A Collection of Oddities

If I didn’t have a tendency and honest love of living in itty bitty spaces requiring hyper-organization and detachment from cluttering trinkets, I’d probably hang onto a lot more of the oddities I’ve stumbled upon in my days.

A couple of years ago I worked in a bubblegum factory. That isn’t relevant to anything, but people often find it amusing. Anyways, I was leaving the factory early one morning, a bit dreary after my twelve-hour shift under fluorescent lighting, weaving down the sidewalk towards the bus stop. I cursed this bus stop as I went. My downtown address had acclimatized me to instant transportation, and I was not at all thrilled to have to schlep my way out to bus-only land to work a night job. By the time I reached my stop though, I was glad to have been working overnight and not amongst the car pieces still scattered all over the road. The accident must have been early in the night because there was no sign of anyone, or even the car itself. No crime tape, no cruisers, no investigation, no nothing.

So I picked up a few of the remnants; a bolt here, a bulb there, a piece of taillight and scraps of acrylic whatnot. I cleaned them and kept them in a jar, thinking they might be good for an art project. A year later while in school for professional makeup, I glued them to a girls face for an edgy applique look – and promptly forgot to take pictures. It turned out pretty good, even though my instructor didn’t always approve of my tastes (he preferred ‘pretty’ looks) and assumed the weight of the objects would peel them right off her face before I could finish. Good thing for that surgical adhesive is all I can say.

Then there was that deformed single-serve creamer that fell out of the box as I refilled the tray in the kitchen a few months ago. It’s intact foil-sealed lid covered not a hollow pocket for liquid, but rather gave way to an odd corkscrew of plastic. Clearly churned out of the machine on the quality inspectors day off, this thing looked vaguely inappropriate in about six different inexplicable ways. Talea and I studied it, flipping it over on the desk and poking at the foil, not speaking our individual hypothesis as to its potential uses for fear that each of us had a far dirtier mind than the other suspected. Instead we settled for a rounding fifteen minutes of Beavis-and-Butthead style snickering.

It might still be at the bottom of one of her desk drawers somewhere, but if I had a trinket box it would definitely go in.

weird plastic deformed possible sex toy thing?

Uhh...wait, what?

Since work is where I spend most of my time these days, it would follow that most of the oddities I’ve discovered recently have been happened upon at the office. None have been so exciting as car pieces or possibly-sexy dairy products, but there’s been a few head-scratchers.

There was that blue sucker I found stuck to one of the picture frames, back when we had a rowdy group of hoodlums calling themselves clients wandering around and making a shit hole out of my kitchen. (It may be the corporation’s office, but I’m the one fist deep in their ungrateful dishes, that is MY goddamned kitchen.) I peeled it off, wiped the goo, and marveled at it for a bit before chucking it in the trash. Fascinating in its irreverence for common decency, and historical in that it’s probably the grossest and saliva-iest thing I’ve ever had to peel off anything (keep in mind I used to work in a daycare, and even those tots had more sense of where to keep body fluids), I still wouldn’t want to keep it in a trinket box.

Mmm...sticky.

(Couldn’t find a pic of blue lollipops, but found this from bakerella.com. I’m sure they’re delicious and not at all saliva-ey.)

Today’s discovery was surprisingly less gross despite it’s vast, VAST amounts of thankfully untapped gross potential. The only reason it remains lower than the lollipop on the yuck-scale is because it was found still in its original packaging. A relieving fact at first, but later leading me to hope that its intended wearer also remained in his original packaging, as well as untapped, at least while on the premises.

Yep, just casually wandered into the kitchen this morning, chatting it up with clients and coworkers, none of whom seemed to acknowledge the strangely commonplace yet clearly out of place object nonchalantly placed on the table. I likewise ignored it, and then quickly snatched it up as soon as the room was empty, lest other innocent passerby stumble upon it and be forced to play the same game of ‘I don’t see that, do you?’

So far nobody has brought it up or asked about it, and I’m pretty glad. Because I, like them, haven’t a clue as to where it came from. And really wouldn’t want to know.

Definitely not one for the trinket box.

