shiny door prizes like panini presses and a magic wand for can-opening ease,
a chocolate fountain centered around an array of fresh fruit and lady fingers in scandelous poses?
Not our department holiday party.
No, we got cold cuts drowning in a mucous-like moat, cheese slices that needed the aid of Freddy Krueger’s nails to be surgically removed from each other, a bowl of frozen fruit slices, and a giant sheet cake that had nauseating pink flowers piped precariously around the perimeter. (I deduced at once that it was going to be an offensive supermarket bakery cake, so I walked past it with my nose in the air.) We got scratch off tickets and Tina’s hair collar and a platter of bland cookies that were at least moist and not stale like I had initially suspected.
The cheese lasagna was a real treat, though.
1. A dayshifter who sits next to me. I rue the days she works late because she laughs like an engorged elephant cock is lodged in her throat and she’s trying to summon her inner Vesuvius to phlegm it back up. She handles a runny nose like your typical Teamster: loud, wet and crackly, like a bowl of exploding Rice Krispies is draining down her throat. She’s nice though.
2. Hey Tina, ever since you switched to the day shift, something really confusing and alarming has arrested me: I think I like you. Not in a ‘Hey, let’s go French in a bathroom stall’ kind of way, but in a ‘You’re over here talking to me yet I have no urge to inflict any bodily damage.’ But no, I’m not sad that I wasn’t sitting at your table. And while I imagine playing games with a bullyishly dominate personality such as your own is a dream come true for some (like perhaps a tribe of indigents who have never played games before) I’m not jealous that your table was playing Taboo, as rousing and scintillating as it sounded.
3. Big Bob. He stole Collin’s Hot Pockets and made him cry.
4. Non-Big Bob’s plate of meat goods were a little too close to me. I felt violated and kept imagining someone gagging me with that slab of ham.
I was happy to be seated at a table of socially capable people — Lindsay, Bill, Brandie, and (Non-Big) Bob. However, we were joined by Stanley. I am fortunate to not have to deal with him because he works during the day and sits over by Bill and Lindsay. He has no filter, kind of like a child, and random strings of rudeness spray from his mouth in fairly consistent intervals. When we were walking up to the Mezzanine, one of the more heavy and elderly employees was up ahead, taking each step with deliberate slowness. Stanley yelled up, “Hey, Donna, we need to get you an escalator.” Someone behind him called him on his rudeness, only making him justify himself. “What? It’s true! Donna needs an escalator!” If I had to deal with that brand of idiocy for eight hours a day, one of us would have lost our job by now.
Stanley spent a good fifteen minutes diligently rubbing off five scratch off tickets, and even after inspecting them closely above his head, he still found reasonable cause to have Lindsay double-check. I took a picture of his crotch from under the table. Sadly, no boners arose from the rub-off frenzy.
And Bob, poor Bob; he stared off into the distance most of the time, mourning his other half’s absence. (Collin called off.) He seemed lost in thought, and I wondered if he was thinking about all the nights he and Collin spent playing their little celebrity chain game to pass the time while braiding daisy chain crowns for each other’s heads.
One of the games everyone (and by everyone I mean the Daytime Clique) was playing consisted of taping the name of a celebrity to each player’s back, and then everyone had to take turns asking a question to find out who they were. I told Bob it would be a good game for him and Collin to play and he lit up. “You’re right! I didn’t even make that connection!” Then he smiled to himself for awhile, probably rewinding the Collin-montage in his head.
Bill spoke of foreign-sounding things for awhile before I realized he was speaking in baking-tongue, while Lindsay smiled at me like an adoring fan and laughed at all of my antics, like when I took a picture of this guy who I have never seen before in my life, but supposedly he’s part of our department and works upstairs (if you want to take Bill’s word for it) and then ten minutes later I blurted out, “Oh shit, I think I made myself have a crush on that guy!” Lindsay giggled. In my head, I dubbed her my new work BFF. I’m not sure who the old one was. Bill perhaps, even though working opposing shifts has really driven a wrench in our rapport.
He doesn’t even bring me brownies anymore. I bet he brings some for Tina, in tiny baskets lined with rich Italian linen. Well, they can have each other.
Kim approached our table and asked why we weren’t playing games. Maybe it was just me, but I thought it was pretty obvious that our table was way too cool for parlor games, at least the ones that didn’t involve heavy betting and liquor. “We’re playing our own game,” I said. “It’s where everyone tells me how cool I am.” I smirked appropriately and Kim acted like she was about to be sick.
Since I pitched in a devastating twenty dollars to this elitist shindig, I gave myself a goal of “eat more than you paid for,” but the party started at 11AM and I just really wasn’t hungry. So in the end, I probably only ate $5 worth, which jacks me right off. (However, later on that evening, I had a piece of leftover lasagna for dinner. This is how it was made possible: “Tina, you know how you’re always looking for a reason to leave your desk?” Tina looks at me, slightly frightened, before cautiously saying, “……yes?” I jump in for the kill. “Will you get me lasagna?” What? I didn’t want to lift that big pan-y thing out of the fridge! So Tina did. And it was decent.)
Then it was time to go back to work. Most people offered to help clean up, but I just got up and left.
On a normal Friday evening at work, I act like a half-lit reject from a GED testing facility. But on a Friday night where my belly is made full with Thai food and my BFF is expected to be perched upon my porch by the time I return home, I’m all kinds of riled up. Every last thing has me doubled over in laughter:
Thai Place charged Joe $2.25 for a can of Pepsi.
My boss Kim told me I’m mean and she doesn’t know how people put up with me, in response to my tale of metaphorically kneeing a Canuck in the balls and still managing to keep him in love with me.
Eleanore asked me, “Erin, what’s the matter with you tonight?” which I believe is her polite way of saying, “STFU honky.”
I got Collin the New Guy to call me Your Majesty.
In order to retrieve a bag of my favorite honey wheat pretzels, I had to embark on an excavation clear across the building, to the other break room. The problem is that on Fridays, the cleaning people are off, so the guards shut off most of the lights back there. I ended up jogging the whole way back, in near dark, hands clutching my flopping boobs and chanting, “Oh my Christ, MSA rapist” over and over. (MSA is the company’s name, not some brand new Internet acronym whose memo missed your desk.) Once I returned to my desk, I was able to remove my coat, having been warmed up by my eschewal of MSA’s imaginary rapist. It’s a good thing I can run in heels.
I really hope I have this job for awhile. I quite like it. Well, except when Eleanore is in a bad mood and slamming down the phone and humming gutterally along to gangsta rap (west coast, whatwhat), or yelling at her daughter on the phone while gumming a handful of popcorn. Those things I could take or leave. Or just leave; I’d prefer not to take them. The popcorn, I might.