Birthline Cruises: Disembarking the Mother Ship

Port of Call – Maternity Ward

GREETER
Hello. I’d like to welcome you here after your long journey.

BABY
Thanks, but I have to tell you that I’m miffed. After nine months on the high seas and that schlep through the terminal, I expected better service after disembarking. Instead, some scary-looking guy, with no nose or mouth, beats the living daylights out of me . . . Where’s my luggage? Did they lose my luggage?

GREETER
The scary-looking guy is the Chief Doctor. He’s wearing a surgical mask that covers most of his face.

BABY
It’s a disguise so I can’t ID him after I press charges.

GREETER
He didn’t do anything illegal. He had to smack you on the behind to get you to start breathing.

BABY
By knocking the wind out of me? When I get older, I’m going to sue the son-of-a-bitch

GREETER
Let’s talk about your mother’s womb. How were the accommodations?

BABY
Terrible. There were no lights, no windows, and no way out until I was whisked through the terminal.

GREETER
What was your most memorable experience?

BABY
Being stuck in the dark without cable, and the food, which sucked, literally.

GREETER
How would you rate your Birthline Cruise experience, based on a scale from one to five, five being the worst?

BABY
Definitely a five. I was stranded in a crummy womb for nine months, on the lower deck near the engine room. Then, Suddenly, it’s show time — bright lights, loud noise, and then in case I wasn’t already paying attention — Bam! I get whacked in the butt.

GREETER
The whack was part of the Birthline Cruise package.

BABY
It wasn’t in the paperwork they had me sign before I left the terminal.

GREETER
It was in the fine print.

BABY
I can barely see your face, and they put something like that in 6-point font.

GREETER
The whack on the butt is left to the doctor’s discretion if you’re not breathing.

BABY
Discretion . . . is that the medical term for assault?

GREETER
He’s a doctor. He knows what he’s doing. He went to school for many years to become a doctor.

BABY
After all that time, someone should have realized he wasn’t qualified.

GREETER
No, no. It takes years to become a doctor.

BABY
There’s something wrong with that . . . and the service in this place. What does someone have to do to get some food around here? I’m starving.

GREETER
Your mother will feed you.

BABY
What’s she serving?

GREETER
Milk

BABY
Milk? Is that it? I could really go for a burger.

GREETER
You don’t have any teeth.

BABY
Oh, God. I’m a freak.

GREETER
No. It’s not like that. Babies don’t have teeth. Teeth aren’t included in the package.

BABY
What kind of place is this?

GREETER
It was listed in the brochure.

BABY
I’m seriously considering getting back on that ship despite the accommodations.

GREETER
Things will get better here.

BABY
I bet you weren’t treated this poorly after your disembarkation. What was your arrival like?

GREETER
I have no idea.

BABY
How could you forget?

GREETER
I can’t remember anything that happened before the age of five. That is true for most people.

BABY
You mean the next five years will not mean a thing to me when I’m old enough to appreciate them.

GREETER
Unfortunately, that is the case.

BABY
So, I’ll have no recollection of my arrival.

GREETER
That is correct.

BABY
So, I‘ll forget how pissed I was at the doctor . . . when he beat the living daylights out of me?

GREETER
Yes, you’ll forget about the whack on the behind.

BABY
Then do me a favor. Get me a good lawyer now while I can still remember that I want to sue the son-of-a-bitch.

Low Fly Zone

Aeronautical Abstract:

Pilots with ADD (Altitude Dysfunction Deficit)

Ten Warning Signs that a Pilot has Altitude Dysfunction Deficit:

• The pilot radios ahead for you to move your lawn furniture

• You can read the part number beneath the plane

• The Cessna fights for a spot at the bird feeder

• You can identify the frequent fliers by their seat numbers

• Your microwave wreaks havoc on the plane’s navigational system

• The pilot asks you to turn down the volume on the T.V so he can listen to traffic control

• Your dog prefers chasing Prop Planes to Jeep Durango’s

• You’re on a first name basis with the pilot

• The pilot mistakes your wood shed for a tollbooth

• You sit down for dinner as soon as the food cart leaves the vestibule

For questions about Altitude Deficit Disorder, contact the Aeronautic Institute for Dysfunctional Pilots, where all they ever hope for is a wing and a prayer.

Jobless Purgatory

Out of work! Out of sight! Out of mind!
The unemployed exist in an alternate universe where Oprah lives and offers a world of possibilities, while Monster.com and HotJobs.com only offers virtual promises.

I Love the Smell of Wite-Out in the Morning

Wite-Out is one of those distinctive odors found in an office. I didn’t realize how much I missed the smell until I lost my job. I miss other office stimuli, like the ringing of a phone and the whirring of a copier. Even the banging of the front door in the reception area, when it slams shut, elicits a fond sigh of remembrance from my lips. Now, silence holds my house in a death-grip, with the exception of an occasional bark from one of my dogs. Barking is not a nostalgic sound from my days in the office,though the boss could often be heard spouting off four-letter words in a barking sort of way.

