Monday, August 31, 2009

I am at my desk, working, when I hear really loud hammering. I turn around and watch M. slam her rock-hard fingernails down on her keyboard over and over again. She is typing a reply to an email.

Is she angry? Upset? Frustrated? I don't say a word.

M. sits on her chair in normal "M." fashion, which means her feet are bare and she has at least one foot folded under her bottom. Suddenly, her foot clenches. Then it relaxes and clenches again, as the hammering on the keyboard continues.

Eventually, she stops banging the keys and hits the send button.

"Are you OK?" I ask, genuinely concerned.

"Yeah." she replies, casually. Apparently, she just types really loud.

I explain, "Well, I'd hate to be the recipient of that email you just sent." I pantomime like I'm typing and get a really pissed-off look on my face. I say very loudly, "THANK YOU FOR YOUR EMAIL!"

M. laughs, which makes me laugh, and I inadvertently cough up a little bit of phlegm on my hand. (I know it's gross but I was laughing really hard.) I show it to M. and ask how much it will cost for her to lick it up.

She is severely disgusted at the idea.

"But," I remind her, "last week you licked a crusty ol' poo envelope- poo from a duck or a buffalo from Ohiopyle State Park for $5. NOW you're telling me you won't even consider doing the same to this fresh little bit of human phlegm?."

Her response: "I think I'll eat poo anyday, but stuff like that- no."

Let me repeat that: "I think I'll eat poo anyday, but stuff like that- no."

I am so impressed with this quote that I write it down on a piece of paper and ask M. to sign it. I notate the time and date below her signature and hang it on the wall next to her self portrait.

I really and truly don't know what to make of this woman. She is a riot!


Rodney Dangerfield No Respect

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

This morning, I start a conversation with M.

J: "I left my book at work. See? Here it is sitting on my desk. I usually read a few chapters when I go to bed except last night I wasn't able to. I had separation anxiety!"

M: "One time, a friend told me there was a shoe sale at the mall. I went to the mall but there was no sale. I too felt separation anxiety."

J: "Oh God..."

M: "Another time, I was in New York City, and I tried to catch the last Metro, but I was late. So there I was waiting on the platform, and there was the Metro down the track. We were separated by the tracks so I felt separation anxiety."

J: "New York? Do you mean the subway?"

M: "The Metro."

J: "Of course."

M: "One time I was married and my husband and I decided to get a divorce. So we split up and I felt separation anxiety."

J: "Alright, enough already!"

After several hours of random "separation anxiety" stories, M. goes back to destroying every key on her keyboard with those long sturdy fingernails of hers.

M: "Why can't you ever be serious, Jake?"

J: [blank stare.]

Today she is adorned with a dark purple necktie hung loosely around her neck. It matches her "Come-Bang-Me" high-heeled hooker shoes. The rest of her outfit looks super fashionable. (Picture a very sexy business woman.)

Throughout the day, M. straightens her necktie a la Rodney Dangerfield. When she walks away from her desk, she says, "One time..." and I groan.

No respect.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

There are two compliments M. welcomes with open arms:

#1.) You are skinny.

#2) Your butt is big.

After she's had her hair done, she will accept:

#3.) Your hair looks good

But on an ordinary day, she'll throw it back in your face.

M: "Do men think women WANT to hear compliments from them?"

(There is no correct answer to that question. Believe me, I've tried.)

For the past three days, M.'s butt has looked genuinely bigger due to her choices in wardrobe. I mention how budalicious her rear looks every chance I get. After awhile, M. tells me to stop. She knows I'm only telling her what she wants to hear and doesn't believe for a second that I really mean what I'm saying. But I do, her butt looks amazing, especially today.

To emphasize the point, M. stuffs her shall underneath the back of her jeans and says, "Oh, I need to fill out the time sheet." She gets up and does a funky ass walk down the row. She looks like a really weird version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. To me, she looks like she soiled herself, and that's what I tell her.

M: "Jake, don't even read the magazine because it won't do you any good."

J: "I've already read it, M! Have you?"

She goes into a separation anxiety story and it's all I can do to stay in my seat. Yes, M. looks amazing, but more and more, I'm wondering if she secretly enjoys pushing my buttons.

Time will tell...


Friday, September 4, 2009

The voodoo doll works! The "wind bag" will soon move to a different team. Ha ha! This is cause for celebration.

M: "Not only did it work, but it also killed my plant."

Octavio is doing well. M. picks him up and waters him in front of me. She takes him to her cubicle and sets him down next to the plant on her desk with the voodoo doll entangled in it.

M: "They are playing." (She makes Octavio lean towards her plant and bounces him up and down.) "Play, play, play."

M. describes how her pet chihuahua likes to play with her cat.

M: "He growls and gets in her face. Then he shakes his butt at her like this."

(M. imitates her dog bouncing towards her cat, butt-first.)

M: "It's so cute!"

Later in the day, she tells me how I remind her of her parakeet.

J: "How many pets do you have?"

M: "A lot."

J: "Why do I remind you of your parakeet?"

M: "You know how birds have eyes on the sides of their head? When I put food in my parakeet's cage, he leans sideways like this" (she imitates the motion) "and looks down at his food. You reminded me of that just now when you tilted your head."

She imitates the bird's movement a few more times, then she acts like her dog and barks while bouncing her butt in the air.

M. really needs her own TV show.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

M. contemplates what life in a women's prison is like.

M: "I could tan in the yard so my pale skin won't clash with the orange prison outfit. I could work out and get buff. YES! Jake, after 12 years, when I'm 95 years old and I get out of prison, I'll have perfect teeth and I'll be buff!"

J: "Who wants an old buff woman with orange leathery skin?"

M: "Who doesn't?"

Sometimes M. and I argue like a married couple. More specifically, we argue like we're a married couple who should have gotten divorced two years ago, but we stay in the marriage for the arguments.

M: "We all need someone to argue with, Jake. Who am I going to argue with when you're not here? Our customers? Yeah right. I'd be all 'you're an idiot' and they'd be all 'why are you arguing with me?' and I'd have one phrase for them, one word, one name, and do you know what that name is? JAKE. And they'd say, 'Jake?' and I'd say 'yeah, Jake.'"

