Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Tarot Tales: Installment One: Let's Stalk

By day, I work in a small law office. By night and on the weekends, I read tarot cards. Some of you no doubt feel that these two occupations are diametric opposites from one another. In reality, however, my jobs are more similar than one might think. In one, I deal with people who are being stalked by their exes. In the other, I deal with people who are being stalked by boyfriends from a former life.

No, I am not making that up. I actually had a woman come to me, asking for help about a lover from a former life who was stalking her in this one. The scary thing about whackjobs is that they look just like everyone else: one often doesn't realize that they are looney until they open their mouths and the weirdness falls out. This woman was obviously from the middle class, presented well, had a couple of kids and husband, managed to hold down a job--yet she was absolutely convinced that a teacher at her kids' school was tracking her down across centuries and insinuating himself into her life. You know, by looking at her.She was able to recognize who he was immediately. Because he kept looking at her.

And it was upsetting her husband.

Go figure.

At this point, I set the cards aside and asked her if she had considered seeing a mental health professional. She frowned at me, puzzled, and said, "Why would I do that?"

Oh, I dunno, honey: cuz you're delusional and could probably use some medication and long-term counselling? Just sayin'.

It's not that I don't believe in reincarnation (I do) or that we tend to hang out with people who reincarnate in our lives over and over (again, I do). I do not see this resurrection of spirit any more or less hard to believe than the idea that one Jewish carpenter did it roughly two thousand years ago--he apparently just chose to take his mortal remains with him this time. And it's not that I lack compassion for those among us who could probably benefit from a stint in the puzzle factory. It's just that there's not very much I can do for them when they fail to see a problem with their version of reality.

One of the few downfalls to reading tarot is that when doing a cold reading (i.e. for someone I have never met before), one is something of a captive audience for those whose view of the world is, shall we say, colouful. As in "psychedelic". It is amazing to me that these people are able to function given the level of mental illness they exhibit in just the first few minutes of conversation. I am left with two impressions, following these interactions: 1) that mental illness is much more prevalent than we are willing to concede, and 2) that society in general is very co-operative. Too co-operative, I think. The same spirit of cooperation that makes driving in traffic possible also permits some very sick people to operate in society without getting the help they need, sometimes for years.

That's not to say that everyone with a mental illness is dangerous. Far from it. I have read for persons who had received a diagnosis of schizophrenia and never, ever once felt that I was in any danger whatsoever. My limited understanding of most mental illnesses is that the person with the illness is far more likely to harm themselves than the people around them.

So it's not about danger (to society in general), it's about getting people help and the lengths to which they will go before that help arrives. I've read for the elderly, the pregnant, the dying: all of them have their story. But sometimes the most interesting are the ones who are just a little off centre.

And to be perfectly honest, they are occasionally pretty funny, too.

I had this one woman come to me several years ago, and I will never forget her. She was probably in her mid-thirties, perhaps younger, heavy-set, and smelled unpleasantly of something I couldn't immediately identify. She also spoke with a lateral lisp, the kind that screws up one's "s" sounds and sprays saliva out the sides of one's mouth. (The Canadian comedienne, Nikki Paine, speaks with such a one. Look her up on YouTube, she's fucking hilarious.) It was also obvious to me when this client started talking that there was some cognitive impairment involved.

Still, I was pretty surprized, when I asked her if she was looking for a particular insight, she told me, "I jusht got diagnoshed with kidney disheash, and I wanna know if I'm gonna die!"

(Ah! Kidney disease, I thought to myself!) "I see," I said. "Would you mind if I lit some incense?"

Having done that, I suggested that we not concentrate on the dying part of her life, but look instead at what she could expect over the next few months in relation to her health. She was agreeable and I handed her the cards to shuffle.

"Can I make a wish on yer cardsh?"

"Sure!" I said and she put her hands on the deck, closed her eyes and concentrated so hard, I was afraid she'd give herself an aneurysm. When this was done, I threw some cards down and mentioned that there seemed to be a couple of men in her life.

"Yesh," she said. "One ish my boyfriend back home." Then she made eye contact and lowered her voice. "The other is Darren Theisshen."

It was obvious that this was a personality of some significance, but the name meant nothing to me.

"Darren Theissen?"

"Yesh, he readsh the shportsh on T-SH-N," she explained. "He shendsh me messhagesh over the t.v."

She lowered her voice again. "Lasht Chrishtmash, he shent me shome chocolate. I'm thinkin' maybe I should go shee him."

Oh, wow. Well, I really didn't know how to respond to this. And it was a long time ago, so I can't recall all the details, but I think I deflected attention away from the distant, yet alluring, Darren Theissen on TSN by asking her about her boyfriend back home. It was clear that she felt she would settle for him if Mr. Theissen could not be compelled to acknowledge his feelings in anything other than veiled messages over the airwaves.

And so, the reading ended when her half hour was up and she asked me, "Ish my wish gonna come true?"

"I don't know," I said. "What did you wish for?"

And I swear I'm not making this up: with no word of a lie, she actually said, "I wanna vishit my shishter in Shashkatoon."

Pure gold.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Mercury In Retrograde

Has the last week or so been directly from the wrong side of hell? Have you stood in the smouldering ruin of your day and thought, "What the FUCK?" Has it felt like Life, the Universe and Everything have gleefully taken turns kicking you as hard as cosmically possible in the jimmy bubbles?


Yanno why? Apparently, Mercury is in retrograde. Maybe you don't believe in all that hocus pocus, or maybe you're more inclined to believe that everyone around you is in full-on douchebag mode. It's all true. And yanno what else is true? Mercury doesn't fix itself until the 26th, so we have a whole other week to put up with this bullshit.


Because this past week has been a long, uninterupted litany of selfishness, passive aggression, and relentless stupidity. Attention clients: if I tell you over the phone that the lawyer is in court all day and cannot return your call, that information does not magically change if you email me fifteen minutes later. No, I will not give you the lawyer's cell phone number. Yes, your matter is important, but so is everyone else's.

Important things to remember, people:

1. Stay on your meds.
2. Everytime you call, it costs you money. Choose your issues wisely.
3. Details about your (anal) sex life are rarely pertinent or interesting to anyone except you. Unless details are solicited, keep them to yourself.

Other Things That Have Occurred To Me Over the Last While:

1. I am committed to being a vegetarian, I really am, but sometimes, I just want a big mother-fucking plate of beef ribs, goddamit. And don't spare the sauce. I don't give a damn about the subsequent diarrhea. Just get me an economy-sized box of Depends, some moist towelettes and get in the fucking car; we're going to Royal Buffet.

2. Most people require some kind of supervision. And by the time they need a lawyer, they also need a shrink. Criminals are typically more honest and straightforward compared to a divorcing couple. When a criminal shivs a guy, he gets convicted, does his time and gets on with it. Family Law has taught me that there is no level of degradation, no humiliation, no cruelty that people are not willing to inflict on one another in the name of revenge, and what's worse is they are more than willing to involve the children. Now I understand why lawyers drink.

3. If you insist upon driving your fucking Vespa in the winter, let alone on a day which sees freezing rain and the kind of weather that causes city buses to jack-knife on major thoroughfares, FUCK YOU, CLOWN.

4. Facebook just gets more and more pointless as time goes on. Is it just me? Or are people replacing actual relationships with these trivial electronic ones that require little or no maintenance? What the fuck is so horrifiying about being in the moment and actually having a conversation with whoever is in front of you? Unless his name is Bucky and he's trying to feed your head into a wood chipper, maybe find out what his story is--you might learn something. You people who feel the need to update your status everytime you change directions in traffic or report a shift in the ambient temperature of your office--you're addicted to your devices and you need an intervention. Jeez.

