Bent Words

Bent Words

August 19, 2009


Three weeks ago I went to the doctor to take care of some girlie stuff. I hate girlie stuff about as much as I hate 6am Sunday lawn care service workers but, just as weekends must be preceded by Mondays, so too must the grass be cut.

Stupid grass.

I had some sort of vague issue for which the doctor prescribed what I call 'Hat Medication.' She just pulled the name of a drug out of a hat and said, "Here, try this and hope it helps."

Eventually, it helped -- I'm cured -- but while taking the meds, I was admittedly a bit off. The stuff made me dizzy and nauseas. It basically took everything I had to make it through an entire day but taking time off was not an option. I explained this to one of my two "Team Leaders" at work, as his wife is a pharmacist, and hoped that that would be the end of it. "I've got this thing for which I need to take meds but they make feel like shit so I apologize now if I'm not full of sunshine and roses for the next week." Team Leader #1 held out his hands as though he were stopping traffic and said he completely understood which was his way of saying "Please, do not tell me more about your girlie crap."

I left it at that.

I did not tell anyone else or explain the situation further. For one, it's a male dominated arena and I am considered one of the boys. But it's plainly obvious that I am still female and thus there is a delicate balance of what is and what is not expected of me. For instance, I do not complain about, mention, allude to, or hint at cramps on Red Days. If I did, I would likely suffer a week of having dead animals laid at my doorstep followed by absolute abstinence, lest it spread. I only took one day off of work after an accident which included the busting of four of my front teeth, dislocating my shoulder and mangling my right leg -- I came back to work smiling (with green tinted caps) and never once mentioned pain. If I were to complain about anything, ever, I would be considered a bitch and would instantly be put on the "Whiny Girl" list. And, as I stated earlier, I hate girlie stuff.

The majority of the boys, however, have their leisure to complain about everything.

Stiff necks, bad backs, late nights, mosquito bites, light paychecks.... You name it.

I'm not ranting about inequality; I'm merely stating how it is. I am painting a picture. A picture full of irritable little boys...

Anyhow, I endured a week of lame medication. And during this week, I had a couple 'situations.'

Fifteen minutes before the end of my day Danny (the other "Team Leader" whom I have dubbed Teen Leader in respect to his somewhat recent High School graduation) pulls me aside to tell me that I have been gypped on a repair order sale because of my "bad attitude."

Excuse me?

"Yeah, Dale says he's giving the sale to Tim because he doesn't give him any attitude."

I delay my departure and head into the showroom. Walk up to the service counter where Dale, one of two service writers, is standing.

"So, Dale -- do we have an issue?"

"Nope, no issue," he answers without looking at me.

"Well, Danny says you told him that I gave you attitude."

"No, I never said that."

"Sooo... we don't have any issues? I mean, if something's up, ya gotta tell me so I can work on it."

"No, no issues. We're good."


Go back to the parts room and ask Danny what's going on with this little Days of Our Lives production. Danny feels it necessary to take me outside to give me the "Well, you know" speech which involves your basic tutorial regarding manners. I look at his eyes and nod my head but my condescension forces my thoughts to adding eggs to my grocery list and "Oh! I need cat food."

I accidentally said this last bit out loud. Danny just looked at me, sighed heavily, shrugged his shoulders and walked away.


Still, I take this minor drama to the car with me and ponder over it later. Have I really had a bad attitude lately?

Earlier in the week there was another situation which involved Dale requesting spokes for a wheel. Upon examining the repair order associated with the unit, I noticed that there was no year specified and that the model was subject to interpretation. It was listed as a DR-Z125 but did not have a designation beyond that and they made two different DRs; a 125K and a 125L (one being taller with a front disc brake and the other somewhat shorter with a drum brake which would affect the spoke kit). When I inquired as to which model/year the bike was, Dale simply shrugged.


"Well," I said, "shall we merely poke and hope, then, or are you going to get some more information?"

This may have been interpreted as "attitude."

