Friday, March 25, 2011
Lenore: (seeing strawberries) Hey mister, I just love strawberries. But what I wanted to ask you is about music.
L: Do you have a radio or something in your office? You always have music playing and I thought you were playing, you know, a radio or something like a radio.
Me: No, it's my computer.
L: Do you have a radio on your computer?
Me: I use iTunes. I can listen to the radio or just music from my playlist if I want.
L: What's, tunes?
L: Yeah, what is your tunes?
Me: No, it's called eye-Tunes, like an eye-Pod.
L: Oh, I want to get one of those. Are they like radios?
Me: Not really. But they play music like a walkman.
L: Well, walkmans have radios on them. That's what I want. I want to listen to music at my desk.
Me: Just download iTunes on your computer and you'll be able to play music.
L: I don't know how to do that.
Me: It's easy.
(Later, while I'm downloading iTunes on Lenore's computer she turns to Richard, in the cubical over from hers.)
L: (pointing to me) He's downloading a program to play radio music on my computer.
Richard: Oh, like iTunes?
L: Yes, they're going to be my tunes, though. I want to listen to Josh Groban.
Originally posted October 22, 2008
Lenore loves banana bread and claims to eat it everyday. I made some this weekend and brought a healthy slice in for her this morning.
(Lenore, having just discovered the banana bread, comes into my office.)
Lenore: (smiling ear to ear) Mister, did you bring that banana bread for me?
Me: Yes! It's a new recipe. No eggs.
L: Oh! I just love banana bread. You know I buy it everyday down at the cafe?
Me: I know.
L: Thank you! I'm gonna go eat some right now.
(A moment later.)
L: (with crumbs and chocolate on her face and banana bread in her mouth) You know what I taste? I taste peanut butter! Is there peanut butter in here?
Me: Yes, I put Reese's Pieces in there instead of chocolate chips.
L: (squealing) OH! I would never have thought of that. It's really good.
Me: I'm glad you like it.
L: You know what else is good that I tried this weekend? Lemme tell you. It was a recipe I saw on the back of an, um, what was it called....you know that onion soupy pack thing?
Me: Dried onion soup mix?
L: Exactly! That's exactly it. I got a piece of chicken, put oil on it and then rolled it in that onion mix. I just love onions. Then I cooked it for 25 minutes....OH, it was heaven, just heaven!
Me: Sounds good.
L: Oh it was, it really was. I'll have to give you the recipe.
Me: You just did.
L: You don't want me to write it down? It's easy to mess up.
Me: Isn't it just chicken and onion soup mix and then you cook it?
L: (thinking about it) I forgot you like to put peanut butter in bread, you must know everything.
Originally posted October 6, 2008
(I see a new jar of peanut butter on Lenore's desk.)
Me: Did you get another jar of peanut butter?
Lenore: Oh, yes! This one is so bueno! It has caramel in it.
Me: Is that from your peanut butter group thing?
L: Yes, this is the third one. Would you like to try some?
Me: Sure, why not.
(Lenore pulls out a saltine cracker and spreads the peanut butter-caramel on it. I take a bite and give her an agreeing grin.)
L: It's so good, huh?
M: Yeah, I can taste the caramel. .... So, what's a peanut butter club? Do you have to pay a fee or something to join?
L: No, nothing like that. I just heard about these special flavor peanut butters and my friends and me all buy them and send them to each other.
M: Oh, kinda like a book club. You buy a jar of PB and then discuss it?
L: (without a bit of sarcasm, pointing into my chest to emphatically drive the point home) Exactly! Exactly right!
Originally posted August 22, 2008
Lenore receives all kinds of office supply magazines and loves to mull over the pages for hours. She brings one to show me called Organize Now and instructs me to turn to page 58.
(Pointing my attention to the "Prize Wheel".)
Lenore: Well? ... Doesn't that look like fun? (reading caption and pointing to each word while she says it) Prize-Wheels-increase-employee-moral.