5. Pursuant to point 4, please shove your cellphone up your ass, specifically if you are driving. Studies show that texting or talking on the phone while driving is the equivalent to driving while under the influence of alcohol. And distracted driving is illegal. What, the law doesn't apply to you? You're some kind of speshul snoflake? The law is inconvenient? YOU CAN LICK MY ASSHOLE TIL IT BLEEDS.


1. I started a second job this week, reading tarot in a local shop where the owner is ethical, warm and supportive. And I had a really successful first day. And as a result of asking the Universe humbly for what I would like, I have a number of students interested in learning how to read Tarot, which will be an excellent opportunity to teach and learn and make a little extra cash right around Christmas time.

2. I am really getting into this whole soapstone carving thing. I received my first commission which is ready for delivery, and I am now planing my first series of sculptures centered on a theme. The series will be called "OMG", and will depict deities in various situations, delivering their messages to a contemporary audience. For example, Buddha in a typical meditative pose, but in his hands a cellphone, and he's texting, "Man, This Zen Shit's Hard."

3. We adopted a three-month-old schnauzer, named Dieter Schnitzel. He is adorable, but a bundle of energy. Our other two dogs, who are Jack Russell Terriers (dogs not noted for their serenity), occasionally look at us with haunted eyes and expressions that say, "WTF???" Dieter's quite bright (he already knows "sit", for exmple), but the other two obviously consider him spastic. Nipper is no slouch in the energy department herself, but you can see her thinking, "Does the new kid ever sleep? Jeez, I can't catch a break. I like rocks! Why is France so far away?" (Well, she *is* a JRT, after all.)

Anyway, good luck slogging through another week of this Universal Shit Show! I'm putting on my big girl panties and hoping the casualties are minimal.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Hammer Time!


I would have written sooner, but I wanted to make sure that certain things were in place before I updated you all on the latest shitfest.

This shitfest, at least, has a happy ending.

Having received no satisfaction from my employer's counselling firm, I made an appointment to see my family physician. I left her office last Wednesday morning with a sick note in my hand, indicating that I should have two weeks stress leave, starting immediately.

I went back to the office, where Head Office Boss Lady was busy trying to pull the office together in the absence of Teeth (on holidays), Mulan (also on holidays) and Eeyore (off with the flu). This left one other biller in the entire office who could help me with my stuff, in addition to HOBL.

When I presented the sick note to her, she said to me, "I can't actually accept this."

I looked at her. "You're actually going to," I said.

Because, people, at that point, one of two things were going to happen: either she was going to take the note and continue forward with whatever company policy-driven steps were available, or I was tendering my resignation immediately. I was done. Done like dinner. Finito. Caput. In the immortal words of The Unband in their song, "Pink Slip", I was gonna tell 'em all to fuck off.

In the end, we went with the former option, and I was home by 1:00 that afternoon. I haven't been back since. The counsellors have called and talked about arranging something called a Work Assist program, but that is seriously not going to happen.

Because in the meantime, I have been putting my considerable time and energy into finding other work. I am working on getting my tarot business up and going, which has been very exciting and pure delight.

In addition, I have managed to score some part-time administrative work for a lawyer that I know. She needs an assistant to take care of the grunt work so that she can get down to some actual lawyer-ing. (Hence the "hammer"--i.e. the gavel.) I am quite excited about this, as it will be quite different from the absolute mindlessness of my previous employment, and this lawyer is an absolute honey badger in court. I'm hoping to be able to watch that happen sometime.

I will probably never have to set foot in that flaming pit of hell--or see Teeth and her gleaming incisors--ever again. My only regret in all this is that I will not have the opportunity to shit on her scanner and fuck up her chair.

So while I will in the short term have a reduced income, I cannot express to you the sense of weightlessness I already feel. Everyday, I do a little something to get my tarot business going. I have managed to score a table at a great festival in my area in September. I will soon have a spanky new website. I am talking to local restaurants about reading in their establishments on Friday nights. And getting it all going is FUN.

I am made breathless by the speed with which all of this has happened. A week ago today, I was staring at my computer screen and fighting an overwhelmng sense of futility. Today, I am in another place entirely, and it is fantastic.

So follow your bliss, bitches. Life's too short not to.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Counselling Results, or What Would Ganesh Do?

My employer makes short term counselling available to us, even if my employer is the cause for these sessions, and since the last two weeks have been incredible shit shows, I decided to take advantage of the resources available to me.

Because to be frank, people, I don't know how much longer I can do this. Seriously. There are days when the only thing keeping me in that chair is the fact that I have a mortgage, a car payment and responsibilities to my wife that I simply cannot chuck.

And it isn't the personalities anymore. Yes, Teeth and Yvette and Princess Anne are the kind of unthinking, close-minded, WalMart-shopping assholes that make my hair curl. Why just this week, in response to the Travis Baumgartner slayings, Princess Anne announced that she wishes capital punishment was an option in this country because it is "immoral" for us to feed, clothe, educate (or rehabilitate) people who kill other people. And no amount of discussion with her about the hypocrisy of "Killing is wrong unless performed by the State" or "Justice isn't about revenge" would sway her. Now, if Princess Anne could provide facts with her opinions, if she could point out to me that in these many cases, rehabilitation programs don't work or whatever, I could respect that. But no: she's just a frightened, uninformed arsehole with no critical analysis or wish to challenge herself beyond what she  believes to be true.

Whatever. This isn't about capital punishment, or Teeth or anyone other than me. This is about the fact that I go to bed at night and spend those hours either not sleeping or dreaming about billing. This is about the fact that when I try to talk to my supervisor about issues, my emails (the last five or six) go completely unanswered and unacknowledged. This is about the fact that I am given an impossible task to perform and none of the resources with which to do it. This is about the fact that I wasn't even given an interview for a job in dispatch because none of my supervisors want the hassle of training someone else to do my job. This is about the fact that my last paycheque came to less than $1000.00.

I mentioned that my branch of work is taking on new contracts and that I am seeing an increase in my work load. Previously, I was expected to do 50 or 60 bills a day and I was able to do it and stay on top of my other duties. Over the past month, however, my workload has doubled. Tuesdays are deadlines, and it is expected that all of the bills in my queue loaded before cut-off are to be invoiced and settled. This is so our custmers get charged and our drivers get paid. I am expected to do 100 bills a day. There are 20 bills to a page in my queue. Yesterday when I left work, I had 13 pages of bills, all for before cut-off, in my queue. I am expected to stay late on Tuesdays to get it done. Even if I had stayed another eight hours, I could not have done all that is expected of me.

I am being set up for failure (again) and I deeply resent it. I don't sleep, I make inappropriate choices around eating because I just can't be arsed to make good ones, I just want quick and easy. I ruminate, I don't go to fencing or dog agility or tae-kwan-do; I don't DO anything (except write--I manage to do a lot of that, but still...). I am moderately depressed and operating from a place of fear and doubt. I feel powerless and trapped.

And having explained all of this to the counselor this morning, she agreed that it is dragging me down. She asked me if I have a hero that I look up to whose example I could use as a guide until I can effect my exit.

"Joan of Arc?" I said, but somehow, leading a righteous army and calling down the wrath of God upon my enemies wasn't what the counselor had in mind.

I figured Eleanor of Aquitaine, who would have had them all beheaded, wasn't going to satisfy her either,  so after thinking about it for a few minutes, I said that, as a Hindu, we're supposed to cultivate detachment. She seized on that like a rat on a terrier.

"Detachment! Precisely!" she said. "What would a Hindu sage do when confronted with that behaviour? But remember, detachment doesn't mean not caring."

And I can see the wisdom of her words, but I don't know if I can do it. I have tried to change the situation by complaining to my supervisors and confronting Teeth about her behaviour: their response was to promote her.  I cannot change that place. Not content to just sit and complain, I am trying to get the fuck out: I have applied for other jobs, a wonderful woman of great resources has updated my resume, and I have an appointment on Friday at a local technical college to explore options around going back to school briefly and changing my career.

