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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tripping Over A Mousetrap

A la J Money (except I am not nearly as funny), I will now subject anyone who chooses to read this post to whinging about my work place. I have to be up front about the fact that my workplace is - for me, at least - far preferable to many, including those I've had. I don't have to deal with things I did in previous employment. Here's what I don't have to deal with anymore, in chronological order:

Coca-Cola Taste Test Administrator: "Can I have the whole can?"
alternatively: "Do you have Max Headroom in the van with you?"

Order Filler For Music Company: The temp agency sold it by suggesting I would be packing boxes with sheet music orders in the back room of a music store. It was actually a non-climate-controlled two story warehouse. My first day of what was meant to be a one-week stint, it was 90 degrees outside and raining. They opened the monster truck sized garage door at noon to let some "air" in. I was 17 and college bound, and all the other workers were women in their 40's and 50's who had been working factory or warehouse jobs since they were 17. At noon, I got on the phone and used the fact that I had broken my big toe the day before starting to convince the temp agency I couldn't do this job. Broken toe + up and down stairs and ladders all day = my ticket the hell out of there.

Receptionist, Construction Company: More loveliness from the temp agency. Mostly it was me answering phones and explaining to the guys in the back/warehouse that I wasn't going to go out drinking with them because I was 17, and that was also the reason I wasn't going to go home with any of them. Yeah...that was the reason.

Concessions Monkey, Northtown Cinema:
Every Other Customer: Which pop is the large?
Concessions Monkey: The one that's biggest.
EOC: Which one is that?
CM [pointing to cups sitting on the counter directly in front of EOC]: The largest one is the large.
EOC: Oh, okay. How big is the medium?

Coffee/Eggs/Pizza Monkey, 24-hour Dive Restaurant: Do I even have to explain this one? Does it help if I tell you that this particular dive restaurant was across the street from a bar in the northern Twin Cities suburbs?

Secondary School Substitute Teacher: Where do I start? With my first day, where a 7th grader in remedial reading pierced his ear with the pointy thing on the eraser doohicky on his mechanical pencil, stood there bleeding on my desk and insisting he didn't need to go to the nurse? Or the six-foot eighth grader whom I had to physically prevent from throwing a desk at a much smaller classmate? You get the idea. Think those incidents x 7 years. Part-time, which saved most of my sanity. Well, slivers of it.

(Second Round of Graduate School - yay, I got it right this time!)

Psychotherapist, Residential Treatment for Prostitutes with Substance Dependence: Male boss (only man involved in the entire program) who insisted on getting his emotional needs met through the clients. Ew, ew, ew.

Now I'm in private practice. I don't even have partners to accommodate! But...I rent space. (Did I hear a shoe drop?) There are issues, of course. The salesman in the office next to me is so loud I can hear every word of his phone conversations through our shared wall. His fake-friendly-used-car-salesman laugh is incredibly distracting. Not the sort of thing that blends well with people trying very hard to talk about incredibly painful feelings and experiences. The sink/coffee station is outside my office door. My fault for selecting this office int he suite, but it truly wasn't a problem until Big-Haired-Widowed-But-Loudly-Dating-Octogenarian-Receptionist started. She is loud about everything, including her new boyfriend, but especially at the coffee station. She actually yells from there to the reception area, to ask the other receptionist where the coffee is - (isn't it where it always is, and if not, why not?) - or just to continue their conversation about the Oscars or why it's great "That Arab Guy"was killed by U.S. soldiers in Baghdad.

So, on to today. After my first session, I walked out to get a glass of water. Big Hair was there making new decaf. We had this conversation:

Big Hair: Oh, hey, Pooteewheet, Clint wanted to know if there's any way you could put that thing [white noise machine] inside your office.
PTW: Who's Clint?
Big Hair: Um, you know, Clint B., of B&B? (not owners or managers of the building; accounting firm 2 floors down)
PTW: Huh. No.
Big Hair: He said it looks like a mousetrap. Or someone will trip over it, and then we'd be responsible.
PTW: Trip over it. You mean, like this? [I have to lean against my office door as I walk even to come into contact with the white noise machine set outside it.]

A mouse trap? With an electrical cord attached? And no hole?

The best bit is that Big Hair is a bigger reason than Sales Guy for my putting that thing out there in the first place. It functions more to remind her to shut the hell up than it does actually to block noise.


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