Decide you want to take the next Friday off. Tell all your friends you will be taking next Friday off. Fantasize about the joys of a four-day week. Fantasize about not being at work on Friday even though it is Sunday and you are not at work anyway.
Discover that the boss is not in. Run around covering for him, pausing to consider that you could do 75% of his job with absolutely no further training since 75% of his job is pretty boring and straightforward. Consider whether or not the other 25% is boring and what you should be aspiring to, if not your boss’ job.
The boss is still not in. Think about calling the boss to discuss Friday. Think about it at 10am, 12pm, 3:32pm and 5:00pm. Unfortunately, you are afraid of your boss, the phone and the tone of voice he will take when he says “You called to ask me that?”
Watch the boss as he stomps around with a frown on his face and yells into the phone for the majority of the morning as he "catches up." Stop by his office three times and each time find him in a meeting. Compose an e-mail, then decide the boss will think it is creepy if you e-mail him about vacation time. The boss claims to be a people person.
Deal with the possibility that the boss will say “No” if you ask him now. Wonder if you should just abandon the idea entirely and come into work the next day like a normal person. Feel guilty for not having asked sooner.
Walk into the boss’s office. Say “So, since I’m not going to be in tomorrow, I thought we should go over x,y, and z.” Watch the boss nod. Ha!
Re-Boyfriend’s birthday is this weekend. I, being me (naturally), have not yet bought a present or even thought of one beyond vague notions of underwear and hot sex. Which isn’t really a present so much as me fantasizing during work.
A major obstacle to the gift selection is that I cannot decide what, generally, I should be looking for/thinking of.
1. Wait for Re-Boyfriend to mention the one item he cannot live without but, improbably, has not purchased. Hope this mention comes within the next day or two, that I can afford the item and that it is not available only in Sri Lanka.
2. Take this opportunity to buy Re-Boyfriend a present along the lines of his past gifts to me. Hope I can figure out what gift is an appropriate response to a sex statue, a clawed teddy bear and an oddly titled book.
I do, all evidence to the contrary, love Re-Boyfriend. I even sometimes think that I want him to be happy. In my wilder moments, I even want to make him happy, a distinction that makes me slightly nauseous.
However, I don’t think I can pass up the opportunity to engage Re-Boyfriend in a battle of wildly inappropriate and random gifting.
Posted by gotcha at 4:53 PM
When I learned that our department would be getting an intern, I was excited. Though aware of the responsibility involved, I assumed that having an intern, overall, would be fun--much like a puppy that you need to train but also licks your hand endearingly.
This assumption has been proven incorrect. Having an intern is actually inordinately stressful with little to no positive aspects.
Our department’s intern has been at the company for three days and the task of shepherding her around has fallen largely to me. She is sweet, she has a great sense of humor (read: laughs when I say things), and she is a much welcome tomboy in a sea of poufy skirts and pedicures.
All this cannot save her presence from sucking.
She is, surprise surprise, the daughter of a higher-up. It is oddly difficult to look at the face of a CEO with longer hair and better skin without feeling the need to cower, just slightly. There is also the possibility that, over dinner, the intern will tell her father that I do nothing for the company but read Gawker and engage in meaningless banter with the office slacker. It is hard to assign tasks to someone that has the power to fire you and looks like someone else that has the power to fire you.
My position of authority is further compromised by the fact that, as a company bitch, I can’t help but feel camaraderie for a fellow soldier in the field. Though she may be a cadet while I am whatever the hell is marginally higher than a cadet, we’re still wading around in the mud together. Because of this I feel incredibly awkward giving orders, which, in turn, makes the intern feel uncomfortable accepting them. Like puppies, interns need discipline. Otherwise they will piss all over the carpet and/or bite you.
Then there is the problem with all first-time interns. Teaching them how to do something takes longer than just doing it yourself, and there is nothing, nothing that they already know. Copy machine? Mystery. Stapler? Passing acquaintance. “Simple” tasks like cutting and pasting in Excel become a minefield of questions. Why does that number change when you move those numbers? What’s a formula? What’s a sum? Where am I?