Me: A wheel? What do you do with that? It's for the office or something, like, to use in the office?
L: I dunno. We would play all sorts of games, like, Vegas-style, on our breaks and things. It's too quiet out there [in the wider office area].
Me: What prizes do you win?
L: I don't know. Just prizes, I guess.
Me: Yeah, but what does that mean? I don't know if we should be gambling at work.
L: (shrugging) I just thought it would be fun. You know, make people want to come to work.
BLACKOUTOriginally posted July 28, 2008
I just love her sometimes.
Originally posted July 24, 2008
Lenore: Did Alice give you that plant, mister? She said I could have it.
Me: Yeah, she just brought it by. Wanted me to save it.
L: Well I'm the best at saving plants, didn't you know? This one time, down at the Lakeview Center [former location of our offices] there was a plant there--honest to God (she crosses herself)--that was dead and I brought it back to life. I'm being honest, I'm not lying. Honest!
L: Yeah, you know Stephen, right? Well, Stephen was going to throw this poor little plant out and I said, 'Hey Mister, don't throw that plant out. Give it to me.' So he did. And let me tell you something, it was so dead, you could see through its leaves. Really! Hand to heart, I'm being honest.
Me: I believe you.
L: I took that plant home, talked to it and watered it and guess what...it came back to life! Oh, dios! It really did. I swear to you I'm not lying.
Me: Well sometimes plants' roots are alive while the rest of it looks dead.
L: No, but this plant was really dead. I mean really! And, you know, all it needed was love and someone to talk to it.
Me: And water and sun?
L: Those work too.
(Later in the day, Lenore, the die-hard thrift shopper, comes into my office with our recent event calendar. She points to an upcoming event at the deYoung Museum we're planning during the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit.)
L: Did you go to this?
Me: Well, we are going to it. It's in November.
L: (looking closer at date) What? I love (mispronouncing) Yeave Sant's stuff! What, what is it? What are you going to do there? I mean, in the museum, what are you going to do?
Me: Well, we're just having a reception with our alumni. And a guided tour.
L: (swelling) Really?! That's sounds like so much, so much...fun! You guys do the best things.
L: Well, what sorts of thing are going to be showing?
Me: I don't know, probably a lot of his garments through the years, I'd imagine much like the Vivienne Westwood exhibit they had.
L: I don't know her. But you know, I have a lot of Yeave's stuff.
L: Oh, yeah! It's all over Savers [her favorite thrift store]. I have a leather hat with fur and a beautiful shall. Oh, it's so beautiful. You'd love it, mister.
Me: Maybe you should come to the show and wear it.
L: I'd love to! I could model his stuff and people would think I was part of the show.
Me: That'd be great.
L: Oh, oh, and I have this really beautiful pair of leather boots, only they're not really leather, but they look like it. They're so nice. Really!
Me: There you go, head to toe in YSL.
L: Well, the boots are made by International Concepts but they look designer. They're that nice!
Originally posted July 22, 2008
Kim: I was just looking forward to eating all the time. It was the best part of the city, I thought.
Me: Yeah, I know. There were so many places to choose from.
Kim: I bought these little chocolate balls just to snack on but because it was so hot, they melted into one ball and--
Lenore: What, what? Chocolate? Excuse me, what are you talking about?
Me: Kim was just saying that she bought some chocolates in Europe. But they melted.
L: (scandalized) What?! They melted! Where? Where did they melt?
Kim: In my bag. It was very hot.
L: It was hot and the chocolates melted, huh?! I can't believe that!
Kim: Yeah, it was too hot I guess.
L: I just can't believe that! How terrible. Did you eat it anyway?
Kim: No, it was too messy. I didn't want to get it everywhere.
L: But it's chocolate! Who cares!?
Originally posted July 14, 2008
Jay sits next to Lenore's cubical and is always annoyed with her. Today we had lunch and he wanted to tell me about a run-in he'd had with her after Arturo came for a visit. Below is my version of his retelling.
(Today Arturo, Lenore's friend, stops by for a visit and per usual assaults the office with his abundance of cologne. Jay, who is in nose and earshot of this is irked and having a difficult time breathing. When Arturo leaves Jay decides to mention something to Lenore about her friend's spray-on indulgence.)
Jay: (peaking his head over his cubicle) Lenore, was that your friend?
Lenore: (craning neck) Oh, yes, yes.
J: Could he wear more cologne?
L: What do you mean?
J: Can't you smell him!? His cologne really bothers my eyes! I was going to say something earlier but I didn't want to be rude.
L: Well, uh, I don't smell anything. He's my friend. I don't say that you smell bad.
J: I don't wear cologne.
L: Maybe you should!
J: Your friend doesn't personally stink, but his cologne is very potent. It's just hard to breath.
L: (offended) Fine! I'll pass the message to him! Next time he comes in I'll say, (mimicking Jay) "Hello, you stink!"
J: You can just say, "Hello, don't marinate in your cheap cologne before coming into the office."
Originally posted April 22, 2008
(I'm heading to my office through the foyer and Edward is coming from the opposite direction. He is wearing a long dress jacket, scarf bundled up around his neck like a brace and a fedora perched delicately on his bald head. I don't recognize him. As we get closer to one another he offers a sheepish hello. I try to commit to a smile and continue on to my office. Once inside, a step or two behind me, Edward pokes his head into my office.)
Edward: Hello! Good morning, sir!
Me: (turning around) Oh, good morning. Was that you in the hall? I didn't recognize you.
Ed: I know. I've only been here a day and people don't recognize me. Maybe I just don't have one of those faces people want to remember!
Me: You were all bundled up.
Ed: (taking off his hat, exposing his bald head) My dermatologist says I have to wear this hat or I will get sunburned. And I don't want to get sunburned.
Me: (trying to get situated at my desk) No, no you don't want to burn your head, that wouldn't be good.
Ed: No, no it wouldn't.
Ed: Yesterday I went to the mall with Paul [his boss] for lunch. It was exquisite. I wasn't wearing my hat. When I got back, my head was burned!
Me: Oh, no. That's terrible.
Ed: Yes, but it's better today. So I'm wearing my hat again.
Me: It's a big hat.
Ed: It also really keeps my head warm. It can be very windy in the morning.
Me: Yeah, it's been windy lately. I've noticed.
Ed: Uh, huh. It has.
Ed: Well, I guess you'll never worry about having to burn your head or keeping it warm with your nest of hair.
Me: No, not today anyway.
Ed: No, no you won't.
Ed: (still lingering in my doorway) ...
Me: Well, I'll remember you now, Edward.
Ed: Okay, have a good day.
Me: You too.
(Later in the day I go to get my mail by Lenore's desk. She has just purchased a bag of Mint Crispy M&Ms. Edward is getting his mail too and notices the candy.)
Ed: Oh, I just love candy.
Lenore: Well, go ahead and have some, mister. Have you ever had these?
Ed: (pouring a handful out of the bag into his hand) No I haven't. Are they new?
L: I've never seen them until today. But they're just so good. And they're all green and taste like mint too!
Ed: That's not the color green. I would describe them as hues of mint and, and, like a blushed shamrock. Don't you think?
L: Well, I just think they're so great. I sometimes put a handful in my mouth.
Ed: All at once?
L: (playfully slapping him on the shoulder) Yes, that's it. One of every color!
Ed: Very nice.
L: There's nothing like it.
Ed: I prefer one at a time. I like to make a good thing last.
L: Oh, that's why I buy such a big bag. They last me most all day!
Ed: I see.
Originally posted April 17, 2008
She insisted I go with her to the old building to reclaim them. Reluctantly, I do.
(Inside the old Alumni House with Lenore, kicking through junk, I discover the old and musty box of returned letters addressed to alumni.)
Me: (opening one of the letters) Lenore, this is four years old, from 2004. It's just a general letter. There's no personal information.
Lenore: Maybe we should ask Dave [our boss] about it.
Me: I don't think he'll want these. They're moldy. We can just throw them away.
L: Are you sure? There might be something important in there.
Me: No, it's spam. And they smell.
L: Well, could you at least bring some back to show Dave?
Me: (picking one letter out of the stack with the tips of my fingers) Fine. I'll bring one back.
L: Only one? Why don't you take three?
Me: Why three?
L: You might lose one.
Me: Then why don't I take two?
L: What if you lose two? Then you'll have an extra one, right?
Me: That makes zero sense.
L: You never know.
(I begrudgingly pick up three letters. Lenore smiles and continues to look through the garbage. She lets out a shrill cry.)
L: Look! Someone left a set of shot glasses! (holds up one of the shot glasses) Just beautiful! Look at it.
Me: (hurried) I need to get back now.
L: Why do you need to get back? Don't you want to look around some more?
Me: No. I can't breathe.
L: (ignoring me and rifling through junk) Last time I came there was an old, um, um (searching for the word) costume, no, um, what's that called when you dress up like an animal?
Me: I don't know.
L: No, it's uh, um, mascot! There was a mascot thing here. But I don't see it now.
Me: Why do you want that?
L: I wanted to take it home. It was so cute. Maybe I could wear it for Halloween or something. You know...
Me: Alright, I'm leaving.
L: No stay! I'll give you a shot glass.
Me: (stepping out the door to leave) No, thanks. I really have to get back. See you back at the office.
L: (yelling after me) I'll let you dress up in the mascot costume if I find it!
Originally posted April 11, 2008
Me: Lenore, I need to order business cards. Do you have a template or something I can look over?
Lenore: Oh, um, well, now let me see. (Digging around through her desk.) You know what, could you just get someone's business card, cross out their information and write yours on it?
Me: Yeah, I guess so.
(Five minutes later, I return with an altered business card.)
Me: Here you go.
L: (examining the card closely) Okay, that looks good. I'll just get this going. Oh, wait, do you want a box of 500 or 250?
Me: 250 is fine. I don't know that many people yet.
L: (erupting in laughter) Oh, Ryan! You're too much!
(Ten minutes later, Lenore comes into my office with a mock-up of my business card with the title reading "Alumni Relations, Event Coordinator".)
L: How's this look?
Me: Uh, fine..except my title says Alumni Coordinator, Manager Relations. Just have it say--.
L: (defensively) Well, that's what you put! I'm just typing what you put.
Me: No, I wrote Alumni Relations, Event Coordinator.
L: Well, if you're going to be picky. (She grabs the card and walks back to her desk.)
(Ten more minutes later Lenore returns with another mock-up of my card.)
L: How does this look, mister?
Me: (reading) Alumni Coordinator, Event Relations. Almost got it.
L: Well what's wrong now?
Me: Here, just swap these two words so it says Alumni Relations, Event Coord--.
L: Could you write that down for me?
(I write down the information again. Lenore leaves. Five minutes later Lenore returns.)
L: (handing me a third mocked-up business card) Here!
Me: Looks great. Thank you.
L: Did you look at the numbers and email? Are they right? I don't want to print these and have them come out with an error.
Me: (looking again) Uh, yeah. They're all correct. Thank you.
L: What about the fax number? You didn't change that.
Me: Don't we have a general office fax?
Me: Isn't that the number? I don't know it by heart.
L: (examining fax number) So you don't want me to change it? You changed everything else on the card.
Me: Because it didn't need changing. There's only one fax in this office.
L: Oh, you don't have a fax machine?
L: (pointing to my printer) What's that?
Me: A printer.
L: You can't get faxes on it?
