March 26, 2007

Naming Dust Bunnies

My workspace is disgusting. Not my workspace at home. Of course that is as clean and tidy as I want it to be. Even if it’s not clean and tidy I don’t mind so much because I know I’m responsible for maintaining it any way I want. I’m talking about my workspace at my day job. The place where I spend forty hours out of my week to earn enough money to make the house payment and pay for the other necessities of life. The workspace my government job has provided for me. It’s disgusting.

And why is my workspace so disgusting, you ask? Because it doesn’t get cleaned. I have the capacity to rationalize just about anything I set my mind to, but the disgustingly dirty workspace is something I can’t get my head around no matter how hard I try to twist it. Here’s the thing: The building, from which my government agency rents space, provides a cleaning service for its tenants. Sounds good, but hold on. As we live in an age of technology and litigation I found out that the cleaning people are not allowed to clean desk tops.

WTF? OK, these cleaning people get paid. I assume they might even belong to a union. I also assume the company for which they work is bonded and insured. I lastly assume that I assume too much because the person who comes into our suite every day, as personable and lovely a lady as she is, is only required to empty waste baskets and push the carpet sweeper around on the floors. I think she brings in an actual vacuum once a week. Anything above waist level is off limits to the cleaning person. It’s not her fault; she’s just doing what she’s told. Because people don’t want their stuff touched, stolen, accidentally poked or prodded, the cleaning people aren’t allowed to clean desk tops. Because some cleaning people have been known to touch, steal, poke and prod the stuff in the offices they clean, they aren’t allowed to clean the desk tops. Because the government has invested thousands of dollars in computer equipment for their workers and they want only their workers to be blamed if something goes awry with that equipment the cleaning people aren’t allowed to clean the desk tops.

So here I sit at my work station, a work station visited and viewed by the general public, pretending it’s not my problem that there is enough dust around me to choke an army. It is my problem. I can’t stand it. I can’t stand the fact that my “bullet-proof” window is covered with hand and nose prints. I can’t stand it that the hundreds of wires giving my computer and video monitor equipment life are so covered with dust they have turned into what look like massive strands of dreadlocks twisting and commingling behind the equipment. I can’t stand it that my phone has black smudges on it. I can’t stand that between the keys of my keyboard reside the crumbs of past-eaten muffins and the husks of long gone popcorn. It’s disgusting, I say. And while I can avoid the crumbs in the keyboard and black smudges on the phone by not eating muffins and washing my hands more often, I still have an entire workspace that is covered with dust, my boss’s coffee mug rings, and all the grease and grime that accompanies actually touching things.

The cleaning people aren’t allowed to clean, and I will go completely insane if I have to work day and in day out in squalor. The only solution to the problem would be if I clean up the filth myself. Not only do I think it’s unfair to make me dust and clean my employment workspace after I spend so much time keeping my private home space clean, I will remind you that I am a government worker. I get paid with your tax dollars. I just don’t think it’s right that I spend my work time cleaning my workspace instead of doing the job I’m paid to do, especially when there are hired cleaning people here every day. I also don’t think it’s right that I’m expected to work among so many dust bunnies that I have taken to naming them.

Sorry guys, I’m going to have to come in to work in my jeans and a t-shirt one day this week and undertake the job of cleaning my desk top, computer equipment, “bullet-proof” glass window, cabinets, and miscellaneous supplies like staplers and tape dispensers instead of actually doing my job. All at the expense of the tax payer.

It just seems wrong, but do you blame me?

March 19, 2007

Why Is That?

There is nothing sexier than a man on a stage playing the electric guitar and wearing a wedding ring.

March 17, 2007

Resistance Is Futile

It's a foggy, overcast afternoon, damp and chilly. I decided to make a day of experimenting with glass painting. I hopped in the car and went down to my local craft store to pick up a couple bottles of glass paint. As I walked toward the store entrance from the parking lot, I saw a woman heading toward the same store entrance with her pre-teenage daughter. How lovely, I thought. The sight of them took me back to my childhood where dreary, lazy days would be spent crafting under the supervision of my mother. Bonding. Mental and creative stimulation. Family quality time. Then I saw ... one of those stupid ear phones stuck into the mother's head.

Now I'm for advances in technology and all that. I don't see anything wrong with the corporate types walking around downtown juggling cell phones, laptop computers, blackberries, and that cup of Starbuck's cappuccino. But here was a mother. With her child. On a Saturday afternoon. What could possibly be so important that she would need a phone attached to her head while going to the craft store?

While the constant phone communication gives the facade of keeping people connected, it is becoming nothing more than something to distract from what we are currently doing and who we are currently with, even if we are alone. There is nothing wrong with walking through the mall alone with a song in your head instead of incessantly chatting on the phone. Is it really necessary to have dinner with someone in a restaurant while talking on the phone to someone else? How unnatural it seems to see someone having a phone conversation while hiking through a state park. Just recently Boyfriend and I went to a theater production of White Christmas, and a couple seats down from me sat a person who had to periodically check cell phone messages during the performance, the LED lights from the instrument illuminating the entire section in which we sat.

Yes, technology is a good thing. Even I own a cell phone, which I carry with me at all times in case of emergency. I can't remember the last time I turned it on. Yes, it is possible to carry a cell phone without even turning it on. Get those stupid things out of your ears. You look like a damn Borg.

