Endless Confrontations Part 2
An Inconvenient Truth
The very next one on one that we have together, Cthulhu immediately launches into the most urgent thing on his mind. People are still talking about my bad attitude. You know, people. He won’t say who exactly, other than my director, but people.
I think that being sober, and exercising, made me more willing to defend myself and take chances because I had so much more energy available. On a whim, I turn the knife around on him.
Well, I’m glad you’re bringing this up, Cthulhu, because lately I’m hearing people talk about you. And what I’m hearing is not that nice.
WHO IS TALKING ABOUT ME I AM NOT AWARE
Loads of people.
YOU ARE OBLIGATED TO SHARE THE DETAILS
You know, now that I think about it, I really can’t say.
YOU MUST TELL ME DO NOT WITHHOLD THIS INFORMATION
Well, what I can reveal is that it’s more than one person.
IS IT SOMEONE UNDER ME OR ON ANOTHER TEAM
Why limit yourself to those options? Why can’t it be both?
THIS IS INSUBORDINATION YOU MUST SHARE THE NAMES I NEED NAMES
I don’t think so, Cthulhu. You’ll have to figure it out on your own.
YOU ARE MAKING THIS UP YOU ARE NOW PUT ON A PERFORMANCE PLAN FOR ATTITUDE PROBLEMS YOUR BONUS WILL BE FORFEIT
I’m not making this up, and I doubt you can put me on a performance plan for doing the same thing to you that you’re doing to me, unless you want to go on one yourself.
There’s silence. He finally gets it. Visibly flummoxed, he gestures toward the door with a tentacle, signaling that he wants me to get the fuck out of his office before he starts squirting black ink everywhere.
So yeah. Our relationship has become openly hostile.
I consider this to be a good development.
Breakfast with Toxicity
A month or so after the confrontation above, Cthulhu asks me to go to a late breakfast with him in the company cafeteria.
Of course I don’t want to do this. Of course not!
Every molecule of my fight-or-flight limbic system is signaling to my brain to avoid spending a single voluntary moment with this hateful entity.
But he’s still my boss, so instead I put on my blandly passive minion voice and say what I usually say in response to his requests: Yeah. Sure. Whatever you need.
At first, it seems like he’s trying to make amends. I’m totally unprepared for the display of nicety. He offers to pay for the meal and says I should get whatever I want, and doesn’t the fruit look good at the salad bar?
I’m like, yeah, sure, which, as I mentioned, my default response to 80% of Cthulhu’s questions and requests. I’m not all that hungry, anyway, because being with this guy stresses me out and makes all food look about as appealing as pikachu roasting on a spit, so a light brunch sounds just about right. We pile a bunch of stuff onto our respective plates, he pays, and we sit down together.
For the first five minutes or so, he behaves. I’ve never seen this before. He’s just totally immersed in his food, moving it up to his mouth feelers and sucking it into his maw after getting a taste of it. During this time I’m totally pleasant, chatting about the weather and doesn’t the pineapple taste good and I’m really glad to have that problem from the other day in the rearview mirror.
Then Cthulhu raises a piece of melon up to the hole in his face designated for food input. It doesn’t get past the inspection phase.
THIS MELON IT IS BAD DO YOU KNOW
Since I have some on my own salad, I try a piece. And he’s right. It’s bad, totally overripe, maybe straight-up rotten, and I tell him so. Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t notice when I was piling it on my plate.
YOU SHOULD COMPLAIN TO THE CAFETERIA MANAGER AND GET A REFUND
Yeah. They shouldn’t be selling rotten stuff.
NO I MEAN GO UP NOW AND GET US REFUNDS
He fishes out his receipt and hands it to me.
I walk back past the cash registers into the main food service area, scanning for a manager-type, and I spot someone with a collar shirt near the grilling station. He’s talking to the main chef, who I’m able to identify by his toque.
So first I’m like “Excuse me?” and he turns around to face me and I ask if he’s the manager, and he says yes.
