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Friday, July 8, 2011

I Work Full Time, or Violence in the Workplace

In keeping with prior personal delusions, including but not limited to karaoke performance, water weight gain, and the strength of my come-hither look, we bring you the prophetic qualities of my iPod.

That’s right, cats and kittens, step right up while my iPod, set to “shuffle” and played during my Friday-morning bus commute reaches behind your collective ears and pulls out the shiny quarter that is your weekend forecast.

Eenie, meanie, jelly beanie! The spirits are about to speak! (Sorry, Bullwinkle.)

Ball of Confusion by Love and Rockets
Sequestered in Memphis by The Hold Steady
Outta-Space by Billy Preston
Right Here Right Now by Jesus Jones
Superbone Meets the Bad Man by Maynard Ferguson
Love Long Distance by Gossip
Atomic Dog by George Clinton

Time, space, and distance. If there is someone you miss, I suggest you call them.


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 it isn’t nice. In this particular case, I can therefore tell you only that the woman in question has a lovely laugh and 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.


“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.”


“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 then 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.”


“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 down the hall and give her a big ol’ dope slap to the forehead.

The part of my brain that knows that our rate of pay often has nothing to do with our abilities is weeping, while the part I keep off in a dark corner because of its propensity for inappropriate comments -- a short man wearing slogan tee-shirts lighting a new cigarette with the butt of the old one -- is grinning maniacally.

I can only imagine what that guy has to say.

Must make it through the end of today. Weekend in sight…


Glen said...

Right Here Right Now?? Lady, you have some good stuff on that pod of yours!

jabblog said...

Keep looking to the light at the end of the tunnel that is Friday evening and SMILE:-)

Pearl said...

Thanks, Glen!

Jabblog, pointed in that direction now. :-)

Sioux said...

And THAT is why I work with 9-year olds. I don't play well with grownups.

Pearl said...

Sioux, we're an unruly group. :-)

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Patience Pearl patience. Treasures in heaven. Some of the most brilliant people in the world have no common sense. Maybe she's a member of Mensa.

Pearl said...

Delores, :-)

Simply Suthern said...

In your wildest dreams, did you ever think you would grow up to be the responsible one?

Leenie said...

After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar sez...W T F????

George said...

That's mostly an old set playing on the iPod today. We have petitioned our manager here for one day a year that we would have full immunity to tell customers and coworkers what we wanted to say to there moronic requests. It is always a "NO" when we bring it up.

jenny_o said...

Your description of your brain? Perfect. So much of the time I struggle with multiple inhabitants in mine too. I am afraid if I develop dementia (later, much later, please) that stinkin' little part is going to become the ruler.

Roses said...

Unfortunately, the editor-in-my-head tends to take coffee breaks when I deal with people like that.

I often get told I need to work on my people-skills. My response is consistently, when they start working on their thinking skills - I will.

Pearl said...

Simply, right there, I'm afraid you've hit the nail on the head. Me. The Responsible One. Surely there's been a misunderstanding...

Leenie, I've never heard that and can't wait to work it (casually!) into conversation.

George, and wouldn't that be lovely? I'm even willing to accept the idea that clerks, bus drivers, what-not, are free to say what they think of me as well!

jenny-o, :-) Keeping one's brain under control is often the hardest thing one does in a day, isn't it?!

Roses, :-) I was once told that I needed to work on being more "fuzzy", that I was too direct. So now, when my forehead is furrowed due to something verging on idiotic I remember to ask how the kids are first...

Susan in the Boonies said...

My "Oooooooh....loooook....something shiny!" comment:

I didn't know you used a curling iron!

My more sensible comment:

Geez, Louise, I'm lighting my torch right now.

Oilfield Trash said...

Your iPod is great today. Ball of Confusion and Atomic Dog are two of my favorite songs.

R. Jacob said...

pitchforks and torches!
Frankenstein or Frankensteen?
and about that come hither look....on my way!

Camille said...

That grinning, butt lighting, short guy is my very favorite dark corner of your mind Pearl. And the Ball of Confusion tune? Whooot! Brain worm effectively installed for the remainder of Friday. Thanks a lot.

Daisy said...

I Love Retirement!!!

Joyful Things said...

We have some of those smile/nodders in our office which is why our work force slogan is "no singing and no hitting the staff". I would hazard a guess that she's not a member of Mensa - more like Densa.

