February 28, 2008

Hot Dog in Puff Pastry?

Posted in Keeping Up With The Cients, Lessons Learned at 8:26 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

I have a deep, dark, ugly secret. Sometimes, on the weekends, – come a little closer.

Closer.

Closer.

I cater waitress.

I know what you are going to say. What is a smart, well-educated, well-employed (don’t forget pretty) person like me doing catering on the weekends? Well, sometimes I do it because the company needs me to, but mostly I do it to justify spending $300 on a pair of sunglasses.

And never did I think there was anything wrong with this dirty little habit of mine until I ran into a vendor on the other side of the dim sum station.

There I was standing over a steaming wicker basket filled with shrimp dumplings, wearing a tuxedo shirt and tie and there was Super Guy II, wearing a tuxedo shirt and tie (and jacket) and somehow his shirt and tie and my shirt and tie, while almost identical, were worlds apart.

As is almost always my reaction when something like this happens, I wanted to duck beneath the station until he went away. Recognizing that wasn’t an option, I crossed my fingers that he wouldn’t recognize me.

Of course all hope that he wouldn’t remember me vanished when a startled look of comprehension crossed his face. I fake-smiled (which you all know was not pretty), “Oh my gosh, Super Guy II. What are you doing here?”

“Hey there Devil? How are you?”

“I’m fine. Shrimp Dumpling?”

“No, actually I’m just looking for the bar.”

“Oh, it’s right behind you.” I may have cocked my head a bit as I said this last part as I am a big fan of cocking my head when I am faking confidence or enthusiasm.

“Great, well, see you tomorrow.”

Crap, I thought with my fake smile still firmly planted across my face. I had a meeting with him tomorrow.

I turned to my sister, who was also manning the dim sum station because she needs help justifying her purchases of way overpriced jeans, and asked, “Was that awkward?”

“Yes.” She shook her head plainly. Sometimes I wish my family wasn’t so frank.

The next day I had to tell New Boss as he would be in the meeting with Super Guy II.

“Oh my god, well did you explain to him that you were filling in for someone that got sick?”

At first I thought New Boss’s reaction was a bit disproportionate to what I was telling him. Okay, Super Guy II saw me wearing a tuxedo shirt and a bowtie¬†and next to no make-up serving hors d’oeuvres to his family and friends. It could have been a lot worse; I could have been attending the party as a paid escort to one of Super Guy II’s married uncles.

Still, I was embarrassed when it happened, and I knew enough that I had to tell New Boss about the chance meeting before our scheduled, afternoon meeting. So clearly there is something dirty about me catering and not just the part at the end of the night when we have to clean up. I wasn’t ready for this ancillary benefit of taking a higher profile position at a bigger law firm.

So, I gave it up. I don’t cater on the weekends anymore and I hate it. Partly because it reeks of elitism, but mostly because I had my eyes on a really nice pair of black, oversized Chanel’s.

February 8, 2008

STYMIED!

Posted in Office Hijinks at 7:20 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

Have you ever been sitting in front of the TV with the remote in your hand, when you nod off, drop the remote and are awakened by the sounds of a television show wholly unfamiliar to you.

Or maybe you are like my dad, and you fall asleep in your recliner and then your wife pries the channel changer out of your grip and you wake up exclaiming, “Hey, I was watching that.”

Or maybe you have gotten so fat from holiday eating and not sticking with your new year’s resolutions that you don’t even feel it when you are sitting on the remote. Then, when you lean forward to get a handful of popcorn or chocolate or some other tasty television-watching snack, your shifting weight changes the channel for you.

Regardless, you are sitting there, watching one thing and then suddenly you aren’t. And the switch is never a subtle one. You are never watching, Rock of Love II, for example, and then suddenly watching The Girls Next Door. That sort of switch one might not even notice until the program comes back from commercial.

No, typically the switch is quite severe. One minute you are catching the E! True Hollywood Story of Eighties Child Stars and the next you are watching a History Channel biopic on the real Oscar Schindler.

Well, imagine that feeling of complete confusion and multiply it by 1000 and then you may begin to comprehend what it is like sitting through a meeting with New Boss and the Oracle (formerly known as one half of the tag-team duo His Two Bosses).

Now, you know, I am pretty good at tuning out during meetings, but still being able to take away all the important and necessary details. Well, the secret to this parlor trick is training your brain to mostly listen for key trigger words when others are talking off topic. For example, when the group starts talking about the formerly undefeated New England Patriots, I tune out and start thinking about, oh, I don’t know, what Jerkface is doing at that very moment, all the while listening for someone to say, “but back to the point,” which is when I will turn my full attention back to the meeting.

But New Boss and the Oracle aren’t so kind as to provide transitions from their off-topic tangents. No. Just like when I lean forward to grab my glass of wine and then suddenly I am no longer watching a Law & Order re-run, one minute I will be writing out a grocery list the very next minute everyone will be staring at me waiting for my opinion.

There we were, discussing relevant, important topics to the firm and without a moment’s hesitation, we were talking about the Oracle’s sons. Then, almost as if he didn’t hear the Oracle, New Boss continued on with the discussion at hand. And, as if the Oracle had never broken in with the off-topic comment, he responded back.

I blinked rapidly a few times. Was I the only one that could hear the off-topic banter? I tried to catch someone else’s eyes to shoot the what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-the-Oracle-look, but no one was obliging.

Then it happened again. This tangent was a bit longer, with more people involved. But then just as quickly and without any transition, it was back to the reason we had called this meeting. They hadn’t even finished the tangent topic. Nor was there a pause in conversation. One minute someone is telling a story about a guy in New Jersey that wrote the “F-word” word on a parking ticket, the very next sentence is a question about end of the year billables.

I left the meeting feeling nauseated and the beginnings of a migraine. But mostly I just felt sad that I would no longer get to spend those meetings drafting new blogs; I couldn’t keep up when I was paying attention. There is no way I can fake note take here.