Must work to pay my bills, feed my babies, I took a temp job in a major financial institution's mortgage department. The characters there included:
But this story mostly takes place around the Fuck Lady and The Desperately Trying to Rise above her Hippy Parents Bitch. The Totally Ruthless Token Female Manager with Hair the Colour only Money Can Buy lurks in the past and the background of the Fuck Lady and The Well Meaning Sleep Deprived Mother of Two Young Children nods through from time to time. All the other characters are merely this story's background, providing a believable reality like continuity.
My job was data entry. The "challenge" was to key punch names and addresses and legal descriptions into a data base as fast as possible so that I could key punch other names and addresses and legal descriptions into a data base as fast as possible.
I'm good at that sort of thing. It's one of my talents! Like knitting. I threw their skew for the most keystrokes in a day way out of whack and my thank you was the temp job ended the day before my birthday.
Who says Banks have no heart?
The Fuck Lady said "Fuck!" more often than Eminem. The Desperately Trying to Rise above her Hippy Parents Bitch had trained under The Fuck Lady. As flattery in the form of emulation is a very effective way to ensure survival, the Fucks! were thick and heavy hanging and swirling in the bluish air, ping ponged and lobbed from desk to desk.
The place was snake pit.(1)
They jammed the temp workers in wherever they could. I was placed about a foot and a half directly behind The Desperately Trying to Rise above her Hippy Parents Bitch and four feet diagonally across from The Fuck Lady.
"Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" was my mental mantra, replacing "Don't think. Just work hard. Make money." Fingers flying, blocking out as much as I could.
It wasn't enough.
I attempted communication. "How long has this been going on?" I asked The Well Meaning Sleep Deprived Mother of Two Young Children.
"Huh? What? Who? What?" was the somnolent reply.
"Oh Dear!" Very small, very quiet, very soft became my new mental mantra.
That lasted about three days.
"It's a snake pit there!" I broke down. "I don't think I can take it much longer", I lamented to Fred. "The place is a snake pit!"
"Do something about it then Sigred", was Fred's retort. "Nagging at me won't change anything there."
Cruising through a Dollar Store killing a bit of time waiting for my bus I ran across a small plaque with a magnetic back. On the plaque was a cartooned white duck captioned as saying, "I don't give a Duck!"
I bought it and left it on the Fuck Lady's desk "anonymously". The anonymity was that of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, many AA members, most people who are religious and all politicians.
"Who left this plaque on my desk!" she shouted. "Fuck! This is great! Was it you? Was it you? Was it you?" She pointed at me poking her finger from across the four feet of floor space between us.
"Who me?" I pounded on my keys.
She took the plaque, found a good place for it on her desk and showed it off to anybody who came near her for a couple few days.
They were always getting pizza at the mortgage department of that major financial institution. Mortgage Brokers around town would supply the staff pizza on a regular basis and a card would go round each Pizza Day! for the staff to sign expressing our polite Thank You!
Even the temps got pizza and were asked to sign the card.
I always signed it, "Mr. Kite."
They'd talk about me the Fuck Lady and The Desperately Trying to Rise above her Hippy Parents Bitch. They'd talk about me, like people talk about somebody not in the same room with them.
I pounded on my keys.
"You know", The Desperately Trying to Rise above her Hippy Parents Bitch would say to the Fuck Lady, "I think she's fucking trying to compensate for a fucking unhappy childhood by seeking fucking redemption in a ridiculous display of fucking typing speed, rather than fucking dealing with anything of any fucking real importance. What do you think?"
The Fuck Lady would cast a mischievous imp glance over in my direction, smile her sloppy good-humored smile and I'd languidly pick myself up (the cessation of pounding being deafening) and remove myself to the bathroom or down the hall for my sandwich or Pizza!
"Ya but she's got this fucking weird kind of self-fucking confidence thing going too."
I didn't like working there.