But in the meantime, I just don't give a fuck. I was supposed to go back to the office after my appointment. I simply could not. I have, in the past few months, had sick weeks where there was nothing physically wrong with me: just the thought of going into that place was an impossibility. I am no longer invested in the quality of my work. The only reason I am still there is that I cannot stress the Little Hunneydoo out by simply walking away from that toxic, nasty place.

I went in seeking some short term disability, but I'm not going to get it. The counselor suggested we meet again, and I will go, but I am seriously at an end here, people. The mere thought of seven and a half hours, five days a week, sitting in front of that screen for a wage that is insulting, is virtually insurmountable.

What would Ganesh do?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Birthday Bash: Extended Play

We don't live in the most economically upward neighbourhood. I may have mentioned this before in my rants about rental properties. It's not quite inner city (that's a few kilometers south of us), but the neighbourhood is colourful enough. On the plus side, it is culturally vibrant with festivals happening all through the year, dozens of mom and pop groceries and restaurants as ethnically diverse as Colombian, Ethiopian, East African, Indian, Chinese, Caribbean, Portuguese and more. Of all the neighbourhoods I've lived in in this city, I like this one the best.

Certainly, we are never short on entertainment. The community centre where Bubba and I had our birthday party on Friday night is right on the Avenue. As we sat around singing, talking, eating and drinking, we watched a john pick up a hooker, a drug deal, and gangs of crack-addicted youths troop past on their way to wherever they go to score. Not exactly a typical suburban experience, but no shots were fired and the local constabulary maintain a very vusible presence on the Ave., so it was all good. It's colourful without being particularly dangerous: I have, for example, never felt afraid to walk in my neighbourhood after dark.

Anyway, the bash was a great success. The karaoke was a much bigger hit than I was expecting (I, for one, never sing publically, but did that night, oh boy), and the company was delightful as always. The entertainment inside the community centre was just as compelling as that without, but without all the illegality and exploitation. Thanks to everyone who brought their talent, enthusiasm, humour and best wishes.

And the Scotch. Don't forget the Scotch.

It was also a pleasure to meet some of Bubba and Nuwayrah's friends: I don't remember all of their names as I was well into my cups, but Jody and her husband were very lovely, and it is always a great joy to see Sarah, Shahenda, and RedSauce. By the way, RedSauce, I'll bet you can rock Adele big time!

I do, however, have ONE criticism of an event that occurred that night: Bubba, if you read this, I want you to know this is in no way a criticism of you. If I wake up one morning and find poo on my doorstep, I will know I have done this wrong. I feel really badly for you that your buddy decided to drink too much and start swinging his fists around in your direction. It was selfish, childish and completely unnecessary (and kinda stupid: I mean, dude, you ARE the Mammoth Behemoth!). I deeply resented the drama, and I hope Buddy felt really shitty the next day. He owes you a huge apology and I hope you get it. Someone needs to grow the fuck up.

Hats off to Nuwayrah who had the unenviable task of babysitting. You don't get paid enough, girlfriend. Let's all have sushi soon.

One of the highlights of the evening, though, was that Nuwayrah and the Little Hunneydoo and several members of her bellydance class gave us a sneak preview of what I can expect to see at the L.Hdoo's dance recital next weekend. It was AWESOME!!! Anyone local who wants to see some kickass bellydance and munch on some Middle Eastern nibblies next Sunday should contact The School of Raq for tickets! L. Hdoo is in four different numbers, so you KNOW it's gonna raq the casbah!

But now my rock garden needs weeding, so I'm off to be all domestic and shit.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Birthday In Brief

It was my birthday this week. I celebrated by taking Friday as a holiday, an act I am certain I will pay for on Monday morning when the work is piled on my desk in dishearteningy large heaps.

In the evening, there was a bang up party at our local community centre. I share my birthday with our friend, Bubba, so we made it a combined event, inviting our respective friends, renting a karaoke machine, ordering a keg...well, Bubba and his lovely partner, Nuwayrah, did all that. I just showed up, drank beer with Clamato juice and sang karaoke until three o'clock in the morning when my voice finally crapped out.

One of Bubba's friends brought his little boy along. At first, I was dismayed to find a child in our midst at what was supposed to be an adult party. But the little guy--about eight or nine--was behaved so beautifully that in short order, I didn't mind him being there at all. He was pretty cute and amused himself by chasing my dogs around the building. I appreciated this, as a tired dog is a good dog.

Anyway, at one point, he joined the Little Hunneydoo and I sitting on the couch in the main room, where the karaoke was about to kick off to Bucks Fizz's "You're A Crazy Bitch (But You Fuck So Good)". The little boy looked at us and said, "Are you guys sisters?"

And I said,

"We are close.
"We are nice.

"Some people think that we're just friends,
"But actually, we're lesbians."

He nodded like he understood, but he didn't, and a few minutes later, he left the building and ran up the street, because kids are random like that.

I was just thrilled to have the opportunity to use the rhyme in conversation.

Tomorrow, I'll try to give a better description of the whole night.

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: A Movie Review

When I saw the cast for this film, I thought, "Oh, this is just too good to be true: Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith? Together? Again? Like in A Room With View? It seems too good to be true."

And I can reassure you, this film is very, very good. The writing is excellent: compassionate without descending into sentimentality, showcasing a variety of personalities without caricature, in turns witty, insightful and elegant. Each of the performances are honestly and genuinely delivered: as with real, fully-realized people, the viewer likes some more than others, but they each stand out as individuals and not personas.

It is filmed beautifully also: India emerges as a tumult of noise and colour and furious life as well as a sacred and silent place. The only aspect missing is the smell.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a story of seven British seniors who, for various personal reasons, leave Britain to take up residence in a hotel catering to "the elderly and the beautiful." They arrive to find the establishment, like themselves, a little ragged at the edges and not as pristine as advertised. Time and the elements have taken their toll on everyone, but each of the characters finds, if not what they were looking for, at least what they need. They, and the hotel, find new life and purpose.

It is a gentle and optimistic film. The sedate story-line (i.e. no guns or explosions) may fail to connect with a younger audience, but one leaves the theatre feeling as if one just experienced something authentic. I don't know about you, but I don't ever see guns and I'd flip if anything exploded nearby. On the other hand, I struggle constantly with a growing awareness of the finite time I have left on this earth and what "living" really means.

The only criticisms I have of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are very minor. For one, I felt that Maggie Smith's character, revealed in the early part of the film as a racist, managed to overcome her long held prejudices rather easily. In my experience, it takes a long time to get past that, and the older one is, the more resistant one is to change. That's not to say it can't happen, though.

The other criticism I had was one I also had of The Help, a film whose subtitle might have been "Aren't White People Great?" Early on in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, one of the characters breathlessly reads in the brochure that the hotel offers an experience of the elegance and propserity of the Raj.

"Is that good?" another character asks.

Well, it certainly was a wonderful time for the British in India: it was a less delightful time for the Indians. And this film, told from the perspective of the British seniors, perpetuates the sterotype of the hapless, disorganized but good-hearted Indian (the hotel's proprietor) who only needs the guidance of the sage, civilized British to succeed. It is mildly patronizing, but given that the story is told with insight and humour, it is a minor criticism indeed.

See it. At best, you'll want to examine what you want to do with the time that remains to you. At the very least, you'll crave a curry afterwards!

Friday, 1 June 2012

I Smell the Smelly Smell of Something That Smells

Switching back to work again, people, although it's really just variations on a theme at this point. Nothing new or fresh, just my on-going fascination and stupefaction at people's attention needs and the lengths to which they will go to meet them.