“Funny Little Quirks” or: A Brief Glimpse into my Crippling Neuroses

Ever notice little things about yourself that are a bit odd? Not necessarily quite ‘strange’ or ‘unusual’, but just funny little details that help you set yourself apart from the rest of the herd on those depressing Monday mornings when you realize those cute shoes you bought are about as unique as the fake Louis Vuitton purses sported by the frumpy office moms who apparently also thought that sensible ballet flats were special and different this year?

*pause for breath*

Ugh. Nothing I love more than the constant reminder that to the average onlooker, I’m just part of the flock. I put on pants nice enough to qualify as ‘business’, avoid open toed shoes or tops that leave my shoulders bare.  But in reality, I fall into the category of apathetic gen-Y office dweller. I’m not quite the post high-school slacker just working hard enough to not get fired, uselessly pushing the dress code with black sneakers and nailpolish. I’m not the razor sharp, well dressed, killer heeled Career Woman with expensive accessories. I’m not a Frazzled Office Mom with a mismatched pantsuit and the wrong sandwich in my knockoff purse that isn’t fooling anyone. I don’ t have a kid and/or mortgage, and I’m not stuck here doing my frantic best to make it through to retirement, realizing that one day I’m going to wake up amidst sit-com reruns, wondering where my youth went.

No, I’m just paying my rent, happy enough that I usually like my job and get to work with my best friend, before secretly running away to live in the south and save up for a trailor.

This last option actually kind of terrifies me. No, no, not the trailor thing. I mean, that’s scary, but crazy exciting. No, it’s turning into a Frazzled Office Mom that scares me. Because Slacker Girl won’t be able to pay bills, but at least she’s hip and cares not for ‘the man’. Career Woman may not have her looks forever, but for now she kicks a lot of ass. But Frazzled Office Mom? There’s plenty of  ladies sporting kids and bellies and mortgages wandering around my office looking lovely and ridiculously pulled together, but somehow I don’t think I’d be able to pull this off. I’m already flying around by the seat of my pants without throwing kids and “caring about my career” in there. And I seriously do not want to turn into my cubicle dwelling mother, shouting at the kids to hurry the hell up and get in the minivan, poking my eyes with mascara at stoplights and hating every minute of it.

And so this is why my morning arrival into the elevator banks is often nothing short of a brief, dizzying bout of introspective crisis. If I see in my fellow ascenders enough terrifying glimpses into the possible future to remind me that it’s a slippery slope from ‘just paying the bills’ to ‘stuck here for life’, it makes me want to throw down my latte and run, shrieking “I’m not one of you! I just have to wear these pants!”

Unfortunately, that probably wouldn’t be a good idea since while waiting to eventually say “Screw this noise!” and run away to the wilderness, I happen to enjoy at least electricity and a roof over my head. So I wear my pants and drink my latte and remind myself that aside from my crippling neuroses, I’ve got a few other traits that, at least internally, set me apart from the herd:

– I used to have eight barbells in the back of my neck. I didn’t take them out for my job, I took them out because it turned out I’m allergic to nickle and it would have cost an assload to have them plated in titanium and put back in (see: cost of roof and electricity). I still have the jewelery though – just in case.

– I get a sick kick knowing that even when I’m pushing the ‘doors close’ button on the elevator, it looks to the rushing fat guy that I’m pressing ‘doors open.’ The elevators are lined with mirrors, perfect for displaying the vaguely frantic expression of  ‘oh, so close!’

– I value my sleep enough that I’d rather show up with wet hair, put my makeup on at work and greet my clients blotchy-faced and blurry-eyed than show up looking professional and have someone ask me for stuff before 9am.

– Somehow, my ‘desk job’ involves an awful lot of ‘moving desks.’ Not sure how that happened. In fact, my ‘white collar’ job is actually about 25% blue collar. I feel this gives me the right to scratch and burp in a manner that would otherwise be deemed inappropriate for an office environment.

– At least once a day I belch fairly loudly at Talea. She usually belches back.

– I can pretend to give a shit in four different versions of engrish.

– While Josh enjoys my occasionally sexy corporate wear, he really wishes I’d dress like Joy from ‘My Name Is Earl.’ Secretly (in that ‘I just said it on the internet’ kind of way), I think I could pull it off.

– I get ridiculously annoyed at bathroom dwellers, like that ugly chick from across the hall who stands in front of the mirrors for upwards of ten excruciating minutes, morosely adjusting her ill-fitted clothes. I hate her. Yanking on your shirt will not make it fit, get out and let me pee in private!

