Friday, June 25, 2004

...How I Rid My House of Pests

I used to work with this woman Susie. Anyone who has ever worked in an office has likely run across a “Susie” before. Here’s the scenario:

You start a new job. You have the same worries anyone starting at a new office does: Will anyone like me? Will anyone talk to me? Will anyone invite me to lunch? Will they remember they hired me?

Your first day, all of your worst fears come to fruition. Your desk isn’t ready yet (nope, they didn’t remember they hired you). Your new coworkers barely look up as you’re given the “meet everyone in the office” tour (nobody likes you and nobody is going to talk to you) You wait and wait to take your lunch break, hoping desperately that someone will come by and ask you to join them, but noone does.

Just as you are sinking to the lowest depths of depression, a bright and shining light appears out of the darkness. You put away your razor blades temporarily. Out of the light walks a kind and friendly face. This is “Susie”. Unlike anyone else at the office, “Susie” knows you exist. She talks to you. She asks if you’d like to go to lunch sometime. She asks if you'd like to stop for drinks after work. She asks what you’re doing over the weekend-maybe you can get together. You’ve made a new friend and all is good with the world.

Soon you come upon a perplexing conundrum: "Susie" has worked for the company for quite awhile and has an extremely outgoing personality. Why is it you appear to be her only friend?

One day, when you are deemed ready, the answer makes itself available to you.

“Susie” is fucking annoying.

Such was the case for me when I started at Company X several years ago.

I had been transferred from the Bay Area, my home of 22 years, to Orange County, where I knew all of about 1 person. In my fantasies, I had imagined that my first day on the job I would be given a king’s welcome, with all normal office activities put on hold as they celebrated my arrival. Instead, I came to an office where I had no desk, no phone, no computer and where nobody seemed all that excited that I had traveled halfway down the state of California to start a new life.

Nobody except for Susie. She talked to me. She invited me to lunch. She took me to all the local watering holes. She planned out entire weekends of activity for me. Then she started to bug the shit out of me.

The very thing I had feared the most when I moved down, that I would be spending every night and weekend in my apartment alone, instead became an unattainable fantasy that I could only dream about. I had a terrible time explaining to my girlfriend, visiting me briefly from college, why this strange woman was calling me at all hours of the night.

One evening, in celebration of something or other, my department had a barbeque at a coworkers house, less than a mile from my apartment. Susie asked if she could spend the night at my place, as she lived a good hour away and had been drinking. She was aggravating, but I would have felt bad if she died. I reluctantly obliged.

The next morning, knowing from experience that Susie had a deserved reputation for being a Houseguest from Hell (the kind who never leaves) I immediately began sorting laundry, hoping that seeing me occupied by this mundane activity would hasten her exit. As I was doing this, Susie headed to the bathroom.

A brief description of my apartment at the time is probably in order. The glossy ad in the apartment-finder magazine boasted “WASHER/DRYER HOOKUPS”. What that translated to was, “Tiny, little space for a stackable unit in the bathroom”.

As Susie exited the bathroom, I entered so I could put a load into the washing machine. I was stopped dead in my tracks by the stench. Susie had taken a dump.

Logically, I knew this was natural. Everybody poops. And the steaks we had the night before were pretty big. But most women I knew tried to keep this activity under wraps.

I accused Susie of rotting out my bathroom. She denied it.

I questioned Susie how she could walk into my bathroom with it smelling like nothing and walk out of it with it smell like rotting sewage.

Slightly less denial. “I just had bad gas”.

I raised an eyebrow. To myself, I questioned the logic behind this lie, wondering how it would be any less humiliating to have flatulated so badly that one could mistake it for dump than to have actually gone ahead and dumped.

Red-faced, Susie scowled at me, “Just let it air out!”, and stormed out the door.

She pretty much stopped inviting me out all the time after that.

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