We have blissfully been spared the annoying presence of Teeth partially (get it? Teeth=partial? Yeah?), as on Thursday morning, she bundled her child off to stay with her aunt while Teeth is meeting someone (probably a driver) in Saskatchewan for a hook up. She was not exactly explicit about this being a fuckcation, but she didn't bother denying it when I wished her a good time on her weekend of depravity. Although, come to think of it, she may have been thrown off by the complexity of the word "depravity". I maybe should have just said, "Have good fucking" and stuck with that.

Anyway, there's a burr under every saddle, and this week, it's been Eeyore. You may recall that last week, she bolted from the office when she smelled some kind of solvent and took the rest of the week off as a result. (And by the way, have I mentioned that Eeyore smokes? How can someone that sensitive to smells smoke and still survive?) Now, to be fair, unlike Yvette, Eeyore takes her computer with her and works from home. It's when she comes back to the office that the circus begins.

The office was painted last weekend, on Friday night. And it wasn't the whole place, just the ladies washroom and a couple of the manager's offices. Eeyore, learning of this in advance, took her computer home and didn't return until Wednesday morning. And I can tell you that there was no smell of paint on Monday when I got to work.

But perhaps I am just insensitive (!!!say it aint so!!!), because when Eeyore walked in the door on Wednesday, she paused at the reception desk, and, as Princess Anne looked on in disbelief, sniffed the air tentatively. She then continued to her desk.

Alas, Eeyore's return to work was premature, because she spent the rest of the day snivelling and sighing extravagantly. On Thursday, she shuffled into the staff room where Jacques and I were discussing the relative merits of bagels.

"'Ow are you?" he asked her.

"Crappy, thanks for asking," she replied and returned to her desk.

Jacques looked at me and said, "I tell you, being married to a woman like dat..." and he held his fingers to his temple in imitation of a pistol and pulled the trigger.

But he should try sitting in her pod. At one point, Eeyore was sitting with her head in her hands, her hair cascading over her face. When asked if she was alright, her dramatic response was, "My entire body is shutting down."

Insert rolling of eyes here. Bitch, please. You are overstating the case. For you to claim that your body is shutting down is akin to me finding bacon stips in my underpants and telling everyone that I shat the house. Seriously: exaggeration is for comedians and caricaturists: anyone else is a drama queen.

Anyway, I'm starting to think that Eeyore is a hypochondriac, because today at my desk, she got Princess Anne to feel her forehead.

"Are you feverish?" I asked.

She nodded.

"Well, maybe you should go home," said Princess Anne. "Technically, if you're feverish, you're contagious."

"No," said Eeyore, gloomily. "I have an infection."

And then she intimated that the infection is in her hoohaw.

Head/desk. Repeat as necessary.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Moby Dick

As I write, Mohammed is helping Abdully move out of the basement across the street. This is the first time I've seen Abdully in weeks, but I'm pleased to see him go. I got really tired of him dumping the garbage from his car on the street in front of my place and having his various cars sit for weeks without moving. I don't know where the BMW is, but maybe he is, like the Jeffersons, movin' on up.

The only problem with losing the devil you know, of course, is that the devil you don't know invariably replaces him. Sometimes, this is a positive change, as is the case with the house from which Abdully is moving (and where Mohammed also used to live). When we moved into our place three years ago, it as pretty obvious that the house was occupied by drug dealers: one chick, two dopey guys and two pit bulls who frequently got out and wandered the streets. The dogs were a lot less aggressive than the people, who were in and out at odd times, had asshole friends and were generally douchey. Finally, they got kicked out and the current occupant (who I believe is the owner) moved in. He replaced the front door and the walk, painted the wrought iron fence and moved his Asian girlfriend and her little boy in with him. They rock, aside from the fact that they rent their basement out to dicks like Mohammed and Abdully.

But sometimes, the change is just as bad or worse. Like the rental property directly south of Former Drug Den. The people in there before were this woman and her infant and her boyfriend/husband (I'm not sure which). He had a motorcycle and a trailer and he could occasionally be found on the sidewalk playing with a remote control car. Despite being of a certain age, he was also prone to wearing brightly patterned shirts featuring dragons enwrapt in blue flames: you know, the kind of shirts that are better suited to very young men who haven't learned what not to wear yet. And I didn't get the feeling that this man wore the shirts out a deeply-developed sense of irony, as one might do with a bowling shirt. And no offense to my several friends who collect comic books, but I suspect he had a bunch. Maybe Archie or something, I dunno. Anyway, I think the woman got tired of trying to raise two children, though, because she disappeared and left him to sort of gradually fade away in her absence.

Unfortunately, their replacement is a lot less easy to ignore. Enter Moby Dick. Moby Dick is a short shit of a man, balding, and drives a bright red sports car with a gigantic whale tail spoiler. Hence the name Moby Dick. His girlfriend I call Moby Chick. Moby Dick doesn't live there, but he's over often enough to be a pain in the ass, gunning his engine and spitting every 30 seconds or so. He's also a miserable bastard: I watched him once, pull up to the curb and throw a bunch of crap out onto the grass in front of our neighbour's place. He didn't bother getting out of the car. He just pulled up, opened the passenger side door and started throwing shit out. Then he tore off, leaving it in a heap. I was about to go out and pick it all up when Moby Chick wandered ito view and began collcting what turned out to be her belongings, boots, clothes, etc.

Moby Chick is a stocky, heavily tattoo'ed broad who smokes copiously, drinks shitty beer and sprays her crappy kid with the garden hose to make him scream. It makes me want to spray her back with a little bit of hydrochloric acid. I can just see this kid in about ten years, reeking of Axe, baseball cap (with an unbilled visor) worn at a jaunty angle, wearing distressed jeans four sizes too big for his skinny ass, mutilating kittens in the back alley.

Anyway, they moved in in the late winter, and I can hardly wait for the summer party season to come, when Moby Dick will show up sans shirt in track pants (which must *surely* be worn with irony), spitting all over the yards. And Moby Chick, her pendulous mammaries barely contained by her stretched-almost-to-transparency tube top (emblazoned PINK), unable to keep those double Fs from swaying ever closer to her hips, themselves forced into a pair of shorts so tight that the flunge of flab sagging over the waistband gives her the appearance of a grotesque mushroom. Yes, too many Bud Light with Lime's will be drunk, someone will disparage someone's favourite heavy metal band and IT WILL BE ON, BITCH, for the whole neighbourhood to hear.

Because these are the Douches In My Neighbourhood.

Friday, 18 May 2012

My Epiphany

A Letter To Baba Ganesh:

Jai, Ganapati! Ohm, and all that. Thanks for listening.

So, for a year and almost-a-half now, I have been at this boring job with people who make me insane for an insulting wage, given my obvious brilliance and better-than-average skills. And despite a valiant effort, I cannot seem to find suitable employment elsewhere, which leads me to think that there must be some cosmic, karmic lesson in this experience for me. Now, they tell me that You, Baba Ganesh, are the removal of obstacles. What isn't so widely publicized is that You are also prone to placing obstacles, in order for us to learn things we need to know. And so, I've been wondering what You, in your cryptic and inscrutable Hindu way, have been trying to teach me.

Because, as You've noticed, this insight has eluded me. What could I possibly be meant to learn from working with a bunch of socially arrested, emotionally infantile twatwaffles? (Sorry if that's offensive, by the way. After all, they're YOUR socially arrested, emotionally infantile twatwaffles. In fact, if the Vedas are to be believed--and I'm working on it--they ARE You, as every single thing in Creation is an expression of God or All That Is).

So what is it You're trying to show me? Is it that the human experience is vastly diverse? Yes, I get that. No problem. Am I supposed to absorb the lesson "Patience, Grasshopper"? I think I've shown superhuman forbearance, given the provocations You've provided. I've tried really hard to be a positive role model and voice of reason.

