Call Me Crazy…

…but I think Dr. Seuss might be working in my office.

I love my job!

 

Dr. Seuss

I love my job. I love the pay!I love it more and more each day.
I love my boss, he is the best!
I love his boss and all the rest.I love my office and its location. I hate to have to go on vacation.
I love my furniture, drab and grey, and piles of paper that grow each day!
I think my job is swell, there’s nothing else I love so well.
I love to work among my peers, I love their leers, and jeers, and sneers.
I love my computer and its software; I hug it often though it won’t care.
I love each program and every file, I’d love them more if they worked a while.I’m happy to be here. I am. I am.
I’m the happiest slave of the Firm, I am.
I love this work. I love these chores.
I love the meetings with deadly bores.
I love my job – I’ll say it again – I even love those friendly men.
Those friendly men who’ve come today, in clean white coats to take me away!

Poem to Start the Week #12: He Tells Her

He tells her that the Earth is flat—
He knows the facts, and that is that.
In altercations fierce and long
She tries her best to prove him wrong.
But he has learned to argue well.
He calls her arguments unsound
And often asks her not to yell.
She cannot win. He stands his ground.

The planet goes on being round.

 

Wendy Cope

A Story of Lunch Breaks

This is how my office life works.

I get in precisely 13 minutes late every morning (a mix of unfortunate company shuttle timetables and my need to press snooze exactly six times before I finally crawl out of bed, don’t ask). I throw my backpack under the desk, then run to my supposedly super-duper-secure-but-I-suspect-it’s-made-of-recycled-cardboard locker to get my laptop. Yes, we all dutifully lock our laptops, magic mice, broken staplers and strawberry scented hand lotions before we leave the place in the evening. It’s company policy they say, though I suspect it’s exclusively based on everybody’s reluctance to leave their belongings unguarded when there’s a sticky-fingers Romanian (yours truly!) roaming free on the premises.

Valuable hardware finally plugged in and my hands freshly covered in strawberry flavoured pomade, I eventually deign to go over my inbox, check the outpour of life changing stuff people are posting on Facebook, and dive into the ever informative online tabloids. I know, I know, I’m not the psycho-hard-working bumblebee you all fantasized I was??? Oh, the horror!

The truth is that my super duper exciting project has recently been finalized and delivered. And yes, it’s been crazy hard work and I’ve had my someone-please-bludgeon-me-with-my-keyboard moments throughout, but that doesn’t really explain why these days everybody seems to think that I deserve a bit of a break, and they haven’t given me anything new to sink my teeth into. So recently, my day to day geeky adventures in the office have made room for endless, soul-wrenching, pure boredom.

By 10:15 in the morning, I’m already bored out of my mind and looking forward to the few distractions of the day: slow paced trips to the water cooler, a minor bug getting everybody deliciously frantic for half a second or so  (talking about website bugs here, people, no self respecting insect would waste its time buzzing around our bore of an office!), and lunch breaks.

Lunch break is when I get to walk out of the building and stroll down the parking lot for a minute long, car fume flavoured trip to the office canteen. People walk around said parking lot carrying piping hot plates and sharp cutlery back to their screen topped desks (why eat with others in a purposely designed, food spillage friendly space, when you can rush back and stuff yourself in front of your Facebook feed?), you run into really fit looking fellows, plates filled with mountains of mayonnaise drenched chips and end up hating your leaf-eating-yet-somehow-still-fatty self, it’s wonderful.

Now, this repetitive, tasty, it-finally-feels-like-I’m-doing-something-even-if-it’s-only-chewing canteen adventure would be the happiest time of my day, except for the fact that the entire staff, most of my fellow eaters, and I suspect the canteen furniture as well, hate my guts.

It’s not even my fault, you know. I’m a no fuss, always-chew-with-your-mouth-shut kind of gal. But I’ve had the bad luck of going to lunch accompanied by absolutely crazy people, and I’m now being labeled crazy myself by association.

Take Paul for example. Now, he may be one of my regular fellow lunch buddies, but he really shouldn’t be allowed to eat in public places. And I’m not talking about a fun and games, informal interdiction. Nope. There should be a law, an actual law preventing Paul from ordering and consuming food outside of his own kitchen.

He’s the kind of person who will take half an hour to order a burger. Remember Meg Ryan’s character in When Harry Met Sally? (most of you are probably to young for that reference, but anyway) Well, Paul is psycho Meg Ryan times six when it comes to ordering food. He needs all beansprouts picked out of his stir fry with special tweezers, and dutifully disposed of in a perfectly sealed, ozone layer friendly container. He needs his onion rings to be precisely 1.4 inches in diameter and to be fried into perfection until they’ve reached the one and only acceptable onion ring color, GoldenRod, or, for geeky Web Design connoisseurs like himself, #DAA520. His chips need in no circumstances touch his peas, and would ideally be imported from different continents and cooked in separate kitchens, in Evian water held at room temperature sixteen days in advance. Well, you get the picture. Every. Chef’s. Nightmare.

