Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Waitress

I normally don't complain about work when I'm at home, or even get very riled up while I'm at the office for that matter. I don't have the kind of job that warrants that kind of energy. It's not important enough, I don't get paid enough, I'm not high up enough etc. Some might call that a bad attitude, but it's simply the reality. I like that I have a job that I don't bring home with me.

But today was just strange. The day started with an admissions counselor bursting into tears in our office and ended with a coworker spilling an entire Nalgene bottle of water on her computer mouse and keyboard. (To add insult to injury, she was just given a computer upgrade last week; the computer is brand new). And the events that transpired in between also left much to be desired.

I knew that the tides had shifted, that we'd surrendered all decorum, when one of the members of my team asked another to walk on her back. I'd expect as much from the one with the backache, but I'd never expect the other one to agree. But the next thing I knew, Ms. Backache was laying on the nasty office floor and the other was removing her shoes to walk on her back. You just have to trust me that this was very bizarre.

What put me over the edge personally was the presence of a new employee that has been in our office a lot lately for training. I can't stand her. And it really isn't her fault, she doesn't deserve the animosity I was feeling towards her today. I think most of it isn't even about her. This angst has been months in the making, long before she was even hired.

Basically, my department is merging with another department. We've been in a state of imbalance and transition for months with this merger. And it is one of those circumstances where, for the most part, everyone is civil and maintains proper office etiquette on the surface. But a dramatic power struggle is brewing underneath, with people taking sides.

This merger is happening because our department is successful and theirs is flailing. And it was thrust upon us from the top down, literally from the President of the university. The other department is incompetent at their jobs, unable or unwilling to recognize that their incompetence and resent having us come in and telling them what's what. Meanwhile, we resent having to babysit them. As the result of this merger, we inherited one of their employees. She has an attitude problem, is resistant to change and has a personality that would be difficult in any small office, let along under these circumstances. She would be Ms. Backache. Ms Pain in the ass. Ms. Thorn in my Side.

Just when I was started to get used to Ms. Backache, figuring out how to tolerate her quirks, the incompetent department hired the aforementioned new employee, whom I'll call Ms. Jazzhead. Why anyone trusted the incompetent department to pick the new hire, I'll never know. She's yet another employee we had no say in hiring; another strong personality to try to accommodate. And she is putting me over the edge. Have I mentioned that all of this is happening in a windowless room shared by up to 6 people, with only one point of exit/entry?

Under other circumstances, Ms Jazzhead would be tolerable. But given the constant struggle we've been in with her department for the past few months, I think her eccentricities have become just one more example of the overall inconvenience this merger has been. I'm calling her Ms. Jazzhead because she declared one day "I'm so excited to have access to the University Library because I'm kinda a Jazzhead." No further explanation. I was able to infer on my own that she must like jazz music and is looking forward to checking out new music from the library.

She says random stuff like that all the time:

"Is anyone allergic to lilacs? (This is as she is walking in the room at 8:00 AM) I picked some lilacs on the way here. They make great hair flowers."

Indeed, she often wears flowers in her hair to work.

"Anyone want some cheese? (Again, at 8AM) This is my favorite cheddar."

Today I saw her pick her nose three times, at one point bringing her blouse to her face to wipe it. I'm never using the computer keyboard she was using again. There a box of Kleenex on my desk. For the love of God, help yourself.

She was wearing her headphones and no doubt listening to jazz and was bouncing in her seat to the music. Not nodding her head to the beat, but full-on chair dancing. There were glutes involved. And she is simultaneous silently scatting along with music, mouthing "Ba da da da, bah boom!" and hitting an imaginary high hat. I couldn't take it.

Another thing about this girl, every time she eats, it is as if its the first time she's eaten in a week. She scarfs her food like she's ravenous. My boss said that in the middle of meetings, she asks people if she can have some of their food. Whenever she comes over here for training, she eats any communal food that is laying around. I was watching her eat and I couldn't stand it, she wiggles her nose while she rips into the food like a predator. She looks like a rabid bunny.

I know I'm going straight to hell for feeling this way, and for sharing it here.

Tori Amos has this song called "The Waitress." The song opens with this verse:

So I want to kill this waitress

She's worked here a year longer than I

If I did it fast you know that's an act of kindness


She sings later in the song:


I want to kill this waitress

I can't believe this violence in mind

And is her power all in her club sandwich


I heard Tori Amos interviewed about the song once and she said it is about wanting to kill this co-worker (they are both waitresses). And she feels simultaneously guilty about feeling so violent towards another woman, while resenting the Waitress for making her feel that way, and astounded by the power this woman has over her.

I had a moment of clarity yesterday where I realized that Ms. Jazzhead is my Waitress.

And for the rest of the afternoon, I tried to calm myself down by singing the refrain over and over in my head:

But I believe in peace

I believe in peace Bitch

I believe in peace

I believe in peace

I also stopped at Savers on the way home and bought this cute mushroom pin for 3 dollars. That helped.


Aust said...

One more reason not to kill - Weeds Season 4 starts Monday. Showtime is not available in jail.

Schmiddy said...

Another reason - none of your lawyer friends are going to be criminal defense lawyers, well at least the peeps I know anyway!

Smitty said...

I don't guys. She's so bad I'm not sure any jury would convict me.