Wednesday, March 3, 2010M: “You know how in video games they have a SAFE ROOM where no one can hurt you? You can’t get shot. You are safe from harm.”
M: “We need something like that, like a sign that means no more joking.”
J: “You do realize we had a conversation five minutes ago where I asked you why you felt the need to argue with everything I say. And I asked you, ‘What is the worst that could happen if you allowed yourself to agree with me on anything?’ Right? Your response was, ‘I don’t argue with you, Jake.’ An argument! Do you remember?”
M: “We need a sign! What is the sign, Jake?”
J: “For what?”
M: “For the safe room. What should we use? This?” (She makes the universal symbol for TIME OUT with her hands.)
J: “How about this?” (I flip her the bird.)
M: “So if we’re joking around and it needs to stop, I do this.” (She flips me off with both hands.) “And that means we stop? There has to be a level of trust here. We both have to agree to take it seriously.”
J: “You’ll abuse it.”
She laughs. For the next several minutes M. uses the TIME OUT sign and flips me the bird after everything I say. Eventually, I pull out our old friend the black and yellow DIVORCE UMBRELLA and open it up between us.
M: “Oh, the DIVORCE UMBRELLA? Ha! That’s no match for the WALL OF DIVORCE SHAWL!” (She tapes her shawl across her cubicle. It’s a ratty mess with two very large holes across the center and various messed up sections. I toss wads of paper over the top of it. They land on M.’s head. She peeks through one of the holes and laughs. Then she puts her hands through and does the TIME OUT sign.)
J: “You really need to burn that thing.” (Referring to the shawl.)
M: “Yeah, it smells really bad. Ew, it does! Here, Jake. Smell it.”
J: “No! I believe you! You’ve been sitting on it.”
M. wads up the old tan shawl and tosses it in a small garbage can.
J: “Just like that, huh?”
M: “That’s how I roll.”
J: “You need to set it on fire.”
After M. leaves for the day, I wait a few minutes and call her.
J: “Hey, in your rush to leave you left something on your desk.”
M: “What did I leave?”
J: “Your cell phone.”
There is a pause.
M: “If I left my cell phone at work how am I talking on it right now?”
J: “I don’t know how you bend the laws of physics, M! I just know your cell phone is sitting here on your desk. Ha ha ha!”
I almost fooled her. She’s just too clever for me.
On my way out of the building, I put my hand in my coat pocket in search of my badge. I discover several wads of paper and a coffee cup lid stuffed inside. Damn you, M! TIME OUT!!