For example, this morning when Princess Anne and Stretch had another argument. I realize there has been tension between the two of them for the past week, and part of that has been because Princess Anne felt invalidated and her feeling ignored by Stretch in some recent decisions. So today, Stretch sent her an email, indicating that he felt she was angry and invited her to talk to him. Instead of taking him up on this offer (which he is not required to do, as a member of management and she the receptionist), she sends ME an outraged email, complaining that she doesn't think she can be civil, etc. And my response, Sri Ganesh, was to encourage her to talk to him, to state her peace calmly but honestly, because Stretch was doing the right thing. Since when, O Divine One, have I been the reasonable, calm, cool and collected one, dispensing wisdom?

Am I really supposed to be learning how to babysit adults? Cuz somehow I had hoped for more. If these people were homeless or disabled or in some other way diminished, I would get it. But they're just young and/or selfish and/or stupid. Seriously: how else would You describe someone who complains that a guy has trampled on her feelings and then get even more pissed off when he invites her to talk about them? Like, wtf, God?

And, what exactly am I supposed to take away from having to listen to Teeth describe in torturous, explicit detail all the various aspects of her relationship? Incuding the sex part. Because it has happened almost every day this week, Sir. I don't really see it as my place to correct her, and I further wonder how it is she doesn't realize how grossly inappropriate her behaviour is.

And then it occurred to me: the epiphany I've been searching for. I know this blog comes across as a little smug and judgy sometimes (all the time? You're right), but the fact of the matter is that, deep down, I know I am in no position to judge. God knows I've behaved in ways that are scarcely wise or laudatory or even kind. I'm sure that, while I have blissfully blocked out the details of my early twenties, I have behaved in douchey ways that strongly resemble the behaviours I catalogue here. I've been self-indulgent, insecure, lazy and inappropriate. I'd like to think that I am less inclined that way these days, but I am scarcely an objective observer.

So while I hate to make this all about me, I think the point You're trying to make here is that I must be mindful of my own behaviour, that I mustn't fall into the trap of feeling superior when comparing myself to the Women of WalMart, just because their path is different from mine. Because I confess: when I look at Yvette and her relationships and her life, I feel an enormous relief that that's not me. And I feel the same way when I examine Teeth or Princess Anne. And it goes a ittle bit deeper than being mindful of Your gifts. It's personal.

So, is that what You want me to know? And having learned it, may I please work somewhere else?

Or is this what You want to say?

"Just as the defined edges of your future are beyond you, so too are the boundaries of your past behind. Where you came from is not relevant here, only the person you have become. There are insights and answers inside you for questions that may never be asked. Mysteries that may never be unlocked. Lessons that need not be understood. My love for you is ever present. You shall not walk alone. As the sun rises, I will shine for you. As it sets, I am your lantern. Your heart knows the way home."

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

What's That Smell? It's DRAMA!

This morning, Teeth announced repeatedly and at high volume that she was leaving the office around 9:00 a.m. for a "personal appointment." She and the Asshole Boyfriend were attending couples counselling, and when she returned around noon, she brought with her buckets of deeply personal information that no-one except Yvette wanted to hear.

I turned my hearing aid off and blissfully heard none of it.

Then, later in the afternoon, Hitler said, "What's that smell?", covered her nose and bolted for the front door. She remained outside the building for ten minutes and was ultimately sent home early. (She's one of these sensitive to smells women.) Apparently, someone had opened a can of solvent or something. I never caught a whiff, even though I share a pod with Hitler (now there's a sentence you don't read everyday--"I share a pod with Hitler").

Ultimately, Teeth consulted with one of the managers and we were all sent home about an hour early (Yvette was out the door within five minutes of Teeth making the announcement, which means she was shagging the dog already or didn't finish her end of day reports in her mad scramble for the door.)

Honest to Christ, I have never seen so much drama over a smell (that didn't come from me).

I've been thinking I should change Hitler's name to something more suitable. She isn't really Hitler-esque, she's much more like Eeyore. I mean, I like her (I'm one of the few), but she's one of those people who complains about her circumstances, but when you suggest ways for her to change things, she's got excuses as to why she can't. So her life is just one long valley of shadows and a veil of tears. But she obviously likes it like that.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Office Update

1. The Volunteer resigned, tendering her resignation the very same day that HOBL resolved to fire her great big fat ass. Her last day was a couple of weeks ago. So long, bitch.

2. I have changed desks so that I no longer share a pod with Yvette. This comes after months of having to overhear her arguing with her controlling and abusive fiance (or her son or her drunken sister or whoever else). Yvette's dramatics, even apart from her health issues, are truly dreary. She has gone home early because of the stress incurred from one of these telephone fights, or she has yelled into the receiver (so the whole office can hear), "Quit fuckin' calling me that!"

Even her "business calls" end up being personal calls that go on for twenty minutes. And when she's not on the phone, she's surfing the net (not allowed in our office), looking for wedding jewellery, or make up to cover her tattoos (for the wedding--here's a thought; wear some clothes!) or trolling the Humane Society website for a dog and/or cat. And she can't just do this and piss away her time. No, she has to involve me.

"Look! Isn't Jupiter cute?!"

"Do you think I should buy this wedding dress on-line?"

"Do you like this elephant?"

She's also one of those employees that only need the slightest excuse to not come in. She might have a hangnail, or she can't drive her Mustang on the ice (you live in Canada--there is ice on the road most of the year: why do you have a car you can't drive?), or she has to go to the courthouse and get divorced before she can marry a man who doesn't like her to leave the house without him, because he doesn't like not knowing where she is.

Or like a couple of weeks ago, when she had the flu and took three days off, then left early on Friday to pick up her trailer for the May long weekend. (To be fair, though, management should have said, "Hell, no!").

So, I moved two pods over and am now with Hitler and Svetlana. Now, the offical excuse for my move was that there is going to be a lot more business with my branch of the work involving sites I've never worked with before, so sitting next to Hitler, the Billing Guru, just makes sense. In reality, however, I was tired of overhearing her fuck the dog and distracting me while I was busting my hump trying to earn a paycheque.

And it seems that Yvette just might have figured it out. Oh, not that she would ask me directly. No, that would indicate that she was an adult. No yesterday morning, she sent her boyfriend (who doesn't even work for our company) over to my new station to drill me on the reason for my move (like it's any of his fucking business).

His goofy head appeared above my cubicle wall and he said, "Did you move?"

I was instantly seized by the compulsion to do one of a couple things. One, I wanted to look around frantically and say, "You mean, this ISN'T my desk?!"  Two, I wanted to be snide and say, "Is that not manifestly clear?" and three, I wanted to resort to hostility, "What's it to you, pretzel dick?"

Instead, I said patiently, "Yes. I moved."


"Because my workload is increasing and it's going to be a little more complicated, so it's easier to be closer to Hitler than yelling across the office or sending her a constant barrage of emails," I explained, though again, it's none of his goddamn business.

"Oh," he said, "I just wondered if Yvette was making you nuts."

Oh! I thought to myself, Well, if you want to bring it into the open....

So, being a firm believer in the old adage, "If you ask, you must want to know" (my Tarot business is founded on that premise), I said, "Yes, the whole fighting on the phone all the time thing was making me crazy."

And he said something neutral and buggered off. Whatever. Only, he must have been a good boy and reported back to Yvette sometime that day, because now she won't make eye contact with me, won't talk to me and takes her breaks with the other group (which includes Teeth, who she supposedly despises). I have to also assume that my invitation to the wedding has been revoked (you can't imagine the relief).

This leaves me completely speechless. To begin with, why does it matter why I changed desks? It happens in our office all the time. Secondly, why do you imagine it is a personal matter (as it is only partly because of you)? But most importantly, how emotionally and socially arrested are you that you think it's appropriate to send your dumbass boyfriend to ask me about it, rather than sending me an email or asking me yourself??? Am I that fucking scary? Or are you that fucking immature?

I believe this anecdote answers that question.

