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.