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.

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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!!!!

Dear June

Dear June,

The month, I mean, as opposed to anybody in particular named June. May was a little awkward for me, since it’s very difficult to scream ‘fuck you May!’ when one of your bestie’s has the same name, no matter how shitty the month has been. However, I don’t know anybody named June, so here goes.

jcle

My name is June and I will fuck your shit up!

It’s only day 1 of you, dear June, and you’re already pissing me off.

Firstly, you took forever and a goddamned day to get here. Do you not realize that I’ve got a year-in-the-making vacation scheduled mid-you? How about showing up on time instead of making each day drag on until it feels like my time off is still six months away? Can you swing that? Hell, I show up to work on time, and I’ve only been there for two years. Have the centuries of your existence in the Gregorian calendar made you so bitter that you just started showing up whenever you damn well feel like it? Apparently so.

Secondly, you’ve chosen to start on a Monday this time around. That’s just thrilling. Because Monday’s don’t suck enough without it being the first of the month as well. I’m sure you don’t care, dear June, but in my particular industry there are reasons (that I won’t go into here, as rumour has it my uber bosses now float around the interweb) why the first of the month is particularly shitty. Nobody likes the first of the month. Bills are generally due on the first of the month. People are shitty, cranky, and oftentimes downright unreasonable on the first of the month. They’re impatient, busy, and intolerable. And as an added kick, most people I’ve had to deal with today are a little bit extra pissy since you’ve decided to start off with shitty grey weather instead of your much hoped for clear skies and warmth. Good job, keep up the excellent work.

Also, speaking of keeping up employment, of all days to load heaps of criticism on my work environment, it’s sure awesome that you chose today. Really adds the icing to the cake. Nothing makes me feel better about my life, 90% of which costs money, than to hear from the source of said money “by the way, you suck.”

Super.

Lastly, it’s really sweet of you to send my landlords over to fix a plumbing problem in my bathroom today. I haven’t yet fixed some of the damage caused to the walls and floors by former rabbits/tantrums/roomies yet, so the extra paranoia has been a great touch all day. I’m hoping that they didn’t venture into the bedroom, where the damage is my fault as opposed to the condition of the main areas, where the damage is mostly due to unsticky floor tiles and ancient plumbing.  However, I still don’t know. Why? Because on the way out, my landlords naturally turned the lock on the doorknob to my apartment, instead of just the deadbolt above it. Unbeknownst to them, as I rarely need to call them, I don’t use it. It’s a shitty fiddly closet lock, and rather superfluous with a deadbolt above it. So on my way out, I flip the deadbolt and head on my merry way. Never in a million years would it have occured to me this morning that they would, as good landlords, lock up properly after vacating my place instead of the half-ass job I usually do. It’s only today that I find the need for that second key, locked neatly away inside my apartment with the key to the garbage room.

Greeeeaaaaat.

So now they’re on their way, from way north of the rush-hour besodden city, with much in the way of unnecessary apologies. I can’t even pretend to blame them for this one. This particular mishap is nobody’s fault but my own. But given how the rest of this day has gone so far, I’m going to go ahead and just pile that on with everything else you’ve screwed up today, dear June.

Consider this a performance review, June. If you don’t have a better attitude starting tomorrow morning, you’re fired.

By a fat guy in a wig, no less.

Why Ami Sucked

I’m going to tell you a little story about someone I used to know. It’s a long story, not very crafty, and only relationshippy if you kind of stretch your definitions. But I think it’s worth sharing. I was inspired to share this tale with you by Ginny and her Tupperware Story, because nothing is more awesome than tales of woe about people who pissed you off in your past. This is the tale of a douchey girl, how she pissed me off, and how I kicked her ass at life.

I was about six months out of my first year at university, in which my aim had been Forensic Psychology. I still love the topic, but math makes me angry. A lot of other factors were involved, but long story short, I went a little crazy and flipped university the bird.

So! That summer I went back to work at the Bubblegum Factory. I won’t get into these details right now, but suffice it to say that working from 7pm to 7am in fluorescent lighting and a white jumpsuit really isn’t good for your failing and flailing mental health.

And yet it was better than uni (though clearly not for very long with those hours), so come September, I asked them to extend my contract for another six months so I could earn buckets of cash while figuring out how to turn my new interest (painting up models for photographers) into a career.

After wisely drinking away most of what I earned at the factory and taking out a huge loan to pay for three months at a private makeup school, I was broke like nobodies business. Things are back on track now, but the makeup thing didn’t work out. Turns out everybody and their mother is a makeup artist in Toronto, and frankly I wasn’t in any kind of mental shape to start my own business.

