floor with the plain gray vinyl, sandpapery, 1970s’ wallpaper that’s faded in places where they took down pictures to clean them and never put them back up again, leaving their outline forever faded into the grain? Wallpaper that looks like it was probably developed by NASA as an alternative to the heat shield tiles on the Space Shuttle? This floor with the geometric carpet you could take an acid trip on? This floor right here that everyone else refers to as ‘the Dungeon of Doom’ because it’s dark, uninviting and gives people nightmares? Do you think so?”

“It’s not that bad!” she said, a touch defensively.

“But…that wallpaper!” I whined. “Get a balloon, rub it on your bosoms and I guarantee you it will stick to that wall like it was superglued there. If it doesn’t burst into flames from the static first.”

“I…don’t know what you are insinuating.” she said blankly.

TMBWITW has been with the company for 20 plus years, long enough to see off two husbands and several diseases (including one of the mouth – the woman never shuts up) but I don’t think she’s ever once had some strange foreigner suggest she rub a balloon on her boobies and stick it to a wall. Which turned out to be a good route to take because she had nothing much to say to that and shuffled off to bore someone else.

Some people just don’t appreciate knowing me.