Friday, January 06, 2006

Casual Friday

Copied from my LJ- 5/6/2005
I'm sitting at my desk with my shoes off, a stack of newly burned CDs to listen to and not another soul around. So even though I'm at work on a Friday evening, things could definitely be worse. Because I get so much more work done than my two counterparts and because we are so undermanaged, I could easily goof off the rest of the evening without anyone noticing. Not that I WILL necessarily, but I could.

I got this job because another employee named Pat is on sick leave. Pat is their super-achiever who can apparently operate one scanner with each hand and control the printers telepathically while completed documents float magically out of her ass. The official excuse for our backlog of print jobs is that no one can possibly match Pat's work output. People choose their words carefully when describing her, but between the lines I've gathered she's a misanthropic butch lesbian with a lot of piercings. Seems like a natural match, right? I'm mildly misanthropic, queer AND pierced. But apparently Pat is tetchy and uptight and difficult to work with. She acts annoyed with everyone and even dislikes my manager Lamont, an all-around likable guy. They'd probably love to get rid of her but she has cleverly carved out a niche for herself. She works circles around everybody and is the gatekeeper of all knowledge crucial to running the department. For instance, not even Lamont knows how our online document filing system works, only Pat. Nobody but Pat knows how to make the scanner accept tiny palm-sized booklets. And so on. Yesterday we learned her leave has been extended through the first of June. Before she left, Pat gave Loshondra (a.k.a. Lo) the bare minimum instructions she'd need to help keep the place running. Everybody treats her notes like the Rosetta Stone.

Lo worked for the company several years ago and returned this spring to work part time. She has a full-time job managing a bigger documents department at an insurance company. Her attendance has been spotty, so when they hired me they weren't sure whether they'd keep her. Then Lamont confided to me earlier this week that he'll be letting Lo go and keeping me when Pat returns. I was relieved to hear Pat's leave was extended. Lo may not be anyone's dream employee but she's the only one who has ever taken the time to answer my questions and show me how to do the job. She can't be bothered to some nights, all depending on her mood, but I'll take whatever help I can get. The job isn't rocket science but it can't be learned through osmosis either. I doubt Pat will be eager to train anyone, or glad to see there's another coworker to deal with. I joked to Lo that when I meet Pat I plan to run over, give her a big bear hug and exclaim, "I just KNOW we're going to be BEST FRIENDS!" Evidently this was hilarious, because it has been retold a hundred times.

What else about Lo... did I mention the bitch is crazy? No, seriously. Nuttier than squirrel shit. When she shows up at all, she comes sauntering in two or three hours late without bothering to call anyone. One of my first days on the job she was loud and inappropriate with Lamont in front of the company owner, yelling, "Don't be giving him no bullshit excuses!" (When that didn't get her fired, I learned a valuable lesson about how things work here.) She's a hardcore gossip and has told me more about our coworkers' private lives than I ever needed to know. X sells dope, Y's husband beats her, Z's wife screws around on him, and that's just what I heard the FIRST night we worked together. It's entertaining enough, but wouldn't you get to know someone a bit before you started telling such tales? I can't even imagine the fallout if any of her stories ever got back to their subjects. She surely dishes dirt about me too so I'm careful what I tell her, and of course I'd never repeat anything she says at the office. One night this week she even read Lamont's email after he left, ostensibly because "he never tells us anything". Not that smart of him though, leaving his email open with her around.

Lo married her prison pen pal four years ago. He has served 12 years for manslaughter after murdering his best friend. He was due to be paroled this month but his stay got extended for fighting. Now she's not sure when he'll get out and doesn't seem too excited about the prospect either. But she still shows up dutifully every visitation day and hands over a chunk of her paycheck to him. Maybe she can afford it, since she claims to make $22/hour at her other job (which is way more than Larry makes here, she informed me after sneaking a look at his pay stub). She showed me her husband's picture. Spidery handwritten declarations of love spiraled around the white space of the polaroid. He looks like he spends way too much time in the prison gym, with his action figure abs. Also? Serial killer eyes.

Despite the insanity, or maybe because of it (it's no secret I'm a little crazy too), I enjoy working with Lo. She's quite funny and the mood is usually lighthearted when she is here. I'm not looking forward to seeing her go. In fact I hope I leave first for another job. If my interview goes well on Wednesday, that could happen soon.

Okay, lunch break's over- back to the grind.

Music: Meshell Ndegeocello-Dance of the Infidel
Mood: Chipper