He’s got a tight looking, anxious face, clean shaven except for a greasy mustache, and his eyes crinkle upward, which is an expression I’m used to seeing from people who are eager to please and a little afraid of being yelled at. It’s an expression I’ve worn on more than one occasion myself — it’s the expression I wear with Cthulhu.
And I realize in this instant, I don’t give a damn about the melon. Not the tiniest, eensy weensiest bit. There is no way I’m bitching about the fruit salad to this guy. Someone else can do it if they care enough. I have plenty of other items to eat and I’m not even hungry anyways.
This mission to get a refund isn’t even my mission. It’s Cthulhu’s. He wants to see if I’ll obey orders. So even on a day where he’s trying to be friendly, behind the scene he’s still doing what he does best: playing power games.
I go back to my table and have a seat, conspicuously eating around the melon.
Grapes are good
THE REFUND WHERE IS THE REFUND
I decided I don’t need one. Here’s your receipt back — the manager’s over near the grill if you want to talk to him.
BUT YOU WERE GOING TO DO THIS WHY DID NOT
Like I said, I’m not interested. Okay? Can we drop it?
YOU MUST HOLD PEOPLE TO THE HIGHEST STANDARDS AT ALL TIMES
I’m not this guy’s manager. It’s not my job to evaluate him.
DO YOU NOT BELIEVE IN HIGH STANDARDS
Probably. I mean, I guess so. Doesn’t everyone? But I don’t want to force those standards on other people.
THIS IS HIS MISTAKE IF WE DO NOT HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE NO ONE WILL
Look, all due respect, I don’t need to confront a cafeteria manager making 25K annually about a bit of spoiled fruit, ok? I believe in picking my battles.
THAT IS WHY YOU WILL NEVER GET PROMOTED AGAIN YOU DO NOT DEMAND PERFECTION AT ALL TIMES
You’re probably right. You know what, Cthulhu, I’m not hungry anymore. Thanks for breakfast, I appreciate it.
WHERE YOU GOING?
Back to work.
Gods Are Crap Drivers
I live a mile away from the office, so most days I’m barely driving.
But once in a while, I hit the highway, Rt. 9 to be exact, to head into the city of Boston after work.
This particular night, I’m going to see Charlie Hunter play downtown. He’s a jazz guitarist and I try to catch him anytime he’s in the area.
So it’s five thirty or so and I’m driving down the highway. I’m one of these guys who likes to get in the center lane, which generally has the smoothest flow of traffic, and go sixty five miles an hour for the duration of the trip. No passing, no fuss, no threat of a speeding ticket, and reasonable fuel economy.
On this particular trip, out of nowhere, a guy in the righthand lane driving a silver Lexus SUV slices through the middle lane (my lane) and through to the left. There’s barely a car width between my own vehicle and the one in front of me, and I’m still in shock that the luxury boat was able to squeeze through the space available. There couldn’t have been more than a couple inches of clearance on either side.
Still trembling from the sudden burst of adrenaline from feeling like this D-bag almost hit me, I risk a look at the guy’s license plate.
It reads: CTHULHU
Speaking of confrontations, this year Beaker is fired. He couldn’t meet his family obligations while simultaneously performing to Cthulhu’s expectations, so, goodbye.
It’s worth mentioning that he was let go in October. Why does this matter? Because bonuses are distributed in lump sums three days before Christmas.
In other words, Beaker earned 3/4ths of his bonus by working through September, but took home none of it because he didn’t make it to December. Incidentally, this what FinancialCompany likes to do with employees that are out of favor: dump them just prior to the yearly disbursements. The company saves money and simultaneously humiliates their ex-employee. What’s not to love?
On a more positive note, this particular story has a happy ending, because Beaker got a 3 month severance package and had a job lined up for early January. So in the end, his commute got cut in half, plus he no longer reported to Cthulhu.
I’d say that in many ways, this made him the big winner on our team.