The Fuck Lady was OK. I liked her except for the saying Fuck at least 132 times (maybe more) each day. Her Youngest Daughter had serious health problems and she was just a tad disillusioned about more than several things and spoke up about it! She at least kept trying to have fun and did a pretty good job at it from what I could see. Too bad so sad about the Fucks.
The Desperately Trying to Rise above her Hippy Parents Bitch was very "Fucked" up and my Youngest Daughter Faith was testing me big time. I wanted desperately for my Fairy Gawd Mother to swoop down on me and wave her magic wand, but instead I was trapped between a semi-psychotic teenager and a semi-psychotic young woman, spending a great deal of my day down in a snake pit surrounded by the Fuck Lady et al.
I was working in the glass canyons downtown. There were demonstrations in the street on a regular basis, drums pounding (literally) in mad staccato code. Beggars and jugglers and six-foot tall roosters crossed my path when I went for a walk at lunchtime.
I have sketches in my Booky(2) of a cartoon Witch reminiscent of me, sitting hunched over in an "In Box". There's a somewhat Hanzel and Gretal feel to it. I was desperate. My Booky shows it with sketches of weird people on the streets and HONK, HONK HONK gibberish dots madly across its pages.
Men-O-Pause was playing with my body and young women were playing with my time.
I tried to Do the Best I Could. I even made The Totally Ruthless Token Female Manager with Hair the Colour only Money Can Buy laugh when I brought her a note from my bus driver the day I was late.
But I couldn't manage it. I just didn't have the time or energy to get "It" right.
The Desperately Trying to Rise above her Hippy Parents Bitch felt intimidated because I could rack up key strokes. She was my boss but every time we interacted I stepped on an insecurity and backed up flailing, bumping into other ones as I tried to baby step my way out.
She took to lashing out at me.
I was a temp. hiding behind a teetering pile of work only sneaking out past the gauntlet on Pizza Day! I tried to stay out of her way but it's pretty hard when you're only a foot and a half apart.
"Oh Dear. Oh Dear. Oh Dear."
Finally I made another Dollar Store purchase and left it on the desk of The Desperately Trying to Rise above her Hippy Parents Bitch first thing in the morning before anyone else got into the office.
I'm an early bird too!
"What the Fuck is this!" The Desperately Trying to Rise above her Hippy Parents Bitch projectile vomited the words in a torrent of chunks. She twirled in her seat holding out the "Panic Button" I'd found at the Dollar Store too. "Who the Fuck put this here!" she shouted in that low growling big cat sort of way some people have of shouting while looking straight at me as I pounded on my PC just seconds away from once again breaking my own personal record for entries in an hour.
"Just a second! Huh? Who me?"
"Did you fucking leave this on my fucking desk!?"
"What!? Are you kidding?" I replied getting that little creepy kinda scared thing happening pretty good in the privacy of my own mind. "Oh Dear. Oh Dear. Oh Dear."
The Desperately Trying to Rise above her Hippy Parents Bitch went running to The Totally Ruthless Token Female Manager with Hair the Colour only Money Can Buy. The Totally Ruthless Token Female Manager with Hair the Colour only Money Can Buy tried very hard not to smile but couldn't quite succeed.
The Fuck Lady tried to sooth The Desperately Trying to Rise above her Hippy Parents Bitch in her position as mentor but it was way too late. The Desperately Trying to Rise above her Hippy Parents Bitch was really really really angry!
I told The Totally Ruthless Token Female Manager with Hair the Colour only Money Can Buy that I found the whole atmosphere highly charged and disturbing. I explained I was worried about my keystroke performance and humbly requested a different seating arrangement. She was overjoyed to provide me with a "Sit at Home" phone call from my Temp Agency.
(1) Before "modern" "mental" "health" "experts" when someone was "crazy" they'd throw them quite literally into a snake pit. It worked sometimes!
(2) My booky's my little notebook that I pack around with me and write things in that I don't want to forget. Sometimes I draw pictures in it and sometimes I do my household budget in it. Sometimes I write poetry in it and sometimes I rip pages out of it and write notes for other people. You know…a booky!