A few months ago, there was a bit of a reorg at work and the group I’m a part of expanded. This was great news for us because ever since we lost Gayle and Amber1, it just never felt right. So now we have Nate and Cheryl, and two women who work out of our Chicago office – Vicki and Joyce. So, they have been with the Firm for years and years, but to most of us, they were just names in an email, you know? I never really had any interaction with Joyce, but Vicki was my predecessor when I moved over to the position I’ve been in for the last 5 years, so she used to email me a lot back then with questions.
But now that they’re officially a part of Amber’s group, we’ve been looping them into our daily emails and it’s been fun sharing things like pictures of pets and Game of Thrones memes. So when Amber told us that Vicki and Joyce were going to be in our Pittsburgh office last week, I was SUPER STOKED. Like, stupidly so. I was eager for some new faces and the chance to be social. It is SO QUIET AND BORING in the office most days! Like, no one talks. Most people have their earbuds in all day and if I do dare to speak out loud, no one ever hears. I’m like a fucking tree falling in a forest, you guys.
Anyway, I woke up bright and early Monday morning, bad moods be damned. I got ready, ate my breakfast, considered leaving a few minutes early to grab the earlier trolley just so I would have more time to piss around during the meet n greet Amber set up in our conference room, but instead I left at my regular time. The fare machine was down so my fare attendant boyfriend told me to just go on and not worry about and then he winked which would maybe be creepy if he didn’t have Jamie Lannister eyes.
What a great start to the week, I thought! Free fare, fresh blood and bagels at work…I was actually smiling in public!
But then after I got on the trolley, it only made it three minutes down the track before stopping.
And straight stayed stopped for FORTY-FIVE MOTHERFUCKING MINUTES, ya’ll. I’ll get to that in another post because I have a bunch of trolley tales to regale no one with.
So, yeah. I was like 30 minutes late to work and totally missed the meet n greet because the conference room was already too crowded by the time I got there and my social anxiety was in full effect.
Later that morning Amber brought Vicki over to sit with me and when I went to shake her hand after Amber introduced us, Vicki asked, “Is it ok if I hug you?” and went on to say that I’ve helped her out so much over the years and look I’m not a huggy person but I made an exception because that was so sweet! So then she sat with me for an hour so I could show her some things I do on the daily but mostly we just chatted, don’t tell Amber lolol.
I was worried though because they put Vicki in my old desk right in front of Glenn so I had to go over there and make sure he wasn’t being a jerk to her at which point he was sure to tell Vicki that I’m considered the office bully but I folded my hands under my chin and made angelic expressions so Vicki said she refused to believe I was a bully.
Then I showed her and Joyce my collection of RIP Glenns and they were like OH ERIN HAHAHA and it was then that I knew I had them brainwashed by my charm.
On Wednesday, we had a meeting with our full group present (actually, this is WRONG because CATHY took the day off!), and usually I’m like, “Ugh, meetings” but this one was exciting because we were all together in one room! Before the meeting started, Joyce and Vicki were asking us if it’s always so quiet on our floor and we were like, “Oh yes” and they were saying how bizarre it is for them because the Chicago office is lively and everyone keeps their office doors open.
I don’t know how that happened. But yeah, it’s why I won’t eat anything crunchy at my desk because literally the sound you’d hear in that tomb would be my mastication.
So, in true “stalling-the-meeting” fashion, I started to tell everyone a story about how when I was 19, I quit this one office job that I had because, you know, I was 19 and didn’t want to work, but my mom was paying my rent so I didn’t want her to know that I quit my job because then she’d be like “OH HELL NO, FREELOADER” actually she would have never said that because I also had her charmwashed. Anyway, I used to collect CDs of sound effects and TV show theme songs because I was REALLY INTO having creative answering machine messages. One of the CDs had office sounds on it, like phones ringing and hard typing, so anytime I needed to call my mom during the day, I would play that in the background so it sounded like I was at work.
“OMG ERIN!” Amber and Vicki cried in unison.
“How this story never come up before?” Todd asked, while Glenn just rolled his eyes.
