badness, work

You! Stop laughing! This is a place of work!

Last Friday, I came to work to find a large, flat box stored next to my work area (nearly blocking the door to another coworker’s office).  Some quick investigation uncovered its origins: the box held a white board that another office had ordered, but the person who ordered it very cleverly did so just before going on vacation.  I discovered that he assumed someone else would, in his absence, haul it across campus where it belongs.  Naturally, that didn’t happen because no one should be expected to carry around someone else’s crap.  Nor is my work space a storage area for other people’s poorly planned deliveries.  What to do?

As the only member of my division without a personal office (I have a cubicle), I try to make the best out of weird situations that arise from having a desk with only three walls.  Like when the area around my desk is used for storage.  For large, flat boxes, for example.  So I did what I thought just about anyone would do: I made a fourth wall so I could have a damn office, too.

the white poster board has a sign that says "please knock"

the white poster board has a sign that says “please knock”

Fridays are quiet in this office.  The students are sleeping in/hung over.  People dress more casually.  The TGIF is strong with this office, and the boss was out of the office that day (unbeknownst to me).  So I’m  finding it hard to believe that propping up a cardboard box for less than an hour as a joke prompted several (if Little Mole Boss is to be believed) of my coworkers from other departments to complain to LMB that I was behaving “unprofessionally” (because the people in charge of the students have nothing but professional conversations to and about said students in within earshot of anyone who might pass through… ahem) and “antisocially” (because people from other divisions come talk to me all the time when I’m not “unprofessionally” putting up cardboard boxes with post-its that read “please knock”).  In fact, MORE people approached me for a quick, friendly chat specifically because of the cardboard box than ever had.

Now, I’d be the last person to say that placing a cardboard box across your cubicle should be filed under “professional behavior,” but I’m having trouble picturing the conversation that happens about this that includes words like “antisocial” and “offended.”  Why was that box even there in the first place?  It was out of sight, out of mind as far as those who should have taken care of it were concerned, even if that means putting it in someone else’s way.  Once I’d had my fun, someone thought to move it into the office responsible for it, so why wasn’t it put there in the first place?  This has taught me that I need to use harmless shenanigans to keep people from abusing my desk area, and that the only result is a stern talking-to from my boss (who emphasized, again, that the division is being reorganized, and that we can’t do stuff like this: we’re being watched!), plus one other thing…

She pulled me into her office Monday morning and asked, “So… what happened Friday?”  I was clueless that there had been any negative reactions to said shenanigans, given that I had only heard positive responses (and frankly, I had forgotten all about it).  Once she felt she had impressed upon me the severity of my offense (and reminded me of it), she asked how we should go about fixing it.  I sat, dumbfounded, and finally offered, “Well… I could write an apologetic email to the offended departments…”  She said I should write one to the entire division.



I don’t even know where to start here.
-Why didn’t the offended parties discuss this with me?  It’s not sexual harassment, it’s a fucking CARDBOARD BOX.
-Why did my boss take this complaint seriously?  She wasn’t there to see it, and just assumed it was offensive.
-An apology to the entire division?  Really?  This was such a huge offense that every single member of my office and every other office that passes though here has to hear about something maybe a dozen people saw?  Really?

I’m torn.  Do I write this email, or just hope that LMB forgets about it?  I’m really, really not interested in writing it, mostly because all it will do is send the message that I’m at the mercy of people with no sense of humor, which is humiliating and demoralizing.  I want to work in an office where people treat each other like people.  Assuming I have to write this email, I’m tempted to go about it in one of two ways: take it WAY too seriously, thereby making the whole thing sound as ridiculous as it is, or point out gently that a sense of humor is necessary when working with students, and that the apparent necessity of apologizing for the offensiveness of a cardboard box is silly.

So.  I’m even closer to being fired now, and even less interested in trying to preserve my position.  Why would I want to work here if people are so easily offended but too childish to talk about it?  Also, my school load is brutal this month, the several-thousand person event we’re hosting is happening in just three weeks, I’m trying to get organized for the pumpkin carving I’m hosting at the end of the month, keeping up with Shinkendo classes is becoming nearly impossible, and the pain from the muscle spasm apparently gets markedly worse when I menstruate (THANKS, UTERUS).  And Kaiso’s 65th bday party is in a couple weeks, and it’ll be an $80 dinner.  So.  No pressure.

badness, goodness, life, manfolk

Get Shorty

he looked a little bit like this, pretty disoriented

On my walk to work today, I saw what looked like a plastic bag in the street.  Then I realized the part in the air was a tail.  It was a light gray kitten, and his head was resting in a small pool of blood.  I thought, “How sad,” and kept walking.  Then I heard it meow.  Not a normal meow, but a loud, kinda of skreeching-howling meow.  I thought, “O god,” and kept walking, trying to figure out what to do.  I would be late to work if I helped it.  I had to go to work, right?  It was probably next to death and would die soon anyway, right?  Its injuries were probably severe, so it would die any second, so I should just go to work, right?

