Monday, July 12, 2010

One of the problems with riding public transportation is that it is, by nature, public.
There is always that one crazy person riding the CTA who is having some sort of emotional breakdown that is so severe that even during the after-work-commuter-craziness, that person gets both of the seats to themselves, simply because the other passengers are terrified to sit beside them.

On Thursday, I was that person.

Usually when I go to work, I am sunshine and butterflies. Big smiles, great mood, giggly. If I farted, glitter would come flying out of my butt. I'm not crazy, I just love my job and my boss.

So when work hires someone who decides to shit all over that sunshine and happiness, it really messes with me.

Thursday started out normally enough. Got to work, spread all of the joy I could to my coworkers, whether they want it or not. It's not my fault they aren't naturally happy sunshine-y people. A lot of them are kind of miserable. Which then makes it my responsibility to make their lives a little bit less sucky. And not in that obnoxious cheerful way that most impossibly happy people use to rape you with cheerfulness. Don't judge me, I don't see you making your coworkers lives suck less.

My boss was out for the day, and because I only work downtown a few days a week, he decided that I could sit at his desk because otherwise I don't really have a permanent place to settle in our offices downtown. This is significant for one reason. I was in the Boss Mans Chair. Everyone knows that the person who sits there is in charge of, well, everything. I could pretend that I was queen of the ecommerce department of my company all day long. All would bow down to the greatness that is my technical knowledge! I would make important decisions that no one else could make! Things would be different under my rule! It would start the golden era of our department!

By around ten in the morning, I had brainstormed an entire holiday based solely around my fabulousness and ability to update a website. I would be worshiped as a God! It's amazing that my boss is so level headed, having a desk of that caliber is a dangerous thing in the wrong hands.

So I settled into my new throne, and began working. Plucking away happily on my computer for the better part of the day until my meeting with the new Creative Director.

I usually get to skip out on meetings, because to be honest if my boss and I were both going to meetings, nothing would ever get done, and somewhere along the line they decided it was more important to keep the site accurate and updated than it was to make me sit in a conference room with my peers and spend three hours discussing something a seven line email would have covered sufficiently.

The new guy? Loves meetings.

If he could have a raunchy romance with meetings, I think he probably would. They would meet across a crowded bar, and after catching each other's eye all night one would send a drink to the other with a note scribbled on the napkin, and after a night of exchanging glances and drinks with note covered napkins they would ditch their respective dates and share a taxi to whoever's fancy loft apartment was closer and make sweet love to each other while looking out at the lights of Chicago at night. They would eventually marry and wind up with 2.5 kids and a growing sense of resentment about wasting the best years of their lives on each other, but that's an entirely different post.

So I leave my comfortable Desk Kingdom (which I had named Clareopolis) and settle into a huge conference room that smelled like some weird combination of failure, disappointment and gym shoes. One of my favorite people on my team settled in beside me, and we got down to business. Considering I was sitting beside one of the single most brutally honest people I've ever met, the meeting was going pretty well. I figured he'd have my back, and then I could return to my wonderful kingdom that was full of wonderfulness. We weren't being confrontational, and we certainly didn't want to foster any bad ju ju.

Well, it was going well until the new guy started talking.

What happened next can only be described as a slaughter.

New Guy sat there and demanded to know our teams process for doing everything. When he got to my role in this mess, he essentially said that he didn't trust my team to get things done. And that we needed a new Project Manager to manage the work flow and site updates (which is my job). When I mentioned it was my job and we haven't run into any problems with our system, he got on his high horse and went off again about how my team is not to be trusted to deliver on time (despite us never missing a deadline), and used the one project his team phenomenally fucked up as his reason. Then he cackled manically and twirled his mustache. (Fine. He might as well have).

He actually dismissed me so many times he started asking our intern for his technical advice over mine. Our intern is 20. And from Tennessee. This is Chicago! Here we don't trust 20 year olds from out of town to give us the goddamn time, we sure as hell don't ask for their expertise on complex technical matters. (Although I do feel like I should throw in that our intern is actually brilliant. He's caught on so quickly that I now think he knows too much, and I no longer trust him).

So there I sat, the lowly little Admin, taking it on the chin from a Director. This went on for the better part of an hour. If I said "This is blue", he would've responded "You're wrong, you can't be trusted to know what blue is!". Then he'd have sat back in his chair with that smug look of satisfaction you only get after getting a 4 year degree from an art school.

By the end of it he had reduced me to nothing more than a drone that plugs various codes into a website. It was like Festivus. Except after the Airing of Grievances we skipped the Feats of Strength, mostly because if we hadn't I'd have impaled his skinny self righteous ass on the Festivus Pole for all to see.

I was lucky enough to leave work immediately after the meeting. I made it to the Blue Line, settled into my seat, and before I knew it, a single tear had slid down my cheek.


I've always believed that crying is like pooping: everyone does it, but no other living person should ever have to see you do it or clean up the aftermath. It's a private affair that is best left that way.

Little did I know that my ex-boyfriend would decide now would be a great time to create the perfect storm. I look down on my phone, and I see "I'm sorry I haven't called. I miss you".

There are 2 things my ex doesn't do. He doesn't miss people, and he doesn't apologize. And I had just gone through the painful decision to cut him out of my life because he's kind of a bastard and I can't allow him to keep walking in and out of my life like it's a revolving door because it hurts too much and thats what adults do we make those decisions and we stick to them because we are grown ups, and his text completely ripped the stitches.

The next thing I knew, I was crying. And not just crying, I was crying in public on the Blue Line. Crying might actually be an understatement. I was openly sobbing, making noises that are probably comparable to a Water Buffalo giving birth. I have no idea what that sounds like, but I'm pretty sure that it's the only proper way to describe what happened. I was leaking out of every hole on my face, and I just couldn't stop.

I was almost at my stop when I realized how full the train was. There were people crammed next to each other, standing room only. That was when I looked beside me and realized the seat next to me was empty. Why? Because I had become the crazy person on the train no one else would sit next to.

There were some older women staring in my direction, whispering to one another. A huge tattooed Mexican guy with a bandanna looked genuinely afraid of me, and the rest of the train just looked at me with a mix of pity and mild terror. You could tell some of them were planning on what they'd tell the reporter after I finally freaked out. "Well Bill, I had a bad feeling the minute she sat down. She wasn't acting right. She kept sobbing hysterically, and whimpering. It's no big surprise to me she beheaded that nun while screaming 'I claim this for the good people of Clareopolis!' ".

It takes a hell of a lot to be that crazy in a city this big. The worst part was that I didn't know how to stop the leaking coming from my face. It took me until 11:00 AM on Friday to finally get it together. The only reason I managed to pick up those pieces was because my boss (bless his heart, he deserves an award for putting up with me), called and when he heard a catch in my voice told me he wasn't happy about how things went and he would take care of it.

And then suddenly I felt better.

It was like a Festivus Miracle.

No comments: