Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A little slice of life

A political protest was approaching and Paul thought it would be a good idea to take some shots of the cops and their rides (hogs and horses).

One officer asked to see his camera.

"Sorry," Paul said, "[the shots] are on film."

The officer then turned to me: "You want to get on the motorcycle? He can take your picture."

"No, thanks," I said. "That's sort of pervy."

Criers are my kryptonite

Allow me to set the stage:

I come home from work and the fucking toilet is clogged up with toilet paper and the contents of a bowel movement. After my sister returns home and tries to fix it, she heads over to my room and tells me that, yes, the toilet is indeed clogged and will be out of commission.

So I asked her whether she took a dump and stuffed all that paper down there. She hesitated: "No, it wasn't me."

I saw an extra mattress in her room. "Did one of your friends take a dump and clog up the toilet?" I asked.

"Maybe," she shrugged.

"Well then," I said, "where's your friend to clean it up?"

"I dunno, but you're being rude."

Wait, I'm rude? Did I roll up baby Jesus and try to force him down the toilet before walking away? Nuh uh, I did not.

What's RUDE is hoping the next person deals with your mess (and potentially flooding the entire bathroom) by mopping up bits of your banana cream pie from last night because you thought you could whistle your way out of trouble.

What's STUPID is pretending you didn't know who took the epic shit and taking offence on your "friend's" behalf! I have a friend, too. Her name is Miss Lyingouttaherass. Every time you give her a penny, she says you owe three more!

I was on the phone with my friend: "Why am I always the bad guy?"

Story of my life.

Three weeks ago, I calmly told my fat ass roommate that she'd been flouting house rules for months and I had proof that she'd been doing so behind my back with the belief that she wouldn't be caught. She started crying and crying and still didn't apologize.

Bitch said I was MEAN. Why? I said her hygiene wasn't up to snuff because mould was growing in her personal bathroom and she'd never picked up her loose hairs from the floor. This ain't no third world beauty parlour! Your rent doesn't include maid service!

I also hate it when people cry when I confront them. Am I supposed to comfort you now? The asshole who started slamming cupboards at midnight and told me she didn't care about my "beauty sleep"? I got two words for you: See ya! (*sidenote: 6 more days before her lease expires. Victory.)

Anyway, even with that rant, I still believe I have a drama-less life. I resolve problems after one encounter and those who aren't comfortable with the subsequent quietude stay away from me. (I shut my mouth to restrict their ammo.) My sister says though she loves me, I can come off too intimidating (especially her because she's a heart-on-her-sleeve type o' gal). She says it's the way I inject office parlance even in private matters. (I once broke up with a guy by telling him that it was "unfortunate that we were incompatible," but I wished him "all the best in finding a more suitable partner with more in common.")

I explain myself this way: Honesty hurts so that the sting of embarrassment will remind you not to fuck up next time. I've taken hits to the face and haven't looked back.

Or as Judge Judy likes to put it: Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We belong to a clandestine, global network

Okay, not really. But executive assistants do get to be pretty tight. We know the hottest spots in town, we're tight with political aides, and deal with corporate secrets on a daily basis. One of them invited me to Los Angeles to hang out. I might take him up on his offer; the weather in Toronto has been hella shitty. It was sunny, cloudy, windy, and SNOWY all on the same day. Like, remember how Hugh Grant walked through a bazaar in Notting Hill and he experienced all four seasons? It's like that, except REAL.

Anyway, I contracted a cold from my colleague, who had been sneezing and sniffling up a storm all of last week. Not only does she not believe in taking time off work (because she's a keener), but she also doesn't believe in using hand sanitizer.

When I told her I was sick, she assured me that it was the wonky weather's fault.

"I don't think so," I shot back. "You were coughing all over me. I'm pretty sure it was you."

Did I mention that she doesn't "believe" in hand sanitizer; the bottle she has on her desk is for other people to use so they can stand around long enough to chat. What's there to not believe? She says superbugs are spawned that way. Say what? Alcohol doesn't work the same way as antibiotics!

She also believes the earth is going to end because of polar shifts and tried to get me to eat granola bars with her because they were healthy and she's a vegetarian, so she's an authority on what's healthy. "This has 13 grams of sugar!" I admonished. "It's just a candy bar."

Well, now that I'm on track to vent about her, I might as well keep going. She has this extremely annoying habit of thinking out loud. Every minor thought that pops into her head is verbalized to me. From the steps in which she'd take to lock up an office ("I'm going to get the key, open the door, turn on the lights ...") to the cute emails her boyfriend sends her that I told her I found "revolting".

"He says he's going to buy groceries. Isn't that sweet?"

Who cares?!

Even when I told her it would be helpful to distinguish what to say out loud so I'd know what was important and pay attention, she told me to ignore her. The problem? It's not easy! "What are you reading?" None of your business!

Or the way she rushes to get water for the executives and takes credit for other people's work. I mean, really?

Today, she had to arrange a conference call for the execs. She called me three times when all I wanted to do was rest (I had taken a sick day). I always find myself asking her what exactly she's calling about because she loses track of what she called to ask.

