Thursday, March 20, 2008

Everyone's queer except thee and me...

That's an old Quaker saying, and it ends up, "And sometimes I wonder about thee."

This is something that gets more and more true when you temp for a living. All long time secretaries personalize their desks/cubicles to an extent, and it's deeply amazing what you find out about people.

Today's desk was the animal lady. Dog on the calendar, and a box of books under the desk which all had titles like "Understand Your Corgi's Motivation" and "The Practical Home Veterinarian." (For those of you who have actual permanent jobs, keep track of what your desk says about you, because temps usually have nothing better to do and it's not that we snoop, exactly, but we will run across this stuff if we're looking for a yellow pad to write on or a pen that actually has ink.)

And there are a lot of God people around. Their desks are covered in little flowered cards with little religious poems on them, and they tend to decorate their pencil cups with crosses and lilies. This gives me the creeps. To begin with, I consider religion a personal choice, and wouldn't dream of tossing mine out there like that (these people tend to wear little cross earrings and necklaces, too). Secondly, I have a horrible suspicion that they might try to get me into a lunch hour Bible study group, and my lunch hour is sacred to Duane Reade and cigarettes.

And then there are the clean freaks. I ran across one of them in the ladies' room today. She walked in the john, washed her hands (she'd touched a door that someone else had touched, after all), went into the stall, peed, and came out and washed her hands - again. Then she grabbed a paper towel to open the door so as not to get any people juice (or something) on her freshly washed hands. (Yes, well, I was having a bit of a sit, you see, so I could hear all this going on. Any other damn personal questions?) And then, and I know this because I've sat next to these people, she went back to her desk and used a hand sanitizer and sprayed the immediate vicinity with Lysol.

I can only assume that these crazy clean types have never heard of a little detail called building up one's immunities. I'd bet any amount of money that this character gets sicker oftener than anybody else in the office on account of washing away all her natural protection.

But my favorites are the kitsch people. Their desks are absolutely filled with chotchkes of every possible description...Disney characters on the computer mouse (oh, please, you can't possibly need to ask WHICH Disney character). Feathers sprouting out of their pens. Tons of "adorable" little china figurines. Equally "adorable" calendars. Little pictures of unicorns. And tons of catalogues featuring MORE of this, with the pages turned down where they plan to, one presumes, give people this shit for Christmas. Actually, these are my favorite desks to work...endless hours of amusement. Particularly with the catalogues (and they usually have lovely piles of them). I mean, you can spend a wonderfully bemused afternoon wondering why on earth anybody would dogear a page containing several pairs of pink glow in the dark socks with mermaids on them. And the page with the very elaborate chocolate fountains...and the page with the themed Disney kitchen stuff...oh, I tell you, those are good days when you run into this.

I once sat next to a gal who had birds. Her entire conversation was about these birds. She would call home three times a day because her answering machine had these damn birds squawking on it and she couldn't get through the day without listening to her birds. She also had a Winnie the Pooh fetish (that was her desk decoration - Winnie the damn Pooh, Disney version, of course, not the wonderful original Ernest Shepherd drawings). And one day, I overheard one of the most wonderful conversations in the world between the lady and her boyfriend (sheesh - any flying crazy seems able to achieve a boyfriend except me). It seems that one of her birds (budgies or something - I am NOT a bird person) was in the bird hospital, and she was solemnly explaining to the boyfriend that he ought to go visit the bird because "He's in need of male bonding."

Okay. I dare you. Please try to explain to me how one knows one's budgie is in need of male bonding. I do know they can be taught to talk...but the only scenario I can imagine is Merrill (don't ask me how I remembered her name but I just did) going to visit her bird and having the bird say, "Awwk! Awwk! I hate you, bitch! Get the guy in here! Awk!! AWWKK! Bitch don't even know the score for last night's game, and she won't spring for a private room with a TV! AWWWWKKKKK!"

In other news, my state income tax refund has still not appeared. Damn. They sent it back to me because somehow or another I managed to forget to staple my W2s on it...otherwise known as, don't drink beer when you're doing your they sent it back and I nicely redid it and put the W2 things on...and nothing has happened. Oh, well - I presume I still get my tax rebate thingy in late May. Although with my luck with the government, I have a horrible suspicion that they'll just send me a bill instead. Us old counterculture types don't exactly trust the, duhhhh...

I think I shall go to bed. Dat ole debbil insomnia is still nipping at my heels. I finally got to sleep way too late last night and woke up at 7:30 this morning. Unfortunately, this is an hour too late for me. I hate 9 to 5 type shit, so I get up way earlier than I have to in order to ease my way into it. Wake up at 6 or 6:30, have a cigarette, read, consider my options (most of which seem to be getting into the john to pee - the curse of the late night beer drinker), have a hit off my inhaler, go feed dead cat, change stinky newspaper, hit the computer and have another cigarette, iron something or other to wear, shower, and head downstairs to smoke some more, take pills, and drink Diet Coke for 40 minutes or so before I actually get out the door. You can imagine how knocking an hour off this regime screwed up my morning. However, I made it to work on time, although slightly flustered...I HATE speeding up my morning routine. Not that I can't hustle like hell should it be necessary...I just prefer to ease into my day instead of suddenly leaping madly at it.

OK. I am now officially babbling. So I'll play a few games of solitaire (whatever did we do before computer solitaire?) and go to sleep with my book.

Love, Wendy

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