Friday, December 9, 2011

A Christmas Miracle (For Realsies)

Not too long ago, one of the big boss guys came into town.  Completely at random.  I didn't know he was coming.

I was not dressed like a hobo like usual, but it was close.  The jeans I was wearing were only on their third day, and my fleece jacket covered up the wrinkles on my button down.  I was even wearing jewelry.

I ran into the guy in the cafetorium (yes, I just said "cafetorium" with a straight face.  Shoot me now).

Why does this remind me of the holidays?

It started out as a nagging half-memory.  What was it?  I searched through some of my old writing. Something... I know there was something...

After about an hour, I finally found this little unfinished piece, written at the end of 2001. I call it, "A Christmas Miracle".Let me take you back a few years.  Back when I worked the night shift at the illustrious Copy Whores (the name of the business has been changed to protect... the, ah... I'll be honest.  I'm not protecting anyone here.  I just like saying the word "whore"). 

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I drooled on myself at work the other night.  How embarrassing.  I wasn't even tired.

I was just standing there, happily and mindlessly bookletizing a manual for a client. I turned to stack some of the books in the finishing tray and felt the surprising numbness of another paper cut.

"Son of a-" I started to say when dri-i-i-p.

I was so shocked by the saliva stretching out of my mouth and the soft splattery noise that it made on the books that I didn't close my mouth or wipe my lip for a second.

I searched in my line of sight for a tissue or paper towel, and found none.  I decided that my sleave would have to do.

Wait a minute..

Wait.

I couldn't see my drool splashes anywhere.  Maybe I had imagined it... maybe, I hoped...

I saw a spot of darkness on the front of my shurt and looked down.  How long had I been drooling?  Was I just standing there pouring spit out of my mouth the whole time?  What's next? Peeing my pants because I forgot to hold my bladder?  Passing out because I forgot to breathe?

I blotted at the dark spot on my shirt with my sleave, hoping that it hadn't soaked in yet, and managed to make the dark spot look darker and twice as large.

"Great," I said, "I look like... I look like a drooling idiot."

It's OK, I thought, It'll dry before anyone sees me.  I mean, who comes into copy-whores at 3AM?

I glanced at the counter, and jumped.

There was someone there.

Swallowing to make sure I didn't drool again, I put on my best customer service smile and threaded my way through thecopiers to the front counter.

"Hi!" I said brightly, "Is there something I can help you with?"

He stared at the front of my shirt with old man eyes as I approached, saying nothing.

"Sir?"

His eyes traveled slowly from my chest to my face, looking vague and lost.  I wondered if he was senile, maybe an escapee from the retirement home down the block.  It had happened before.

I was about to speak again when he said, "I heard the same Christmas music when I was in here yesterday."  His voice was soft and gravelly, and virtually expresisonless.

"Yeah," I said, wondering who I should call. The police, maybe?  "They have it on a two hour loop starting on October 1st.  I think they are trying to drive me crazy."

His eyes sparkled for a moment, as if to say, "Driving you crazy?" 

I continued rapidly, "I have a 10 hour shift so I hear the same stuff five times a night."

He nodded, looking forlorn.  "Nobody writes new Christmas music anymore."

His eyes wandered back down to the drool spot on my shirt as he spoke, and I self-conciously reached my hand up to fidget with my necklace and block his view.

"So," I said, trying to change the subject.  "You were here last night?"

He nodded. "You were talking to yourself."

"I-" I said, "I don't really remember.  It's possible, I suppose."

He smiled, "I figured you were daydreaming."  He glanced out the window as if realizing it was actually night time and maybe "daydreaming" was the wrong word.

I gave a strained chuckle "I suppose I do that, now and then," I said, "So I don't get too bored.  You say you were here yesterday?"  I could feel my eyebrows knitting together.

His eyes were amused, "Well, I am kind of hard to notice if you aren't looking for me."

I frowned.  It was actually strange that I hadn't seen him come in.  He was barrel chested, taller than me and had the whitest hair and beard I had ever seen.  How exactly was this man hard to notice?

We stood in silence for a moment, studying one another.

"Well," I said, "Was there something I could help you with?"

"Nice of you to ask," he said.  His voice seemed stronger with use, "But I'm fine.  You can go about your business."

"OK," I said, feeling awkward.  "Let me know if you need anything."

"Sure," he said, smiling.

"So," I said, not wanting to leave him just yet, "So... you come here often?"

"Every day," he said.

"And what..." I stopped.  I was going to say, "And what do you do here?" because I could see he wasn't carrying anything, but maybe it was rude to ask.

We stared at eachother again, and then he pointed at my hand.  "You're bleeding," he said.

"What?"

"Your hand."

I looked down.  Oh yeah.  The paper cut.

"Excuse me," I said, "I had better take care of this."

I backed up a few steps.  He didn't move, just stood there smiling.

Finally, I said, "Bye," and turned to walk to the back room to clean up.

"Be seeing you," he called after me.