This is one of the many times during the day when I wish I could pull a magic wall over my cubicle opening. M. laughs as I pantomime pulling the side of my cubicle closed to block her out. Sometimes when she goes off like this I give her a blank stare. Then, after a few seconds, I frantically, yet subtly, look around for something, anything, to give my attention to.

M: "As long as I can take my shoes, I think I'm going to prison."


Thursday, September 10, 2009

M. takes her shawl and drapes it across her cubicle. She is mostly hidden from me except for the hole that goes over a person's head.

M: "We are getting a divorce," she says.

J: "Is this a trial separation?"

M: "Yes."

The divorce has come about from me wielding a giant black and yellow umbrella in M.'s direction. I do this to block her unwavering need for attention, and it works!

M: "Jake, I can see you." (M. looks at me through the head hole of her shawl. Her fingers are wrapped snugly through the hole, giving her the impression of a small child spying on her parents.)

M: "Can you see me looking at you, Jake?"

I take the umbrella and pretend to poke M. in the face with it, through her little sneak hole. She retreats. After awhile, she says, "Jake, let's make up."

J: "OK."

We go back to our normal work relationship, which again, is like a married couple who should really be divorced.

Just like any married couple, we fight over money. I try to give M. the $5 I owe her for licking a poo envelope the other day. I include an additional $2 for the coffee M. has bought for me every morning for the past two weeks. M. refuses to accept it.

I leave the money on her desk. A few minutes later, she tosses it back at me. I walk over to her and place the cash next to her keyboard. "Will you please just accept this?" I ask. "You worked really hard for this $5. You licked poo!"

M: "OK, I'll take it."

I walk back to my desk.

M: "Jake, have you seen my airplanes?"

J: "What?"

M: "My paper airplanes. Watch."

M. fold the cash into a simple paper plane. She attaches a paperclip to the tip of it and sets a penny in the cockpit. Then she chucks the airplane at my desk.

I unfold it and hand it back to her.

J: "This is your money. You earned it fair and square."

M: "OK, but have you seen my cranes, Jake?" (Getting all hoity-toity.) "I don't know if you know how great my Papier-Machet is, but mmmmmmmmmff... I took a class from a master hhhhhaaaarrrrr... when I was in Japan. Mmnnmmph."

After several back and forths, I see two dollar bills laying on my desk. M. holds the $5 bill in her hand.

J: "Is this a compromise?"

M: "I realize I earned this $5, Jake. But think of the coffee as a gift, OK? Yes, it's a compromise."

J: "OK."

And we live happily ever after (in our separate cubicles at work).


Monday, September 14, 2009

M. is dressed in a black and turquoise Puma athletic outfit. Her hair is in a ponytail.

M: "Do you know I have braces, Jake?"

J: "That's what I hear."

M. is acting different than her usual snarky self. Her wit is softer, and so is the look in here eyes. She seems withdrawn, inner-focused, maybe a little sad.

J: "Are you OK, M?"

M: "I've realized there are some things I need to change, Jake. Like my underwear. I haven't changed them since... I don't know when."

The tone of her joke misses the mark. Although we both laugh out loud, I express my concern.

J: "You seem... different today. Are you sure everything is alright?"

M: "Oh this? I'm just a little down right now, but I'll be back to my normal self soon."

M. talks about a blind internet date that didn't go well over the weekend. Apparently, nothing clicked for her. She also befriended a homeless college student online asking her for money, or a place to stay for a few nights, or a date.

J: "That's cool, because if you're homeless with your shoes and your HDTV, you'll have someone to keep you company."

M: "Yeah!"

As soon as I got to work, I placed a special blank piece of paper on my desk. With a pen at the ready, I was prepared to take notes. Unlike most days, today the notes were few and far between. Usually, it's all I can do to keep up with M.'s quick banter and fresh quips, but she is somewhat withdrawn and quiet.

J: "It's OK, M. Today doesn't count. Just take it easy and relax. Decompress. Regain your strength and start afresh tomorrow. OK? Today doesn't count."

M: "Wouldn't it be great if you could do that for the entire year? Just go back to the beginning and start again? I would really like that."

Today doesn't count.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

M. is back to her normal self again!

M: "You're just jealous because your coffee isn't as cool as mine." Using a ball point pen, she writes something on the brown paper cup holder and places it on her cubicle wall.

It reads: "This coffee is better than Jake's."

I stand up to read it, but everytime I try to read it out loud, M. cuts me off.

J: "This-

M: "Uhh!"

J: "coff-"

M: "No."

J: "is better than-"

M: "Uh huh."

J: "Ja-"

M: "Jake!"

Later, I hear a soft noise behind me. The smell of fresh banana wafts into my senses. I turn in my chair to find M. holding a trash can up to my face. There is a banana peel sitting at the bottom.

J: "Ahhh, smells good!"

M: "Gross, Jake."

She is amped up to 11. It's a night and day difference from yesterday and it's all I can do not to open the umbrella between us.

M: "Jake, you're wearing pants!"

J: "Yeah..."

M: "Why are you wearing pants?"

J: "Do you want me to take them off?"

M: "No."

I tell M. about the Kanye West incident on the MTV movie awards. She knows nothing of it so she searches Google for the scoop. Before long, M. discovers video footage of Madonna speaking about Michael Jackson.

M: "I love you, Madonna!" (She wraps her arms around the monitor and presses the side of her face to the monitor.) "Are you talking to me? Of course you are..."

She finds a spot in the video where the crowd erupts into cheers and enthusiastic applause.

M: "Jake! This is it. Instead of bugging you, I will play this after everything I say. Check it out!" (She mocks herself talking about her dog.)

M: "So, the other day my dog peed on the carpet..." (She presses play and the crowd stands up and cheers.) "Yes! Isn't it great?" Her face turns bright red and her braces take on a gleaming shine as she busts up laughing.

J: "Do you ever worry about being too full of yourself?"

M: "Jake, when you're born into luxury, like me, and people ask where you live, and you tell them, and they say, 'Where is that?' you flick them away. Scamper. Go. They smell kinda funny. They're just... right there. And you flick, flick."

After lunch, I head to the purified water basin to refill my 16oz bottle of water. As I reach the basin I hear loud footsteps rush towards me and soon M. leaps in between me and the water basin. She meticulously fills up her giant water bottle with cold and hot water, taking great care to smear the mouth of the bottle all over the spout.