L: Too bad. I guess you'll just have to use the same fax as everyone else, mister.
Originally posted April 11, 2008
Lenore: (talking with her mouth full) Oh, Ryan! You have to try these, these...(trying to remember) these, uh, chocolate macadamia nuts. They're so wonderful.
Me: I had one already.
L: Well there's more in the kitchen!
Me: I'm okay. I don't need another one.
L: Oh, well I just love chocolate nuts! I might go back for thirds (whispering) but don't tell anyone.
Originally posted April 4, 2008
Me: I'm taking tomorrow off. Can you adjust my time sheet?
Lenore: Are you sick?
Me: No, but I don't want to use up my personal day.
L: Well, you can't use a sick day unless you are sick.
Me: Then I'm going to be sick.
L: Oh, no! I hope you don't get what Daniella had! She was out for a week and she's still not feeling better! Did you hear her coughing earlier?
(I end up taking Wednesday off as a sick day and Thursday, walk into the office.)
L: Good morning! Feeling better?
Me: Uh, yes, much better. Thanks.
(Later, at water cooler, Lenore walks in and hears me talking to another co-worker about Wednesday.)
Me: .....and we ended up in Calistoga for lunch. It started to rain so we had to cut the day--.
L: (interrupting) Oh! That's why you're sick! You shouldn't be out in the rain.
Me: I wasn't really sick Lenore. I went wine tasting with my boyfriend's parents.
L: Shame on you!
Originally posted March 28, 2008
I need to ask Lenore a question about students stopping by my office in the afternoon. She has her back turned to me, eating chips and reading the back of the snack-sized bag.
L: (holds her hand in the air, does not turn around) One second.
L: (continues reading) ....
Me: There are some a couple students stopping by and I was wondering where the--.
L: (turning around, irritated) What is it? I'm reading.
Me: The chip bag?
L: Well, I've never had these chips before and I wanted to know what made them taste so good.
Me: I don't know. So, I have some students that need scholarship information and....
L: (showing me the bag) Have you ever had a Kettle Chip? They're so perfect and amazing. These are with sea salt and, (looking at the bag again for a reminder) and pepper.
Me: Yeah, I have them all the time.
L: You mean they're not new? I love them!
Me: No, I think they've been around for awhile.
L: Oh, I wish they made them in larger bags. I'm gonna have to buy all these little bags now because I go through them so quickly.
Me: They do make bigger bags. You can get them at the grocery store.
L: What!? Well no one told me!
Originally posted March 20, 2008
L: How did you get all these labels printed? It must have taken you a long time.
Me: No, just a few minutes.
L: Really!? This would have taken me weeks to type.
Me: I did a mail merge. On the computer.
L: I don't trust the internet. I prefer the typewriter. Less mistakes.
L: Have you ever heard of a thing called a tamale?
Me: Uh, yes.
L: Well you haven't tried a New Mexico tamale. They're the best!
Me: What's in a New Mexican tamale?
L: Corn sometimes.
Me: I've had a corn tamale.
L: Well have you ever tried one with chicken?
L: What about pork? Shredded pork I mean?
L: Hm. I bet you've never tried one with green chili!
L: What about peppers?
Me: Yes, I've tried one with peppers.
L: Well, you sound like you've tried every tamale ever made! How about one with beef and cheese?
Me: No, no, I haven't tried one of those.
L: I like to make my egg salad with eggs and mayonnaise. Do you know how to make egg salad?
Me: Yes. I make it all the time.
L: Well, I want to learn to make amazing egg salad. I've looked for all kinds of recipes and I can't find any! Do you know an amazing recipe?
Me: Well, I like spicy food--
L: Oh, me too! Me too!
Me: So, I'll put spicy dijon mustard in my egg salad.
Me: Yeah, and peas or pickles sometimes.
L: Wow! I've never heard of such a thing. Can you write that down for me?
L: The union is great! You can sit at your desk and write a novel and they can't fire you.