– I consider corner cutting to be an efficient skill worthy of honing. Sort of along the same lines of “If you ignore it long enough, it will fix itself.” I’m also of the belief that sometimes, violence is the answer – particularly in relation to the Xerox machine.

– I sent one of my superiors the so NSFW links to ‘Like a Boss’, ‘I’m on a Boat’, ‘Powerthirst’ and ‘Powerthirst2’ because I felt he was not adequately in the cool kids club. I like my bosses to know when I’m making fun of them, or at least understand the humour of being ‘uncomfortably energetic’.

– Freaking out about something completely unnecessary is a part of my balanced breakfast.

There you have it. A little bit of me, myself and my brain. I hope this has been an enlightening or at least amusing adventure. At the very least, if any of you have the good fortune of meeting me in person, particularly at work, you may be less perturbed when I suddenly bust out with The Lonely Island. Because, you see, it’s very important to my peace of mind. So until I can kick this creased-pant habit and start wearing slutty tank tops, I’ll be here, drinking my latte, directing workflow.

(Like a boss.)

Danger: No Swimming (Or Complaining)

Happy Tuesday, my Internet friends.

How’s your Tuesday going? Good? I hope so. I hope it’s going swimmingly. Mine sure is, with several buckets worth of water coming down from the kitchen ceiling at the office this morning.

Yeah, kind of like this

Oh, would you care to hear the tale? I bet you would.

Now for the sake of e-scrutiny, I need to be wary of identifying my workplace for fear of happenstance reading by a workly superior. Thusly, I can’t go too far into detail as to what it is I actually do. Suffice it to say that I work in a professional environment wherein it is our responsibility to make sure that people looooooove their offices, simply loooooove coming in to work every single day because our company makes running your business just that much easier. To put it bluntly, we keep your shit running so you can do your thing.

Naturally, this service isn’t free. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper and easier than muddling through all the details of an office by your newbie lonesome, but it isn’t free. Of course, people seem to forget that. And so the crux of my week-daily life is that I’m surrounded by people who are paying for my very presence, but aren’t exactly thrilled about it. I pretty much just come with the furniture and serve as a reminder that the luxury of appearing important comes with a monthly bill.

A good chunk of my job revolves around keeping the place quietly functioning. You know, the background. This means photocopying, faxing, scanning, printing, all things courier related, keeping everything ordered and stocked, booking boardrooms, about a million and one other non-specifics that change on a daily basis, and of course the full time job it is keeping the place up to the white-gloved scrutiny of the aforementioned powers that be. I get in trouble for dusty picture frames. This part of my job is fantastic, because I am anal retentive and get a thrill out of a completed list of things to do. However, we of course would have no reason to exist without the clients who need us so very, very much.

Ahhhhh, the other part of my job. The big part. The big, whiney, complainey part. Because they do complain. Ohhhhhh do they complain. If it’s a big complaint about money or whatever, it goes over my head. Someone else deals with that. I am nowhere near important enough and damn well wouldn’t want to be. But all the little piddly shit? That’s me. Is your internet being stupid? I’ll jiggle the wires until it works and make you think I have a clue as to what I’m doing. Do your phones sound like crap? I’ll yell at someone until they sound better. Did you forget your mothers birthday again? I can arrange that floral delivery and even call her to lie about it for you. Are you unhappy because we called someone in to replace the jack that you decided was slowing down your internet, and now its faster…but still not enough to run Word as fast as you’d like? (Yes, you read that clearly: some people think Word is controlled by the internet.) Or even better, are you befuddled by my inability to program your phones so that you don’t keep getting these ‘anonymous’ calls, being that you apparently live in the century before call display? Well then I’d be more than happy to stand there with a retarded grin on my face while you berate me for your own damn stupidity.

Yes, indeed, a disproportionate part of my job requires placating the masses, the Great Confused Unwashed who wander these hallways leaving smeared coffee handprints on the wall and kitchen cupboard doors flapping in the breeze. I’ve seen lollipops stuck to picture frames, shredded paper dumped on the floor *next* to the garbage can, and all manners of inconsiderate tomfoolery.

Today kind of took the cake though, I have to tell you.