I guess I didn’t realize how idiotic this story was but it was really just an effort to preface my suggestion of playing that CD in the office so it would sound like, you know, an office.
From the 90s.
My other suggestion would be to play soft rock throughout the department. Something nice and soothing that probably no one would object to, like Phil Collins or Richard Marx.
After the meeting, it was time for Nate, Todd and me to take Joyce and Vicki to lunch! Amber was supposed to also go but she had already gone out to lunch with them on Monday and Tuesday and said she was all lunched out, so she gave Nate the company card and put him in charge! WE WERE GOING TO LUNCH UNSUPERVISED. It felt exciting yet scary all at once.
Nate put me in charge of WALKING US TO THE RESTAURANT. When I got to the part where we needed to jaywalk (my co-workers have taught me so many bad habits), I started to freak out because jaywalking is scary, so Joyce was like, “Well….why don’t we just walk to the corner then? I don’t understand…” Yeah, because people in Chicago are normal!
I remember Barb told me this story once about a time she was in Columbus for a hockey game and when she just ever-so-casually and naturally jaywalked, someone said to her, “You must be from Pittsburgh.”
It’s awful, you guys. We are truly terrible people.
Anyway, we went to the Yard and I was stoked because they have Impossible Burgers there! Also, I made Vicki ask the host if we could sit in a corner table and I scrambled past everyone to claim the best seat at the head of the table.
“Ugh, I feel like I was MEANT to sit here,” I sighed and Todd was like “no.”
Meanwhile, Joyce was like, “Who is that one kpop band…BLT or something?” LOL, no, but go on! Anyway, she said that while BTS was in Chicago for their concert, a BTS pop-up shop went up near the Chicago office so Joyce was going to stop in and get me something before they left for Pittsburgh.
“But the line was three blocks long!” she cried. Actually, that seems short for anything BTS-related! I really appreciated the thought though. These ladies are so cool and I can’t believe that in the 9 years I’ve been working here, I haven’t made an effort to get to know them.
This was one of the best work lunches I have ever had! Man, I felt myself growing very attached to Joyce and Vicki. Even Todd, who never knows who anyone is, knew who we were having lunch with and agreed that it was a good time!
I made Vicki and Joyce admit that of the three lunches they had with coworkers that week, ours was the best and they said yes without hesitating but I did notice that Joyce that looked at a passing waitress with hostage eyes. She learned it by watching Todd.
Thursday was J&V’s last day in our office so our whole entire group, finally together at last, went on a field trip to Millie’s (still mad at them) for ice cream! Todd was like, “Please no more pictures” right as I hollered, “WE NEED SOMEONE TO TAKE OUR PICTURE!” I passed up two normal looking people in line and went straight for the way-too-tanned Miley Cyrus-looking girl who just walked in with her boyfriend and right around the same time I was beginning to get a contact high from their weed perfume, I asked, “Can you please take our picture” but she continued to look straight ahead but I learned to NEVERTHELESS, (she) PERSIST(ed) so I asked again and she snapped her head to look at me in such a way that I thought she was going to go all CASH ME OUTSIDE on me but instead she said, “I WAS JUST GOING TO ASK YOU TO TAKE OUR PICTURE TOO. WE’RE ON VACATION.”
It was really strange because she hadn’t even looked at me up until then, but ok.
I asked her where they were from and she said, “Wheeling WV!”
OK, that’s like an hour away, but whatever. Live it up in the “big city” while you can, I guess.
So that’s how we got this fantastic group picture!
When there was a small moment of silence while we mindlessly gorged on our ice cream, I shot my hand up in the air and said, “I have a great suggestion. What if we keep Joyce and Vicki and send Glenn back in their place.”
Silence….then stifled giggling…then Todd and Cheryl just flat out cracked up, giving the OK for everyone else to laugh too.
“That’s….Erin,” Amber said to Vicki and Joyce in a tone that I couldn’t tell was more proud or disappointed, perfectly summing up my office identity.
Meanwhile, Glenn was too in his ice cream zone to even notice I had spoken, so Amber had to tell him and he for once had NO RETORT.
I miss them already. It was cool to have a bit of a shake up around the office for a few days!