Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Seventh Circle of Hell...Cubicle World

Working, as I do, in a rat's maze of cubicles, has given me a new appreciation for the evil genius who invented the "cubicle". Cubicles, it is said, are meant to create a world of collaboration among the congenial colleagues that come, lunch pails in hand, into the wonderful, open-space world of just about every bureacracy on earth. What these mauve and grey colored jungles actually do is create a world of sounds, sights and smells from which you, as a cubicle worker, can never, ever fucking escape. It makes matters monumentally worse when the cubicle village is ringed, as it generally is, by the offices (with CLOSING DOORS) occupied by the elite in our pathetic world: management.

Can't you see it? What they've got going here is a caste system based on the hierarchy of rank that has been awarded to those who kiss ass the very best by those who have kissed ass before them. Dating back to the stone age I see an unbroken string of lips pressed to asses in an obsequious frenzy of groveling. The currency of this evil culture is privacy. If you are important you get to close your door on the teeming unwashed whenever you want.

"I can't stand to see your sorry, loser asses anymore", smartly translates to: "Sorry, my door's going to be closed for a bit, I've got a conference call that requires my attention."

"What a bunch of saps you all are, how I loathe your pathetic insignifigance", becomes: "I've got to close the door for a bit to work on your evaluations".

And finally, the exercising of the true perk of being in the monstrous elite class known as management, "I'm going to take a little nap now and there's not a fucking thing you can do about it. Get back to work!" becomes: "Please don't disturb, I've gotten an assignment from senior staff that has to be done by COB".

So the rest of us sit, cheek to jowl, awash in each other's funk and personal crises without one iota of a sense of self-respect while our feeble-minded managers sit, like so many Jabba The Hutts, behind the blessing of a closed door. I picture them all in their self-important "manager meetings" behind those same closed doors blithely sharing stories and chuckling at their own grossly misplaced sense of importance.

But for me, one of the worst of the cubicle world affronts is having to listen to the pointless "small talk" that passes for communication in the world of cubicle-ites. The favorite topic, hands down, is the weather. Punctuated, as all good cubicle banter is, by the ALWAYS misplaced fake laugh firing off like some kind of mutant machine gun. "Whew is it hot out there - heh, heh, heh; heh, heh it's too cold for me; Holy Mackerel heh, heh, it's not cold enough; wow! How about all that snow? heh, heh, heh; sure would love a heh, heh, snow day; oooooo, how are we going to drive if the weather gets worse heh, heh, heh; have you been outside heh, heh; Is it warm out? Need my coat? Didn't remember my hat, and boy was I sorry HEH, HEH, HEH!" On and on and on and Oh....MY....GAWD! SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU INSIPID MORONS!! Christ Almighty!! What did I do to deserve to be trapped in this wasteland? Let me say this here and now: people who are not funny (which is the VAST majority of humanity) relinquish all rights to polite protocol when they insist on foisting their NOT FUNNY shit on the rest of us. "How's about this one, dorkwad: YOU'RE NOT FUCKING FUNNY! HEH! HEH! FUCKING HEH!!!"

Then there are the lucky bastards that can actually manage to escape into sweet, sweet sleep while trapped in Cubicle Hell. Who cares if everyone can hear you snoring? See your slobbering drool hanging out of the corner of your mouth? Motherfucker, you've ESCAPED! Escaped the mindless, soul-searing "chit-chat", escaped the burps and the farts and the personal crises played out endlessly within earshot of all of us when some poor sap has to make a phone call. "Luann, honey, drawing a pentagram on your teacher's car with an Exacto blade is not good judgement, now is it? Hello? Hello? Hellooooooo?" Awkward silence as we all peer ever more intently at the glow of our computer screens and pray for the day to end. Or for the bitch to shut up. Or both.

Cubicles were created for one thing: to make office workers feel like the unappreciated drones that we are. Privacy? Rats don't need privacy! Peace and quiet? You can get that somewhere else. Here you're one of the many, the proletariat, the underclass. If listening to some slob slurp his coffee and scrape the bottom of a styrofoam cup for 15 minutes to get the last drop of oatmeal every single fucking day makes you want to jump out the window, then dude you best start puckering up 'cause those offices don't come cheap.

Bend over bitch!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Gender Divide

How is it that the average middle-aged woman is constanty reassessing her appearance, her demeanor and her wardrobe, while the average middle-aged man is blithely unaware of exactly how boring, homely and unspeakably un-funny he is? I see it all the time where I work: middle-aged men who have likely worn out the welcome mat at home years earlier, hanging around the cubicles of younger, attractive women and offering preposterous "banter" aimed at charming said younger women. And believing that IT WORKS!!!

