As previously mentioned, I am a girl who likes her food. So you would think I would relish my lunch hour. And I would,
I have a lunch *half* hour. What heartless bastard came up with a half hour lunch for people who work? There’s no way you can eat anything even approximating a healthy meal in that time. Believe me, I’ve tried. For awhile, I was having a grilled chicken breast, half a baked potato, and a spinach salad for lunch. Yummy *and* nutritious. But even with cooking the chicken and potato at home the night before, I’d still have to reheat it for about 2 1/2 minutes at lunch. And then I’d have to assemble my salad; spinach, Parmesan cheese, croutons, and bacon bits. I’d do this while the microwave was going, then grab my chicken and potato. I’d butter, salt and pepper the potato, then I’d start eating. So it was about 5 minutes all told to make my lunch. That should leave 25 minutes to eat my lunch, right? WRONG! It leaves me 10 minutes to eat lunch.
“How do you figger that?” you might scoff. “Thirty minus five is twenty-five, you dummy!” While I will admit that two College Algebra professors and an Astronomy professor have scoffed similarly at my mathematical prowess, I’m not *that* hopeless. I’m not the one saying “figger”, you yokel. Anyway, I figure this because eating is not the only thing I have to try and cram into 30 minutes. My bosses expect us to stuff any and all personal matters into our lunch break, including going to the restroom. Management severely frowns on excessive restroom use. So at lunch, I am forced to shovel my food into my face as if the fate of all my loved ones depended on my haste, in order to sprint from the break room to the women’s restroom in the hopes of snagging one of the four stalls the building has for over 100 women. So each day, I have to calculate not only how long my bodily functions will last, but also how many other women I will have to vie with over a toilet stall. And then once inside the stall, there is usually some sort of “souvenir” left by the previous occupant, which makes me have to decontaminate the seat with hand sanitizer I have for just such a purpose. So after I’m finished with the restroom, If I’m lucky, I’ll have about 5 minutes left of my lunch so I can just sit quietly at my desk and mentally prepare myself to face the rest of the day. And even then, I usually spend those last precious and few moments deflecting “Hey Finch” requests that I clock back in early so that I can answer just this one simple, quick little question for them.
As you can see, my lunch half hour leave precious little time for actual eating. Nutritious food takes too long to prepare, so I’m usually stuck with a microwave cheeseburger and chips. Or I can venture to one of the fast food places that are within a 5 minute drive form my work and get some of their delectable fare to wolf down in the car on the way back to the office. It’s just utterly ridiculous to expect a grown person to cram an hour’s worth of activity into half the time. If I had an hour for lunch, I could eat at a leisurely pace, use the restroom at a leisurely pace, and maybe even have time for a short, leisurely nap.
If I were running my own business, I would make sure that any worker who wanted an hour lunch would have one. Even if I were to become an evil overlord, my minions and thugs and other assorted staff would have at least an hour for lunch. I’d be evil, not heartless. Plus, happy minions are obedient and loyal minions, I always say. I, on the other hand, would have lunch whenever the hell I wanted, for however the hell long I wanted, because that would be my prerogative as the supreme ruler of all I survey. Alas, all I can do is fantasize about this. I’ll probably be stuck in this job until I die, or go insane, or do both at once. And on my grave, they will inscribe the following: “Here lies Finch Terwilliker. You should have given her a damn hour for lunch, you bastards.”
And then the company will feel really bad and maybe institute longer lunches in my honor out of guilt. Or else I’ll be replaced by another sad sack and nothing will ever change. I’m betting on the latter.
I think I’m going to have to change my name. If I hear my name uttered by my coworkers one more time, I’m going to become so irate that I’ll make The Incredible Hulk look like Mister Rogers.
It wasn’t always like this, I used to love my unique name. When someone in school said, “Finch”, I knew they were talking to (or about) me, and not one of 157 other girls. Not like the poor, unfortunate “Sarah”s in my class. From grade school to high school, I attended class with no less than three and upwards of 17 various “Sarah”s. But there was only one Finch. I reveled in my singularity. Now however, I wish I could slip into the persona of a ubiquitous “Sarah”.
“What could have caused such a dramatic shift in your love for your name?” I hear you asking, even though the bonds of time and space that separate us. Well, I’ll tell you, because I know you would be unable to ever sleep again unless you knew the answer to your burning question.