M: "Oh Jake, were you trying to get water?"

J: "No problem. I can wait."

M: "Good." (She goes back and forth with hot water, then cold, then hot, taking way too much time filling her container to the brim.)

J: "You don't want to leave any bubbles." (I point to an area of air pressed against the top of the container.)

M: "No, I don't."

I go back to my desk and see M. tossing wads of rolled up paper at my keyboard.

M: "Jake, how much will you give me if I can type my name from here?"

I look at the computer screen and see M.'s first name typed out in lower case. She obviously did it by hand when I wasn't looking and now she's trying to make it seem as though she can type by chucking wads of paper randomly at a keyboard.

Not bad.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

M: "If you were Middle Eastern and were meeting me on a date for the first time and I came in like this," (she shakes her hips in a twitchy impression of her dog's ass dance and bounces up and down), "would you feel at home?"

J: "I might leave the restaurant."

M. is giving blind internet dating another try. She has a date with a guy who is tall, good looking, and is employed in 'maintenance.'

M: "That's gotta be a joke. He's probably a millionaire. Jake, what if I was covered in one of their dresses and moved my eyes side to side like a belly dancer?" (She twitches her eyes and looks as though she's playing the piano and then washing her hands really fast.)

J: "I would think you are epileptic."

M: "People want to see what I look like on the dating website. What type of outfit should I wear in my picture, Jake? I don't want to seem too desperate, but I don't want to seem too forward either. How about this?" (She pulls up an image of a leopard print skirt with the mid-section and a lot of cleavage showing.) "This isn't too desperate, is it?"

She finds another outfit. It is a bright red leather shiny one-piece with matching purse.

M: "Oh, what about this one? Is it too forward"

I turn around and pretend to work. What else could I do?

The day was cut short by our department picnic away from work. M. played croquet while I played volleyball, thus separating us for the remainder of the afternoon. I'm sure she entertained fellow players with her wild and crazy quotes, but unfortunately I did not hear any of them.

Until tomorrow.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

M. purses her lips and leans back in her chair. She makes her "I'm so important" noise which sounds like constipation and informs us that she is going to dinner and a movie this Friday night with some of her girlfriends.

I imitate her. My tongue sticks out of my mouth and my upper lip is curled to emphasize the effect. I sound constipated.

J: "Mmmmmmmphf, do you know where I live? Hurry up and take me there because I have to take a duuuuump! Hhhhmmmmmpf."

The impression stops and I lean back in my chair to sip my coffee.

M: "Look at you, Jake. You sip your coffee like you're so content."

This makes me laugh really hard for several minutes. Eventually, I lean over and spit the coffee out of my mouth to stop from choking.

Later, I jot down notes for today's blog when I hear a heavy sigh followed by a loud snore from where M. sits. I turn to see her sitting in her chair like the woman in Flashdance.

J: "What are you doing?"

M: "Chair Yoga, Jake." (She gets up.) "Does anybody need anything from the ladies room?"

She comes back with a damp paper towel and drops it in a wad on my desk.

M: "This is all I could find."

After lunch, I notice the plant she gave me, which she named Octavio, is flourishing.

J: "Octavio is growing!"

M. stares at me coldly so I reach out and slap the plant leaves. It makes an audible sound, very similar to multiple high-fives.

M: "Jake, what are you doing?"

J: [Slap! Slap!]

M: "Jake! Don't touch him."

J: [Slap!]

M: "Don't look at him!"

J: [Slap! Slap!]

Eventually, M. finds herself compelled to walk over and steal Octavio from my desk. She places him with her other plants so they can play. I'm left giggling alone at my desk.

Throughout the day, I ask M. a series of questions in the style of her belly dancing question from yesterday. Here are three examples:

#1.) "M., if you were from Russia and you didn't know me and you were waiting for me in a restaurant and I came in like this," (I do a weird Russian dance by folding my arms and kicking out one leg at a time,) "would you feel at home?"

#2.) "If you were from the circus and you didn't know me and you were waiting for me in a restaurant and I came in like this," (I act like I'm riding a unicycle and juggling several balls,) "would you feel a good connection?"

#3.) "M., if you were from the marsh and you didn't know me and you were waiting for me in a restaurant and I came in like this," (I flap my elbows and quack like a duck,) "would you feel like you were home?"

Number 3 takes me several different tries to get through. For some reason, each time I get to the part where I'm supposed to make the duck noise, I bust up laughing. I laugh so hard I almost pass out, which makes M. crack up too. After several minutes, we are both crying from laughter and our faces are cherry red. My ears burn.

M. fires back with a series of "I'm so important noises" accompanied by wildly pursed and ever-twitching lips. These go on for most of the afternoon until she attempts to demonstrate an excuse for getting out of 2nd dates:

M: "It's not going to work because... (dramatic pause for pursed lips and twitches.)

I interrupt.

J: "It's not going to work because your face turns into Oscar Mayer baloney."

More laughter, more red faces, more tears, and more spitting out of liquids. All in all, it's a terrific end to a pretty good week!


Monday, September 21, 2009

M. reorganized my desk before I came into work. She added a little shelf for Octavio, placed the photos of Carmen Miranda where she can't see them (but I can), and hung my calendar upside down. My computer monitor is also turned backwards. It's a very nice surprise first thing Monday morning.

M. tells us about a dream she had.

M: "I was in this big field and there was a cage, and inside of the cage was an enormous black bull with big horns! And he was pissed! I was looking for a place to park when I got scared because the bull was bigger than my car I thought the bull would crush my Mini!

J: "Do you think your dream is symbolic of your upcoming date with The Cowboy?

M: "Giddyap!"

I asked M. how her belly dancing date went. I thought it would make for an incredible story, but it turns out she stood the guy up.

M: "He called me 'Baby,' Jake. C'mon!"

J: "The wretch!"

A co-worker named C., who we've known for years from another team, pays me a visit. I notice a small dark blotch on her forearm.

C: "It's a birthmark."

J: "Really? It looks like you just wrote on yourself with an ink pen."

C: "I know, but I promise it's a birthmark."

M. listens to every word of the conversation, becoming more jealous by the second. She hates not being the center of attention. Thinking quickly, M. holds up her arm and asks:

M: "Oh, did you see my birthmark?"