I wish that she was a real intern. Then I could make her get my dry cleaning.
Posted by gotcha at 11:43 AM
My boss just told me that I should forge his signature more often. He offered to sit with me and help me learn how to do it properly.
“I’m tired of signing my name,” he explained.
“Can I get one of those mechanical things that signs for you? The one that they use in senator’s offices and stuff?”
“I don’t know what you're talking about, but no.”
Sometimes I feel like I am in an episode of The Office. (British version).
Posted by gotcha at 2:02 PM
Walk to my assistant’s desk and ask her to fax a piece of paper, ignoring the fact that the walk to the fax machine would have been shorter than the walk to her.
Ask, every day, what my assistant is eating for lunch in the hopes of imparting some body issues.
Read my assistant’s e-mail. That should be fun.
Take people out to lunch on my corporate card, then make them feel guilty about the money I have spent.
Leave my assistant to wander about aimlessly for seven hours, then give her ten projects to do at 4pm. Sometimes, for effect, I'll stop by her desk at 5pm as I'm leaving. I'll tell her to go home but offer no advice on how she is supposed to both go home and complete the tasks I have assigned.
Make stressed out faces at everyone that walks by my office and mutter “Rough day,” or “Fucking shit.” Then I'll play solitaire, hoping that my windows do not reflect my computer screen to those who pass by. If I get really paranoid, I'll close the door and pretend I am on an "important call".
Inquire, when underlings ask me for time off to visit a doctor, “What for?” If one of my underlings is so audaciously funny as to answer “The gynecologist,” I will repeat “What for?”
Stop people on their way to the bathroom and ask, very demandingly, if they have a moment to chat.
Say things like “You! I need it now! Where is it?” then run into my office and slam the door, giggling at the knowledge that even I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Mention, casually, that I love brownies, knowing that, if I repeat the sentiment enough, some ass-kisser somewhere will make brownies for me. And they better be fucking good.
Posted by gotcha at 3:39 PM
The (34 year-old) Girl has stolen another piece of my heart.
The Best Friend of Re-Boyfriend drove the Girl to a barbecue in one of the rare sections of Brooklyn that has escaped gentrification. After eating and talking and drinking, the Girl decided it was time to leave. But first she wanted a cigarette. Standing on the sidewalk (as if BF would let anyone smoke in his shiny new car) she realized she didn’t have a light. She took a quick look around and spotted a group of large men on a nearby stoop, wearing wife beaters and drinking out of paper bags.
The Girl ran off with her halter-top wearing, barely five foot self, to ask them for a light. BF just stared in horror. He realized he would have to defend his woman, something that he does not look forward to, let alone enjoy. And those fuckers were big.
Predictably, the Girl asked “Does anyone have a light?”
Predictably, one man answered “You a sexy little thing, ain’t you? I bet—”
Before he could finish the thought, the Girl pointed at him and said,“You! Shut the fuck up."
He shut the fuck up, probably more out of surprise than intimidation.
"Now, who has a light?”
The Girl got her cigarette lit without further incident and BF told everyone the story, giggling like a schoolgirl.
And, even if BF is not, I am in love.
Posted by gotcha at 10:02 AM
Yesterday, I read through the comments on the previous post. The concept that resonated the most was “Wait and see what happens when the ex-girlfriend moves here.” I am a very wait and see sort of girl. It’s the only rational course of behavior. Otherwise you’re just dealing with make-believe and paranoia. I truly believe that patience is the key to a healthy relationship.
The comments that resonated the most were "Dump Re-Boyfriend," because seriously, I cannot walk around with a stomachache for months, living on borrowed relationship time and trying not to vomit. I decided to take a break from Re-Boyfriend and give him all the ex-girlfriend loving time he needed. Since the last argument had gone so hysterically wrong with the crying and the yelling (yes, that would have been me) I decided that I should be in a public place this time and, more importantly, not drunk.
Things started to go awry when I met my mother for dinner. We had two glasses of wine. Things went further awry when my mother advised me to “pretend” break-up with him, just to see what he would do. She likes to study Zen Buddhism, meditate and talk about the meaning of life, but when it comes to practical matters her advice is never guided by a higher meaning and in fact shows a blatant disregard for “doing the right thing.”
