Monday, December 10, 2007

Temp-er, Temp-er

The magical thing about temping is that it can be both incredibly boring and interesting at the same time. Today was one of those magical times, starting before I even walked through the door. The company, an investment banking firm, is on the
9th floor, so I confidently walked in the elevator and pressed the number nine button. Contrary to elevator button pressing logic, it did not light up. Of course, I took this as a sign that I've been eating way too many Christmas cookies and decided to get my fat ass off the elevator and take the stairs. When I got to the 9th floor, I pulled hard on the door handle: it did not budge. Panicked, I ran down to the next floor and tried the door. It too was locked.

Visions of explorers, hundreds of years from now, exploring this secret, dormant stairwell and coming upon the really cute bones of a girl clenching a venti caramel frappuccino Starbucks cup in her hand raced through my head. "What a pig," I could imagine them saying to the camera crew. Weirdly enough, the thought of anyone discovering my excessive sweet-coffee-drinking ways was more of an incentive for me to dash down the stairs in search of an open door than the thought of asphyxiation. Thank you, Starbucks! I owe you my life.

Ten minutes later, I had finally gotten settled in to my very important position answering phones at the front desk. I could breathe easy--even if incredibly dull, this job would be a piece of cake. I leaned back in my chair for a nap, only to be woken up seconds later by loud screams coming from the manager's office:
"Aah! I told you to let me know when a fax comes in!"

The door burst open and a very angry looking sales assistant stormed out. "All faxes go to Dave! There's no need to tell you about the faxes!"

"Don't give me that! Don't even start! Just do what I tell you to do!"

No sooner had I avoided almost certain death by stairwell then I was thrown right in the middle of a war zone.

Carl, the manager, not to be outdone, stomped out of his office. He was coming straight for me. I ducked under the desk.

"What are you doing down there?"

Damn. Busted. "Uh... just looking for a pen I'd dropped. Found it!"

"Amy, that's a piece of old gum. Listen, I'm sorry you had to be witness to that. Marlene's leaving tomorrow because of stuff she's pulled here, and apparently she thinks her responsibilities have already ended."

Huh? Was this guy really bitching about his (former) assistant in front of me? A sounding board for executive whining was not on my temp job responsibility list. What an ass.

Luckily, things quieted down enough for me to continue that nap for some time after that. Until Dave showed up to work. Dave was one of those loud, fast-talking financial advisors that had an answer and a (bad) wise-crack for everything. Dave apparently was also one of those guys who lives under rocks. He caught sight of a big gift basket on one of the other advisors' desks and it was all he could talk about for the next hour.

"Well would you look at this! Who sent this?" (Look at the card, Dave.) "Marlene, who sent this?" I was really hoping Marlene would tell him it was the office fairy, but unfortunately Marlene was one of those professional, non-smart-ass types.

Dave then called the person who had sent the basket. "Hey! We got this basket here and I wanted to know how I could order me some baskets to send to my clients." (Look at the label on the basket, Dave. It will tell you the name of the company.) I looked around for that damn non existent pen again so I could shove it up my ear.

Another two hours of silent bliss passed until the excitement of the basket wore off.

"Shit balls! I can't believe those sons of bitches! This is fucked up! Son of a bitch!"

Dave burst out of his office in a flurry of curses; at first I thought that someone had removed the gift basket from the office. Dave grabbed his coat from the closet, pulling the hanger with it. "I'm going home! This is fucked up!" And with that, he walked out the door. It was two o'clock.

Despite my desire to follow Dave out in a blaze of glory, I dutifully finished out the rest of the day. I have never been so refreshed. Of course, I realized as soon as I got home that I'd left my cell phone there. Sadly, I'll have to return tomorrow for the phone in the off-chance that someone should happen to call. I only hope that I make it out of there alive.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Gym Rats

After a long hiatus, I've recently started frequenting the gym again. And suddenly I remember why I stopped going in the first place: There are a lot of people out there who do not follow proper gym etiquette and/or are just plain weird. I usually try to go either early in the morning or an hour before closing so as to avoid the large crowds, but it seems those are the precise hours that the weird people come out. I also get embarrassed by the excessive amount of sweat that pours off me when I work out. If I so much as lift a finger, sweat goes flying across the room. That and my face breaks out into red and white stripes, causing me to look like I'm going to pass out from a stroke at any second. After a while you just get tired of people coming up to you and saying, "Excuse me, but it looks like you're going to pass out. A tight ass is not worth dying over." Really? Because I thought the whole point of getting healthy was to keel over and die. Nice try, but you're not getting this machine.

This, however, is not as bad as hearing an over-abundance of grunting coming from the person working out next to you. When it is so loud that it drowns out Kelly Clarkson's infectious tunes, it is way too loud.

Of course, even this is not as bad as the person who brings their cell phone to the gym with them. The following conversations are loud and obnoxious and interspersed with many huffs and puffs. I can't even imagine being the person at the other end of that call: "Wait, why are you breathing so hard? Are you watching porn, dude? What? You're working out? Do you want me to call back later?" To which the annoying gym rat cell phone answerer responds, "No! (Huff.) Don't be silly. (Puff.) This is a perfect time to call. Burns more calories this way. Now let's talk about something really personal and private in really loud voices so we can annoy this girl working out next to me. (Grunt.)"

Yesterday, I was on the elliptical machine and a girl jumped on the one next to me. We were the only two people in the gym. Rows and rows of unused ellipticals, far, far away from me were there for her taking, but she chose to plant herself next to me. I am firmly convinced that this was a strategic maneuver so that she could further annoy me by not using the machine properly. I'm not sure what she was doing, but it involved much turning of the pages of the novel she was trying to read, the dropping off the novel she was trying to read, and abrupt stops and starts on the machine. At no time was she in constant motion. I wanted to give her a good push--you know, to get her going, but restrained myself for fear she would then start grunting loudly.

The worst is when you get to the gym and there are no open machines. I usually kill some time doing free weights as I keep a watchful eye on things. Of course, these are the days when everyone has filled up on Red Bull and run for hours. I then face the choice of either continuing with the free weights until my arms fall off, or looking like a jerk and confronting one of the exercisers about their ellipticial-hogging ways. Needless to say, I always end up going the jerk route. I figure if you're going to look like a jerk, might as well look like a jerk with a tight ass.