With a black ink pen, she has drawn a little blurb of a birthmark on her forearm, just like C.'s.

After a good laugh, I mention how I was born with a weird reverse-style birthmark on the underside of my forearm. It's a white blotchy splatter that is lighter than the rest of my skin.

M. goes about her business for a few minutes, then asks:

M: "Jake, did you say you have a white birthmark?"

J: "Yeah, it's right here-"

M: "Did you see my white birthmark?"

She rolls back in her chair to reveal a hastily plastered patch of White-Out on the calf of her leg. Hilarious!

J: "You really know how to get attention, don't you?"

M: "What are you talking about? You know I've had this birthmark all my life. I'm very self-conscious about it, and here you go copying me saying you've got a white birthmark. Jake... no."

M. then illustrates her ever-impressive origami skills by making several large paper airplanes and chucking them at me while I'm busy working. For some reason, they fly in every direction but straight. The first one does an instant nose dive. The next one veers to the left and whirls three feet down the aisle to the floor.

Before she leaves, M. pulls up the Victoria Secret website to shop for panties.

M: "5 for $25! What a great buy!"

I take notice of some of the underwear models and stand up to get a closer look.

M: "Jake, go away."

J: "Wow, look at her. Mmmm..."

M: "Ew! Look at all her fat. Ew! She's gross. Ew! What's wrong with her face? Ewww"

J: "Nothing."

M: "NuthING! I knew it. Men."

It's a rare occasion to see M. so jealous, but it happens. I look around for the Psychology Today magazine, but I can't find it.

M: "Jake, I'm not jealous. OK, maybe a little bit, but not that much. I'm trying to order underwear and you're pissing me off."

J: "Maybe there is a reason why you shouldn't look at underwear models on the internet at work."

M: "Jake!" (She takes her shawl and drapes it over the computer monitor and her head, blocking the screen from view.)

She really needs to read that article on jealousy.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It took me a day to realize it, but M. took down the self-portrait of herself I had hanging in my cubicle along with the quote about her eating poo anyday. She did it when she reorganized my desk, thinking I wouldn't notice. But I did.

M: "I wouldn't be surprised to see it up for auction on eBay. Wait! What am I saying? Not eBay... Christie's! Check with Christie's, Jake."

J: "It's not on eBay or on Christie's, M. Did you throw it away? Just tell me if you did so I'll stop asking you about it."

M: "I tore it up into little pieces and threw it away, Jake."

J: "Noo!"

For some reason I feel empty inside, crushed, lost. I have plans for that artwork.

#1.) Place the original pieces in the "Story of M." book I'm giving to M. this Christmas.

#2.) Give away the original one-of-a-kind masterpieces to fans of the blog through some sort of contest. Does anyone want them? I know I would, but I'm bias.

M. is wearing a black shirt with sparkly wing designs on each sleeve. I make a comment and she immediately flaps her arms like a chicken and stands up slowly on one leg to give the impression of flight.

After being privileged to her chicken flapping technique a few more times, I too make a little show of flying. I open the black and yellow umbrella and say, "Mary Poppins!" as I stand up slowly on one leg and pretend to float away.

It's hit and miss. M. is grumpy today and she ferociously admits it. I ask if there is anything I can do to help but she tells me she just wants to be grumpy.

J: "You didn't really throw away your artwork, did you?"

M: "Jake!"

Finally, after hours of pestering and inquiries, M. opens one of her file cabinet drawers to reveal the original self-portrait along with the autographed poo quote.

YES!! I am so happy they aren't destroyed it's all I can do to contain myself. Even though M. is grumpy, I am as excited as a schoolboy on Christmas. And there's nothing anyone can do about it.

So there.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

People in the department cheer and clap. They're applauding for the head of our company who's paying us a visit today. As the applause dies down, M. walks to her desk. She hold out her hands and says:

M: "Thank you. Oh, thank you. Yes, I am here. It's true. Here I am. Please stop, thank you."

J: "Were all those people clapping for you?"

M: "Didn't you hear?"

J: "Yes, in fact I heard the applause and instantly thought, M. must be here!' Did you give them all high-fives as you walked in?"

M: "I did. All these guys were lined up in the hall. I said, Hey guys, are you here for me? Nooo..."

She closes her eyes, leans her head back, and twirls around in her chair with her shoulders all scrunched up.

Last night a friend asked me if M. is really as crazy as she sounds. The truth is, she is EVEN MORE crazy in real life. I have a hard time keeping up with her, she's always got something funny to say, or a weird voice to use, or some hilarious dance, stance, or facial expression. Most of M.'s humor is physical so it doesn't translate well into writing. She should really be on TV.

For lunch, M. walks over to where I'm seated. I turn in my chair to face her. In one hand, she holds a Chinese takeaway container. In the other, she scoops and re-scoops a plastic spoon into the food.

M: "Can you smell it? Doesn't it smell good? Mmmm..."

J: "What is it?"

She takes out a spoonful of food and puts it uncomfortably close to my face.

M: "Smell it!"

Before I can do anything, pieces of hot Indian food fall onto my chest and to the floor in front of me.

J: "Ahh! Did that really just happen?"

M: "Jakey!"

J: "You spilled on me."

M: "Oh, Jakey!"

There is a little brown stain on my shirt for the rest of the day. For some reason, M. decides to show her braces off by smiling in all sorts of goofy ways. I am interrupted several times in the afternoon by M. giggling directly behind me. She sneaks up while I'm working and stares over my shoulder until she can't take it anymore and has to laugh.

She says I'm grumpy and calls me Grumpy like it's my name about a hundred times. Even on the way out she says, "Goodbye, Grumpy. Don't be so grumpy tomorrow, OK?"

Boy, I'll sure try.

She also keeps singing "There's a Werewolf in My Closet" by Shakira Shakira. I tell her that's not a werewolf. She better shave.

Talk to you tomorrow,


Thursday, September 24, 2009

M: "Jake, do you want some gum? Jake? Gum? Would you like a piece of gum? Have some gum? Jake? Gum? Jake!"

J: "No thanks."

M: "What? You don't want any gum?"

J: "Not really, but thank you."

M: "Jake! Have some gum."

She tosses a square pack of Doublemint at me. It lands on the floor. I lean down and pick it up and realize the pack is empty. Plus, it's taped closed with Scotch Tape.