So we have this water heater. It apparently lives in the ceiling. I couldn’t tell you why, but that’s where it is. Said water heater stopped working some time ago, and so we’ve endured weeks of complaining. I like to respond with the sympathetic head nod meant to imply “I’m so sorry I’m not a tradesperson capable of climbing in the rafters and welding leaks myself – please note the career wear meant to imply said inability despite my constant wriggling under your desks to fix all kinds of shit that shouldn’t be my problem. But please rest assured that I will take your strife very, very personally.”

Today was the day we had been scheduled to receive a new unit. Joyous occasion!

However, for whatever cause that should reasonably be expected, the installation did not go as smoothly as (not really) anticipated. These things never go perfectly, right? No biggie. Until of course the installation fellow wandered off for some time and someone at some point thereafter apparently came in to use the sink. That’s where it got ugly. To be fair, installation fellow should have put up a sign saying “don’t use the water yet”. But to be equally fair, there were plenty of displaced ceiling tiles, hanging pipes, and other assorted dangerous accoutrements that should have been a signal to even the least logical of the crowd that perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to venture into the kitchen. But venture they did, taps they turned, and out of the ceiling the water began to pour. Where installation fellow was for the ten minutes or so it took us to find him I still don’t know. What I do know was that our kitchen and any water-related appliances were SNAFU for most of the day.

Now, I can see this as an inconvenience. A pain in the ass even. What I can’t see is how having repairs done in a kitchen can turn into a launching pad for all sorts of huffing, puffing, and general jackassery. Here are my two favourite responses to being told “Sorry, we’ve got a bit of a situation here. We won’t be able to use the kitchen for the next little while.”

1. From too-thin client whisping down the hall with a dish of fruit and a packet of soluble-fibre oatmeal (as well as a look nothing short of absolutely despondent): “But…but where am I supposed to get boiling water for my oatmeal?”

I don’t know sweetheart. Ours is broken. Do you not see legs dangling from the ceiling? Pipes and wires and cables everywhere? Oh hang on, you need oatmeal. Let me just fire some boiling water out of my ass for you, because by this point I feel like I could. Are you kidding? I know it’s inconvenient, I really really do. I’d be pissed too. But I also know that it’s very obvious that nothing can be done about it at the moment. In fact, I know that it’s very obvious that the only thing that can be done about it is currently in the midst of being done. What I’m not sure of is what exactly you would like me to do. Oh, and I also know that there’s a foodcourt downstairs. Have at it. Or you could eat the FRUIT you’re carrying.

And on a totally unrelated note, do you eat your cigarettes? You can’t be 30, how do you sound like that? Also, you’re married. I get it. You can stop casually mentioning it three times in an unrelated conversation.

2. Weird little troll like guy, who seems quiet until the occasional passive-agressive outburst of assholery: “You know, if we can’t get coffee from the kitchen, you should be supplying it for us from the Starbucks downstairs.”

Wow. Just…wow. Really? If the pipes were to burst in my apartment, do you think I’d be hammering at the landlady to cough up vouchers for a spa to clean my self-entitled ass? No. I’d carry on my way, complaining loudly so that nobody attributed my dirty hair to a lack of hygiene or anything other than what boils down to a MINOR INCONVENIENCE!!!! That’s what I’d do! Just like you, upon realizing that the kitchen is under about an inch of water, should take your four fucking dollars and buy your own goddamn latte! Starbucks? Are you kidding me? Does the repair shop loan you a Lexus while your Ford is getting fixed? No. No they don’t. Especially not if you’re a jerk.

Here is your latte and I hope it hurts you in your sleep.

Has nobody in their right freaking mind ever heard the term Shit Happens? You know why they say that? Because SHIT HAPPENS. We wrinkle our noses at the smell, buy a fruity cup of java to make ourselves feel better, and move the hell ass onwards.

So! In conclusion, today’s lesson has been as follows:

The next time shit goes wrong anywhere at work, I’m just going to leave it. If there’s water streaming down from the floor above, I’m just going to let it fly. That’s right, you can all get your loafers soaked and wade around in your own self-serving crap.

But hey, at least you’ll have your coffee flavoured oatmeal or whatever the hell else you’d like me to pull out of my ass for you.

LOOOOOOVE!!!!