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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Wednesday
Dec142005

Office Space



So I wore THIS HAT to work yesterday. The key there is I wore it. Meaning, I picked it out of my closet, chose to affix it to my noggin and brave the public temperament with my fashion choice.

Actually, not that much thought went into it.. My hair was dirty, I was too lazy to wash it.. Nah - not too lazy to wash it - too lazy to blow dry it straight.. See, I have hair the thickness and texture of steel wool. If I don't want to look like David Coverdale from Whitesnake, or any heavy metal lead singer from the eighties, I've generally gotta blow the entire mess dry. And I don't half ass it. I pin it up and straighten it layer by layer.. which takes the better portion of an evening. So I jammed the hat on my head and bolted for the subway.

A few hours later I am at work, happily typing away about the most recent cop murder, when my news manager strolls by.
"What's with the hat?" He asks. Now I don't take kindly to coworker clothing commentary. It's never wise to make ambiguous clothing comments. Really. Stick with benign observations like "I like your scarf" or "cute sweater!" That's safe territory and really, the only territory you should be exploring with colleagues.

If forced to remark on a coworker's horrendous new haircut simply say, unprompted, "you cut your hair! Cool!" You are then exempt from all white lie compliments for the fantastic fact that you noticed the new do.. But "what's with the hat?" He may as well tell me he thinks my style is ass.

In his ignorance, my manager pressed onward with his badgering, ultimately uttering "your hat is making me feel weird."
Wha...? Am not quite sure how to take that. Now I feel weird that you're sitting in your office feeling weird about my hat.

The whole incident got my best work buddy and I to nattering about all the annoying things people do at work.. So, instead of collaborating on news writing, we took the liberty of collaborating (during work hours, of course) on writing about the office space we share with multifarious and nefarious, crazy, cool and just plain weird folks.

1. "You look tired".
Translation: You look like shit today.
Rant: Don't ever ask anyone, "rough night?" It's just plain rude. You might as well tell them they seem to have gained weight and look old while you're at it.

2. "Smile!"
Translation: You're a grumpy fucker.
Rant: Fuck you. Don't tell me to smile. If I wanted to smile, I'd be smiling and your perky, chipper ass telling me to smile makes me want to send other gestures your way that don't involve smiling.

3. Rant: When you're talking on the phone and someone, aware that you're on the phone, asks a question then hovers, waiting for your answer. How am I supposed to finish gossiping with my friend Natalie while you're hovering? Similarly, if I actually am engaged in a work related phone call it would follow then that I'M BUSY. Go sit down.. I'll see what it was you wanted when I hang up.

4. "What are you eating there?"
Translation: I want some.
Rant: Leave me alone! Why do I have to itemize my lunch/snack items and what restaurant I ordered from for you? Get your own.. Keep your grubby hands off my french fries. If you regularly stick your finger in your nose while sitting at the desk next to me, I can't imagine where you put your hands when I'm not around.

5. There's always the Unwanted Back Rub from "kindly" gentleman coworkers who are just helping 'release stress'.. Quit pawing me perves! Far from easing tension, it gives me the creeps and causes every muscle in my body to stiffen up.

6. "How was your weekend?"
JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP! Must we exchange this pleasantry every goddamn Monday? I don't care that you went to Rent on Broadway with your grandma on Saturday. And no, I don't care for the excruciating details of your Friday night date or how you cooked the most fantastic Sunday dinner. And I'm CERTAIN you don't care that I didn't shower, sat on the couch, inhaled Doritos and watched reruns of Roseanne while my dog licked my feet clean.

Reader Comments (18)

LOL I love it!

Smile is always one that bugs me! I always tell them I am smiling, on the inside. :) LOL

I like the hat by the way.

