Arriving: mid 40s

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.

Categories: humor, music

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

20 replies

  1. Thanks for giving me this glimpse into your life so I could have a break from mine. My heads are in the purple stormclouds this morning after our SEO guy essentially told me in an email to mind my own business. With a smilie. So the laughs have helped clear the air. That and this pretty dreadful coffee I’m drinking.


  2. You get to go home and work?! GEEZ. When they moved us a month ago, our managers made us sit in a conference room all day long with some lousy computer connections – listening to some presentations and useless jibber jabber. I’d have loved to have been able to work at home. But, of course, no one can trust us government employees.


    • Yeah, that’s the thing about trust…but you can bluff your way through it just the same at an office…you just have to dress differently.


      • FUNNY! One of these days, I swear I’m going to wear pjs to work. After all, they say we can’t wear jeans, but nothing about pjs.


  3. Actually, I had to go into work so early one day, that I realised half way down the corridor to the newsroom, that I was wearing a pyjama top (luckily under a jumper)….oh, I feel inspiration for a post coming on. Thank you! In Britain no office party is complete without Merry Christmas by Slade – do you play that? Or is that just a British thing?


    • Slade! Ha, ha! I haven’t thought about them in years…thanks for the memory on that. I will have to check that song and perhaps start a British tradition here. (I won’t make any analogies to spreading English ivy, though tempted.) My step-dad was English and I have some nice traditions from him, namely letting the Stilton sit out for a month, until you need a special spoon to spread it…and lacquering it with Port, every night. Thank you for stopping by Elaine! Nice to hear from you. – Bill


  4. Nice to read your post. Btw, Stilton would never last a month in our house. 2 days tops.


    • My mom rummages through the cheese section at the store, looking for the ones with the nearest expiration so she can let it get old and funky. Bad time of the year to get your cholesterol checked, if you’re concerned about that kind of thing.


  5. Happy Thanksgiving, Bill! I’ve been inside my own head for too long, so it’s nice to get out and check in with the some friends. Working from home is one of those things that sounds awesome until you realize that you’ve been sitting in your pajamas for six hours watching Dr. Who and haven’t done a damn thing. I envy you your yard crew, though. I might have to do something similar in the spring.


    • Yes! You too Michelle! I enjoyed hearing from you this morning on your post…love seeing your posts turn up in my mail. And thank you so much for introducing me to some of your favorite people this year! The yard crew thing just fills me with glee. I thought about you last night when I was talking to the landscapers, about reconverting the grass parts of the lawn back to nature. It’s like peeling an onion. I’m about to cook a big breakfast and spend the rest of the day idling, might make a wood fire. I wish you and yours the best today…your coffee mug is perched among the others in my cabinet, and I always think fondly of you when I see it! Take care of yourself. – Bill


  6. good point about the billy joel, but is sounds like a quirky, cool day overall )


  7. i lived in australia for most of last summer, but actually live in ann arbor, michigan so we are in turkey mode here as well )


    • Right on! I’ve been to the arts festival there once and loved the cobblestone streets I seem to remember, but it’s been a long time. Enjoy the day Beth!


  8. I like that: prefer CDs in the car over MP3 devices for some reason. Analogous to spinning a record maybe. I dig having a pen pal: you’re the first one since some bloke in Liverpool I uses to trade cassettes with, by the band The Fall. Enjoy the weekend.


  9. for you – and your step-dad John Pearse (R.I.P.)


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