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So that's it.  There wasn't anything else written down.  I remembered there being more to the story, but I was tired of looking.  Maybe I just imagined finishing it.  I know what happened though.

Dude at the counter was Santa Claus. 

And he gave me what I wanted for Christmas that year.

I got RIFed (that's a the initials of "reduction in force" turned into a verb for those of you who don't speak corporateze.  We don't say "laid off" in corporate land.  Such negative connotations!  Just like we say "nonconforming" instead of "broken" when referring to warranty parts... focus groups say it's better!).

All the joys of an unexpected extended vacation, none of the guilt of quitting!

Sure, Santa and I have had words since then (dude will NOT give me that winning lottery ticket I keep asking for, or the pet octopus), but at least I know he's real.

So anyway.  Bringing this story full circle:  Big Boss Man was in town.  The dude actually referrs to himself as "the big dog" or "the big kahuna".  For real.

He came to town and no one would tell me why.

I pinged my ex-boss in chat a few cubes away:

Me:  Did you know the Big Boss was here?
Her: Oh, yeah, I was in a meeting with him.
Me: How did I not know this?  No one told me I wasn't supposed to dress like a hobo this week!
Her: Sorry, I forgot.
Me:  Now I keep thinking I'm getting RIFed. 
Me: And then I thought, That would be awesome! So I probably won't be.
Her: LOL.

So cross your fingers, everyone, and maybe that Santa won't be a dick again this year.  Let's all hope for a Christmas Miracle!






20 comments:

hoodyhoo said...

I think after 4-plus years, my bosses have learned if they don't want me to dress like a hobo, they're gonna have to pay me more. Also, the nervous breakdown helped -- they don't say SHIT to me now!
And as far as the unintentional drooling -- I do that, too -- glad I'm not the only one who goes through "excess saliva" days!

Keith said...

I have drooled at work. Often. Though usually not on my clothes.

Downsized. Rightsized. Redundancy. Packaged. Bean-counted. Escaped. There are many words to describe the same experience. Sometimes it's a good thing. What's important for new workers to understand is that they are almost certainly not going to retire from their current work. So, either they choose when and how to leave, or the company will. It is safest to assume the company will spit you out onto the sidewalk like used chewing gum, and plan accordingly.

I have looked into having an octopus for a pet. Very tricky, and they don't live long. Evidently some of them like cats. Dogs aren't enough of a challenge.

And the lottery thing. There has been some research that winning a lottery is not a ticket to happiness and a wonderful life. As near as I can tell, if you have a messed up life before winning the lottery, your life will be even MORE messed up after. Money is a multiplier of whatever is in your life.

Besides, making lots of money isn't terribly difficult, though having a soul or a conscience does put a bit of a damper on it. Keeping it is harder. Understanding how much to keep and how much to spend day to day on necessities and having fun is much harder. That balance thing.

Whore. It's a great word. Pity about the negative connotations. What idiot decided that it was ok to exchange all sorts of other goods and services for money, but not sex? Some old religious whack-job control freak, that's who. There is no real reason on earth why whores shouldn't be able to set up a storefront business just like a dentist, or 7-11, or a hair stylist. Subject to zoning bylaws, regulation, and licensing and stuff just like every other business. it's not going away, so we might as well grow up and talk about how to reduce harm to those involved (buying and selling), and tax it.

Leauxra said...

What I have learned today: Both Hoody and Keith drool, just like I do! YAY!

Hoody: I have to admit that this happens more than I would like, although not as often as when I would work nights.

Keith: Honestly, I usually leave jobs within a year of getting them, which is probably why I am often messed up financially, and have an abject fear of financing. The nice thing about getting laid off is that they give me a bit of extra money for doing what I was planning to do anyway: Leaving.

And I know the lottery won't make me happy. But being poor doesn't make me happy, either. Sure, I could be rich, but I am too honest, and a soul.

And this is why I love my blog. I can say WHORE as much as I want.

Angie said...

Don't you just love Christmas miracles?! We were "furloughed" a couple of years ago at Christmas time. I should have been pissed off that unemployment pays less than half my actual wage, but instead I was thrilled because the place was consuming my soul and I needed it for the holidays.

As to the drooling... I haven't had that particular experience except when laying down watching TV, however I do have a tendency to brush my teeth in the morning and rinse without completely getting the toothpaste off my lips. By the time I make it to the office, I have to wonder how many people I spoke with at the store, the gas station, and the office BEFORE I notice that I look like I've been blowing a polar bear.

Anyway... ho ho ho Merry Christmas girlie!

Tim said...

I also drool. Particularly while I'm at work. But I only drool in my sleep.

Stop judging me, my work gets done.

Leauxra said...

Angie: I actually "get" to go on furlough this year. Hey, 11 days off in a row, even if it DOES eat up my vacation time at a time when it is inconvenient to run away to Cancun.

And I have so done that. I also went to work one time and there was toothpaste in my hair. I have no idea how that happened.

Tim: I thought you were going to say, "But I only drool when I'm drunk..." Is "sleep" a euphemism for pissed?