J: "There's no gum in here."

M: "Yes there is."

I toss the pack back to her.

J: "No there isn't. Why did you tape it closed?"

M: "Fine. You don't want a piece of gum? I don't care."

She drops the box into her desk drawer.

M: "It doesn't matter to me if you want gum or not."

J: "Why did you tape it closed?"

M: "I didn't."

J: "Yes you did. There's not any gum in there anyway."

M: "Jake, I don't want it to be so easy for you. The gum is more rewarding if you have to work for it. There is one piece of gum in there. Open the box."

She throws it at me.

J: "Why did you tape the box shut?"

M: "I didn't tape it shut."

I chuck the box in her direction. It falls on the floor and M.'s cube mate picks it up. She examines the box closely, then smiles.

Cube Mate: "M., you can see the tape."

J: "Ah-ha!"

M: "It's more rewarding if it's not easy."

J: "You just say that because you're a girl."

M. checks the messages she's received from a dating website. One message reads: "I hope you're not pissed because I've been deployed to Iraq." It's the first message M. has received from this guy, and she responds, "Of course I am pissed!"

M: "I don't know anything about him, but yeah, I'm really pissed that he's been deployed. I am so pissed off. What the hell?" (She laughs.)

Another message reads: "I've been staring at your picture for hours and I finally got the nerve to write. I joined this website just to send you this message. You look really cute and I'd like to get to know you better."

M. doesn't have a photo uploaded on her profile.

She responds to his message, "Don't send me any counterfeit checks. I'm not interested."

M: "Those crazy Nigerian scam artists. JAKE! How do I get messenger?"

She burps. It doesn't sound much like a burp. It sounds more like a very small exhaled breath with a little morsel of noise behind it. She looks at me and smiles.

J: "That was the weakest burp I've ever heard in my life."

M: "I know, but it wasn't a burp." (She moves her hand down by her butt and fans it really fast. She busts up laughing.)

J: "Classy."

M: "Do you want some gum now?"

J: "Fine, I'll have a piece of gum."

She chucks the box at me and I tear it open.

J: "It's empty."

M: "No, look inside."

There is one piece of gum in the box, but it feels very light.

J: "Oh, there IS a piece of gum in here."

M: "See? I told you so."

J: "I'll eat it later."

When M. leaves, I pick the piece of gum up and examine it. I slowly peel back the foil to reveal what looks like a stick of pink bubblegum. Then I realize it's a sticky-note M. has folded in disguise. On it, she's written by hand, "No, really. This is gum."



Juicy Couture Cooter

Monday, September 28, 2009

M. is not at work today so I shall retell the story of her juicy air freshener.

A couple of years ago, M. and I were partnered up to deliver Meals on Wheels to the elderly. The first time we ventured out, she drove. As soon as I sat in her Mini Cooper and closed the door, I noticed a pleasant aroma.

J: "Your car smells good."

M: "Oh, it's the air freshener."

J: (Looking at the air freshener dangling from the rear view mirror.) "Schnauzers?"

M: "Juicy Couture."

J: "Oh... Is that a perfume for dogs?"

M: "No, it's for people."

J: "Oh, OK. I was gonna say, that's quite the design for a dog cologne."

M: "Ha ha, yeah. A few years back I was at the perfume counter at Nordstrom when this guy walked up. The woman behind the counter asked how she could help, and he said he was there to pick up an order for his girlfriend... Juicy Cooter."

J: "Hahahaha!"

M: (Imitating the guy.) 'Can you give me some Juicy Cooter, please?' Hahahaha!"

J: "Ooh God... Well, your Juicy Cooter smells good, M."

M: "Ooh, thank you."


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

M. brings in a 12" statue of Buddha. It is made of a clear, see-through glass tinted a beautiful emerald green. The head is tinted yellow.

J: "Your Buddha looks like Jolly Rancher candy!"

M: "No he doesn't."

J: "What does he taste like?"

M: "Jake, stay away from my Buddha!"

I can't help myself. Something about the way he looks forces me to run my fingers all over his little bumpy head.

M: "Jake, what are you doing? Stop it! Do you want to be reincarnated as a wasp?"

I go back to my desk, giggling in fits of laughter.

M: "Jake, you are a conversation. I am a press conference."

J: "What?"

M: "You heard me. You are a trash can and I am the city dump."

J: "Did you get that from a rap song?"

M: "Jake, two things. Number one- don't touch my Buddha! Number two-"

As soon as she says 'Buddha,' I am out of my chair in a mad dash to touch the Buddha head again. It's hypnotic.

M: "Jake! What are you doing? You're so bad. Stop it! You're going to come back in another life as a wasp. Is that what you want?"

J: "I bet he tastes like watermelon."

M: "Stop it. I'm going to spray perfume all over him so you won't touch him anymore."

J: "Don't do that. I can't help it. Have you felt his bumpy little head? Where did you get him?"

M. purses her lips and lets out a long, overly important constipated noise. She leans back in her chair and slants her eyes.

M: "One of my many trips to Thailand, gaaaaaahhhhh..."

Later on, she tells me to hurry and earn more money playing online poker so she can get liposuction. I remind her that the chips I win have no real value and cannot be turned in for cash. That makes no difference. Her plan is for me to do so well on internet poker that I am confident enough to play in Las Vegas and win her some real money.

J: "I never agreed to pay for your liposuction. You don't need it, M. You are the last person in the world who needs liposuction."

M: "You did too agree with it. I told you about my plan and you agreed."

J: "I did not. You know, some people who get liposuction and don't need it turn out worse."

M: "How so?"

J: "Like, their skin gets wrinkly and they get all wobbly."

M: "Like this?" (She holds her arms out like a zombie and starts wobbling all over.) "Oh, let me get the phone." (She wobbles and walks forward, turning her head to say:) "Oh, I'm all wobbly from liposuction. He said it would make me like this."

I really crack up. For some reason, it's a lot funnier than it should be and for several minutes, I can't stop laughing.

After lunch I overhear M. talking to her cube mate. I didn't catch the entire conversation, but I saw M. move her shoulder in a seductive way and tell her cube mate it was code for *wink wink* "Hey!"

I don't understand what it means.

Towards the end of the afternoon, M. and I are talking about bad movies, or more specifically, stories that don't allow the audience to feel sympathy for the main characters.

