Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wild, Wild West

Office Space Update: I've decided to...experiment this week. I'm not a passive-aggressive person by nature. Typically, I'm just flat-out aggressive. I'm not very fond of being passive-aggressive and I hate it when people act that way with me. If there's a problem, tell me, or even yell at me inapprorpriately. I can handle that. We can either talk rationally or have an argument. Either way, we express our feelings, get the problem out in the open, and most of the time, resolve the problem. Passive-aggression (I think I made up a word. Get over it.) usually just leads to a build-up of ever-pissier feelings until there's a complete breakdown of communication or an all-out brawl.

However, on Wednesdays, Cocky Cowboy comes to town. And so I've got to be prepared for our little showdown. In the only language he seems to understand: truly passive-aggressive and borderline immature gestures. I stuck my To-Do list to the computer monitor instead of the desk, left my notepad and some (non-sensitive) forms splayed across the surface. I also left the sweater I keep at the office to combat the arctic blast coming from our A/C draped over my chair. And, most annoying of all, instead of logging off my computer, I left it locked onto my user name. Which means that he'd have to know my network password to even use the workstation to type an email (he doesn't).

This is the part where I blow the smoke from my gun.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Blind Side

I no longer believe in Murphy's law. I believe in Lola's law. Anything stupid and irritating will happen to me. I hadn't been in the city for a week and on my way to work, I missed my turn-off. No big deal. I took the next exit and turned around. Oh yeah, and while I was finishing my detour, I got into a car accident. At possibly the most screwed up intersection I've ever seen. I don't even know if the cop wrote the other guy a ticket (I know he didn't write me one).

So, there I was. Alone, in a strange city with no car and three dollars cash in my pocket. I have never been more glad that I pay extra for rental coverage (In passing, I note that most law students and lawyers I know have really good car insurance. Trust me, it's a good idea, especially if you live in a no-fault state. Like Pennsylvnia). Of course, I was not so happy when I had issues with my car at the Enterprise. Like, right as they were giving me the keys to the rental. Well, I couldn't get to the bank to figure out the issue. So, I had to find another way to work. Swell. Not like I could just call a friend and have them drive me, now is it? I managed it, waiting all the time for that magic moment when I'd be able to cry into my beer with a friend, maybe someone who had known me longer than 5 days. Texts and calls to various friends yield no results. I break down and accept that Barney is my best shot. At least he always has booze in the house.

"Hey, B. It's Lola. Are you around tonight? I'm in serious need of beer and bar food."
"Sorry! I'm out of town. Anything good going on tonight?"
"Not really. It's my first week of work and I got into a car accident this morning. I just really need to get out."
Being the concerned friend he is, he cuts right to the chase, "Why didn't you just take the SEPTA?"
Dude. Your concern is overwhelming.

Office Space

I work in a pretty nice environment. My co-workers are friendly, helpful and seem genuinely happy. I credit this to the fact that most of them are not lawyers. I find myself being happier and more friendly than normal when I am at work. I know, it's weird. I am, almost by definition, cynical, demanding, and prickly. Yet, when I go to work, I find myself smiling and upbeat. Like I said, it's weird.

But there's an exception to this rule of happy. The dark side of the happy halls of my office space. The office space. We're undergoing construction and, since we're a major hub,we frequently have people coming in from satellite offices for meetings or to staff projects. This means that space is at a premium. People find out who's out of town training or on a project, or just relocating and squat in their office. Mostly by getting there early in the morning, signing on to the computer, and locking it whenever they have to walk down the hallway. Seriously, it's like the Wild, Wild West. You have to get there early and stake your claim. Lay your briefcase down on the desk, and make damn sure you sign on to the computer and leave it locked rather than logging out whenever you have a meeting. It brings out the dark and twisty in our corporate culture. I got to work at my normal time the other day, about 7:45. And, I thought I walked into the wrong office. There was a guy sitting at my desk, as though he'd always been sitting there. I said hello and walked back out to check the plate. Cocky Cowboy gives me a withering stare. And then, the smirky sumbitch asks me what I'm looking for.
"My desk. This is office X, isn't it?" I say, pointedly, looking at the desk. Where I stupidly left only a few generic papers, insufficient to mark my territory. "I'm Lola, by the way. I'm working in the vaguely legal department." He condescended to introduce himself to me and then recline in my desk chair. I just stared at him for a moment, waiting for him to deduce that he was sitting in my space, and you know, maybe give it up and sit in one of the TWO OTHER empty workspaces, instead of the one I was clearly trying to get to. "Well, do you mind using the other desk?" He continued.
Knowing that I couldn't access my computer anyway and that all I had to do that day was some reading and prepping that I could do anywhere, I decided to take the high road, agreed, and sat down at my office mate's desk. I figured it was best not to make waves.

