We’re getting displaced at work, because they’re sub-dividing our cubes. It means we have to pack up our things and vacate for a month, and work from home. I don’t work from home well, because my home is my work, not my work. I can’t focus on two things at the same time.
Yesterday, I got a box and put my houseplants in it and joked to my cube mate, this is what it must feel like to get laid off. How about you and I walk down the hall and pretend we’re getting laid off, crying and disgruntled? I’ll say, look at you: you can’t even keep a plant alive, loser!
I came home to a landscaping crew and left the plants out in the van. Our yard is almost an acre, with every nook and cranny up to something. When we bought the house we were proud of the yard, but now we’re the yard’s Bitch. I look out the window, shaking my head.
But this week, I spent half my annual bonus check hiring a crew to clean it up. To tear stuff out, rake, blow, prune, trim. They found the remains of a dog in one corner, and an abandoned concrete footing. I pointed at Minnie inside the house and said, too bad it wasn’t that one.
I greeted the two guys who appeared to be in charge, because they were standing there with hands on their hips talking, while the other two hauled trash cans full of leaves.
I could tell the guy in charge was a stoner by the dramatic drawl in his voice and the way he emphasized names of species by taking his sunglasses off and pointing.
The other one had a Japanese symbol as a neck tat and was missing some teeth, was about six and a half feet tall. He balanced a cigarette in his lips while chainsawing a tree and I thought man, that looks cool: I wish I could do that at my job. But it’s not the same, smoking while clicking through a PowerPoint deck.
I sat inside the den with my feet up drinking a beer, feeling like I’d finally arrived…somewhere. Four day weekend, landscaping crew, no plans for the holiday, just some Fractured Fairy Tales on the laptop and popcorn, with the kids.
They asked me to make the playlist for our company Christmas party this year, and I started work on that. It’s a hard spot to be in, of course: it has to be cool, but approachable, with points of interest so people notice…but not so much that it overtakes the party. And it’s the kind of job (DJ) that you can do with a cigarette, and look cool, like landscaping.
I put on a song by Ludacris featured in the film Tropic Thunder, but took it off since Charlotte was in the room, and Dawn said you can’t play that at a company party.
I put on the Snoop Dogg song he did with Justin Timberlake, but it has some objectionable lines about marijuana that could be deciphered, and misunderstood.
And so, I stuck with Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Hall and Oates…an old song by Massive Attack, U2, a bit of Dean Martin because it’s Christmas-time.
They say about 17% of people embarrass themselves at office Christmas parties, which breaks down to three of us, from our workgroup. And that’s okay because I embarrass myself at home every day, so why should it be any different? I should be more embarrassed playing Billy Joel, probably.