Ohhhhh, Monica...You and I have the same hair, but I don't have the patience to blow dry it like you do. I need to try it like you do because I can't do anything with my hair at all, so I just tie it up in a pony tail.
December 14, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterFiabug
I absolutely love that!!! Everyone of those applies to me. (you and I have had that very conversation before) God! Don't you just hate everybody you work with?! I do have the backrubber guy. Got a freebie from him last night as a matter of fact. 'twas exactly 2:14 am because I looked at the clock and thought "how long do I have to endure this goddamned hands on routine". Anyway... Soooo loved that moneeka! You say exactly what I always think, and the smile thing fuggetaboutit. Eat shit! whats to smile about? I work with you ass.....
December 14, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermama
uhhhmmm, I am that backrum guy so lay off!!
December 14, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercchild
Backrum? Is that a new drink I haven't tried? Like Sex on the Beach?

Actually though, I quite like everyone I work with.. Except they all get a little too excited about breaking news for my tired blood..
December 14, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
worse than the weekend question is the vacation question. do I really want to share the intimacies of my vacation with these people? And if not, then I'm just blurting filler. Blech.

Oh, hate the lunch question too.
December 14, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterPLD
ha! how about the tools at the grocery store who feel the need to comment on your food? i get this when i buy lox. ewwww, they say, is that good? i have the perfect comeback: no, it's horrible. i just randomly buy food i do not like to torture myself.

another annoyance, people who point out flaws when there is not a damn thing you can do about it. yes, i know i have a huge glob of mustard on my shirt. i was attacked my a pretzel, leave me along. yes, i am well aware that i have a run in my hose. don't you think that if i had a spare pair i would put those on??? so, a good rule of thumb, don't point it out if there is no way i can fix it.

fwiw monica, i dig the hat :)
December 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteranna
But see, case... if YOU were the backrummer guy at work, the girls would be standing in line... actually, probably the guys too if they heard you were the backrammer guy, hahaha
December 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermama
Above all else I hate the weekend question...I don't really care how yours was so I'm almost CERTAIN you don't care how mine was. You just want to BRAG that you did something that in your mind you think is COOL...
December 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMaria
that last sentence. about the dog licking. made me shudder. great piece.
December 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterghost
Backrum, what the...? I hate when I try to post something on this board after I have had a couple glasses of wine. As long as you understood the spirit of my message then all is good in Zion.

CChild
December 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercchild
Holy shit, did I just say "all is good". I hate Utah, any other state would be gooder than here. Oh well.
December 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercchild
I thought backrum might be something about giving a backrub and while having one done, drinking some rum. LOL

backrummer sounds like a drink.
December 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterFiabug
The other day I had french fries and someone came up to my desk, while I was on the phone and took not just one, not two, but three french fries and dipped them methodically in my ketchup while I sat there talking to my mom. I just stared and thought "holy hell". anyway, great post.
December 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterHeather B.
First of all, I love the hat. I'm a hat girl, the funkier the better. See my post dated Sunday, 12/4 for evidence. Anyone who doesn't like a funky hat is really jealous of the face beneath it.

Second, I support all the rants above, but most of all I have to give a shout-out to the one on "Smile!" There is not surer or faster way to inspire in me the urge to punch. (Not that I ever would, but it's a fun fantasy.) My answer to "Smile!" is "No, YOU smile, so I can decide which teeth I'm gonna let you keep."
December 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteralways write
I love this post!!! I thought I was the only person who felt this way.
December 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterValleyGirl
Can I jus say I first encounted "fry sauce" in Utah! God love that state! LOL We call my family there the "Utards" LOL It's mean I know, but wanted to share!
December 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJen
monday, tuesday: rehash past weekend in great detail

wednesday: discuss events of monday, tuesday in great detail

thursday, friday: discuss weekend plans in great detail.

it's a wonder we get any work done!
December 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermoimoi
Brilliant post! I can totally relate in my office! I have also gotten on days where I decide to get sassy with red lipstick, "Well, you look done up today!" (um, in a polished way or in a five year old at Mommy's dressing table way?) and have had after taking a day off for a doctor's appointment/cable guy/sick mom, "Wow, wish I had YOUR schedule!" Oh really? You want to have to get your pap, your teeth cleaning, grocery shopping, oil change and dry cleaning all done on your last day off this year? Yeah, wouldn't anyone want that schedule?

Ugh.
December 16, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDilly

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