Pearl said...

Susan, I like to have a little "flip" up on the ends. :-)

OT, Atomic Dog was the first iTune I ever bought. :-) I am very much a fan of the funkadelic.

R. Jacob, great. Now I have Frau Bucher (sp?) and the horses whinnying in my head!

Camille, 1. Love how that song starts, don't you? and 2. the short grinning guy is often my favorite part of my brain as well!

Daisy, I wonder how I will do retired?? This gal needs structure -- and to be surrounded by weirdos. :-)

Joyful, yep. The Nodders kill me. Love the "Densa" bit. :-)

Eva Gallant said...

Now if all your co-workers were brilliant, you'd have so little blog fodder!

R. Jacob said...

cue the violin

puttin on the ritzzzzzz

Doubting Thomas said...

Glad you are working on that draft for world peace. If that fails, my favorite trick was to visualize the object of my derision as a pinata... and me holding the stick... ;)

Shrinky said...

Pearl, you deserve a medal. Thanks for reminding me there are worse fates than my putting up with Nutty-Nora-Next-Door. All the same, I'd still caution you to have those curling irons fully charged and at hand at the actual meeting.. yeah?.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Confucius say: In life, one must put up with many dummies.
Confucius also say: TG-flippin-IF, ya'll!!

Belle said...

So funny! Isn't it nice people don't really know what we are thinking?

Princess Jasmine said...

Mummy is now singing "right here, right now" and its hurting my ears!!! hee he. Mummy said would you like to trade offices :)xx

silly rabbit said...

The little dark rabbit in my head says the most wildly inappropriate things at times like that... and unfortunately, I tend to giggle at them out loud. However, its a bit of a boon, as sometimes the confusion it causes allows me to slip quickly away. When that fails, I flail at an imaginary fly and tell them one landed on their head. I need to work on my people skills I think. You handled that very well.

Linda O'Connell said...

OMG I know so many people like this with high degrees and no temperature!

Jhon Baker said...

Saw a friend I missed today - your iPod is right on! I could never stand that type of co-worker. I usually got busier just to have a good reason to completely avoid them and when paired for a project I would offer to do it all and share the credit just to continue avoidance.

Gigi said...

Ah, Pearl....we have a quite a few of those over here as well. I have learned to bite my tongue OFTEN. There are some days when I look around the office and think, "REALLY??!!! THIS is the best we could come up with?"

*sigh* if only they'd put me in charge....if only.

vanilla said...

Oh, Pearl. There is one in every work-place.
Retired now, though, and it is only the Spouse and I. Wonder which one of us it is?

W.C.Camp said...

Yay your weekend is HERE!!!! I wish just once I would know your Friday songs. I must listen to too much talk radio! W.C.C.

David L Macaulay said...

paid according to our abilities - lol - that's a funny notion. The general rule of thumb is if you are dumb enough, think skinned and insensitive enough you'll make management.

HumorSmith said...

Anonymous said...My God...you have the patience of a saint! Me too....a St. Bernard with rabies.

Probably why I change jobs more often than a new mother changes diapers, often for the same reason: I can't take the s*** anymore.

For the love of heaven girl, would you please sign up for Disqus? You can't believe how many times I have to press "post" to make my comments appear on your beautiful blog...I even tried signing in as "anonymous" and it didn't work :-(

Jinksy said...

You make me extra gad I'm retired... ♥

River said...

Oh dear. Have patience with her Pearl, or maybe she won't call again.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

I'd be tempted to answer all that ladies questions with a question. Drive her insane.

"Are YOU there?"

I've driven better people than her to insanityland with this method.

Leslie said...

Ah...the power of the iPod. I'm sure, come day, mine will learn to forecast weather. Such is the power.

Pearl said...


You know, HS, I've tried Disqus and I don't get it -- which is why so many of my comments on your screen never make it to publication!

Is anyone else having trouble with my comment section? Or is it an issue between, say, Blogger and WordPress?

Pat said...

If she's a peer does that mean she's British? If so I apologise on her behalf.

Sarah Has Moxie said...

I had gone through Pearl withdrawal while on vacation, and this post made the post-vaca blues disappear just like that. Pearl, thanks for being my constant on days I'm in the mood to thwack someone.