I ask you, what exactly is the difference?

March 07, 2007


There is a woman in my office I refer to as Tysheeka. Tysheeka is a trainee. I don’t expect much from trainees as they are fresh to the business of social services. Unlike most of her fellow trainees, Tysheeka has been around the block a few times and has a few years on her. While I don’t expect much in the way of trainees knowing the social service game, I do expect someone of maturity (over 35) to know things like courtesy and professionalism.

She floats in and out of the office on her own schedule, and I’m not really sure how she gets away with it. On several occasions she has forgotten her card key and has troubled me, intake person, with her whining and excuse making while I open the locked doors for her. One day a guy came to our office with a bag. He was delivering lunch. To Tysheeka. Tysheeka was nowhere to be found to accept the delivered lunch. After a few minutes Tysheeka turns up and commences to do her business with the lunch delivery guy in the reception area of our office. Oh wait, except she is having trouble paying for it. The lunch delivery guy asks me if I have change for a $10. What’s wrong with this picture? I asked myself. Well, A) Tysheeka should get off her fat ass and get her lunch herself, like everyone else in the office does, B) if Tysheeka can’t get off her fat ass and get her own lunch, she should be here to accept the delivered lunch the minute it is delivered, C) if Tysheeka is going to accept a delivered lunch she should have the correct money to pay for it, and D) lunches are not delivered to an office that is open to the public needing social services, at least not this one. I told Tysheeka that lunch delivery was unacceptable and she was all, like, “I didn’t mean for him to come into the office. I was waiting out in the hallway for a long time and only left for a minute.” I told her I saw the receipt on the lunch bag and it said our suite number as the delivery site, not “in the hallway of that one building.” Of course she was aghast that I would have the nerve to tell her what office policy was. Not only that, twenty minutes after receiving the delivered lunch I saw her leaving the office for the day.

It’s been a while since I’ve had any conflict with Tysheeka. I think she’s learned to avoid me at all costs, including crouching in the hallways on those days she forgets her card key, preferring to wait for someone to go in or out of the secured employee entrance rather than to come to the main door and ask me to let her in. However, the other day I simply could not believe my eyes. There is Tysheeka, walking to the printer to fetch her printed materials, in her bare feet. What’s wrong with this picture? I asked myself again. A) It’s winter in Minnesota. There is three feet of snow on the ground and temperatures are in the teens. Because of that, fashion sense and common sense would dictate that one at least wear socks/hose, and B) this is a place of business. We don’t walk around like Appalachian hillbillies in our bare feet.

Bare fucking feet in the office. Who the hell does that?! Tysheeka. Because she’s entitled.

March 01, 2007

High Fashion

I’m the first one to admit that I am a very boring dresser. The most exotic thing I ever wear is a black broomstick skirt and a gauzy, flowing top a la Stevie Nicks. With that type of outfit I’ll wear many long necklaces and hope I look like the bohemian artist I want to be. But generally I can be seen in a pair of jeans and a sweater. If I have to look extra professional at my job I’ll wear a simple skirt and blouse. I’m definitely not cutting edge, nor do I spend a great deal of time or money building my wardrobe.

There’s a person in my office who is a medical professional. She lives with another medical professional. With their two incomes combined, they make more money than God. They live in a mansion which is decorated, I’ve heard, like a museum. While her special man friend is quite unpretentious, at least in appearance, the woman who works in my office is struts around in the most bizarre clothes I’ve ever seen. Apparently she only shops in Milan, Paris, and New York. Oh, and I forgot to mention, this woman is built like an Oompa Loompa. I’ve never seen such fat knees or thick ankles. She doesn’t wear high fashion clothes well, but holds her head up high, knowing that she is far more superior to the rest of us schmucks who wear St. John’s Bay.

Funny thing is, I think I look better in my humble clothes than she looks in her high-falootin’ clothes from France. My assumption is this woman envisions herself looking like the runway models when she wears these outrageous clothes. I took a look on the Elle website and found that not only do Oompa Loompa-looking women look weird in high-fashion designer clothing, so do the models. Check it out:

First of all, what's with the Marcel Marceau look? And that hair. I didn't realize hair bumps were in.

This dress looks like a giant balloon valance. I never really liked those on windows, and wouldn't dream of wearing one as a piece of clothing.

This dress reminds me of something the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland would wear. It's downright cartoonish. I know I'm a simple midwestern girl, but really, how many of you out there have an occasion to wear such an outfit?

While the woman in my office doesn't wear anything quite so "elegant," her clothes are equally laughable. I wonder how these woman can take themselves seriously. Maybe they don't. Maybe they are putting on their own personal show for the rest of us and are taking great pleasure in watching our reactions. If that is the case, Ms. Rich Pants is getting her money's worth every time I pass, because there is no way in hell I'm not going to raise an eyebrow at a middle-aged woman (Oompa Loompa) wearing furry platform shoes with her lime green capri pants, both which draw attention to those ample ankles.

Say I'm sour grapes if you want. I may laugh at these fashions because I can't afford them. I may laugh at these fashions because my lifestyle is less than flamboyant. But most likely it's just that I don't get it. Do you?