But, seriously, if you're going to be an idiot, you deserve a bit of malice. We do not tolerate insufficient information when ordering parts for customers -- it's a waste of money in restocking fees -- so why would we begin to accept it from each other? You're going to have to wait a week for the parts to come as it is so if you can't order them correctly, you're simply tacking on an extra week to two weeks. Three weeks to lace an f'ing wheel in the middle of summer makes for an unhappy customer and one unhappy customer is going to spread like an STD in Japan if you're not careful.

Dale got pissy, picked a model based on the Eeny Meeny Miny Mo system and stomped off like a Whiny Girl.

Then there was a situation which entailed my actual involvement with that often rare task of working rather than standing in a circle on the showroom floor for an hour discussing a highly detailed account of boobs during a weekend outing to Hooters.

(Nothing against boobs but we are getting paid here...)

I was in the middle of receiving 27 FedEx boxes containing Honda parts when Dale came crashing through them demanding to know where his carb jets were. I looked at him calmly and asked him if he could hold on for a few minutes. He grunted, sat down and began tapping his pen against the table in rapid little motions. As though THAT'S gonna make me wanna help him in a timely fashion.

A few minutes later, extended by a few extra pauses, I was able to exit my receiving reconciliation and checked on his stupid jets.

"Seems to me our illustrious Team Leader forgot to order 'em, Dale, as there's no purchase order number associated with the jets -- I would have a chat with your BFF, Danny."

"Well can't you just get 'em ordered?" asked Dale.

"I'm sorry, I don't do the ordering -- I can't do the ordering."

Poor Dale, acting as though we don't have procedures to follow, was all kinds of flustered! He grunted and groaned, tossed a box about with his left foot and exited the room as noisily as he entered.

Then he ran to the Boss to tattle on me.

The Boss, who presence makes up approximately four hours total at our location in a given week, decided to sit me down and reprimand me for my "bad attitude."

I was truly insulted and hurt. I turned into a soggy mass of mush and, because I was so choked up, I had nothing to say in my defense. I doubt it would have mattered. Team Leader #1 never came to my aid to explain the medical situation nor did he bother to vouch for the fact that I am often the one who goes out of my way to cheer up the department when the chips are down. He did not say a word. I found out later that he did come to my defense, as an afterthought, but my vision of him crouching in a corner sans balls was already painted.

I went home that evening in tears.

I thought about the situation seriously, thoroughly and objectively. I admitted to myself areas in which I could improve and gave some verisimilitude to the Boss's words. But I also came to the conclusion that the entire situation was crap. Had the tables been turned, things would be quite different.

1. I would not have ratted out a fellow employee (save for the guy I called Lester but, seriously, you hired a child molester?!). If Dude's in a bad mood, I just keep my distance and wait for the storm to pass. Running to the Boss to bus roll someone is completely against all kinds of Man Code. We're at work, here, not Middle School, buddy. Don't get pissed at me for your ignorance.

2. I would not have allowed an employee to suffer degradation if I had pertinent knowledge which vindicated said person. The excuse of my Team Leader in keeping medical information confidential does not apply when you're not a fucking doctor. If it were the case that personal crap was getting to me, I'd understand being reprimanded -- you leave that shit outside of work. But I can't just check medication at the door and go about my business.

3. I have always been the one who comes into work with a smile on my face and a genuine 'good morning' on my lips. I am cheerful. I fucking bounce, people. I hop and I bounce and pretend to be on top of the world most of the time whether I am or not. I've learned my lessons about attitude a long time ago and, while I do not discount my less than supreme self during a week of being poked, prodded and medicated, I can honestly look back and say that I am the definition of model employee.

I have the customer appreciation letters in a STACK to prove it.

Doesn't matter, though. It was one person's opinion against my blubbering self. I know who I am and I know I have my faults but craptitude isn't one of them.

And in all this, I came to the one, most important conclusion.

I need a real job.

The Boss called me into his office yesterday to apologize.

I nodded.

He was not aware of the circumstances.

I said it was okay.

He admitted that I did nothing wrong.

I blinked.

But, he said, being one of the highest paid employees in that department, he was going to have to lay me off.

I smiled. A lot.

He said, wow, you're really taking this well.



Written at 6:49 p.m.