Me: Is that so?
L: Look at me. I've been here for years. I mean I work and stuff.
Me: I've never been part of the union.
L: It's just the best. You know something, I was so scared to leave at 5:00 so I talked to our union president. He fights for all of our rights and now I can leave early everyday.
Me: Why were you afraid to leave at 5:00?
L: I live out in the Richmond and by the time I get home it's dark. And I don't want to deal with muggers and rapers.
Me: Rapers? Like, rapists?
L: Yeah, they're all out at night.
Originally posted March 7, 2008
My office lighting is equipped with motion detectors. While sitting at my desk typing, not moving, the lights go out. I wheel back and flap my arms in the air to activate the motion detector. The Vice President walks by and sees me doing this.
VP: (poking head in my door) Yes?
VP: Did you need something?
Me: No. Can I help you?
VP: You were flailing your arms around. Can I help you?
Me: Oh, no, I was trying to turn my lights back on.
VP: (trying to joke) I find it helps to get up and flick the switch.
Me: My lights are set up on motion detector.
VP: Like a patio?
Me: Yeah, I guess.
VP: Seems a little weird to me.
L: Did you need me?
Me: No. Did you need something?
L: Are you drowning?
Me: I was trying to get my lights back on. They're on a timer.
(Lenore steps in front of the light's motion detector and begins to wiggle and shake her body.)
Me: What are you doing?
L: I'm turning your lights on.
Me: But they're already on.
L: Well, I'm just resetting the timer with lots of movement. Now they won't go off for hours.
Me: That's not how that works.
L: (continuing to wiggle) Let's see.
Originally posted March 7, 2008
Lenore comes into my office.
Lenore: This must be a big day for you!
Me: Why's that?
L: Well, they're going to try and overturn the gay marriage bill today in the courts. You didn't hear?
Me: Why would I care about that?
L: (confused) Well, I uh...
Me: Did someone tell you that I was gay? [I am, BTW.]
L: Oh, I'm sorry. It's, uh, big news. I thought that...you might--
Me: My wife and I think that gays are disgusting. (Lenore looks confused.) I'm just kidding.
Me: I'm joking. It's a joke.
L: Oh. So you are...
Me: Gay? Extremely.
L: (more confusion) ...
Me: I'm kidding, I'm just normal gay. Anyway, thanks for letting me know.
L: Sure thing.
Original post March 7, 2008
Lenore, who recently found out I like to cook, comes into my office.
Lenore: Excuse me mister. Do you like tomato soup?
Me: (pretending not to hear her) Huh, what? Yes, I like tomato soup, I guess.
L: Do you cook it or have you ever?
Me: Uh, yeah. Lots of times.
L: Well, you've never made tomato soup like how I make it. I know secrets that make it so, so (racking her head for a word)...well, I make it so good, let me tell you.
Me: (turning back to computer, hoping she'll go away) I bet.
L: (taking a seat next to my desk) Well, let me tell you how. First, you get a pan. (dramatic pause) Olive oil. (pause) Garlic. (pause) You heat the pan and the olive oil and the garlic.
Me: Uh huh.
L: Then, (leaning in close)...you take canned tomatoes. Open the can. Put the tomatoes in the pan.
L: Then you cook the tomatoes. (playfully slapping my knee) Oh, and it smells so good! (she goes off into a world of food merriment) Next, you pour the tomatoes in a blender and blend and blend the tomatoes--and be careful! I once burnt myself and it really was not...(searching her head for a suitable descriptor) well, it hurt real bad.
Me: I bet.
L: Then you just pour the blended tomatoes back into the pan and add salt and pepper. There you go! Tomato soup!
Me: That's it? I thought you had some big secret.
L: Well, how do you make it mister?
Me: The same way but I add red peppers and basil.
L: (wheeling back and clasping her chest) Oh my goodness!! That sounds sooo good! Will you write that down for me?
Original post March 7, 2008