CB: I don’t think that’s, like, mature.
Mom (with dismissive hand motion): Whatever.
Then Re-Boyfriend called and said he had to stay in his apartment to open the door for a keyless roommate.
Fine. Maybe the “not drunk” and the “in a public place” conditions had been thwarted but I would stick to the truly important thing—the speech.
“I think we should take a break while your ex is here. You can figure things out and then, a few months later, we can talk about getting back together. I just don’t want to be your girlfriend while you figure out how to be, or if you can be, friends with your ex.”
I was so rational. It was beautiful. I didn’t even feel like I might cry.
“No. I can't let you do that.”
"Is this like a George Costanza thing?"
"We are not breaking up."
“I didn’t say that, I said ‘take a break’.”
We had reached an impasse.
The situation was resolved when Re-Boyfriend began to look panicky and said he wouldn’t see the ex at all, ever, if that was what I wanted. (Though he did add, "I just feel really mean.")
As soon as he said that, I felt a lot better, benevolent even. Would it really be so bad if he saw her once in a great while?
Then I thought I might have been, unwittingly, a little manipulative.
Then I thought I might be a lot closer to the stereotypical crazy female than I would like to believe.
Then I thought, “Whatever.”
Posted by gotcha at 10:29 AM
I was a little flustered this morning, having spent the majority of last night fighting with Re-Boyfriend. Or, to be more precise, fighting at him. He was mostly quiet, saying the occasional line of “You know I love you.”
We were fighting because when the evil ex-girlfriend comes to town, he will be seeing her and they will be friends.
Because, I mean, why not? And why would you even care CB? Because the last time they saw each other they had sex? Please, they've totally talked on the phone since then and it's completely possible to get over someone via phone lines. And why wouldn't they stay in touch? They were in love. Oh, whoops, did I make it worse? Well, how about this? She totally doesn't want to get back together. Even though she doesn't have a boyfriend. Even though the last time she saw him she wanted to get back together. Even though she cried about it. But come on CB, don't be like that, she knows his family, how could they not hang out? And Re-Boyfriend's sister loves her. And Re-Boyfriend likes her sisters and do you really want to get in the way of a big group of sister love? Why, in the name of God, would you feel weird? OBVIOUSLY you have nothing to worry about.
While the girl that I want to be would not care, or at least be able to pretend she didn't, the girl that I actually am is fucking pissed off and it shows.
Given all this, I was less than alert this morning as I muttered obscenities under my breath. In my stupor of rage and sleep deprivation (not to mention the haze created by a thin veil of tears—I know, I’m losing it) I made it to the right subway stop, but somehow wound up waiting for the train going in the wrong direction.
I did not realize this until a train pulled into the station, I got on and a mechanical voice informed me “The next stop is 86th street. Stand clear of the closing doors please.”
I leapt out just as the doors were closing on my shoulders, giggling and feeling ridiculous. Safely back on the platform, I caught the eye of a bearded man resting on a bench. I smiled sheepishly, thinking he somehow knew what had just happened.
He smiled back and said, in a conspiratorial tone, “I know. I didn’t like the look of that train either.”
He nodded sagely before adding, “I can tell you are very wise.”
I nodded back as seriously as I could before leaving to wait for a train going in the right direction.
For some reason, that man made my morning.
Update: I would like to clarify that there was an actual, not metaphorical, man on the subway platform this morning. But thank you for believing in my potential for creativity.
Posted by gotcha at 12:19 PM
The evil ex-girlfriend of Re-Boyfriend is moving to Manhattan in a few months.
Eight reasons that the evil ex-girlfriend is evil:
1. She is a vegan
2. She is a runner
3. She went to med school
4. She is pretty
5. Re-Boyfriend once lived with her
6. She met the parents
7. He met the parents
8. I have invented this entire persona for her in my head, where she is funny and witty and fantastic in bed, but also gentle and loving and able to sleep while cuddling.