And then my phone rang. I could see from the caller I.D. that it was my supervisor. And he got all huffy when I asked him to please hand me the phone. And then he continued to passive-aggressively make faces and noises when people came into the office to meet with me or drop things off. He was even shirty with Bosslady. Bosslady was pissed. Bosslady is awesome.

Oh, hell no. I really don't know what it is about me that makes some men think they can treat me like they're some ditzy, vaguely irritating, caricature of an Eisenhower-era secretary. Maybe I smiled too much when I walked in, maybe my ponytail was too high, maybe it was a mistake to wear a dress with a floral pattern. Whatever. It won't happen again. Next time he is in my office, he will not sit at my desk, especially since once I get everything settled in I'll have sensitive information there. I made a trip to the little store and bought some stuff for my desk and resolved to get there even earlier the next day to stake my claim. In our little Western, he's the vaguely weak and evil cowboy who wears black and is missing teeth. I am the woman who runs the saloon and keeps a rifle under the bar and a tiny pistol in her cleavage. It's on, Cowboy. This office ain't big enough for the both of us. Give me back my office, or I'll shoot your ass off.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's Always Sunny

Fun fact: I am incredibly indecisive about really minor shit. I am incredibly decisive about the big stuff. I can (and have) spent a half an hour debating between a Panera sandwich or take-out sushi for dinner. Meanwhile, a few months ago,I got a phone call and decided, at 2:00 on a Friday afternoon, "What the hell? I'll move to Philadelphia."

Actually, the move went pretty much the same way. I was staying with my sister in Panther Country, also known as East Jesus, USA, so my internet access (and contact with other people) was limited, to say the least. Seriously, my future brother-in-law was warned that he had to move his lawn tractor quickly to avoid being ticketed. Which begs two questions: 1) You can be ticketed for that? and 2) How often are tractors ticketed in front of your store that that's the first thing you say, woman?

Back to the point, I kinda blew out of town without any fanfare. It's not that I intended to get the hell out of Dodge like I was running out on my rent (even though it probably seemed that way). It's just that I was pressed for time and strapped for cash. Oh, and good-byes make me crazy. I always really want to see people before we leave, but sometimes making the big production feels forced, or, worse, final. And then I freak out. Which is silly, because I know to the date and approximate time the next time I will see a lot of people I had to say "good-bye" to. But, I'm kind of an emotional fuckwit about these things and making plans for "one last hurrah" totally freaks me out because that means I would have to acknowledge that I will not be able to spontaneously meet my favorite people for coffee, drinks, or cider mill runs. I have had exactly two moments of real clarity about this decision, and both were brief. Let's face it: I know like, four people here, two of whom I haven't seen in years and one who is Barney, and skilled as he is in the ways of convincing me to drink on week nights, he is about as equipped to handle my eventual crushing bout of homesickness as a jellyfish is to perform open heart surgery. The burden is going to fall overwhelmingly onto Thelma, and she lives on the other side of town.

It doesn't help that when I was driving into town, it started raining just as I entered the city limits. And then last night, a storm knocked out my hotel's satellite (and totally ruined my attempt to catch up on True Blood). Turns out, it's not always sunny in Philadelphia. After spending my morning locked out of my office and getting a blister from my favorite snakeskin heels (oh, like you couldn't predict that I would wear impractical, yet killer heels to work) there was no better time for me to stop driving around with my suitcases in my car like a nomad and discover the bottle of vodka tucked lovingly into a bag of my unmentionables (Eh, I'll mention them: thongs!)