Paula said...

I drool a lot in my sleep, then I wake up and it's dried all over my face and pillow. I hate when the big people come into town and no one will tell me why, it makes my anxiety go through the roof.

mistyslaws said...

Wait, back up . . . you met SANTA??? But, what did he mean by being in there every night? Was Santa stalking you? Wow, guess the whole North Pole crowd are really creapers, huh?

Does the big boss look anything like Santa? Cuz if he's visiting, maybe you will get that RIF you were hoping for. Otherwise, maybe you will just get a raise!

I would so love to be laid off. I would be so happy to have unemployment. Instead, my asshole new boss just eliminated my entire division. Yeah, that is awesome.

Leauxra said...

Paula: I TOTALLY agree. And when I am anxious, I say inappropriate things, and cuss a lot. It's terrible.

Misty: Yes. I met Santa. And he's a TOTAL creeper. "He sees you when you're sleeping... He knows when you're awake..." How does this song not make you paranoid?

And big boss can't be Santa. Sure, he's round and he has white hair, but he only has a mustache, and no beard.

Me too, me too. There's always next fiscal quarter...

lisa from insignificant at best said...

Whore is a great word. You know what else is a great word? Douche.

Anywho...

I always suspected Santa was a Chester the Molester. He see's you when you're sleeping? He knows when you're awake? I'm guessing they removed the line "He peeks at you when you're in the shower.", not because it doesn't rhyme, but it reveals his true self.

StephanieC said...

Hey.

I always have drool on my sleeve, but it's from the Great Dane.

RIFed looks awfully closed to FIRed in my brain. Not "fir" like the tree, but... well, you get it.

Being away from a job for too long has turned into a very bad thing for me. Too much time to think, no motivation to get stuff done, and lack of purpose.

A short break is always good, but... I'll stop now.

Perhaps the daily copy-store guy was in security and saw you over the video security system... almost LIKE he was there?
No?

Also, I am impressed with the number of casino spam comments you get. I subscribe to the comments, so I get lots of them.

You know you're a solid blogger when...!

Leauxra said...

lisa from insignificant at best: Dude, you're right. Maybe THAT's why Santa is always so jolly... he knows where all the naughty girls live...

Stephanie C: I love huge dogs SO MUCH... although a lot of them drool... It would be a good cover for me though.

The difference between RIFed and FIRed is that when they RIF you, they give you a sack of money for not working there. It's actually a little awesome.

And what IS with all that SPAM... I think I have finally become, like, INTERNET FAMOUS or some shit. I'm really glad that Blogger is pretty good about catching that stuff. My favorite ones are the ones I get on my first post, "You don't seem very popular..." Grrr,,,

Keith said...

Teh' Blogger is pretty good about catching spam. Disqus offers a really cool setting, in that you can be notified of any comment that has a link in it, and can moderate it before it even appears. Since most spammers want a link in the comment, and your own blog buddies very seldom put in a link, it's all very handy.

Leauxra said...

Keith: I have heard good and bad things about Disqus... I love the idea of threaded comments, but some people find it difficult to long in to... How are you finding it?

Susan DeBruin said...

Wait - what's this that Keith says about your own bloggers not posting links? You mean I shouldn't link my blog in every comment? Dang!! [Facepalm]

Well, at least I'm not a creepy stalking Santa... ;)

Leauxra said...

Susan DeBruin: I think it will still link back your name to your blog... it will just wait for you to confirm you're going to allow links in the messages. I seem to get a lot of links from Anonymous trying to get people to some kind of casino web site. And a bunch of weird Russian sites, too.

PudMonkey said...

So, I totally love that you met Santa! And, although it IS great to be able to say the word WHORE as much as you want, I really liked Copy Monkey better.

And, sad news! I actually have, like work to do at work now, so I can't just spend all day reading your blog. What the duck i sup with that?? Stupid State. First they won't buy me colored pens and now they want me to WORK, too??? Will the audacity never cease!?!?! Anyways, yeah, super cool that you met Santa.

karensomethingorother said...

That was hilarious! And creepy...how creepy WAS that guy? I don't know, but I was getting creeped out.

Not only that, but Twilight has ruined me and when you said 'papercut,' I saw that idiot Jasper trying to fly across the room to eat Bella.

Oh wait...I'll stop talking now.

Leauxra said...

PudMonkey: What? You like the word "monkey" more than "whore"??? Say it isn't so!

And I expect you will find ways to slack in time for my next posting. You're creative like that.

karensomethingorother: Believe me, Santa-stalker WAS super creepy. I think if I had seen him again, I WOULD have hit the panic button.

And as for the Twilight reference... holy crap. I didn't know what danger I was IN. It was totally creeper-stalker-VAMPIRE-Santa. This is why he gives away presents! So that every child in the world will invite him in! HE MUST BE STOPPED!

I think this may become a blog post.

Love said...

Good to know that S.C. hangs out in copy whores.....and maybe he reads "Twilight," and that's why he kept staring... and moved so silently every time....ugh....