The answer is this: I became a coach at the call center where I work. In this positions, I assist other workers with their calls, take calls from customers demanding to speak with a supervisor, and pretty much handle any other task that is too complex for an average worker and too menial for upper management. Basically, anything that no one else wants to do, the policy is “Well, Finch can do that!” So not only am I troubleshooting computer programs, making infinite copies and taking attendance, but also I’m rebuilding client case files from scratch, fetching and carrying food for my coworkers and cleaning out the fridge in the break room. All this on top of my regular work assigned to me and answering questions for my coworkers.
Which brings me to “Hey Finch”, A phrase which I hear approximately 5,843 times during the workday and extending into the night, into my dreams. Yes, I have nightmares of endless “Hey Finch”s which resound ceaselessly from my coworkers in a cacophonous ululation like a Greek chorus of the damned. You might think I’m being overly dramatic, but you’d be wrong. If anything, I’m being understated, reserved, and rational in my description of this shrieking hell into which I have been plunged.
And it gets worse. While I’m responding to one “Hey Finch” request, I’ve got at lease two other “Hey Finch”s being hollered at me, while five simultaneous “Hey Finch”s vie for my attention via phone, 17 “Hey Finch”s bombard my inbox, while one sly “Hey Finch” manages to slip in via IM from my boss. I’m surprised I don’t get a handwritten “Hey Finch” tied to the leg of a pigeon, or parachuted in though a ceiling tile, or plastered across a hot air balloon. One day, a thousand years in the future, when my office building is nothing but rubble, archaeologists will find the entrance to a prehistoric cave. And in that cave they will discover an ancient crude pot with strange hieroglyphs chiseled upon it. And after years of study, the archaeologists will determine that, roughly translated, the inscription reads: “Hey Finch”.
Ah, but I can dream of a day when all of this will change–a day when greeting me with “Hey Finch” will be punishable by a vigorous thrashing for the first offense, and by an attack from an assortment of unsavory creatures (piranhas, anacondas, those really thick looking black spiders, crawdads, etc) for each subsequent offense. Yes, were I to become a supreme evil overlord, everyone from my lowliest minion to my most trusted advisers would know the severe penalties attached to an errant “Hey Finch”. The only one who might even conceivably be permitted to utter “Hey Finch” would be my consort, were I to have one. Alas, I am currently consort-less, but if I were not, he alone would have have the permission to “Hey Finch” me. And the only reason they would be able to commit an act which would usually incur my wrath is because they would be incredibly, mind-bogglingly, slap-yo-mama hot. I’m picturing no less than Tom Hiddleston levels of hotness, here. But everyone else–no such luck.
When those who are lowlier than my consort refer to me or call upon me, they will be permitted to use such appellations as “Your Supreme Awesomeness”, or “Oh Mistress, My Mistress”, or “Finch the Superb, Dominatrix of All She Surveys”. Or maybe just “Finch.” If it’s Casual Friday. But no matter what, the world would know that I am Finch the Superb, She Who Shall Not Be “Hey”d.
We’re having a bunch of corporate big wigs come and visit us tomorrow. As such, since management thinks all workers are a slovenly hoard of miscreants, we received an email outlining unprofessional things which management has noticed, and which should not be done while the Most Favored and Revered VIPS are among us. These things included:
-No putting feet on desk (I have no idea how this is being accomplished without someone being a contortionist)
-Not wearing shoes at all times. (Ok, yes I take my shoes off at work, but my feet get hot and it’s not like I walk around like that.)
-Workers slouched down in desk chairs.-
I had to wonder why the list was so small, because there are things that we workers do every day which are far more unprofessional. So, I have compiled a list of daily work activities that seem questionable, but that as of yet have flown under management’s radar.
– Hunching over the keyboard, pounding keys and uttering a low but constant stream of profanity.
-Slumping forward, head on arms, weeping softly,
-Staring blankly into the middle distance while contemplating the poor life choices that led to this point.
-Shrieking in pain as we attempt to remove our headsets, which are clinging, bat-like, to our hair.
-Growling demonically at our computer systems’ frequent crashes
-Leaping up out of our desk chair, our fists clenched in our hair, howling wordlessly at the uncaring acoustical tiles and by proxy, the uncaring sky above.
So I guess all those responses are perfectly normal for working in a call center. Perfectly. Normal.
