Tuesday, October 12, 2004


I stopped by—I don’t know what to call it anymore, the former day job? horror house of yore? That Place Where I Used To Work and Totally Hated and Tried To Leave But Then They Laid Me Off Before I Could Do So, Those Bastards, Not That I’m At All Bitter–to say goodbye to the people I never had a chance to see before my dignified exit. I wish I could say I had some sort of Intergalactic Moment of Clarity as I walked up the steps and through the doors I’d be walking up and through for a year and a half of my life, but I was tired and all metaphysical realizations were pretty much processed on a level of “I like pudding!”

I dared not make eye contact with my darkened, vanquished office, fearing that somehow, if I crossed that threshold, it would suck me in and I would become rechained to that heavy desk, that immobile credenza, forced to format charts and type about linear feet of pipelines until the end of time, forever. Instead I looked in on my former co-worker Michelle, who now comprises the whole entire marketing department, to update myself on Life In Engineer Sewage.

She pointed to the wipe-off board where she lists ongoing project submittals. One had a deadline of December, which, seeing as we’d work on submittals with an average deadline of fourteen seconds from the moment they hit our desks, was extremely troubling. So for Michelle to even know this thing existed more than twenty-four hours in advance gave off Large, Horrible Submittal smell rays that practically knocked me out into the hall. It was a dreaded design-build. These were the things that used to keep us past two in the morning, involving enormous binders and three-hole punches and entire forests of world-ending resumes.

I expressed to her the disquieting mix of emotions flipping through me, an instinctive OH GOD IT’S A DESIGN-BUILD stomach-tightening accompanied by the marvelously zipping realization that I, personally, would have nothing to do with this.

“Huh,” I said.

People would pass by, stare at me as though I had just emerged from a tomb with linen wraps around my head and arms, and keep right on walking. I would say that the atmosphere was grim, as I stood there in the hallway of completely empty offices that once housed the marketing department, but doing so would constitute a misrepresentation of the word “grim,” a usage that far exceeds its capacity to properly grimify the reader. The entire building had the feeling of that town square scene from Gone With the Wind, when the casualty lists come out and people start discovering that all the people they had known, ever, were now dead (“The Tareleton twins, Rhett, both of them! All the girls in Finance, collecting their mugs from the break room and filling out COBRA paperwork!”)

At one point Firing Asshat walked in, looked at me in my shorts and T-shirt and ponytail, and said, “Glad you dressed up to come see us.”

Now there were a multitude of responses to this, 99% of them involving the words “screw,” “you,” and “with,” all of which I carefully considered and rejected before saying—big smile!--“Only the best for those who deserve it.”

Then I said, “Screw it, I ain’t working fo’ The Man no mo’!” and I kicked his ass and stole a ream of paper on my way out the door.

(Alternate ending: Then I kicked his ass and tossed his charred, still-smoking nameplate on the receptionist's desk as I walked out, saying, "Sorry about the mess..." Choose your own advenutre, kids.)

she shot first at: blondechampagne@hotmail.com

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