Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Where Do You Rank? (And Do You Really Care?)

Our hours are 'cut' at work right now. I often start to complain, and then stop myself and walk away mid-sentence, trying not to succumb to the downward spiral that is workplace drama. I enjoy drama. I enjoy hearing about it from a distance. I DO NOT enjoy being a part of it.

I realize that I am blessed to have a job. Masses of people are being laid off and let go by their employers, and in my humble opinion, it's due to asinine decision-making. I pray our new president will help us out of this horrific mess. He sure seems to want to bring change and betterment for our country. The transformations that need to take place will take years to perfect. How did we become a nation of chaos, anyway? How did it get so bad?

So, jumping to a completely unrelated topic, yesterday morning, I was sitting at my desk. My head was ready to explode from workplace overload when my boss came in with a pretty, sparkling gadget. She said, "this is for the activity room." I looked at it for a minute, and said, "thank you!" I wasn't sure what it was for, but I was sure I could find a use for it. I then went on to tell her how very pretty it was. She looked at me blankly. Did I sense a slight hint of amusement in her eyes? Um... maybe.

Please understand... my desk looks like it ran into the BettyBoop section of a drug store in 1930 (thanks to my best buddy Anne). Along with old Betty is a boa, many pretty, fluffy pens, pictures in delightful frames and enough adorable post-its and other notepads to furnish every employee, resident and guest to walk in our building, for a year.

So, circling back, I continue to look at my boss holding this shiny, red gizmo. She said, "Kelly, the activity room is on fire. We are having a fire drill." Although I wasn't "street smart" enough to realize what was going on, I'm sure you are, so I won't go on to explain what the pretty, sparkling gadget was my boss was holding onto. In my crazy, fake-fire manic-state, I walked out of the activity room, completely lost. I felt as if my place of work for a year and three months now was a foreign city. Fire alarm. I had seen that someplace. Where did it go?

I finally found it, and managed to make it make a noise. It sounded pretty loud. I apologized to one of the nurses, who continued to do her work, as if nothing was happening. Hello people! There could be a fire!!! Run! Get everyone out!!! Move it!!! No, I wasn't saying these blurbs aloud, I was thinking them... but I was just about to start shouting when our housekeeping supervisor came up to me, looked at me like I was clinically insane, and said, "Kelly, WHAT are you doing?" I snapped back, "we are having a fire alarm! I set off the fire alarm!" "No you didn't!" she replied, and she closed the plastic cover. The noise stopped, and everyone went along their merry way. This pissed me off. How dare everyone just act like everything was peachy keen when there could be a burning bush or desk, or something worse in the activity room? It took me a couple of minutes to convince our housekeeping supervisor that we were, indeed having a fire alarm. At that point, she illustrated the proper way to set off a fire alarm, and I had waking nightmares of this story being twisted into a hundred and twenty different versions by noon.

Thankfully one of my coworkers also had no idea how to properly set off a fire alarm, so I enjoyed her company in my embarrassment all day. Apparently the plastic cover I had pulled up is just a warning device. If someone pulls that open, it will sound in the immediate area, and will not alert the local fire department. I'm sure I learned all of this in orientation, but that's been quite a while ago, and I have simply forgotten. Plus, in this extreme case of an extremely frightening fake fire, it is quite easy to lose your damn mind! Now I know (again) how to work a fire alarm, and I'm not likely to forget (again) any time soon.

So my best work friend had a bad afternoon yesterday, and I was trying to cheer her up. The entire building had been talking about me throughout the day, and it finally hit me...

How awesome is it that we are newsworthy? People care about the things we do, the things we do not know how to do, the people we associate with and the way we look. If we have a bad day and look terrible... who cares? We're surely being analyzed. And if we make a fool of ourselves now and again, and the entire building finds out about it... that's great! We were in the 'in club' that day!

I don't particularly care if I'm part of any group or club, or if people care what I'm up to or who I spend my hours with. I do feel a pang of satisfaction when I think about it as described above, though. No one should ever feel obsessive or paranoid about what people are saying about them. They should be thankful that people are saying anything at all!

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