I work at a call center. In a tiny cube with three other sad sacks who can’t afford to quit. We are not high tech at this call center. We are exceedingly low tech, inasmuch as one of our operating systems, if it were a human, would be well past the legal drinking age in America. I mention this fact to let the reader know that we are not equipped with video phones or web conferencing or Skype or anything of the like that would allow us to visually communicate with the clients who call in to our call center. They cannot see us. I am heartily glad for this fact because it allows me to roll my eyes sarcastically, pantomime shooting myself in the head, and to enthusiastically flip off the client with any and all middle fingers available to me. As long as my voice is blandly pleasant, and as long as the client feels that I’m actually listening to what they say, I’m good. Not to belabor the point, but being a call center, our only contact with the clients is through the phone, which as aforementioned, are not video phones. No clients come in to the office. (Oh Hallelujah! Can I get an Amen?) They, at no point in time, see the people they are calling. The only people who ever see us are the other miserable wretches who inhabit this sinkhole and occasionally, the guy who fills up the soft drink machine.
So why in the name of bloody, spider infested, weasel phlegm coated Hell do I have to wear “business casual” attire?!?
I’m stuck wearing dress pants and a dress shirt and dress shoes nigh on every single day, for no apparent reason other than the fact that someone in HR decided that it makes us more productive. I’m surprised we aren’t required to wear dress underwear. I’d better not say that too loud–I’ll come in Monday morning to an email saying “In order to increase productivity, inspire morale and maximize the actualization of our corporate image, all employees are now required to wear business casual undergarments. No granny panties, no Sunday underwear (you know what we mean!) Anyone caught wearing undergarments in violation of the dress code will be sent home. And we sincerely hope they don’t get in an accident on the way home and have to go to the hospital. Not in those undergarments. What will the doctor think?”
I understand that we have to have some sort of rules on what we can wear to work. Unfortunately, some people must have been raised by wolves–blind, tasteless, uncouth wolves–and would come to work dressed in things that are all shabby, but no chic; or in things that are so ho-ish that a two dollar prostitute would scorn them. So yes, by all means–set some limits on what’s acceptable. But having to dress up like I’m off to broker some business meeting when in reality all I’m doing is staring forlornly out the window at the mocking view of the outside world until that dreaded “Beep” sounds in my headphones, is just too much.
As mentioned in a previous post, I keep my mind from running away into the void of oblivion, gibbering with tedium-induced insanity by imagining what I would do if I were a super villain. I would like to clarify that this is just speculation, and is in no way indicative of future plans or career arcs. In no way whatsoever. Whatsoever. Because that would be crazy, right? Right. Ha ha. Keeping that in mind, in part two of this post, I shall describe my ideas for wardrobing my super villain self. Topics covered will include the importance of establishing a brand, capes or no capes, and if black leather is stylish or so last season. Try not to expire from anticipation, dear readers. It’ll be hard, but I know you can make it. You are so strong.
Why does it seem like all of a sudden, the best way to name your child is to just to randomly dump consonants or vowels into a perfectly good name? I sat at work one day and came up with over one hundred different permutations of the name “Madison”. And I have probably seen at least half of those various spellings over the course of my career. It’s like people just reach into a Scrabble tile bag. “Ok child, your name is ‘Zqxugfb’.” Or they toss a handful of corn on a keyboard and let a chicken peck out a moniker. People are naming their kids like some kind of Lovecraftian deity. “Oh, those are my kids Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep. It’s ok– their name are supposed to be unpronounceable to human vocal capabilities.” I know that people want to be creative when naming their child, but if you go naming them something ridangdiculous, they’re never going to be able to find pens or pencils or coffee mugs or key chains with their name on it. They’re gonna have to go with the ones that say “They didn’t have your name”. And I’m not saying that your children will hate you for that, but I am saying that it will definitely be a deciding factor if it comes to choosing you a nursing home.
Oftentimes, I amuse myself at work by planning elaborate ways of becoming a super villain and taking over the world. Many components go into making a good super villain; outfits, witty banter, an arch nemesis with which to engage in the aforementioned witty banter, an appropriately evil laugh, etc. But one very important factor is your army. It can be minions, henchmen, a hoard of mercenary barbarians, or any number of things. The most important thing is that there be droves of them. Scads, even. Perchance a plethora if you’re feeling spunky. And they must be outfitted well. A common error in super villainy is under equipping your staff. If your underlings are getting mowed down by your foes like so many blades of grass before the whirring blades of a lawn tractor, it does not bode well for you. Not only is it expensive to replace human resources, but it’s bad for morale as well. And the last thing you want is a bunch of demotivated lackeys between you and your enemy.
