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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Showering with the Coworkers

My wife and I started our new jobs on the same day: September 13th. She went to work at a private charter school. I went to work at a mental hospital. We were both trying to find our way in this tremblingly wicked little world, trying to find jobs that would keep us afloat, keep us engaged, keep us coming back for more, keep us from going mad.

(Yes, people go to work at mental hospitals to keep from going mad. Well, people like me do.)

"I'm just excited to be working with people who have teeth," my wife said. Some of her coworkers at her former place of employ were from, well, different walks of life than she. And that's okay, as long as there's one or two people with whom you can have a decent conversation. As a Jewish vegetarian, I can't really imagine what it must have been like for her during work potlucks, surrounded by the endless parade of ham-salad and french onion green bean casserole.


Coworkers are funny. Some people go out to bars with their coworkers. Some people become friends with their coworkers, or lovers, or even life-partners. My eldest sister works for my father. And she spends a fair amount of her workday crying in the bathroom.

'Nuff said.

Whether you hit the bar or the bowling alley with your coworkers, or whether you wouldn't never consider doing either, you spend a relatively significant proportion of time with them-- even if you never see them after your workday ends. Having coworkers that you can connect with is important, some might even say that it is vital. Yes, there are going to be some that you cannot stand, some that you'd rather gnaw your own eyelids off than spend ten minutes with in the same cube-code. There are also going to be some that you'd like to have been elementary school friends with, had you the luxury of shape-shifting and rearranging and DeLoreanizing. Most of them, though, are just kind of there, and wouldn't it be nice to make some sort of human connection with them? Nothing earth-shattering. Nothing involving bodily-fluids or even omlettes, but a moment that says, "Hey, you're human, I'm human, we're both humans who breathe the same air for forty hours every week together. Let's bond over something, for Christ's sake."

My wife works with a guy who drives a Jeep Compass. Because my wife has The Car Gene, she notices things like this and, also because she has The Car Gene, she knows that a Jeep Compass is usually exclusively reserved for women. Especially a Jeep Compass with a Michelle Obama bumper-sticker on it.

"It's probably his wife's car," I surmised, "he must be borrowing it while his Plymouth Gran Fury is in the shop."

But it wasn't so. Week after week, Dude McGee showed up for work at my wife's school in a Jeep Compass with a Michelle Obama bumper-sticker slapped on its ass, Mrs. Apron reported to me.

"Wow," I replied, with typical eloquence, "that's gay."

And, really, it was.

"Hey," I said, "you should send him a link to that "Car & Driver" Rental Car Olympics test-- he'd probably get a kick out of it."

I am referring to a highly enjoyable set of tests the C&D staff put four rental vehicles (Ford Mustang, Lincoln Town Car, Jeep Compass, and some Cadillac piece of shit) through, including Which Car Goes Fastest in Reverse? (Town Car -- 63mph!) and which car does the handbrake parking test best?

It wasn't the Compass. In fact, I don't think the Compass won any of the tests. That's why I knew she needed to send the link to the web version of the article to her coworker. Any man who drives a Jeep Compass (with a Michelle Obama bumper-sticker on it, no less) must have a sense-of-humor about it.

Turns out, he did. Sort of.

"That was really great," he told Mrs. Apron at work yesterday, "but my car did so poorly!"

Um, yeah. You might as well drive the Malibu Barbie Corvette.

"Thing is-- people don't like it because it's a 4-cylinder and has no power. But I drive it like a little old lady and I actually get pretty decent gas mileage."

I hope that by driving it "like a little old lady" doesn't infer that he drives it whilst wearing diabetic compression stockings and orthopedic shoes.

"Thanks for sending me that link," he said, "it was great."

Mrs. Apron was very happy to now have a connection, a fun, lighthearted, gentle ribbing connection with a coworker.

"That's wonderful, buddy," I said, quick to encourage socialization for either of us as a sign that we're not complete retards, "I had a connection like that at work today, too!"

"Cool, buddy!" my wife said. "Tell me about it."

"Well, a couple of the nurses and social workers were in the chart-room talking about peeing in the shower,"

"Of course they were," my wife intoned.

"And then, of course the conversation turned to masturbating in the shower..."

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