All of this conspires to make me feel insanely competitive and insecure, which is terrible, because how does one compete with someone who is saving animals through dietary restrictions, running marathons to demonstrate discipline and entering a profession where she can save lives for Christ's sake.
It makes me feel like I should meet Re-Boyfriend's parents and go ahead with the whole moving-in idea just to have a fighting chance, instead of taking these things at my own, freakishly commitment-phobic pace.
I understand that this is not, technically, Re-Boyfriend’s fault, and so I have made a huge effort of will to blame him only in my head.
At least I have a few months to accept this. Or slowly drive myself crazy. Whichever.
Posted by gotcha at 2:51 PM
Re-Boyfriend’s roommate/Best Friend found a girl this weekend. And then he kept her. All weekend.
Having met Friday night, one would think that, by virtue of its name, the one-night stand would end Saturday morning. Especially since the Girl seemed to have no recollection of the previous night. She wandered about the apartment making comments such as “Wow, these walls are such a pretty color,” and “Did I do cartwheels last night? Sometimes I do cartwheels when I’m drunk.”
But instead of leaving, the Girl took a shower, put on Best Friend’s pajamas and told me, in the manner one would tell a dirty joke, that they had “lost the condom.” I decided she was either the craziest person I had ever met, or I was on the outside of a very inside joke. Later, I amended this to include the option “Both.”
We all went out to dinner Saturday night and I couldn’t help it—I began to like her. Ignoring the fact that Best Friend and her appeared to have great difficulty not touching each other for more than five seconds at a time (which made it interesting to watch them eat) she was just kooky enough to make you feel completely at ease. Plus, she told Best Friend that she loved me because “CB’s so pretty and sweet looking, then she opens her mouth...”
But my love of her made me even more suspicious. She had been around for twenty-four hours and was settled in like it had been a month. This could not be a sign of sanity or good things to come.
After dinner, Re-Boyfriend and I went out, leaving the new lovebirds on the sofa, kissing each other’s noses and calling each other “Baby.” This was effectively no longer a one-night stand, but a strange event.
When Re-Boyfriend and I came back at two-thirty in the morning, drunk and, on my part, sleepy, the Girl popped her head up from the couch and asked if we wanted to run down to the diner and grab some greasy food before bed.
I felt as though Re-Boyfriend and I were the new couple, drinking and staying out late while the older, more mature couple did coupley things like paint pottery and watch independent films.
I knew it was ridiculous, but I felt like we were losing some unnamed contest with unspoken rules.
“I think I’m going to sleep,” I told Re-Boyfriend. “Will you bring me back cheesy fries?”
He looked uncomfortable.
Best Friend and the Girl giggled their way down the stairs as Re-Boyfriend called after them, “I’ll meet you there.”
“CB,” Re-Boyfriend turned to me after the door was safely closed. “Listen. You are coming downstairs with me and we are going to act like the loving couple we are.”
“They're not even dating,” he said in an exasperated tone. Part of the reason I love Re-Boyfriend is that he is just as immature as me.
“Fine, but I don’t think I can act loving.”
“Yes you can baby, I know you can do it.”
The next day, we woke up to find that the Girl was gone. So was Best Friend. He didn’t come back last night, which makes this a three-night stand and the fastest relationship kick-off I have ever seen.
Maybe it is partially because she is thirty-four?
Posted by gotcha at 11:32 AM
Yesterday afternoon Office Slacker’s phone rang. As he meandered about the cube aisle, I helpfully called "Hey Slacker, your phone’s ringing."
"CB," he said, coming to a full stop in front of my cube, "I don’t answer my phone. Seriously, when are you going to learn?" He returned to his cube shaking his head in mock disappointment.
At first this appeared to be just another instance wherein Slacker attempts to teach me the Tao of Slackerdom and I laugh while disregarding everything he says. These interludes have been occurring for a month or so now.
When Slacker asks why I am doing a certain task, and I reply that I volunteered, he says "Haven’t I taught you anything?"
When Slacker sends me links to marginally funny web content and I do not read it immediately, he asks "What could you possibly be doing that is more important?"
When Slacker randomly asks what I am doing at a given moment, and I say "Reading The New York Times online," he replies proudly "Good job."
