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“When I say, ‘I don’t think I’m cut out for corporate America.’ What I really mean is ‘I’m lazy and don’t want to take full advantage of my intelligence.’”

January 23, 2009

“and I’m so excited, because you know it’s only $25 for food and drinks, and I mean I don’t drink alcohol anymore, but I’ll have a soda water with lime, and you know he’s just so my type.  He remembered meeting me before, but he had a girlfriend then, which is why he didn’t talk to me…”

This is the conversation that I’m hearing from my desk at work, and I’m wondering who the owner of this shrill excited little voice is, certainly not anyone who works here, as we operate on highly subdued excitement, and I walk into the paralegal’s office and of course it’s X the former receptionist who quit to become the much hated member of a fashiony reality TV show.  She has somehow managed to usurp the paralegal’s chair and is typing away on the computer and expounding at a high decibel about soda with lime.

I get this email from one of the attorney’s asking how long I think this one client was there yesterday, leaning on my desk and talking to her about his case, because I mean she has to charge him for that time even though they were standing and leaning and all friendly.  They’re all billable minutes.  But you know it was partially our fault that he stood there so long, because I think both of us were a little mesmerized by him.  He has one of those soothing voices, which seriously was not doing him any favors by putting a trance on someone who was charging him $400 dollars an hour to use it.  I respond with my estimate, and I can hear in her sigh that she wishes she could have told him that she was charging three times more than his psychiatrist for her time, and none of it was covered by any kind of insurance in the known world.  Lawyers get a bad rap, but I know for a fact that much of the time these attorney’s are billing for half the time they really put in for something, because they honestly feel so guilty about asserting that their time is worth $400 an hour. 

The morning had started out rough anyway.  I mean I’ve driven in cars with boys before.  I did go to high school and grow up on an island for god’s sake where the only thing to do on the weekends was drive around at harrowing speeds in your Jeep Cherokee.  But I’m not sure I’m ever getting in the car with my boss again.  He was livid that it had taken me so long to drive to get his special coffee beans, when I pulled the car up behind the building so he could take it to court.  I was all ready to walk the one block to the office, and am trying to hand him the keys and get out of the way when he literally orders me to get into the passenger seat and although the details of the next two minutes are a little fuzzy because I was suffering from a fear blackout, I do remember a highly illegal u-turn on Mission and then an acceleration that I can assure you was the fastest I have ever experienced anywhere let alone on a busy city street with pedestrians running every which way.  And then we were stopped at a crosswalk and he starts honking, at an 85-year-old woman who was crossing the street with the help of a walker.  At this point I actually looked out the window at the people who are watching this go on, and I’m so embarrassed and I give them this pained look, which I hope said, “I have been kidnapped.  I do not know the man who is driving this car.  Please help.” 

I’m actually shaking when I get out of the car, and when I relate this story to the paralegal she tells me that she almost went into labor with her third baby in this office, because X wouldn’t let her stay home from work when she was having contractions.  She’s laughing as she tells me this, but I’m not.  Instead, I’m looking at her with a pained expression that I hope says, “I have been kidnapped.  I do not know the man who is driving this car.  Please help.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kent McMIllan permalink
    January 24, 2009 4:01 am

    I was all ready to walk the one block to the office, and am trying to hand him the keys and get out of the way when he literally orders me to get into the passenger seat …

    Well, my dos centavos worth are just to mention that probably one of the commonest dreams of Americans is a car dream. The variations I’ve heard include:

    a) the car that won’t stop,
    b) the car that won’t run,
    c) the car that someone else is driving,
    d) the car that is driving itself,
    e) the car that morphs into something else, and
    f) more than a few others.

    The car offers a particularly American metaphor for how a person goes through life.

  2. Kent McMIllan permalink
    January 24, 2009 4:31 am

    I suppose that I could have been a bit more direct in saying that the image of being driven in someone else’s car in a way that makes you uncomfortable struck me as the lively center of today’s post. The fact that it is a common dream situation only means that the metaphor is probably full of power for lots of readers.

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