J: "A lot of new writers make the mistake of writing about people they hate. I guess it's a way for them to vent. But, who wants to read about some jerk? You have to genuinely love people to be a good writer, or at least show sympathy for the characters you write about. Otherwise, nobody will want to read it."

I heard that from Stephen King.

I say this to create an idea in M.'s mind. I don't know if she'll remember it come December, but I want to see her reaction. I really don't want M. to think I'm making fun of her when she finds out about the blog because I have a lot of genuine respect for her and I'd like her to look fondly on these daily excerpts.

J: "It's kind of like The Ernie Blog. I was really sad when I was asked to stop writing it because the blog came from a place of kindness. I never meant it to cause grief."

M.'s cube mate shoots me a wide-eyed stare. She is the only one on the team who knows about M's blog, and she isn't sure where I'm going with the conversation.

M. doesn't seem to feel strongly about it one way or the other, which is a relief. I hope she keeps the same lightheartedness over time.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Afterall, I don't want to come back in the next life as a wasp. Yikes!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

M: "I want a Hallmark. What's it called Jake? The donut?"

J: "Do you mean a Bismark?"

M: "Yes, I want a Bis-Mark-E Donut with cream filling."

M. complains about eating too much this week. She insists she eaten more than her limit of junk food, including several Hallmark (Bismark) Donuts. She's not eating lunch because she had peanut butter and jam toast for breakfast so she'll just wait and eat dinner.

J: "That doesn't sound healthy."

M: "Jake, I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to my water, OK?" (She's holding a water bottle.)

J: "Do you want some homemade spaghetti and meatballs? I brought extra. It's really good."

M. "No, because it will make me hungry and I'll eat more."

J: "So, you should eat."

M: "Jake, the shoes I want from this Victoria Secret catalog are back-ordered until December. How is that possible? They just sent me their catalog yesterday. How can the shoes featured on the front cover not be available?"

J: "Now who are you talking to?"

M: "My iTouch."

J: "Jake, find these shoes for me. Will you see if they have them on Amazon? I can't do it, I'm too upset. You should write a letter to Victoria Secret for me and tell them I'm going to sue the pants off of them!"

She tells me how the models for Victoria Secret mislead all of the merchandise because none of the clothes look as good when she buys them as they do on the models in the catalog. She hands me the catalog to look through and I focus on the center spread with 4 half naked beautiful women.

J: "Can I order all 4 of these?"

M: "Jake! Why are you so disgusting? Oh, nevermind."

To make up for being a man, I sit down a type out a letter to Victoria Secret on behalf of M. I make sure to bring up all of her grievances.

Here is the letter in its entirety:

S.M. Lightning Bolt

PO Box 571423
Magnay UT 84157-1423

Victoria Secret
North American Office
P.O. Box 16589
Columbus, Ohio 43216-6589

30 September 2009

Dear Victoria Secret:

I am writing in regards to the recent catalog I discovered in my mailbox. It is fab-trance-tastic! Thank you for sending it to me. I love every page.

Problem- the shoes on the front cover are backordered through the end of the year. Are you cereal? I want to wear them when I make my famous Cantaloupe Soup in three and ½ weeks. Can you do me a special and ship a pair of 6’s out early because you’re super-awesome, pretty please with powdered sugar on top, and stuff? Thanks!!!

If you can’t, I’m suing the pants off of you. That’s right, your pants on the floor. That’s all you’ll have. You heard me! Your models do not correctly represent your product. They look too good. Not everyone was born with a silver spoon in their mouth, OK? Some of us live in Magnay.

Eagerly anticipating your cute reply,

S.M. Lightning Bolt

P.S. You know a mullet when you see it, right? What fashion accessories do you have for a mullet? I needs them real bad!!

I hand the letter to M. and ask her to read it out loud to see how it sounds. She doesn't make it past the first sentence before she's hysterical with laughter. Half way through, she stands up, tears running down her face, and tells me she has to pee. When she comes back, she finishes the letter, laughs even harder and uses her famous lightning bolt signature to sign it.

M: "Are you really sending that?"

J: "Yep."

M: "Ha ha! What if they send you a pair of shoes? I'm going to be so mad!"

J: "I'll give them to you. Why would I want shoes from Victoria Secret?"


Thursday, October 1, 2009

J: "Why are you looking so sad, M?"

M: "My cockatiel died. Rocky... He was 12 years old."

J: "Oh no. I'm sorry to hear that. Are you OK?"

M: "The house is so quiet. Now who's gonna whistle when I walk through the door?"

J: "What do you think Rocky would have rated himself on a scale of 1-10?"

M: "12."

J: "What about your chihuahua?"

M: "15."

J: "15?"

M: "Oh yeah. He'd be all, '1-10 isn't enough.'"

J: "Based on that... how would you rate yourself?"

M: "3."

J: "No... What do you really rate yourself?"

M: "3."

J: "Why a 3?"

M: "Why, Jake? Where do I start?" (Long pause with a cold stare.) "Do you really want me to sit here and answer that?"

J: (Thinking about it for a minute.) "No."

M: "Didn't think so."

M.'s birthday is next Tuesday so she's taking the entire week off. Today is the last day we'll see each other until October 12th. I didn't even bring in her present.

M: "Do you want some advice, Jake?"

J: "Don't sniff red fire ants?"

M: "Oh, OK... So no matter what I do, do not sniff red ants."

J: "Red fire ants."

M: "Will it kill me?"

J: "It will hurt really bad. Wait! It will kill you. I saw the re-enactment on "1,000 Ways to Die."

M: "You're just saying that because you snort flies."

Not really. I was sitting at my desk yesterday when I saw a fly twirl just under my nose. It flew up into my nostril, into my mouth and down the back of my throat. I coughed a few times but nothing came out. I didn't want to snort the fly, it just happened. And it was a very unpleasant experience.

J: "That isn't the same-"

M: "Picture me sitting here smoking a cigarette. Would I have any right to tell you not to smoke?"

J: "You don't smoke."

M: "Pretend that I do. Imagine me sitting here right now smoking. Does that give me any right to tell you not to smoke?"

J: "That's irrelevant."

M: "Oh, it's relevant."

J: "That's like me saying if I fell down and smashed my face on the pavement would I have any right to get up and tell you not to fall down and smash your face?"