It is nice, in a way, to have someone in this atmosphere of rewardless over-achievement that thinks "taking initiative" is a filthy phrase. I know this because one time he asked, in a disgusted tone, “Oh my God CB, are you taking initiative?”
However, it never occurred to me that his “advice” could actually be useful.
My job, by its nature, fluctuates between the extremely stressful and the excruciatingly boring. Additionally, I have discovered that it is possible to be both stressed out and bored at the same time which leads to a strange sensation that I cannot name.
Recently, a stressful period has set in and I have been running around like a banshee, constantly feeling that I am screwing up since working on one project leads me to consider all the other projects I am not doing at that particular moment.
Usually, when in this mode, I answer the phone religiously, since nothing scares me more than coming back to a desk full of paper and a phone that is blinking red at me, holding God knows how many messages saying God knows what. But Slacker’s (most likely joking) announcement that he did not, as policy, answer his phone, sounded intriguing. I decided to give it a try.
At first it was terrifying, especially when one person called twice in a row. He knows I’m here! He can see me! I thought in a fit of paranoia. But as the day went on, it became easier.
Interestingly, only one person left a message. I also received two follow-up e-mails marked URGENT which some would say defeated the purpose of not answering the phone. But I am far better at handling urgent e-mails than urgent telephone requests. Urgent e-mails allow you to get up, get some coffee and even ask for some help before addressing the task at hand. Urgent phone calls make me want to piss myself.
And now, when busy, I do not have to take them. Ever again.
I do, however, sense that there is something very, very wrong with learning office behavior from someone who is named Office Slacker. And really, this is not just his nickname on my blog. If you came to my office and shouted that name out, he would most likely respond.
To top off the [I have no idea what adjective to insert here] news that my best guy friend had gotten engaged, I received a strange voicemail from the roommate this morning, saying “Mumble, mumble, pregnant, mumble, mumble, mumble, baby.” I listened to it three times, but couldn’t make out much more of the message since it was delivered in that whispery voice we all use when making personal calls from work.
I immediately freaked the fuck out. I was unsure of which unsavory scenario to fixate on—the roommate was pregnant, the roommate had somehow found out that S. was pregnant, the roommate somehow knew something that would indicate I was pregnant. There were quite a lot of possibilities.
I called the roommate’s office and asked, quite sharply, “Who’s pregnant?”
She named, in a voice better suited to chirpy girlish low-fat yogurt commercials, one of our random mutual acquaintances who a) is married and b) wants a baby.
“I’m so excited!” the roommate squealed. “Aren’t you excited?”
I hung up the phone experiencing, for the second time in a week, the sensation of being a lot older than I had pictured myself being at twenty-four. (Note: Barely! I am barely twenty-four.) I mean, it is quite a turning point to realize that the announcement of pregnancies among your peer group is not the automatic disaster it once was. Ugh.
Posted by gotcha at 9:40 AM
Friday night I got the call that you always know will come some day, but never suspect will be that day. (Especially since that day found me drinking a beer, eating chicken fingers and barely twenty-four years old. All around a completely inappropriate time to hear that your once best male friend had gotten engaged).
My once best male friend is a friend from high school (and college—we both went to the same university) with whom I actually made a “back-up” pact as seen on Friends. When we were fifteen we decided that if neither one of us was married by the time we were thirty, we would get married to each other. When we were twenty-one we revised that age to thirty-five, because only fifteen year-olds think all hope is lost at thirty.
We were each other’s Valentine’s Day dates every year in college since neither one of us could manage to maintain a relationship through that troublesome holiday. We’d have arguments over who said what that time in the ninth grade, because neither of us could let anything go. He, with great patience, taught me how to play video games but never let me win. Whenever a college roommate kicked me out (sexiled me) due to the presence of a boyfriend/fling/one-night stand, his room was the first place I went.
He was my oldest friend, my parents loved him, he loved my friends and if, when I called him, I happened to wake him up, he’d answer his cell phone with “Are you all right? Do you need me?” (Then, when I said “No,” or “Hi,” he’d say, with great finality, “Good night, CB.”)