And how goddamn backwards is that office when *I* am the one with a work ethic??? When *I*--Miss "I Could Make A Coffee Table Book Of the Places I've Publically Pooped"--am the professional, mature one??? Are all offices like this, junior high writ large??? Or did I just get lucky???

Sunday, 13 May 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different.

A review of Tim Burton's Dark Shadows, starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfieffer and Helena Bonham-Carter.

First off, I want to say that I am tired of seeing companies like Cenovus and Syncrude using the cinemas to spread their propaganda about how they're really the good guys, planting trees and doing all kinds of environmentally-friendly shit, when anyone who takes the merest effort to scratch the surface can learn about their flagrant disdain for government regulations and how cancer rates have soared in areas where they are working. Fuck you, assholes.

And onto the movie.

I want to state at the outset that I am a Tim Burton fan, and a Johnny Depp fan, and I've always really enjoyed Michelle Pfieffer and Helena Bonham-Carter is a goddess.

All that said, I was disappointed in this film.

None of the characters evolve: they remain precisely the same at the end of the movie as they began it. And while the individual performances are well done, with the expection of (Bella Heathcotte, the governess, who was adequate), and most of them are likeable to one degree or another, we search in vain for any development.

The film is shot through with all of Tim Burton's classic trademarks, such as the glowering skies, the rich dark atmouspheres of gothic history and gorgeous costuming (both 1700s and 1970s), what's missing from this project is good writing. The screenplay is frankly a little sloppy. (WARNING: major spoiler alert ahead!) The revelation about the werewolf was very clumsily delivered, the man-out-of-time humour got a little tired after awhile and Burton had characters, such as the old housekeeper, who showed up at key points and never got used. The house is burning down, and everyone gets out, except the old woman, who is conveniently forgotten.

Anyway, it's entertaining enough, but it isn't Burton or Depp's best work (although it's great to see Michelle Pfeiffer back on the screen). If you're an ardent fan, I suspect you will be disappointed, too, but it's entertaining enough once it arrives at the cheap theatres or on video.

And when I have more time, I'll describe the douchebaggery at the bar we went to AFTER the movie. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Where's the Love? And the Professionalism?

Teeth is separating from her live-in partner and father of her child. The guy is a complete fucktard, but it's not like he tried to hide his fucktardedness: on their second date, he was picked up for drunk driving and driving without a license because he had lost it when he was convicted of D.U.I. a couple of months earlier. So it's not like there weren't plenty of warning signs, but Teeth went ahead and moved in with him anyway. And had a child with him, even though he had three other children and couldn't manage the support payments for any of them, so he was always in arrears with Maintenance Enforcement, which forced him to drive without a license and hunt without a license and, well, you get the idea. It was a BAD IDEA from the start. I'm sure Teeth thought that she could make him into a better, more responsible person, but we've all heard that story and how it ends. Both parties typically get what they deserve.

Anyway, I guess she eventually got tired of his crap ("Where are you? Who are you with? Is it a man? What are you doing? What time will you be home? I love you. Call me."--an actual phone message) and since he has declined to attend counselling, Teeth is supposedly leaving. That's a little tricky, because the house, the vehicles and the business are all in her name, because he isn't stupid, he's just a controlling, manipulative, lazy deadbeat. So now she's liable and it's not just as easy as "Get the fuck out, asswipe."

It's also tricky because the Fucktard still wants to have sex and--this is the killer--she is still sleeping in the same bed with him (can we say "mixed messages"?). But she has told him in no uncertain terms that it is over and there is just no way that he is ever going to get the stank on his hang-down again, not where she's concerned.

And if you're wondering how I know all this, it's because I--and by extension, the rest of the office--overheard her this afternoon telling all this to one of the drivers who stopped by to discuss a pay discrepancy, and got more than he bargained for, I'm sure. I don't know if this is her way of advertising ("No-one in my house is having sex, but you could change all that for me") or if she just doesn't have anyone else to vent to, but no-one in the office is impressed at all.

I know I shouldn't be surprised by this oversharing of intimate information, but I am utterly appalled. I can't imagine that Head Office Boss Lady would consider this a successful attempt to "step it up" professionally, either. One of my co-workers shared in an email with me yesterday that she has trouble sleeping on Sunday nights, because she knows she has to go back to that place on Monday morning, and I know precisely how she feels. 

Monday, 30 April 2012

Wedding Update

Remember a little while back, I posted about Princess Anne's wedding plans? You can read about it here, if you need your memory jogged, or if you are a little late to the ball. Well, intrepid reader, hold onto your shitkickers, cuz here is the latest.

The Doughy Fiance has decided that his contribution to the wedding plans comes in the form of "Mossy Oak Camo". As in "camoflage." As in, what rednecks wear when they go into the woods to kill somethin' (which is occasionally each other). Yes, Doughboy has declared that the wedding cake must prominently feature this particular pattern. Seriously? Does camo count as a "wedding colour"?

"Congratulations, Lurleen! Have you picked out your colours yet?"

"Yeah, I really wanted 'Desert Storm', but Billy Ray insisted on 'Mossy Oak'."

Can you friggin' imagine? And she is okay with this! The very nanosecond that he even breathed such a suggestion, that would be the moment that he was excluded from any further consultations.

It gets better, though. He has also decided that the cake topper isn't going to a be a bride and groom or a pair of hearts or anything half so conventional. No, he wants a buck and a doe.

*insert eye-rollng here*

Sorry if I seem a little smug or  judgy or sneery (or all three), but seriously: a buck and a doe? Such subtlety! Will the buck be mounting the doe, or do we trust our rural neighbours and guests to grasp the subtlety of this message?

I don't know what Doughboy does for intellectual stimulation, but I strongly suspect it has to do with trucks of the monster variety, or baseball bats and mailboxes.

Now I know how the Wild Rose Party got as far as they did.

Anyway, in other news...

I was fitted for a hearing aid last Wednesday. I go to pick it up for a one-month trial on the 9th. Because my hearing is so badly damaged, I didn't get one of the high-end ones (which include Bluetooth technology, if you can believe it). Because of the tinnitus, though, the hearing aid I chose offers an option that will provide me with "Zen-like music" to distract me from the ringing in my ear. I don't know how often I'll use that particular feature, but I can certainly see how it might be helpful in certain situations.

Like, for example, the next time Teeth appears at my cubicle to complain about her piles or what a dipshit her (soon-to-be ex) husband is: I can adopt a beatific, serene smile and Zen-out. It would look like this:

When the reality is much more like this:

I'm curious to see how much difference a hearing aid will make. I'm not necessarily convinced that I'm going to want to hear everything around me any clearer. I sat next to an older man on the train this weekend who was chewing gum with his mouth open. It sounded, as it says on Facebook, like an army of vaginas marching through mud.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Nu Shooz

More tales of frustration and incredulidity from my place of employment:

Yvette is a breast cancer survivor. That doesn't keep her from smoking, but she has been at least three years without a reoccurance. Except that her docotr recently found a handful of tny masses in her lung. They are too small to biopsy, so they are monitoring the masses until June to see if they have grown.

So, you'd think that Yvette would see herself as someone with a vested interest in the health care system in this province. The subject is a perennial one: the system is constantly under attack from a lack of funding and a governement who is convinced that privatizing the system (a la the US) is the way to go.

And last night, we had a provincial election. Voting is important (I daresay, imperative) whenever one has the opportunity. It is especially so when issues as basic as education and environment and health care are being discussed in ways that could significantly impact one's services.

So imagine my shock and dismay when I said to Yvette this morning, "Did you vote last night?" and her response was, "No, I never vote. I never know what the issues are and I never know who to vote for." Then she showed me her foot. "I got new shoes, though."

New shoes. This stupid bitch's priority was not shorter waiting times, or better drug coverage or improved services: no, she wanted new shoes.