In one insignificant conversation, I said, "Look, I already told you he was free for the time you stated so go ahead and organize it." I mean, how the hell was I supposed to know what he does at home with his family and whether the call might be intrusive to him? Am I a psychic?

That's what's truly annoying about her. She factors in every single possible scenario including completely hypothetical ones before taking action. Just do it and if it doesn't work, we'll notify you! Everything has to be an ordeal with her.

And she takes it personally if you tell her to back off. Why do I need to explain to her that she's not necessarily a bad person, but her behaviour is overbearing. Since assistants are by nature discreet, you'd think she'd understand that I can't tell her everything just to make her life easier. Not to mention her constant yakking regularly gives away the whereabouts of her bosses. "Oh, so-and-so isn't in the office right now. He's in LA." Why would you tell strangers this?

She's 28 and acts like she has no worldly experience. Even the girl who picked her as her replacement is irritated. But what can we do? She's not evil, just simple and insecure.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Thin Red Line

I knew I would get myself into trouble sooner or later.

A guy at work has a clear case of the crushes. On me. I'll call him "M".

Now, I believe the office has a hierarchy of attraction understood to be distinct from sexual harassment. There's a) the Casual Glancer, b) the Lunchroom Mingler, and then there's c) the Excessive Flirter.

Currently, I've concluded that there's been some As (but that's inevitable given the high ratio of women), a few Bs (one of whom will happily break the ice with me about anything, including microwave popcorn), and then there's M.

M is in the third category. Here's the twist: He doesn't remember me. We'd met before. Years ago. Spent hours in each other's presence at the Toronto International Film Festival. Except rather than tight skirts and cardigans, I was wearing a polo shirt and a fanny pack because I was a dirty photography assistant (and he was an arrogant prick). In fact, Paul was even in M's department when he was an intern at the same company. He used to pepper Paul with questions, like whether Asian pussy was tight. (Answer: Yes, but only when it hasn't encountered much of a challenge.)

So it's quite amusing seeing him sweat from this side of the cubicle divider.

Like this time by the elevators. He asked me where I was headed.

"Eating," I said.

"I thought you'd be going out. Having a tryst. No tryst?" he asked.

"Yeah," I replied, nonchalantly. "Eating cock."

He was stammering all the way down the shaft (no pun intended).

In another series of expected occurrences, M's been walking past my desk and checking me out. I look straight ahead at my screen and pretend not to notice. Which, of course, leads him to chat me up wherever he thinks he could bump into me.

"Hi Lily!" he shouted just as I neared the kitchen door. "Just wanted to say hi," he smirked.

I winked at his coworker: "This guy has ulterior motives."

She laughed: "Likely!"

My neighbour even commented on how he talks and acts around me, adding: "I've always wanted to see what workplace flirtations were all about. Now I know." She thinks he's offensive due to his very un-PC/racist/sexist conversation nuggets. I, in contrast, find him endearingly obnoxious and enjoy taking swipes at his manhood. He is also in his mid-30s, but, tellingly, acts much younger.

Paul is aware of all this, of course; I tell him everything. The tension I create with a variety of men gets channeled into our sex life, so that's a perk. I'm also honest about my relationship status. And when I sense the conversation veering off to more intimate territories, I bail and limit interaction indefinitely.

It's quite stimulating sharing tête-à-têtes with new people every now and then, but I don't mistake their enthusiasm for sincere interest. Lord knows Paul still gives me butterflies (just not over the phone; he has atrocious phone manners). But I'm young and the daily grind can be tedious, so I allow these brief encounters to continue. And bluntly speaking, it's too fun to stop.

Monday, April 04, 2011


Paul and I went furniture shopping last weekend. He's the president and lone member of the domestic design committee. I merely exist as a peripheral sidekick because, frankly, he has better taste when it comes to all things interior.

I pointed out a small shop on King Street last Friday and we ended up chatting with the employee there for a good chunk of the night. We shared our devotion to Love It or List It and Flipping Out ("Jeff Lewis is ah-mazing") and discovered he was a part-time actor to boot.

At one point, he noted conspiratorially that the owner does free consulting work on the weekends: You supply the floorplans and he'll spin around like a whirling dirvish, smothering you with colour schemes, fabric swatches, and furniture possibilities.

Could it be true? Was this a dream? I was intrigued. Free advice that would normally run $300/hr? I'm in! So come Saturday, Paul and I visited the store again and lo and behold, the designer sat with us for over an hour, teaching us the basics of design. And though he never mentioned his own pieces in conversation, we picked up three things from his collection anyway. The price wasn't bad as far as made in Canada custom furniture goes, but it sure as hell wasn't cheap either.

Anyway, Paul and I chose this beautiful black fabric with a contrasting cherry blossom motif for the two chairs to go with the slate-grey sofa. It's being made to our specifications and we're really excited to see the results in 6-8 weeks.

Today, I was driving Paul to school and he asked me what I thought about "plants". "What?" I replied. "You know," he said. "Plants. Do you want them?"

Like I said, he's the design maven, I'm just along for the ride.