After college, we both moved to New York where he found a girlfriend and promptly disappeared. There were the occasional phone calls wherein he would want to catch up and I would want to harass him about when in God’s name we were going to hang out, but there were never any face-to-face meetings.
In a fit of desperation I even offered up Re-Boyfriend—“I’ll bring him, you bring your girlfriend, it’ll be great!” (It would not have been great, it would have been horrid, but I thought his sense of propriety was keeping him from fraternizing with females who were not his girlfriend. I wanted to find a way around it.)
Then Friday night, when I was at happy hour, he called to tell me he was engaged.
I did not know he had called to tell me he was engaged and so I answered the phone as such: “Hey fucker! I’m out with S. and a whole bunch of people. Come! Everyone wants to see you.”
“Actually, I’m engaged.”
I said nothing.
“To be wed,” he clarified.
I pulled it together and said congratulations with an appropriate amount of enthusiasm. Luckily, I was able to hand to phone off to S. who squealed much more convincingly, though still not perfectly.
When S. handed the phone back to me, I heard “Listen, CB, I’ve got to go make more phone calls."
“Okay. Congratulations!” It was all I could think of to say, though, in retrospect, questions about the ring and the date of the wedding would have been nice to ask.
There was a pause before my once best male friend yelled, at full-volume, “That's right. I’m taken baby!” before hanging up on me.
I stared at the phone for a second.
“S., I think he just said ‘I’m taken baby!’” S. laughed in this way she has that acknowledges something is horrible but at the same completely ridiculous and funny.
“Are you sure?” she asked, still giggling.
“Well… he could have said ‘What’s shakin’ baby’….?” S. just gave me a look.
“I’m never seeing him again, am I,” I asked rather sadly as I ate another chicken finger.
“Oh, you’ll totally be invited to his wedding,” S. said in a way that I somehow felt missed the point. “If I’m not invited, will you take me?”
I guess this means S. is my new back-up.
Posted by gotcha at 3:28 PM
Many commenters pointed out that if Re-Boyfriend would just give me a key to his apartment, both his narcolepsy and the odd people wandering his street would be effectively neutralized.
Once upon a time I did have a key.
Before Re-Boyfriend was a Re, or an Ex, he was just The Boyfriend and after a few months of sleeping together, he presented me with a key to his apartment. I was a little taken aback because, to be totally honest, he wasn’t even really The Boyfriend, just Cute Guy That I Was Sleeping With. As such he was supposed to be entertaining and replaceable, not doling out keys to his living quarters.
But for lack of a better solution, I took the key, put in my purse and promptly forgot about it.
This situation worked out for a few weeks. Re-Boyfriend was happy because I had a key to his apartment. I was happy because if you had asked, “Do you have a key to Re-Boyfriend’s apartment?” I would have answered “Yes,” but otherwise I had forgotten about the whole thing.
Then one day, on the way to dinner, Re-Boyfriend asked why I never used the key.
“Well, I’m not going to, like, pop in and surprise you or whatever. That would be freaky. And you have a roommate.”
Re-Boyfriend countered by saying it would be nice not to have to buzz me back in every time I ran downstairs for a diet coke. I countered his counter by saying “I’d feel weird,” because I couldn’t come up with anything better.
And at that point, Re-Boyfriend issued an ultimatum.
“Well, you should either start using the key or give it back.”
“Okay,” I said. And I reached into my purse and handed the key back. I do not like ultimatums.
(Luckily I was wearing the same purse that I had stowed the key in. Otherwise I would have had to say something ineffectual like “I’ll give it back.” Then I would have forgotten about it and eventually had the same conversation again.)
“No, no I mean, I want you to have it. Keep it.”
“I don’t want it.” I continued holding it out until Re-Boyfriend took it. I didn’t want it and if he chose to destroy our happy compromise by demanding that I use it, then that was his fault.
And that was the last I saw of the key.
But you all are right. Just because I rejected the key once does not mean that I do not want one now. And I will not think of it as a key but as an anti-narcolepsy device only to be used in emergencies.
Posted by gotcha at 11:05 AM