That’s why I have figured out the one item that must be standard issue to all my troops: An attack unicorn. Hear me out. Picture that you’re one of my foes (if you’re already one of my foes–and you know who you are–this should be easy) and that you’re making a futile attempt to storm my lair. You’ve crossed the moat, defeated the Sphinx and her riddles, and solved the Rubik’s Cube of Eternal Frustration. Nothing left to do but defeat my hoard. Should be pretty simple–but hang on–what’s this now? What’s that crunching rumble that your hear fast approaching? Why it’s my henchmen, astride their titanium-clad attack unicorns. And that crunching sound is not the hooves of their steeds–it’s the tank treads of their steeds. Crushing beneath them the bones of other fools who dared oppose me. And does that majestic, rainbow-hued horn also double as a rocket launcher? You bet your sweet bippy it does. Oh, and how observant of you to notice that my attack unicorns have laser eyes. Most people would just assume that it was magic and wonder twinkling in those crimson orbs. Well, that’s partly correct–magic and wonder and lasers. And just a smidgin of pixie dust. Can’t forget that.
As you cower there–whimpering, soiling yourself profusely and ruing the day you ever thought to cross me– you notice the crowning achievement of my army. It’s my valiant and noble steed. You weep at its beauty. It’s not merely an attack unicorn–it’s an attack Pegasus unicorn. Its glittering wings blind you. It has the standard rocket launcher horn and laser eyes and tank treads in case of land maneuvers, but it also has an additional feature. That’s right, it breathes fire as well. Give up now, puny mortal. Your pathetic endeavor has failed and I have emerged victorious. I am triumphant. All shall love me and despair. Bwah ha ha ha!
… And then I realize that I have been cackling aloud at my cubicle, eliciting concerned and wary stares from my coworkers. I must return to my drudgery for now, at least until I can create a Kickstarter account to fund my attack-a-corns project. Sigh.
There is just nothing good to eat at my desk. Oh sure, I have popcorn, pretzels, a jar of chunky peanut butter (for dipping the aforementioned pretzels in), and like 3 different kinds of oatmeal, but I don’t have what I really want: MEAT.
Desk food is limited to sweets and salty snacks. I guess it’s because these kind of things have a relatively long shelf life. But I want more. I want it to be socially acceptable to have meat at your desk. And I’m not talking about jerky. That’s some of the nastiest, foul smelling, sorry excuse for a food product that I ever did see. It’s like someone de-joyed the meat instead of dehydrating it. So that’s right out. Same thing with tuna fish. I don’t know who ever convinced humans that eating tuna right out of the can is something that should occur, but let me tell you Brethren, you have been lied to. Tuna belongs in cassaroles, where it can be properly cooked and its funk concealed by noodles and a creamy sauce. And don’t get me started on Spam. Can you eat Spam raw? Does it require preparation? I don’t know. It’s in a can like tuna, and it’s ham. Is it like a canned lunch meat? If so, is there canned bologna? And if so, is it called Spaloney? (If not, I totally claim that product name.)
No, we need a desk meat revolution. I want to be able to open up my desk drawer and have a rotisserie chicken in there. On an actual rotisserie. A Rotiss-adex. Powered by little jars of canned heat. I’ll be singing Jamiroqai at work: “Got canned heat in my desk tonight baby! You know this chicken is for real!” Then I’d open another drawer and oh what is this folks? It’s a grill. It’s a grill with steaks. Everyone gather round, I’m servin’ up ribeyes offa my Steakler. Pull out the keyboard tray and bam, it’s a griddle. We are go for bacon. Yes, desk bacon: the best kind of bacon. Ok, yes I can toss some sausage on my Griddleboard; you only had to ask.
I’m sad now because when I return to work on Monday, I will have none of these wonderful things. My meat tooth will go unsatisified. But this is a wonderful country where any sort of harebrained food preparation product can hit the market. One day, one day, the Rotiss-adex, the Griddleboard and even the Steakler shall be mine. Sigh…