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Saturday, November 19, 2011

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.

28 comments:

Hilary said...

LOL.. you ought to let him write a guest post every now and then. ;)

WrathofDawn said...

It's enough to drive you to resort to hiding gin in your desk drawer, isn't i?

Diane said...

I think I catch a glimpse of him every now and then . . . not often enough! And thank you! Whenever I need a quick mood lightener, I go over to Pearl's. Put my feet on my desk, pick up my hot chocolate, and prepare to be plucked out of my rut. I won't make the standard comment about rut-plucking . . .

Have Myelin? said...

I'm busting a gut now - thanks for the laugh. =)

The Jules said...

"Fourteen hours. Bring a sleeping bag."

That'll put her off.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

He's the one I want to hear from. Got a minute?

Pearl said...

Hmm. I may just have to let that guy write a post or two. :-)

R. Jacob said...

Next time she asks" There?"
reply "No"

and imagine the look on her face!

Steve Bailey said...

Hey Pearl if you let him write a guest post.... it might be the longest most torturously slow post ever.... dont do it!

Pat Tillett said...

Another bit of proof that much of the human race is stupid! Great story Pearl...

jenny_o said...

Count me in as one who would love to hear some of his stuff!

I need to remember the types of good things you found to describe your co-worker. I find that part hard but your creativity was inspiring :)

bill lisleman said...

"forefathers, armed with pitchforks and blazing torches" - oh that explains a lot about you. You didn't fall far from the main branch of that tree.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Pearl, this reminds me of so many people I worked with over the years. I am so grateful to be retired and rid of them. I'd wish for you to win the lottery or get a big book deal so you can retire soon from Acme, but I fear you'd lose a major source of inspiration and material!

mrwriteon said...

Oh, go over and give her the slap on the head. She deserves it and you'll feel ever so much better.

Linda O'Connell said...

Answer her questions with ridiculous answers. "Shouldn't take more than squiggle past the hour and a smidge before this." Confuse her. It won't be difficult.

Eva Gallant said...

Don't you just love incompetence?

Carrie said...

I think I have meet this person...Oh wait a minute -you live in Minnesota and I live in North Carolina. Glad to hear that you stupid people up there too. :) Thanks for the comment on my blog when I was beating up on myself. I am glad to hear it isn't just me.

Gigi said...

Does your HR pull from the same pool of applicants that our HR uses? Because I swear, she sounds VERY familiar!

The Elephant's Child said...

I also want to hear what the short man has to say. I suspect I could use some of his ideas.

Belle said...

My husband said so many dumb things to me today I thought my head would explode. It's doubly hard when you are stuck in a car together. There is nowhere to run.

Belle said...

I shouldn't have posted that last comment. I didn't let him know I was upset and I then go tell you, which is probably worse!

Daisy said...

Hey! that short guy in the slogan tee shirt is over here too, but I don't allow him to smoke! He does seem to be active these days. I'm sure enjoying his company!

River said...

Is this woman perhaps the token "disabled" person that many companies hire in the interest of equal opportunity? it helps them feel as if they're a contributing member of society to be doing something useful and holding a job.

River said...

oh. Ummmm, I hope I haven't offended anybody here.

mystic29 said...

I find it's a mistake to show your complete abilities Pearl.... then they'll expect more of you, lumber you with every near impossible job and when the boss works out that youre actually smarter than him/her It's YOU that gets the boot!
Kymbo
http://tempo11.blogspot.com/

Douglas said...

I want to believe that everyone is equal and has some useful talent. I also wanted to believe that the company I was once employed by (I would say "worked for" but that would be stretching the concept) only hired the competent but, sadly, reality often reared its ugly head and proved me wrong.

I see nothing has changed in the workplace. And I look forward to "that guy's" post.

Pat said...

Belle: better out than in:)

haphazardlife said...

Go on, go back there and slap her. You know you want to.

And add a bit of extra force from me. There are people in my office who desperately need slapping too. I tend to live vicariously.