Thursday, January 25, 2007

I wasn't born with enough middle fingers

There’s a woman in my office I like to call Mean Grandma because she seriously looks like the kind of grandmother who’s sweet as pie to her grandchildren in front of everyone else, but when nobody’s looking, she pinches their tender cheeks hard and hisses “You better keep your nose clean!” If I answer someone else’s phone while they’re away from their desk, and it happens to be MG, she’ll always say, in a voice like a snot-filled bonbon, “Oh, I didn’t want YOU.”

Well, screw you too, lady!

Here’s how deep my dislike of MG runs. A couple of weeks ago, G and I were waiting to be seated at one of our favorite restaurants when, to my horror, I saw MG waiting in line to pay her bill. I hissed, “G, that’s Mean Grandma!” and hid behind him until she left.

Anyway, she came over to my desk yesterday, wearing the kind of sparkly shirt that only a woman with too much time on her hands and a frequent customer card for Michael’s could possibly own, and she said, “Say, what are you bringing to D’s baby shower?”

“Baby shower?” I asked. I was perplexed not because I didn’t know D was pregnant---with twins, no less, so it’s rather obvious---but because I barely even know the chick. She works in a different, albeit neighboring, department, and although I know her by name and face, I don’t know her well enough to attend a baby shower.

“Yes, the baby shower. We’re having it next Thursday at 1PM, so what are you bringing for the potluck?”

“Well, I don’t think I’ll be attending,” I said.

MG actually put her hand over her sequined heart and said, “You AREN’T?” Her tone of voice was so horrified that you’d think I had wished actual harm on the mother and her unborn brood.

“I don’t really know D personally. I certainly wish her the best of luck, and I’m very happy for her, but I don’t want to come to the shower. I’d be glad to sign a card if there’s one going around.”

MG harrumphed and shook her head in dismay, giving me a look that implied I was the worst person in the world, on par with a cop killer or a kitten raper. Then she turned to the woman in the cube across from me and said, “J, what are YOU bringing to D’s shower?”

“I’m not going,” J said, not looking away from her computer monitor.

“Well, whyever not?”

“I don’t know D all that well, and besides, I don’t like babies.”

Hey, I was no longer the worst person in the world!

I had yet another encounter with MG today, much to my delight.

I was frowning at a Post-It note left on my desk, trying to figure out who had written it and what exactly they wanted, when MG came up to me. This time, she had an actual work-related question, and as I researched the answer for her, her attention was drawn to the calendar I had hanging in my cube.

“Well, that’s certainly an…interesting picture,” she sniffed.

The calendar in question was a free one I got with the January issue of Shojo Beat, an English-language manga magazine. The picture was of the two main female characters from Nana holding hands. It’s not like it’s some graphic display of lesbianism or anything; they’re not wearing strap-ons or labrys necklaces. It just looks like two female friends expressing their platonic friendship for each other.

Still, I had a feeling she’d complain to management, so rather than deal with that sticky wicket (“No, they’re just friends! I refer you to volume 4 of the manga, where…”), I decided to change calendars. I had another one in my desk, this one a freebie from a Japanese magazine, and I tacked it up. The picture shows a teenage boy holding a teenage girl in his arms, and they’re smiling and cheerful and TOTALLY HETEROSEXUAL. A nice, happy, red-state friendly picture.

And then I realized the teenage boy had drawn a pair of breasts on his white sneakers, along with the Japanese katakana for boobs (oppai).

With a sigh, I painstakingly used Wite-Out to erase the offending mams.

Is it fucking Friday yet?