Friday, August 04, 2006

I'm Here to Help

“Yes, Jean Luc, I will do anything for you and the Federation,” I whispered as the tall captain brushed his hand lightly over my hair. I smiled as I welcomed him into my cabin. “If we have to appear to be married to fool the Ferengi I’m willing to play my part.”

“But Jodi,” he cautioned, his sexy English accent floating over me in a wave that melted my insides. “They are watching us very closely. This is not simply an undercover mission that we can leave behind when we are behind these doors. They have spies everywhere. You must be willing to commit.”

“Anything, Captain. You know that.”

As if to test me, he leaned in and swept me into his arms, his soft lips only inches from my own. Suddenly a loud alarm starting buzzing and we flew apart, startled. “Is it the Ferengi, Jean Luc?”

He looked at me hungrily, “No, Lieutenant, it’s time to wake up.”

“Sweetie, turn the damn alarm off and get up,” my husband said groggily. But what happened to Jean Luc I wanted to cry. Stupid alarm clock I thought as I leaned over to squint at the glowing red numbers. Stupid six in the morning I whined as I turned the alarm off.

As I prepared to turn back over Matthew quickly sprawled himself all over my side of the bed. “Fine, I didn’t want to snuggle anyways,” I muttered as I began to waddle toward the bathroom. “What’s the date?” I called out.

“Damn it I don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn everyday Jodi, you do!” I heard in response. I waited for him to wake up an inch or two more. “It’s Tuesday the 4th.”

I closed the door to the bathroom in response and hopped into what I hoped would be a steaming shower. Hot water on demand, you see, is the ultimate gift from the gods and it wasn’t one I was ever willing to ignore. As I stood beneath the pounding spray I did some quick calculations in my head. If today was the 4th then I would have earned another half day of sick leave which would bring my total unused sick leave to one full day which would mean that I could call out sick!

I squealed gleefully as I finished my morning absolutions and practiced my sick voice. “Hi, Leslie, I can’t come in today because,” I paused trying to think of an excuse I hadn’t used in the last six months. Then I smiled that wickedly evil smile that every naughty child knows. If I called in the next 20 minutes he wouldn’t be there and I could leave a voice mail and I wouldn’t need an excuse. Just a few well-placed coughs and an offer that if he wanted to, he could call me. The last part is key, you see, because bosses never call if you tell them to; because they think you’re being sincere and don’t want to disturb your rest. Some people excel at working; I excelled at not working.

Just as I was about to make the call and return to my wonderful dream-state Hubby called out again. “Babe? Yeah, it isn’t the 4th today. Sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking. Today is the 3rd. If it was the fourth I’d have to give that lecture to the incoming grad students.”

I had stopped listening by that point. Not the 4th? But that meant that I wouldn’t earn my extra half-day off until tomorrow, which meant that I couldn’t call out which meant that I had to work today! I hated my husband at that point. I planned ways to have him killed as I pulled my jeans on and stared at my closet for sweater inspiration.

“Wear the blue one. You look cute in it,” he mumbled from the bed. He had good taste so I couldn’t hate him entirely. Maybe I’d just hate those horrible suffragette women who wanted to be able to work way back when. Yeah, I’ll hate them.

After a quick hunt for my purse, keys and other essential items, I wandered into the bedroom and gave Matthew a quick kiss goodbye on his cheek. In a last ditch attempt to demonstrate that I held no ill will about his falsely advising me of the date I turned the coffee maker on and ignored the lunch bag sitting next to it. If I was going to be forced to work on what could have been a day off then I was at least going out to lunch. And with that I was out the door and on my way to hell.

You may think that I hate my job. I don’t, I just resent the time it takes away from watching TV and doing nothing. If the not working gods had been watching over me today, watching TV, fast food and doing nothing would all have been on the to do list. Instead I had to drive the twenty minutes to work and hope that I could find a parking spot within a 5-mile radius of the front door of the building.

If it weren’t for NPR I would hate my drive to work. Luckily listening to the news helps relax me and keep my mind off the doom that was looming closer as the miles disappeared beneath my lead foot. Some people listen to music in the car, but that always makes me car dance and when you live in a small college town where everyone knows you and your car that can be dangerous.

The drive ended the same way it always did: at the private building that housed my company’s local offices. The company’s headquarters were miles away in Texas but our local branch was home to almost 500 souls, most of whom were, I assume, as miserable as I was. The giant teddy bear logo next to the front door was the only hint that this Fortune 500 Company existed hidden behind the suburban maze of side streets in this nondescript mid-western town. But that was the way that we liked it: we didn’t want people to find us.

We aren’t the CIA or the FBI: we’re way more important than that. We are the anonymous voices that you yell at without fear of retribution. We are the faceless geniuses who fix the problems that you claim we caused in the first place. We are Customer Service and we may not rule your world but we’ll keep you on hold for five minutes for the privilege of fixing it for you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am thrilled to hear that you are able to get "absolutions" in the shower! Well Done, It's good to know that parental training is still working!