M: "Jake, that doesn't make any sense. You're comparing smashing your face on the pavement to smoking a cigarette?"

J: "No, I'm asking you what cigarettes have to do with red fire ants?"

M: "If you throw your cigarette butt on the ground, ants come and carry it into their home. That's how it relates."

J: "What does that have to do with snorting fire ants?"

M: "I have aunts who smoke. I don't know why you can't see the relevance. Just because you snort flies, Jake. Not everybody snorts flies."

J: "M., we only have 1 hour left before I leave and I won't see you at all next week, not even for your birthday. Is this really how you want to spend the afternoon? Arguing about ants?"

M: "I want a Hallmark."


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

M. is off all week. I sent her a text today that reads, " Where are you?? Work sucks without you!" It's the truth. The day is so quiet and peaceful when she's gone.

She replied, "I'm scrubbing basement floors. Poo and pee from a 1930 house."


If it's not 25 windows, it's old lady feces. The things we do for a little extra cash.

I flipped my wall calendar over to October last week. I noticed some writing on the 13th square that reads: "M.'s liposuction! :) "

Keep dreaming.

Tomorrow is your birthday!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Today is M.'s birthday. Today is also Elisabeth Shue's birthday. M. isn't here so I'll write about Elisabeth Shue.

Remember the opening scene from Adventures in Babysitting where E. dances in her bedroom and lip syncs in a hella sexy rock 'n roll style? I do. I think every teenage boy (and a few girls) who saw that movie fell in love with E., with her sexy fluffy hair falling all over her face like Christmas. Hot!

She went on to co-star with Tom Cruise in Cocktail, followed by a small role as Marty's McFly's girlfriend in Back to the Future Part 2 and 3, looking lively and spunky as ever. Mmmm...

Fast forward a few years and several leading roles later to find ourselves drunk and thoroughly aroused in the 1995 film, Leaving Las Vegas. Yes! Now this is the Elisabeth Shue we've been waiting for.

What's that? You wonder if E. has ever been in a film noir? Here is the answer: "YES!" E. co-stars with Woody Harrelson in the steamy hot film, Palmetto circa 1998. She embodies the hot, lurid sexuality of a scorching summer down south. Whoa, Nellie!

I wonder if E. entertains her co-stars with the same witty banter and charisma as M. Imagine E. telling Woody about her "festival of farts." No?

Molly, Hollow Man, and Hamlet 2 are a few other movies featuring the sex-symbol from the late 80's. Like M., E. somehow looks younger and more energetic over time. How do they do it? What is it about these two that makes them so alluring? I'm not sure, but I know both of them are always good to be around, if only on the silver screen or only across the aisle at work.

Happy Birthday, E!

Happy Birthday, M!

You are two shining stars in the Hollywood firmament.

It says so...

Right there...


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The following text conversation happened moments ago. The name of the company and our CEO has been changed for the sake of anonymity.

J: " :( "

M: "Why are you sad, Jakeypoo?"

J: "Because you're not here. It's soooooo quiet."

M: "KARMA !!! For leaving me every Friday!"


M: "Wait... is it good or bad that it's so quiet?"

J: "It's kind of nice but kind of boring. I just miss you, M. Are you coming in tomorrow?"

M: "Si."

J: "Yay!"

M: "Yeah, H.H. asked me to please go in tomorrow because USA Corporation has noticed some decline in stock value since I've been gone."

M: "I said, 'OK if I have to.'"

M: "...but just because you asked nicely."

M: "...and you said please."

M: "...and you are crying."

M: "...and you're on your knees."

M: "Then I said, 'get up H.H. What are people going to think when they see the V.P. of USA Corporation in this state? KEEP IT TOGETHER, MAN!'"

M: "Then I slapped him!"

M: "...and he started crying again! He said I reminded him of his mother just then!"

M: "I said- 'But H.H., I'm not a Head Honcho-' (you have to be politically correct around H.H.)"

M: "He replied, 'no you're not.'"

M: "We both hugged and cried. I pinched his right butt cheek."

M: "He said, 'Why did you do that?' I said, 'I don't know.'"

M: "He said I reminded him of his father just then."

M: "Then he asked me NEVER to speak of this to ANYONE! I assured him no one would EVER know."

M: "...then he said he loved me."

M: "I asked him if he bowls and if he knew how to make cantaloupe soup. He said he bowls with cantaloupes!"

M: "I said, 'How eccentric of you!' He said, 'I didn't know you knew such big words.'"

M: "I said, 'Don't let the mullet fool you.'"

M: "He said, 'I like mullets! I almost have one.' I said, 'I've noticed!' and added 'Is that kind of ironic? A Head Honcho with a mullet?' He said, 'What does ironic mean?'"

M: "To answer your question, Jakeypoo... I am coming to work tomorrow."

J: " :-O "


Thursday, October 8, 2009

M. signed up for Facebook over the weekend. I had no choice but to tell her about the blog before she stumbled across it herself...

She is reading it now.

Leave lots of comments here so M. feels your love!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

M. came to work late on Thursday. Her desk was semi-decorated with a colorful "Happy Birthday" banner, a gift bag from Starbucks, a card, and a Bismark donut on a paper plate with a sucker stuck into it.

After everyone had a chance to smother M. with fond wishes, she turned to me with a shocking announcement.

M: "Jake! I signed up for a Facebook account!"

J: "You did?"

M: "Yes! I signed up for one so I could see my friend's photos."

J: "Oh... So, will you continue using Facebook or was it just a one time thing?"

M: "Will I use it? Will I use it? Pffft! Now I have time to use it."

While M. Was on a phone call, I spoke to her cube mate. Her cube mate is the only person on the team who knows about this blog.

J: "I wasn't expecting this."

Cube Mate: "I know."

J: "If she looks at my Facebook page, she'll see all of the blog posts."

Cube Mate: "I was thinking the same thing."

J: "I should tell her about it before she finds out on her own, huh?"

Cube Mate: (Nodding her head.) Yes, definitely."

J: "That means I have to tell her, like... today."

Cube Mate: "Yeah."

J: "Oh man."

I wasn't prepared. I didn't expect to tell M. about the blog for another 2 months, but now I didn't have a choice. My Facebook page is unprotected so anyone can view it. I keep it this way to network with my former podcast listeners, and to advertise The Story of M. I had no other option than to tell her. Right now...