Silence is Deafening

Most of all I miss the murmur of conversation. In my silent domain, conversation only emanates from a television set or a YouTube video when I remember to turn on the speakers. Silence isn’t a bad thing for those who enjoy being alone with their thoughts, which I do. But I never realized that too much silence could be so deafening. These days I don’t mind when outside noises filter through the window screens, like the churning of the compactor in a garbage truck and the subsequent screeching of brakes as the truck slows to its next stop. Out here in the boonies, there aren’t many harsh sounds, other than the rumble of an airplane as it narrowly misses the roof of my house. Okay, so I exaggerated but sometimes the sound of the overhead engine rattles the walls of the house (so does the pounding of my footsteps on bare wood floors).

The Conversational Void

Most socializing I do now takes place at the supermarket with strangers, a quick exchange of words with the cashier at checkout and the inevitable “Credit or debit?” The drive back to my isolation chamber is dreary as I pass by the graveyard (another silent and disturbing place) along the way. Conversations are intermittent there with soft whisperings of sadness and regret. I have regrets, too, but I can still correct mine.

Boo-Hoo! Whenever the Spirit Moves You

Sometimes I feel like a ghost drifting from room-to-room each day I haunt this house, though ghosts don’t drink coffee or eat shredded wheat cereal for breakfast. I can even pinch my arm and it will hurt. The hurt is what is so significant while existing in a state of jobless Purgatory. Out of work! Out of sight! Out of mind! Unemployment isn’t just a transitory state of being. It is an emotional crisis of the soul, yearning for what once was.

Worklings: Office Politics

Opie 1 is sad.

Boss’s Son now works (kind of) at the office.

Boss’s Son thinks he’s special.

So does Boss.

That’s why Boss gave Boss’s Son Opie 1’s biggest accounts.

To smooth things over, Boss takes Opie 1 to his favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch.

Opie 1 orders the most expensive thing on the menu.

Boss is not pleased and hands Opie 1 the check when it arrives.

Opie 1 buys Boss lunch and now is broke.

He has to borrow money from Boss’s Son to pay the rent and also has to pay him interest.

The moral of the story: Don’t eat Chinese food for lunch. In an hour, you’ll be hungry and broke.

Samurai Sunday

 

My Lawn – The Axis of Evil

I look out the window and search the grounds for enemy plant combatants. The situation is grave. The dandelions continue to advance. Despite the hundreds I’ve already rooted out, I’m still losing the war on terror-weeds. I raise the alert level to red and prepare for a full-scale attack.

With plastic bag in hand, I move out and quickly spot a dandelion at 10:00. It has already turned white and is about to blow. It is a windy day. I have to act fast. I am battling a cunning enemy with a powerful coalition that includes Mother Nature and Poland.

My heart pumps furiously as I pounce and rip the evil-flower from the ground. Yet, there is no time for celebration. Dandelions are everywhere: at 12:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, and even at 8:15. Time is short. Some days, time is tall when she wears three-inch heels. Today, time wears flats. Maybe I still have a chance if I can spot the dandelion general, who is cleverly disguised like his soldiers and can only be identified by the slight mustache he wears, that is usually mistaken for a caterpillar.

I clutch my bag and pray the wind subsides. It gets worse. Praying has never really worked for me. So, I think about my husband and son and the risk I have undertaken for the sake of a somewhat green lawn with scattered brown spots and holes, courtesy of the dogs. But, really, it’s more than that. It’s personal. I race through the yard, a force to be reckoned with, swiping the explosive dandelion heads from their stems before the wind scatters the tiny white cluster bombs across the lawn.

I stop by the center garden to take a breath. It is 12:30 and my work has only started. So many dandelions. So little time. The dogs sit on the front stoop watching me. The white one appears sympathetic; the brown one is apoplectic. She likes eating dandelions. To her, they are a delicacy, a treat she can only have once a year, like Christmas. If only she could eat faster than the dandelions turn white. However, she doesn’t care for the seeds. They tickle her nose then float away onto the neighbor’s lawn. She can’t venture there without getting a shock from her collar. She is limited by the perimeter of our yard. For her, the seeds are more frustrating than the crows that caw at her in the morning, as they sit high on their branches in the Oak Tree. I feel sorry for her but feel sorrier for myself. As I’ve said before, this is personal.

I gauge my next line of attack. It’s time for the big guns. I grab the weed-whacker that leans against the house. When I turn it on, the white dog runs. The brown dog stays and continues staring at me. She’ll never forgive me for this. I turn away then forge ahead. It’s time once again to engage the enemy. Some weed combatants are visible, standing tall, decoys, I imagine, while others hide low in the grass. They are the most dangerous. If I can’t pinpoint their location today, by tomorrow they’ll most certainly have earned their wings. I continue inflicting as much damage as possible until rain drenches my back. The dandelions suffer heavy casualties, but it’s still not enough. With Mother Nature and Poland on their side, the dandelions are a formidable foe.