My other lunch partner is David. Now David, he may look like a regular guy from afar, but he is the clumsiest, most dangerous to society and to himself person you’ll ever meet. He must have dropped and smashed at least a dozen plates in the few months we’ve been having lunch together. He leaned over the soup bar (to better inhale the flavours, of course!), and his glasses fell off his nose and into the soup pot. Twice! Have you ever tried dragging around the tallest, most badly coordinated human being? Through a cramped canteen during lunch hour rush? While his glasses are covered in steaming tomato soup? No piece of cake, I tell you.

Apart from the soup incidents though, David has had a plethora of cutlery induced burns, cuts and bruises, and just a couple of weeks back he stumbled over his own two feet and fell against the open salad bar, smashing the glass panel above it  to pieces and making the entire canteen unusable for the rest of the day. No one really cares for food and a side of glass chips, thank you very much.

Now, thankfully, David’s managed not to kill anybody, or himself (yet!), and Paul has still got a bit to go until he turns the staff and fellow queuers completely suicidal, but my association with them crazy people has definitely affected my previously immaculate canteen status.

I walk in, the calm before the storm, the bearer of bad tidings. They hide the knives, bring out the first aid kits, the super absorbant kitchen towels, light a bunch of zen friendly incense sticks and start praying for strength. They give me the stink-eye, of course, and the smallest, greasiest portions, which is fair enough I suppose.

Always super duper, glass-half-full optimistic as you know me, I’m hoping all this will shape me into a stronger (and slimmer!) version of myself, so I have yet to dump my reliably psychotic lunch partners and try solo eating. Am I a good friend or what?

Lunch was rather miraculously uneventful today, but David and I are off to the cash machines soon, so if I don’t post anything in the next couple of days, he’s probably gotten us both kidnapped and/or dismembered. In which case I’d better take this opportunity and wish you all Easter celebrating people Happy Holidays, and everybody else a lovely, sunny, mishap free weekend!

March This and That: Other People’s Roofs and I Am Not Alone

I didn’t even want tot do a This and That post this month, it having been this horrible I’m-the-ultimate-house-hunting-robot-so-I-barely-have-time-to-pluck-my-eyebrows-nevermind-doing-super-duper-blog-worthy-things month from hell and all.

I’ve written about this soul draining house hunting business way more than any sane person would care to read about, and I’d promised myself I wouldn’t force it upon you again. But this is what I do these days. Looking for a place of our own and pretty much nothing else. This is what’s on my mind. This is what’s been defining this month, the ones before it, and surely the coming ones, so it’s difficult to avoid not only thinking about it, but also yapping about it all day long, however annoying it may be for everybody else.

Long long story short, we are still looking and it’s still the kind of thing I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemies. It’s become the most difficult trial our relationship has had to face so far and there’s been a lot of endless, property centered bickering throughout the process in our previously bickering free, loving household. I don’t think we’re parting ways just yet though, as house hunting in London may just be one of those things which suck the love and joy out of your relationship, but surprisingly also tie you to one another in a million painful, unbreakable knots. And what else could a gal like me wish for?

My relationship-killing-house-hunting adventure aside, March has had its good moments as well. Because guess what, humanity? This blog thing is turning out to be kind of wonderful, and I am actually making friends through it.

Yes, you read me right. I was as surprised as you are. And yes, they are real people. I’m not imagining them and they’re definitely not some spamming robots attempting to steal a bit of interwebs stardom from my obviously super relevant online corner. They’re living and breathing human beings, I swear. We’ve exchanged Skype IDs. We’ve been stalking each other on Facebook. I’m even going on a blind date with one lovely lady this weekend, which is a bit intimidating, because I’ve never been on any kind of blind date before (Yup, and I’m almost 30. Talk about lame.). Plus, I’ve painted this I’m-the-image-of-perfection portrait of myself on this blog, and she’ll surely be disappointed by the real life always-on-a-bad-hair-day version. But hey, at least I’ll have a blind date to brag about for a month or two!

This meeting people online thing is tricky business.

First of all, I thought I was way too old and bitter to keep making friends into my thirties. I mean, I’ve already got friends. Sure, you can easily fit them all inside a Mini Cooper, and they’re all thousands of miles away in lovely Romania, but who cares. They’re mine. We’ve got a history. Everything’s easy, comfortable when we’re together.

And making new friends, that’s never easy, right? I mean, you don’t just bump into someone in the middle of the street, have one look at each other and decide, hey, we’re BFFs now! Or at least that’s never happened to me. Instead, there’s that embarrassing, incipient exploration phase, when you talk about your star signs and your favourite colours, and you worry they won’t get your jokes, so you don’t make any jokes, and then you’re sure they’ll think you’re boring, and you start blurting out stupid random things or you just sink into uncomfortable endless silences, all the while desperately wondering what you’d been thinking, as it’s oh so clear you’ve lost all your friend making abilities somewhere along the way. Now imagine all that happening on Skype (perhaps while you’re clicking through the other person’s Facebook photos, and they’re obviously so much cooler than you!), maybe in a foreign language, and to a hopeless antisocial phenomenon like me. No piece of cake, I tell you.