J: "I need to tell you something, M."

M: "You do?"

J: "Yes."

M: "Jake! Why are you so serious?"

J: "It's nothing bad. I just have to talk with you about something. Can we go for a walk?"

M: "Oh my God, you want me to go on a walk with you? Are you going to kill me?"

J: "Ha ha. No."

M: "OK... let me just sign in so there is evidence I was here." (She signs in using the time sheet.) "If I'm not back in 5 minutes, come looking for me. Jake is asking me to walk with him."

J: "You'll be back."

On our way out, M. informs everybody we pass, whether we know them or not, that she is going out in the hallway for a walk with me. I laugh and tell her to stop it. We walk out of the department into the quiet hallway. We turn the corner and stop alongside the wall. M. freezes in a kung-fu pose, changes her stance into another pose, freezes, and repeats it again one more time.

J: "You aren't making this easy for me. Will you just be normal for a minute so I can talk to you?"

M: "What did I do?"

J: "You didn't do anything, it's something I did."

M: "Oh, it's something you did. Oh God, what did you do, Jake?"

I stood there looking at M. for several seconds. All of the various approaches for this conversation rushed through my head, but I knew I wouldn't use any of them. Instead, I decided to be as honest and upfront as I could be.

J: "You read the birthday card I gave you, right? So you know I think very highly of you."

M. "Yes, I read it."

J: "You know I would never say anything to degrade you or to put you down. Right?"

M: "Mmm... yeah..."

J: "You have a very entertaining personality, M. How would you feel if your amazing personality had a strong but small cult following?"

Her expression didn't change. She just stared at me.

J: "You know The Ernie Blog I wrote?"

M: "Yes, but I didn't read it."

J: "OK, well... Let's go back to July. I sent you a text message one day, that I'm sure you don't remember."

M: "Jake, I don't remember what happened yesterday."

J: "Ha ha, fair enough. Well, in July I sent you a text message that said I would love to write a book about your life. Do you remember?"

M: "You did? No, I don't remember that."

J: "At the time, you brushed it off like you didn't think I was serious. But... M... I've been writing about you since July. I've written a blog for almost everyday we've worked together. When you told me you set-up a Facebook account, I was worried you might see my page on Facebook and discover the blog. I wanted to tell you about it before that happened. You are very entertaining, and so many readers love reading about you. People email me if I don't publish a blog on time, and everyone who knows me in person tells me how hilarious the blog is. They love it! They love you. If you want me to stop, I will, but I really want to continue writing about you because you are so fun to write about. I can't keep up with you sometimes. So... what do you think of that?"

M: "Ok, well... it's fine. But I can't access Facebook at work."

J: "That's OK, the blog isn't on Facebook. Let's go back to your desk and I'll show you the URL so you can read it. I'll give you some time to go through it, then you can sleep on it and see how you feel about it tomorrow. Just remember, it's completely anonymous so nobody knows who you really are, except for a few people. Your cube mate knows because she saw it on Facebook, but I swore her to secrecy. And you have a lot of really cool fans who love reading about you. You are a star, M!"

We went back to her desk. Before I could show M. the website, a colleague interrupted us and demanded M.'s immediate attention. I went to my desk and wrote down the URL on a sticky note, then I left it on M.'s desk. When she was free a minute or so later, she started typing in the address.

M: "Tunnel Scene, Jake? Ha ha!"

J: "Yeah." (I smile.)

I showed her how to start at the beginning and navigate forward so she could read them in chronological order. I saw at my desk and breathed. At least the secret was out. I didn't feel nervous about it anymore. Now I just had to wait and see how she responds.

M. started at the beginning. She laughed from the onset, sometimes so hard that tears sprung from her eyes. Her cube mate and I both looked over her shoulder and followed along with the text. Neither of us had read some of the entries since they were published, and some of them brought back happy memories. Soon, we were all laughing. We couldn't help it.

I had a meeting with a manager from another team so I had to steel away from M. for an hour, but even sitting several rows away, M.'s laughter was all we could hear. I took it as a good sign.

When she was done, her cube mate asked her if she was mad.

M: "No, I'm not mad at all. I think it's funny because I'm me and I know what happened before and after, but I'm not sure anyone else would see the humor."

J: "Don't worry, M. People love it! They love reading about you."

M: "It's so random."

The next day, I sent M. a text to see how she was feeling. Out of all the things I expected, I didn't expect this:

M: "You are a very good writer, Jake. I think you could follow a feather around and make it sound exciting and entertaining to everone who reads it. I am flattered that you're writing about me."

It's one of the best text messages I've ever received. Thank you, M! :) The truth is, I simply write down what M. says and does. She's very easy to write about.

We'll work together again this Monday, and I have no idea what to expect. Things might be slightly awkward between us for the first few days, because M. is aware of the blog, and she knows I'm writing about her. I question whether I'll continue takings notes in secret or whether I'll openly show M. the pad of paper and pen as I jot down her quotes.

But so far, so good. Don't you think?


Monday, October 12, 2009

M. has her shawl wrapped around her when a big clump of it falls to the floor in front of her. We all stare at it before M. picks it up and places it on her forehead.

M: "These are my bangs."

J: "You look like the Statue of Liberty."

M. holds her arm up like she's holding a torch. Then she moves the clump of shawl to her chin, like it's a beard.

M: "This is how I wake up everyday. This is what happens if I don't shave."

She places the clump of shawl in in her ear, at the edge of her sleeve, then below her skirt, then around her ankle.

M: "This is what happens when I don't shave here, here, here, or there."

Eventually, M. wraps the mini shawl around her Buddha and leaves it alone.

Things are different today. M. insists she just feels tired, but I think her awareness of the blog is affecting her natural personality. Every so often, she'll start a funny pose, or begin going off about something random, only to cut it short with a knowing glance in my direction.

Hopefully, everything will go back to normal soon.

M. finds out I am buying a new car. Her response:

M: "Jake, who drives a silver car?"

J: "You do."

M: "My car is black."

J: "Oh? Did you have it painted?"

M: "Well, it was silver yesterday. Today it's black.

J: "Right."

I rush to her desk and rub her little Buddha head.

M: "Jake!"