I mean, dude, have you LOOKED in a mirror this decade? You're not a "playa", you're a fucking homely-ass freak, for God's sake! In spite of your heroic efforts at containing it, your flabby-ass gut is blobbing over your "hip" Sansa Belt slacks and your shirt buttons are hanging on for dear life. How can you not see that? And another thing: stop trying to flirt with us! It's just plain sickening is what it is. YOU'RE OLD AND NOT RICH!!! WE'RE YOUNG!! GO AWAY!!!

Bad posture, yellow teeth, rheumy eyes and that terrifying comb-over, quite against the popular "wisdom" of your current issue of "Old Dude", is not sexy, not appealing and may very well be fodder for legal action. Back off, buster, or we may be forced to yank that bad rug right off your big-ass bald head. And no, it wasn't fooling anyone.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

The ABIB Hates to Love...

Starbucks. I have been known to pride myself, (largely delusionally) on being one of the many, the salt of the earth, without pretense, airs or sense of entitlement. Of course in reality I am ALL of those things and then some. The ABIB is your basic alienated, effete urban snob and like so many others of my ilk cannot get enough coffee. I've said before in this blog that I do love a good cuppa and that my daily routine, God help me, includes the local Dunkin' Donuts drive "thru". What I'm about to tell you now is that on the weekends, being the good urbanite that I am, what I truly and deeply crave is: a venti Starbucks latte.

So here we are, at the crux of my deepest fear: I am, indeed, one of THEM. I just used the words "venti" and "latte" in the same sentence. The fact that I used them at all fills me with a deep and abiding dread and makes me just a wee bit nauseous. But they're DELICIOUS. I love their foamy tops and the creamy steamed milk that perfectly blends with the strong espresso. Excuse me, I have to go puke.

Thanks, I'm back. Anyway, I figure that the penance I pay (and rightfully so) for being such a Starbucks whore, is, well...Starbucks. Is there a more dreadful place on earth than any given Starbucks on any urban street in America? If you've ever been in one you'll know that the answer to that is an unequivocal: OH, HELLS NO!

You know the drill: you get in line to place your order and immediately you realize that for the forseeable future you are going to have to listen to the latest urban-cool music which has no discernable words but does have a digeradoo playing in the background. The music quickly becoming a milquetoasty nuisance, the next thing you notice is that you are literally surrounded on all sides by the scariest people on earth. The person (you think its a person) right in front of you is a woman who is wearing jeans that have a crease (they've been fucking ironed, but not by her, you can bet your ass), are approximately a size one and are just the right level of faded to make them look "hip". Which, on this woman, is the only reason you would ever use the word "hip". She's wearing the latest six hundred dollar pointy-toed, designer high heels and her hair is coiffed to within an inch of it's life. Her nails are perfectly manicured (you can see them because she keeps reaching back to fluff her hair) and she's wearing sunglasses inside. In February. At 5:00 PM. Also, she's talking in a constant, low-level stream into the Bluetoof earpiece of her Blackberry-enabled, five hundred dollar cell phone.

Everyone in there looks like her, except you, in your sweats and your sensible Birkenstocks and your pulled back hair, unwashed beneath last year's Disney World baseball cap. The sounds you hear are almost too much to bear, as voices sing out: "double espresso, triple skim, decaf latte, two Equals" and "cinnamon machiatto with a shot, low fat soy, four Splendas", and "vanilla frappachino, no whipped cream, half ice, half skim", and...and...and God help the poor sucker who gets up to the counter and orders the unthinkable: "a large coffee, please". A thunderclap of silence as everyone swivels in place to look at this alien in their midst, and they all take a single step back to give him a little bit wider berth. His uncool vibe, his plain, sad sack demeanor, his utterly unassuming taste could be, godforbid, contagious! He actually blushes with shame and you feel a certain kinship, a deep empathy (run for your life you poor sucker!!), but you dare not speak as he shuffles out, head down, eyes averted. You dare not because you're still waiting for your delicious, dirty little secret in the shape of a cup full of milky foam. It's that bad.

And it feels like if you don't get your fix soon your head will explode from the psychic dissonance of actually BEING inside the Starbucks, waiting with all of these CREATURES who never, ever, ever stop being obnoxious and nattering about nothing, "I told her that her daughter needs to get into the group, her CHI is out of wack and it's not helping the other kids at all at nap time".

I guess I deserve it. What can I say? I'm a ho for a good latte; we all gotta pay for our sins. And inside your head the chanting begins: "one of us! one of us! gooble gobble! gooble gobble!"