Monday, December 20, 2010

The Name Game

When D was a little girl, she decided she was no longer into her given name. Well, actually, she had it in her head that if she changed her name, she could change her family. So, at the tender age of four, she demanded that she be known as "Vanessa" and adopted my uncle's last name. Apparently, she was not satisfied with me as an older sister and wanted a baby sister: my uncle's newborn daughter to be exact. For months, if you called her by name, she wouldn't answer. This caused no small amount of consternation to dance teachers, teachers, parents of friends, and especially my father. "What's wrong with that kid?" He would ask (oh-so-subtley in front of "that kid"). But not to Mama Lo, who found the entire situation hilarious. "Kid says her name's Vanessa," she would say, "call her Vanessa. She'll get over it."

As usual, my mother was right, and "Vanessa" learned that you can't change your identity by insisting that everyone called you by a different name. And she embraced her original life, and learned to play the hand she was dealt. She came to grips with having an older sister and a baby cousin, though I maintain that her discovery of what happens in those diapers is mostly to thank. I guess having a sister who was potty-trained and didn't drool all over her toys had its charms, even to a toddler. But the point is that she was a small child when she had this odd little identity crisis. And by the time she was an adult, she'd grown out of such insanity (and into all new types of crazy).

We should all be so lucky.

As people who know me in real-life already know, and the rest of you are about to find out, I have a crazy cousin (well, I have several, big family and all that, but this one is the definitive nut job). The stories are legend: ultimatums, temper tantrums and grand delusions. This is a woman who gave her boyfriend a proposal ultimatum. And when the deadline passed, she went out, took a loan, bought herself a ring, brought it home, and told him to give it to her when he felt like it. And then called everyone to tell them she was engaged. And then called us all months later to tell us when she was "officially engaged." Unfortunately, she called me during finals, with the mistaken belief that I gave a shit (I don't). I didn't recognize the number, or I wouldn't have answered, and my response was "Uh, didn't you get engaged months ago? Well, enjoy . I gotta go. I have a test to study for. " Somehow, over the past 26 years or so, she has somehow missed the fact that we're not close. Never have been. The older we get, the more I realize I just don't like the vapid, manipulative, shallow, lazy bitch. The delusional harpy thinks we're friends. Honestly, I don't know how ANYONE could fail to realize I don't like them.

That dear readers, was about three years ago. No movement on the wedding front. Until D got engaged. CrazyCousin tried to pull off a shotgun wedding. FatherTime, her ancient fiance, would have none of it. Then, CrazyC's little sister got engaged. All. Hell. Broke. Loose. We were treated to a rant about how everyone is "conspiring" against her and trying to "steal her thunder." "Next thing you know, it'll be Lola!" First off, bitch, let's not act like that's one of the horsemen of the apocalypse. Second of all, what thunder?

Then, there was her Christmas card. Aside from the Derek Zoolander-esque photo she selected, there was the fact that she signed her fiance's last name, despite the fact that everyone receiving a card knows that she is not, in fact, married.

Which brings me back to my original point. I thought it odd that she thinks that just by signing a different last name, her life would magically change and she'd have what she wants. Nevermind that anyone could go to shutterfly, pick a picture of themselves with a current or ex-boyfriend and sign his last name and accomplish precisely what she did: look completely unbalanced.

But I totally underestimated the absolute level of crazy this woman has achieved. She sent D a card signed, not, her legal name, Crazy Rose Lawless, but her "new name:" Zarea Marie K******. Apparently, she now insists that we call her by this ridiculous new name, much as my sister did at the tender age of 4. Whatever. At 4 it was kinda cute. Once you're over 25, not so much. I refuse to indulge in this absurdity. I will refer to her as Crazy until we die. And when she calls me on it, I'll just say "I'm sorry. I forgot. It's just such a stupid name."
Telling Jay this, he replies, "Maybe she has mental stability issues."
"Oh, I think it's pretty clear that she has mental stability issues."

Stash Our Trash

There's a running joke at the office. Actually, there are several running jokes around the office, most notably about the employee named "Not Me." "Not me" is an insanely busy employee, which is why he/she can never be found. But, he/she is always up to something, por ejemplo:

Q: Who's supposed to run this report?

A: Not Me.

Q: Who do I talk to about getting this information?

A: Not me.

Q: Who's in charge of this?

A: Not me.

It goes on. My irritation level varies with how badly I need the information or need something done. But that is not the point of this (very belated) post.

I was sitting in my office in a Santa hat (yes, a Santa hat. We all had to work a shift at the open house because our office hosts it. I was told to wear something "festive" to serve hor d'ourves. I ended up with terrible hat hair, so I left the hat on. I thought maybe it made me look festive. Probably I just looked derranged. My office is ridiculously hot and humid and so my hair, like the Grinch's heart, grew three sizes that day) when housekeeping waltzed in, absurdly, yet not entirely surprisingly, wearing reindeer antlers. Now, my branch fails at many things; just ask the national office, but what cannot be denied is that our garbage cans are always impeccably maintained. Why? We wonder (frequently aloud) is it that we're so good at this? Why are so many things so difficult for us to achieve, yet I can't even leave a used post-it in my garbage without it being speedily whisked away by the house keeping staff. In fact, for a while when I first started, two of the housekeepers used to come around one right after the other.

So, there I was, looking like a derranged escapee from a psych ward holiday party, eatingg my salad and watching Rudolph the red-nosed custodian empty a granola bar wrapper and a crumpled sheet of paper from my waste basket. When she inexplicably leaves me an extra bag.

"I'll leave you this extra bag, so when you're done with your salad, you can throw it away without messing up your trash."

Um. I wasn't aware that we were concerned about "messing up" the garbage cans. I was always under the impression that the garbage cans were there for us to...well...throw garbage in.

Nonetheless, ten minutes later I found myself holding open the loose bag to toss the remains of my gigantic salad in. What I'm going to do with this bag full of soggy lettuce, I'm no entirely sure, but I think that this place has finally gotten to me. No sooner do I shrug and toss the container than it rips through the bottom of the bag and salad goes flying all over my floor.

I'm sure glad I didn't mess up my garbage can.