I had to leave the fucking room, or I was going to say some unpleasant things.What is the excuse for such a level of passivity??? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND!!!

But I don't want to hear one single word out of her about how the health care system is letting her down, if and when it turns out to be cancer. Cuz then I will say it all.

I have more tales of stupidity, but I"m struggling with a chest cold, so they will hve to wait until I feel like sitting up for longer.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Lazy Fucking Bitch

It's been a while since I've written, I know. That's what happens when Real Life intervenes. Ironically, my "Real Life" adventures have been of the unreal variety, in the sense that I have started going to the SCA for fencing practice on Sundays and Wednesdays and archery on Tuesdays. I have bitched long and loud about the SCA before, so this may surprise some of you; and to be sure, the marginal personalities still thrive in abundance. However, not everyone is like that, it's an opportunity to get some much -needed, cheap exercise, and as a friend of a friend once said: "The SCA is like AOL: you know it sucks, but all your friends are there."

I have no doubt whatsoever that the SCA will furnish me with material aplenty (in fact, it already has), but this post is dedicated to the on-going bullshit at my place of employment. It may startle many of you that my issue is not with Teeth this time. Even more startling is the revelation that, since we had a little chat, Teeth has been relatively pleasant to work with. A couple of months ago, she called me into an empty office and said that Head Office Boss Lady had shared some of my concerns with her, and suggested that we talk about the way her behaviour has affected. I gave her kudos, frankly, for having the balls to chat with me in the first place.

And what became astonishingly apparent as the conversation progressed, is that Teeth has never received the kind of feedback I was giving her. Because her behaviour had gone unchecked, and because our industry is not typically prone to "corporate culture", she had no clue really that other people view her as a bully and a ditch pig. So, we came to the agreement that I would lower my standards somewhat if she raised hers. And so far, it's working quite well.

What ISN'T working is the woman I formerly referred to as The Biller I Like. One of the things I like best about where I am is that our supervisors don't pay any particular attention to when we show up five or ten minutes late, and they aren't at all strict about days off for medical appointments, sick days, etc. It is understood that we are on the honour system, and it is hoped that the system is not abused.

But of course, it only takes one fucking twat-waffle to fuck it for everyone else. Enter The Volunteer. That's what I call her now, because she obviously views her job as some kind of volunteer position with the added bonus of a paycheque. She acts as if she is doing us all a huge favour by showing up. This woman routinely wanders in half an hour late, leaves early or doesn't come in at all. Her absenteeism is so prevalent that she hasn't done a full week's work in eight consecutive weeks.

Her excuses range from, "I have a migraine" (even though she is able to text messages to her co-workers throughout the work day and was seen driving around her small town just after work hours had ended), "My daughter's schoolbus went into the ditch" (we later found out that her daughter drives to school), to "My grand-daughter is sick" (whoopee). Oh, and let's not forget the mother-daughter pap she had scheduled that took all day (prompting many of us to speculate if perhaps the gyno hadn't fallen in). (And who the fuck schedules mother-daughter pap tests anyway? Isn't that an indication of being overbonded to your child? Gross.)

And because she thinks we're friends, she tells me quite frankly about all the times that she has lied in order to score extra days off. For example, the husband was coming home on a Monday after working out of town. She told Head Office Boss Lady that there was a banquet she had to attend for her daughter's participation in the Winter Games: she admitted to me before the weekend started that there was no banquet. She just wanted to do the nasty.

Not only does she abuse a really wonderful system, thus endangering it for the rest of us, but The Volunteer has also displayed flagrant insubordination. A few weeks ago, Teeth was away in another city for a training seminar (possibly in how to flirt on the phone with the East Coast drivers so as to score a replacement for her current partner, who is a dick). In Teeth's absence, the emminently capable Hitler is in charge.

On the Thursday afternoon, The Volunteer left at 2:30  in the afternoon for some kind of appointment. Then on Friday at lunchtime, she announced to me that she was going to Jasper (a mountain resort town about four hours away, for those of you who are not local) to meet up with her husband, who has been working there for the last couple of months. She said she was leaving at 3:00, because she wanted to be on the road while it was still light. But she hadn't told Hitler yet.

So about 2:00, The Volunteer sent an email to Hitler, asking if she could go at 3:00 for the reasons stated above (and let's not forget: The Volunteer had left early the day before). Hitler said no, indicating quite reasonably that there was still work in The Volunteer's work queue that needed to be done, and the other employee trained in that work had booked the afternoon off for a physio appointment. The answer was clearly "no".

At six minutes after 3:00, The Volunteer gathered up her things and walked out of the office.

I was floored. Obviously she feels that she is entitled to this time off (she's not, especially given that she's never there anyway), and that she is not constrained by the same rules as the rest of us. To ignore a direct order from her supervisor is, as far as I'm concerned, grounds for immediate dismissal. Hitler was taken aback, but didn't feel that it was worth her while to confront The Volunteer about it, and if she told Teeth about it on Teeth's return, nothing was said to The Volunteer.

It is extremely damaging to morale to sit at one's desk busting one's hump to meet a deadline or resolve an issue or get a report out and know that someone else is getting paid exactly the same (or more!) despite not being there, because they are staying home to fuck. Part of the problem is that we don't have a supervisor on site with any real authority, which is actually a good thing, if we're talking about Teeth, who I doubt has the emotional maturity to not abuse any power she's given. It has been EIGHT WEEKS--two entire months--since The Volunteer has put in a full 37.5 hours. In the meantime, Hitler and several others (myself included) have occasionally stayed late to get stuff done.

So we (Princess Anne and I) complained to one of the managers who asked us to compile all the data we could, which he would then share with Head Office Boss Lady. We took him our eight weeks worth of evidence, but he told us to keep going. Well, fuck, how much longer is this going to take? How much more do you need?

I have applied for another position in the company that will take me out of Billing and into a whole other department, one that pays better and has more challenges to it. But it's been over a month since I applied and there has been no indication of an interview, so my hopes are rather dashed.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

It Puts the Lotion...In Its Mouth?

Proof positive that Princess Anne is not the sharpest tool in the shed arrived in my inbox this afternoon.

She wrote in an email: "I brought some hand lotion in from home because my legs are peeling like a snake. And this stuff smells SO GOOD. It's Milk and Honey, so no wonder it's making me hungry."

I wrote back, "I'll come sniff it in a few minutes."

Before I could leave my desk, however, another message arrived: "It doesn't taste as good as it smells."

I'll just leave that with you.

Except I have to tell you about Princess Anne's wedding plans. Her Doughy Boyfriend finally proposed to her over Christmas, and now she's going bananas plannng the tackiest country and western affair of the year. Except that she doesnt KNOW how tacky it is.

For example, to commemorate the big day, she wants to order this print of two horses standing next to a fence. And on the fence, one has the option of getting one's initials "carved". She showed it to me on her phone and asked, "Isn't that cute?"

Well, no, actually, it makes me throw up in my mouth a little, but it's your big day, Lurleen, go for it.

She already has the pink cowboy boots that she'll be wearing under her dress picked out, and has told the Doughy Boyfriend/Fiance that the best man and groomsmen will be expected to wear black cowboy hats, royal blue western shirts and black jeans.

Of course, she will be riding up to her ceremony on horseback (cuz nothing says romance is in the air quite like horse shit). This announcement prompted me to ask, "Do you have a sidesaddle?"

To which she replied, "No, I'm too redneck to own a sidesaddle. I'll just throw my knee over the horn of my western saddle."

Well, if that doesn't put all the ass back in class, I don't know what does. And of course, once the ceremony is concluded, then she and the Doughy Groom will ride away together.

So unable to bear it any longer, I started to take the piss, to which she remained blissfully ignorant. I asked her, "Well, have you picked out the song that you'll be riding up to? Maybe 'Ghost Riders In the Sky'? Or 'She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy'? Or how about 'Boot Scootin' Boogie'? Thats a good one!"