As frightening as this making-friends-or-something-like-it is turning out to be, it’s actually absolutely amazing, and I’m determined to be the friendliest I can possibly be and not scare any of you away anytime soon. It may take a lot of self control work (Do not talk about houses. Do not talk about houses. Do not stalk people on Facebook. Do not swear. Stop talking about the darn houses!), but hey, you’re worth it!

That’s it for now, I hope April is turning out great for everybody!

Things We Fight About When We Fight About Things

Yesterday we met Victor for a quick bite in Soho and a London Web talk on Software Architecture at the Radisson Blu Hotel. A couple of hours later, V. and I were sitting in a half empty tube car on our way home, centimeters apart but absolutely not touching and clearly hating each other’s guts, our frowns conveniently hidden behind our Kindles. We didn’t talk or make eye contact for the entire trip, and though we became somewhat civil later on, there was tension in the air throughout the rest of the evening, and he was still far from my favourite person in the morning.

Why, you ask, was our relationship suddenly on the verge of destruction, and on the super duper International Day of Happiness of all days? Well, behold the very mature, extra valid reason for our near separation.

We owed Victor fifty pounds for a couple of tickets he’d gotten us for another tech conference. As soon as we met him yesterday, I was bugging V. to give him the fifty pounds back, knowing we’d be forgetting about it. On our way to the restaurant, I was interrupting their conversation with I’m sure super duper loveable fifty-pounds shrieks. I was snoozed, of course. We’d settle the business when we got somewhere warm, V. said. So I waited until we got our table at the restaurant, safely out of the rain, faces buried in burrito guts. Fifty pounds, I dared suggest again, sputtering rice everywhere like a proper lady. Oh shush, they said. We’d take care of it later, once we reached the talk venue. Several burrito pounds and a run through the rain later, we were sitting in comfy chairs in one of Radisson’s function rooms, giddy with excitement at the prospect of becoming the best Software Architects on the planet. Do you think the darn fifty pounds finally exchanged hands? Sure, I dutifully remembered about them. Too bad V. and I were already on the tube on our way home when that happened, having parted with Victor fifteen fateful minutes before.

So of course I turned my evil witch mode on, and ripped V.’s guts (Discreetly, mind you. I never yell on the tube, I’m classy that way.) about how he never listens to me, how I’m always right and how he’s always wrong, how none of our friends will want to hang out with us once Victor tells them the stolen fifty pounds story, yes, STOLEN, we’re thieves now, V. just made us thieves, was he happy about that? For some reason, my very reasonable arguments made him think I was crazy. Then he couldn’t hold it in any longer and blurted it out. You know you’re crazy, right? Which is when I decided he was no longer worth talking to and I got my Kindle out. Classy, I tell you.

On my way to work this morning, still hating him a little bit and still very much convinced I was NOT crazy, I found myself wondering if this is the sort of thing they mean by irreconcilable differences. Are V. and I slowly piling up the grounds for a Hollywood style divorce? I mean, I’m all in favour of having stuff in common with Jennifer Lopez, you know, but did she really dump Marc Anthony because of an unsettled fifty buck debt? And if she did, by the way, she was most definitely not crazy, OK? (I had to google famous celebrity divorces to even come up with a broken celebrity couple by the way. I’m that lame.)

You’ll be relieved to know that V. and I are not parting ways just yet. It was not an easy decision to make. I mean, I had to admit, out loud, that I am slightly crazy. He in turn admitted that most times he just assumes I’m crazy and simply ignores half of what I say, usually by zoning out and fantasizing about cars, or buckets of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream. For some reason, I don’t feel like I’ve won this fight. Our irreconcilable differences may have been reconciled for now, if reluctantly on my side, but we’ve still got a million other things to fight about, and my time will come.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the rest of our life together. Sure, we’ll spend a good part of it bickering about how I leave my hairpins everywhere, how he leaves his everything-but-hairpins everywhere, how I never do the vacuuming, how he never does the dishes, how there’s no more cookie dough in the cookie dough ice cream, how I always feel like having some cookie dough when he’s just laboriously picked and chomped it all, and left me some weird looking, cookie dough free, melting goo behind, how he’s always late and how I always want to get early everywhere, how I don’t want to live on pizza for the rest of my twenties, how he despises all vegetables unless they’re part of a pizza topping, how I’m crazy, how I’m absolutely not crazy and he’s an idiot. It’s always good to be in a healthy relationship.

I’m now heading off to a lovely, relationshipy weekend of badminton violence and savage flat hunting, with hopefully no divorcing business in the process. And if I’ve been fighting throughout the Day of Happiness, I’ll be so much better behaved today, and since it happens to be World Poetry Day, I’ll leave you with a lovely poem about fruit and feelings and stuff. 🙂

The Orange

By Wendy Cope

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all my jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.