And so, like so many, I resorted to the world of telemarketing. My first gig was calling up people who had filled out a form at some trade show for what they believed to be a free vacation because they didn’t bother reading the back of the form. My job was to call these people up, listen to them excitedly tell their toddlers that they were going to fucking Disneyland (it wasn’t actually Disneyland, it was somewhere with dolphins but I’ve blocked most of it out) and then hear their disappointment after telling them that it wasn’t free, it was just seriously discounted and of course they had to pay their own airfare and sit through a presentation. 

Ami was an admin assistant there. Eventually, we both left the company, and wound up selling gas contracts. It was a difficult sell given the dip in prices at the time, but those fuckers would be laughing now. The difference now is that Ami was my manager. And she was terrible at her job.

This is where I became friends with Talea. She was the quiet office manager who also answered all the phones. She ran the entire office from her little desk. When we became friends, she had me bumped up to reception because it was too much work for her. I quickly began to realize why. Everything Ami touched went wrong. Not a week went by where she claimed to have never received an email despite the record of it having been sent from Talea’s or my own computer. Not a day went by where I didn’t have to set aside forty five minutes to fix something she had fucked up. Not a day went by where I didn’t look over at her desk and see her surfing through cute animal pictures. Not an hour went by where she didn’t spend ten minutes in the bathroom reapplying eight coats of whore red lipstick and adjusting her tight-bottomed skirt. Talea later told me that she had initial doubts about talking to me because Ami was my friend and frankly, Talea can’t handle stupid people. Thankfully, neither can I, so Ami and I were destined to part ways eventually.

To be fair though, Ami wasn’t skanky, despite the ill-fitted skirt. No. She was a relationship whore, the kind of girl who doesn’t seem to know who she is unless she’s in a relationship. She was never Ami, she was always Ami-and. Ami-and-whoever.

Ami had a friend at work. His name was Scott, and he did the recruiting. Recruiters for shitty telemarketing jobs are, by the very nature of the task at hand, soulless little fuckers. But I liked him. We got along, watched some games, drank some beer, and before long, had a casual little thing going. Before it could go anywhere, Ami’s boyfriend dumped her and moved out of their apartment. She took back her psychotic ex from years ago, and within a week he had moved back to Toronto from Montreal to live with her. Woah nelly, a little fast do you think? “I’m not afraid to just jump in,” she would explain. Well, I hope she’s afraid now. It took about a week before she realized what a terrible idea it was and went crying to Scott.

Scott turned to me while I was sitting next to him on the couch one night while we were all hanging out at his place pretending to be friends, and told me that he was going to be with Ami now. Ami was in the other room, passed out from their mutual love of too much booze. I got to share the cab home with her. Less than a month later, they had moved out of their apartments and into a nifty little townhouse together. Woah nelly, a little fast do you think? And very expensive too, she admitted. They had decided that instead of spending money on going out, they would spend that money on their cute little home.

Well. Isn’t that darling? Just fucking precious.

Now here’s the thing about me. I’m very, VERY vindictive. But the details of how I plotted to overthrow her, my careful documentation of her every screw-up are not necessary here. Because another thing about me is this funny luck I have where things just work out.

This happened in late January, I would say. In early March, our division shut down. We were given 24 hours notice but assured that interviews had been arranged for each of us in other departments of the parent company. Talea was moved to the other side of the building and I missed her terribly all of five minutes away. I was kept in the same position at reception – seems they decided to give the little project one last go with new people. Scott quit in a big huff.

Ami was given a ‘no hire’ on her resume, and was very quickly out of work.

I went over to their new place one evening in some vague effort to patch things up back when I still thought that “that’s what you’re supposed to do.” Scott was snippy at her for not being able to find a new job yet, while he was at least looking. He was miserable, she was sick. She didn’t get that job at the vet’s office she had hoped for, since they chose someone with more education. She was considering getting a job as a cashier at a grocery store. They were broke, drunk, and a lot of tension was in the air. I left, knowing I would never be back. If nothing else, their place was damned inconvenient to get to.

But, as is often the case in Toronto (which means ‘meeting place’, by the way) I’ve seen her here and there in the subway system. I don’t know if that was her latest boyfriend she was walking beside, but it sure as hell wasn’t Scott. I saw her again a few weeks ago during rush hour, and Talea saw her just the other night. I don’t know if she is working, but if she is, it’s not in any kind of corporate environment.

Whatever she has tried to do, she has failed.

Me? I’m doing great. I have a great job (my clients can be difficult, but the job itself is sweet), I make decent money, I have good benefits, and I work with my best friend. My apartment is cute, cheap, and all mine. I have an amazing boyfriend who showers me with more love and affection from 800 miles away than any man has within the city limits, and yet still knows when to just let me be retarded. I love him dearly, and one day we will be together. One day we’ll even be married, with inevitable little hell-raisers nipping at my heels. But we’re not rushing into anything because frankly we are smarter than that.

We’re smarter than Ami. I’m smarter than Ami. Talea is smarter than Ami. Your left shoe is smarter than Ami.

Ami sucked.

And I won.