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Thursday, September 30, 2010

And I Got THIS Scar in the Great Printer Jam of ‘08

Ping!

A pop-up appears on my computer screen. I sigh as I read it.

“There?” is all it says.

It’s a woman I work with, ostensibly a peer.

My mother once suggested that I not say anything about a person if I’ve nothing nice to contribute. In this particular case, I can tell you that this woman has a lovely laugh and also actively and enthusiastically nods any time her boss speaks.

But I can’t just leave it at that, can I?

The interactions between the two of us, while rare, are difficult. She does not process change well; and counterintuitive to what you’d expect, Acme Napkins and Grommets is a seething caldron of change. I try to be patient, but somewhere around the third or fourth time I’m explaining something to her, the image of my forefathers, armed with pitchforks and blazing torches, comes to mind.

I look back to the screen: “There?”

I write back. “Yes.”

There is fifteen minutes of dead air. It is noon. I leave my desk, mail my bills, touch up my hair with the garage-sale curling iron I’ve installed in the women’s bathroom, and write up a draft for world peace.

I return to my desk an hour later. There’s been no response.

I can’t stand the suspense.

“Why?” I type.

Ping!

“Oh,” she types. “I was wondering if we could meet about a report that you used to run.”

“Sure,” I write. “I’m free this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Go ahead and set it up.”

Ping!

“How long do you think it will take?” she asks.

Again, with the roaring disapproval of my ancestors.

How long do I think it will take? Will what take? You’re the one with the questions, lady!

The part of my brain reserved for logical thought erupts into raucous laughter and resumes writing the resignation letter it started several years ago after I parachuted out of a plane. Dear Pearl, it has come to our attention…

“I don’t know,” I type back. “How long it takes depends on what you need to know.”

Ping!

“Oh, OK,” she writes back.

That was hours ago.

She has yet to set up the meeting.

The part of my brain that still believes that we are paid based on our abilities wants to walk over there and give her a big ol’ dope slap to the forehead. The part of my brain that knows that that is not true is weeping. And the part I keep off in a dark corner because of its propensity for inappropriate comments - a short man fond of slogan tee-shirts and lighting a new cigarette with the butt of the old one - is grinning maniacally.

I can only imagine what that guy has to say.



One more day… One more day ‘til the weekend…

27 comments:

powdergirl said...

Ah, he "Ostensible Peer" . I hear ya Pearl!

I once worked with a guy who would take every general meeting as an opportunity to spout the party line exactly as the boss would have it spouted it himself, as the boss sat and smiled to hear his own brilliance re-uttered.
When I couldn't take it any more, I took the awkward silence that always followed his long-winded speeches to ask him how he managed to speak so clearly and at such great lenghth with the bosses balls still balanced on his chin.

The awkward silence was broken by peels of laughter from about 38 out of the 40 people attending. I'm such a comedian : )

diane rene said...

oh that realization totally bites hard when it happens. I had to train a woman for my position when I'd found a better paying job ... 2 weeks was not nearly enough ... she called me daily at my new job, an hour away

Anonymous said...

Loved this post. Anyone who's ever worked in an office is laughing and grinding their teeth right now. It's made me want to get in the car, drive fifteen hours, walk through your office, (Mornin'Pearl)and personally give her a big ol' dope slap to the forehead. It would be my pleasure...just let me know.

Yankee Gal

savannah said...

what would have happened if you'd answered no to her first query? you're a good woman, sugar. xoxoxoxoxo

Bossy Betty said...

Yes, you have office life down here in condensed form! Good restraint, Pearl Baby. Good restraint.

The Jules said...

I feel some misinformation might be required. If the result of talking to you makes whatever her job is much harder, she might refrain from contacting you for help ever again.

Unless she's an office masochist, which is also fine.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

There are just too many people who need a big ol dope slap to the forehead, Pearl. Wish you could just take care of that one for all of us.
xoRobyn

Kate said...

I just picture sticking a fork in their neck. It gives me great glee and as they're asking their asinine questions, I'm usually grinning. Catches them off guard...

SeaD said...

Oh. So. Funny. Pearl, you have helped start my day with an out loud laugh. Should be able to make it through one more day myself. "Big ol dope slap" is my new favorite line.

Fred Miller said...

Sycophantic nodding. It's an art.

Sweet Cheeks said...

I fear her supposed meeting with you is a ruse. She may actually be trying to trick you into doing work FOR her.

Beware...
=]

Simply Suthern said...

The ole "Poor me , I'm ignorant, can you bail my arse out" email, full of noncommitment minus vital details. I'd say RUN.

Takl about bait and switch, What happened to the scar story?? Sheesh.

Heather said...

The evil old witch I work with disappears at various times during the day....I think she may be popping into your office, this sounds exactly like her. You have my condolences.

Pearl said...

:-)

I once worked with a woman in a restaurant who couldn't vacuum at the end of her shift because she "didn't know how".

Seriously. She didn't know how to vacuum.

Why I oughta...

Fragrant Liar said...

Well, since I don't have much nice to say about ostensible peers, I shall refrain.

Gigi said...

Tell me the truth - you are really working at the Good Old Boy Network aren't you? Because I can swear I know these people you describe!

a Broad said...

You have no Peer, Pearl.

and she needs that Slap .. really. With some bon mot from that guy with the slogan tee shirt, over there in the corner, grinning.

Lisa said...

Head. Desk. Head. Desk.

Jeanie said...

I was thinking what Sweet Cheeks above said....she is trying to get you to offer to do it for her because she foolishly thinks she has gotten the upper hand with those silences between pings. Hold your ground, girl.

Unfinished Rambler said...

I'm a bit confused. Do you work in the same building? If so, why don't you just go over there and set up the meeting? I'm at a loss...but that's par for the course, usually. :)

Kavi said...

Ah colleagues !

Well, ask me more.. !?!

;)

Cheeseboy said...

She is playing some sort of female Jedi reverse logic mind trick on you.

Laoch of Chicago said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laoch of Chicago said...

At least there is a lot of intellectual stimulation for you at work provided by your brilliant colleagues.

yogurt said...

i think she has problem focusing and deciding....

Pearl said...

It's in the same building yes, but if she want a meeting with me or wants to know something I know, I'm willing to share/teach, but she'll need to set it up!

Gaston Studio said...

Okay...that would drive me bat crazy. Would it have done any good to have literally gone to her desk and ask her what the hell she wanted?
Probably not.