I am forced to retreat to the kitchen to restock my supplies. I load up on garbage bags and bottled water then head out to the front to a blast of thunderclouds and a rapid-fire rain attack. The dandelions have already brought in reinforcements. I’m outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and out-of-breath. The outlook looks dismal. I am but a coalition of one in my war against evil-flowers. I grab a bottle of Poland Spring to re-hydrate. After gulping it down, I stare at the label on the bottle and smile. With renewed energy, I march toward the dandelions and their coalition of three, hold up the empty bottle, and scream, “If I can’t have Poland, at least I can have Poland Spring.”

Shallow End of the Office

The scattered secretary.

Secretaria stared at her “to-do” list until the words grew hazy. Unfortunately, for Secretaria, “to dos” often turned into “to don’ts,” a much longer list. If success was predicated on whoever had the longest “to-don’t” list, Secretaria would surely have been the Guinness Book winner in the category. That’s why she grew her hair long. She dreamed of holding that title one day, too. Her nails were another story since they always broke and never grew back fast enough after filing, despite the rarity of such an occurrence.

Flipping through the left-tabbed, right-tabbed, center-tabbed manila folders to find a missing file was a tormenting task. Hearing the click, click, click of hanging folders, as she flipped through each one, made her head hurt.

Secretaria’s head hurt a lot, especially when it came to dictation. She could barely read her regular handwriting. The squiggly words she had learned in secretarial school became lost in translation and looked more like doodling on her steno pad. She now regretted texting during dictation and graduating at the bottom of her class. Since the future was now, she ignored what she learned in secretarial school and surreptitiously taped her boss’s dictation sessions with a tiny tape recorder she often couldn’t find.

Because of Secretaria’s many blunders her boss, Mr. Grouchy, always lectured her on her bad work habits and was usually upset with her. If Secretaria’s father weren’t the CEO of Blah, Blah, Blah Marketing, Inc., Mr. Grouchy would have fired her the first time she put his Blackberry in the fridge. “I didn’t want it to spoil,” she had argued.

Mr. Grouchy’s face turned red, as the vein in his forehead throbbed to the beat of the Alice Cooper song that played on his IPod. He just dismissed Secretaria with a wave of his hand and went out for a Martini lunch even though it was barely 10 a.m.

Secretaria went back to her desk and stared at the dark computer screen that was a whole lot of nothing to look at. She thought the monitor was a paperweight until the gal who sat at the desk next to her, Wilma the Wonderful, told her otherwise.

“You’ve got to turn it on,” Wilma barked. “The button. Press the button on the hard drive.”

Secretaria blushed and looked away. She’d read about hard drives before in x-rated magazines. She accidentally read such a magazine at a bookstore while looking for the winning bookmark in the “You find it. You keep it” book giveaway promo.

Poor Secretaria just stared at Wilma blankly and said, “I’m not that kind of girl.”

A frustrated Wilma jumped up and pressed the button on Secretaria’s hard drive. “Got a cigarette?” she snapped and went back to her desk.

Secretaria’s face lit up with the computer screen. “Wow a computer and a paperweight, too.” It made her day. She even stuck her head into Mr. Grouchy’s office, before she left work, to say good-bye.

He popped an olive into his mouth and said, “You’re still here?” Unbeknown to Secretaria, Mr. Grouchy had been holding secret dictation sessions with Letta the secretary on the first floor. After Secretaria left for the day at 5 p.m., Letta from the first floor would climb the stairs to Mr. Grouchy’s office on the third floor. In secretarial school, Letta got an “A” in dictation and graduated at the top of her class.

The next day Mr. Grouchy called Secretaria from the road to have her bring department stationery down to Letta, so she could send out his letters. Secretaria left Mr. Grouchy on hold while she tried to figure out the correct usage of the word stationary, as she sat motionless at her desk.

Secretaria became more confused when Wilma simultaneously asked her for a piece of stationery, to which Secretaria replied, “I can’t move. I accidentally put myself on hold while I was on the phone with Mr. Grouchy. What’s his real name, any way?”

“It’s Grouchee. He’s French,” said Wilma. “He’s only been Grouchy since you started.”

Secretaria ignored Wilma the Wonderful and stuck another pink message slip beneath the paperweight monitor on her desk. Then, Secretaria did what she always did best. She lost all track of time while gazing mindlessly at the clock on the wall. When her eyes finally focused on the numbers, she realized that it was the next morning, which oddly made her quite happy. At least she would be on time to work today.

I would like to dedicate this earlier post (one of my earliest) to a great blogger and renowned Weaselologist kasabiangirl at Life sure is a snoozefest!

Kasa knows a thing or two about office politics and how it makes the sanity meter in your head fluctuate like a 10-point magnitude quake on the Richter Scale.