"No, I was thinking more like blahblahblah" and she named some country and western song that I have never heard of by some western performer equally unknown to me. Later on in the day, she sent me the lyrics, and although they didn't feature spectral cattle or farm equipment or tequila, I'm pretty sure the performer whines his way very earnestly through the whole song amid slide guitars and maybe even a fiddle.

"Jesus Christ," I said to the Little Hunneydoo when I got home from work that day, "I gotta get another job before Wanda Sue invites me to that fucking wedding."

I dont know what the reception will be like, but I doubt there will be much in the way of vegetarian options.

Unless you count the hand lotion. 

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A Punch In the Teeth

This afternoon, I was cordially invited into the office of Head Office Boss Lady, who is in town to go over our billing procedures and productivity issues for year's end. I began our interview by announcing that I am actively seeking other employment. Not surprizingly, she had already learned of this through the grapevine. She asked me if I felt comfortable discussing my reasons why and I availed myself of this opportunity to describe in harrowing detail every single one of Teeth's transgessions over the past few weeks. I began with "Caucasian" and ended with the "retard" email and especially highlighted her need to make Princess Anne her scapegoat just prior to New Years.

I explained that the incessant and vapid giggling that emanates from the staff room at during breaks, the outrageous flirting with drivers over the phone and the double standard around work (she can goof off on the phone, but when the rest of us do, we are quickly reminded that there's filing that needs doing) do not exactly inspire confidence in me regarding Teeth's supervisory abilities, and that I am anxious to get the hell out before the real fireworks start.

Head Office Boss Lady wrote everything down. She took copious notes and occasionally made a face as if I had just kicked her in the box. When I had finished my litany of complaints, she said that, while Teeth describes herself as a "gutter girl", this is not the kind of attitude that can be taken seriously in a supervisor and she's going to need Teeth to "step it up a notch."

My diplomatic response was that, to my mind, Teeth lacks "an innate or instinctual understanding of the qualities a supervisory position demands." SUBTEXT: don't hold your breath, honey. If she needs this shit explained to her, she's not gonna get it.

So then HOBL asked me if I minded should she wish to share my observations with Teeth and I heartily encouraged her to do so, indicating that Teeth "could probably benefit from the feedback." Then she asked if I would mind meeting with Teeth and having a discussion, just the two of us, and I said I didn't mind at all (although secretly, I will hve to constantly remind myself to say things like, "I don't feel that I can perform optimally under your particular management style," instead of "Why don't you lick my pussy bald, you fucking slitch").

And I'm not the only one coming forward with complaints. So if Teeth thought that stepping into Springsteen's shoes was going to be a cakewalk (sorry for mixing my idioms), I have no doubt that her interview with HOBL tomorrow afternoon will leave her humbled. HOBL is hoping that once Teeth and I sit down for a chat, hopefully I will be less inclined to walk away.

But seriously, I'd be idiotic. Teeth's behaviour IS Teeth: she's not going to change, and hanging around hoping she does is akin to a victim of domestic abuse thinking, "He promised he wouldn't do it again." I should stay in what is essentially an abusive relationship for the sake of a paycheque?

Oh, I don't think so.

So stay tuned, kids, cuz there just might be some kind of showdown tomorrow.

Monday, 9 January 2012

And THEN...!

As if any of you need further proof of Teeth's utter lack of professionalism (but here goes anyway...)

On Friday, while I was at my highly successful job interview, Yvette was talking to Jacques, who had stopped by her cubicle. During their brief conversation, Teeth came up behind Jacques and grabbed his ass with both hands.


And so I explained to Yvette that sexual harrassment is in the eye of the beholder; if she was offended by Teeth's behaviour, she can complain about it and earn Teeth (yet another) very strict talking-to about her inappropriateness. It doesn't have to be *her* ass that was grabbed. Yvette was unaware of the way in which sexual harrassment policies work, but she might be talking to Head Office Boss Lady when she visits ths week.

Or she might not. That office functions the way it does due to ignorance and apathy.

The temp agency actually called me today for my first assignment, but it was only for a single day, so I declined it. Still, I hope this is a sign of things to come.   

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Salaam, Mohammed!

Wow: the year 2012 is looking up already. Not only did I have an excellent job interview with a temp agency on Friday and can expect to leave Teeth and the Women of WalMart far behind within the month (without giving two weeks notice, since I am owed vacation time): but as I sit at the dining room table and gaze out onto the front street, I can watch Mohammed moving out. That's awesome. Fuck off, buddy, and take your spitting and your garbage and your urine-bedewed vehicles with you. ALL of them.

Oh, and by the way, for those of you who have been following this particular thread: Mohammed is his actual name. Just before Christmas, I noticed a piece of paper taped to his front door. Hoping it was an eviction notice, I walked over to read what it said. It was just a notice from the landlord upstairs, giving Mohammed 48 hours notice that he intended to enter the premises, and Mohammed's name was clearly written there.

I feel pretty smug.

So does anyone have any experience writing letters of resignation? I've never had to compose one before. How much information is it customary to include? I have no intention of sending it to Teeth (that would actually acknowledge her authority, which I do not), just to Teeth's supervisor. Do I include my reasons for leaving (i.e. Teeth) in the letter? After all, I do not anticipate having the luxury of an exit interview, since the lady in charge of HR at our branch actually works in Calgary. I mean, I realize I don't owe them any explanations, and if they've made the blunder of promoting that stupid slitch despite every conceivable indication that she is wholly unsuited to the job, my very humble opinion is scarcely going to cause them to reconsider. And perhaps I have a tendency to overshare.

But it somehow seems inadequate to write:

"Dear Head Office Boss Lady,

Please be advised that effective (date two weeks hence), I tender my resignation and will be taking the holidays to which I am entitled until that time.

Hugs and kisses,


Yet perhaps writing more simply indicates that I give a shit. And although I like and respect Head Office Boss Lady, I don't give a damn about anything that happens in or to that office. My strong suspicion is that they gave the job to that odious Stink Mitten because she would do it for less money than they would expect to pay someone who was, say, competent. Someone who, when booking hotel rooms for drivers coming in from out of town, wouldn't offer to "swing by the hotel for a good time". Someone who doesn't drop by your cubicle to discuss her hemorrhoids or send emails celebrating the wholly fictional "Retard Day". Someone who doesn't snigger audibly in the presence of a gay employee when someone else mentions that the staff room smells "fruity," because another employee heated up a poptart.

But I think I am justified in believing that Head Office Boss Lady, in trying to save the company a few dollars in wages, will shortly discover that she will pay for it in other ways.

UPDATE: Mohammed apparently had trouble getting his truck to work. So he put three litres of oil into the engine and left the bottles in the street right in front of my house. He even drove over them, before he pulled a u-turn in the middle of the street, driving onto someone else's lawn to do it. So I went out, collected the bottles and their caps and dumped them on his front step. If he wants to have words, he'll find me ready for them, the fucking asshole.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Tooth, the Whole Tooth and Nuthin' But the Tooth

Below is the text of an email sent to me by Teeth this morning:

"Not every flower can say love, but a rose can. Not every plant survives thirst, but a cactus can. Not every retard can read, but look at u having a go! Today is International Retard Day. Please send an encouraging message to a fucked up friend, just as I've done. I dont care if u lick windows, interfere with farm animals or occasionally shit urself. U hang in there cup cake, you're fucking special to me, you're my friend!:) look at u smiling at ur phone!"

Yes, gentle readers, this precious gem showed up in my inbox this morning, sent by my immediate supervisor, the woman who my company feels best exemplifies the values of professionalism and managerial competence!

I can't, for the life of me, figure out if this is a passive-aggressive slap at me, or genuinely clueless attempt to be my buddy. Either way, SOMEONE HASN'T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION.

Wow. Just wow.