I couldn’t say what stopped me.  I just realized it wasn’t in line with my priorities to let a kitten die in the street when I hadn’t even checked to see if it was save-able.  I turned around and walked back, searching on my phone for emergency veterinarians in the area.  I knelt down to have a look at the kitten, which was still breathing, and struggle to open its eyes to look at me.  The only damage I could see was to the part of its face that was on the ground.  The rest of him looked ok.  Fine, I thought, I’ll try to get him some help.  I stood up next to the kitten as some cars approached to make sure he didn’t get hit.  A mail drop-off at the base of my parking structure was open, so I walked over and asked around for a cardboard box.  The guy who found me one said, “Is it for that cat?  Is it still alive?”  I nodded.  [it only just now occurs to me that he may have hit it]  He came out with me and held my Kindle while I scooped up the kitten as gently as I could and placed him in the box.  I wiped some blood off my hand onto the box and thanked the man as I stood to leave.  He called me back as I walked away and told me that there was an animal hospital not far from us.  I booked it to the car and drove east.

The place I found wasn’t a vet, but was definitely cat friendly (there were young cats playing, sleeping, sitting all over the place.  One slept on a pile of mail in an in-box, another dozed on a computer tower).  She printed out an address for an animal rescue that could help.  I sped west, keeping an eye on the kitten to make sure I could still see it breathing.  Once I found the place, a blonde woman waiting for service inside took one look at the box and knew it meant trouble.  I told her the details, and she thanked me for being a good person.  “Hey,” she said to the woman behind the counter.  “We’ve got a trauma case here.”  They said they weren’t taking trauma cases right now, and that I should go to the shelter a few blocks away.  The blonde woman next to me wasn’t taking no for an answer.  “Is the doctor in?  Yeah, we need to see her.  We can’t leave this kitten like this.”

Turns out her name is Mary K, and she owns a shelter in Las Vegas called All the Same Wild and Tame.  She drives to LA once per week to pick up animals that would otherwise be euthanized.  Her “bestest friend” was also there.  She gave me some pamphlets and info on their organization once I was done crying.  She took charge of the situation, and for that, I was very grateful.  I called work to let them know I’d be late.

looks accurate

We went back with the nurse (doctor?) to get the kitten checked out.  She had a look at him, wiped some of the blood off his face, pulled his eyelids open one at a time, and had a look inside his mouth.  Then she picked him up and felt along his body and legs to see if anything else was damaged.  He tried to run away, but they wrapped him back up in the towel Mary K had brought in from her truck for me.  She left to check on getting me an estimate, and a few minutes later, another nurse (doctor?) came in to let me know that they wanted to do x-rays to see if there was damage to the bones in his face in particular, and to put him on fluids and antibiotics, and keep him over for a couple of days.  Total: $200.  I said yes to everything.

I went outside and paid.  Mary K gave me a hug and thanked me for being a good person again (at which point I almost cried again), and I drove to work.  My coworkers wanted to know how the kitten was, and how I was.  I gave the shelter a call a couple hours ago; they said the kitten’s x-rays were clear, and that he was fine.  They’re still going to keep him for a couple of days, just to make sure he’s ok.

Now I just need to figure out how to convince Boyfriend to let me keep him (if I move in with him, STILL WAITING TO HEAR BACK ABOUT THAT PART OF MY FUTURE, GAH).  I already told him all about it when he called me about an hour ago.  He could not stop laughing and saying, “Adorable.”  I don’t think he thought I was serious about keeping the kitten.  But I think I’d like to.  I think I’d really like to.  And kinda not.  I don’t know.  Pretty torn.  He’s so cute.  They needed a name when I paid the bill.  I wrote down “Shorty.”  The nurse said he probably wasn’t gray, but white and filthy.  A white cat named Shorty.  Pretty cute.