Wednesday, December 05, 2007

That Which Embarrasses

“Did I send what you needed?” I asked Chris after our group meeting. He’d sent two emails yesterday saying he “really, really” needed part of my experimental design. He wrote in the afternoon and said that Joe was looking for the information “right now” and “couldn’t find it.”

“So,” I wrote last night after another terse email from Chris as I’d ignored Joe’s two pages yesterday afternoon, “do you still need it or are you starting from scratch?”

He wrote this morning that they still needed it and I walked over, copied the experiment and walked back to write an email attaching the file and a document containing relevant instructions.

“I emailed it to Joe.” He answered me, avoiding eye contact. “He’d know more than I would if it’s right or not.”

The embarrassing part - which is more annoying than embarrassing, I suppose - is that Chris has obviously been appointed as go-between for me and Joe. Given that Jane was assigned the task of dealing with the difficult Anti-Friend for a different project, I winced at the idea that Joe won’t write to me directly. Then again, I despise him. A lot.

Several weeks ago, Marlie selected our seats for a seminar and I frowned when I noticed that Joe was seated behind us. After the speaker was finished, he started to ask a question. He first made some sort of joke and when he glanced at me and blinked in surprise, I realized I was looking at him with an odd expression. It was rather like I imagine I’d look at a slug. A certain bemused distaste that says I’ve no idea why such a creature must exist at all. But given that it does, I’d really rather it stay as far from me as possible. I tried to relax my facial muscles when I noticed his startled glance at me - attempted to unwrinkled my nose and uncurl my lip, open my eyes wider than the squinted glare I’d adopted.

There are reasons I hate him - he’s created a cliquey, exclusive group and those of us outside it have no access to resources, he thinks he’s ever so charming and funny, he demands constant attention and adoration, he doesn’t think much of me - but being so obvious has obviously made him decide to avoid dealing with me. That’s great, but I dislike that he’s now using someone I rather liked to get information from me.


I walked briskly to the hospital to find the experimental equipment we sometimes use in order to load that file onto a USB drive. When I arrived, people were already using the equipment. Rick noticed me move through the entrance and smiled while waving me over.

“You can plug your drive in on the monitor.” He offered and the woman seated at the computer scooted aside.

“I’m sorry.” I said to all of them. “It’s annoying to be interrupted, I know.” They politely waved off my apology and waited while I looked exactly where I told Chris the experiment was and rolled my eyes with renewed irritation at Joe. There’s no way he looked. But I obediently waited while Rick pushed a few buttons.

“What’s your drive called?” The woman at the computer asked, squinting at the screen. “The Toshiba drive is mine, but I don’t see yours. Does it have a name?”

“Um…” I trailed off, feeling my cheeks heat, hoping desperately that the name didn’t show up.

“Meanie?” She asked, glancing up at me as I turned increasingly red. “Is that yours?”

“Yes.” I nodded. “It’s embarrassing, but yes. I have Eenie, Meanie, Minie and Moe. This one is Meanie.”

“Aren’t you adorable?” She said, grinning widely and shaking her head at me while the men in the room looked rather confused.

“Adorable. Ridiculous. Either way.” I murmured and she laughed as she ejected little Meanie (he wears the green ribbon. Eenie has a blue ribbon and Minie is pink. Moe, if you’re curious, is on a black lanyard.) and handed him back to me. I thanked her, apologized again for interrupting and walked back outside, letting the increasingly cold breeze cool my face.


“What are you listening to?” Ken asked after he walked in the office. He’d gone to get new glasses and returned when I was completing a survey.

“The sound on cards.” I offered before I turned. “Very nice.” I complimented the glasses and he reached to touch them. “Classic. Well done.”

“You don’t think they’re too trendy?” He asked and I shook my head firmly. Then he raised his eyes at the animation on my screen.

“I signed up to take e-surveys and I’m always too late to sign up. So this time I made it in before too many people enrolled and I get to answer questions about greeting cards.”

“With chickens on them?” He asked.

“Yes. It was something about chicken wings and you opened it and it played the Chicken Dance when you opened it. I thought it rather cute, but I wouldn’t buy it.”

“You’re doing this for fun?” He asked.

“Oh, no. If I complete the survey, I get $5.”

“In cash?”

“Well, no.” I said, turning back to my monitor.

“So it’s like Monopoly money.” He decided and I could hear the amusement in his voice. “I can give you $10 and you can just buy the whole game.”

“Hush.” I admonished, though I felt myself smile.

I repeated that same statement when he came to get something from the printer the separates our desks about 20 minutes later. “I’m very busy!” I scolded him as he started to chuckle.

“Busy with what now?” He asked, leaning down to examine my screen over my shoulder.

“I’m playing a game.” I mumbled and he rubbed my back while he laughed heartily at me. “Now I’m embarrassed.” I told him, feeling my cheeks warm again before he walked back to his desk, still laughing.

“Why’d you do it if you’re embarrassed by it?” He asked.

“I didn’t think you’d look!” I explained of my decision to play Diner Dash 2.

“How could I not look? I’m right here!” He teased.

“Well, if you would have stayed over there, you wouldn’t have seen.” I pouted. “Stupid printer.”

“So what’s the game?” He asked, rolling his chair back from his desk again.

“You stay over there.” I demanded, but he ignored me to come bend over my desk again.

“So you’re waiting on the little cartoon people?” He clarified. “When they raise their hands, they’re ready to order? Then you bring them food and clear the tables. I get it. Did you write your name in as Katie, PhD? Is this going in your interview talk?”

“Hush.” I said again, still blushing. “I'm really too busy to have this conversation.” He shook his head, smiled and muttered something about doing complicated homework while I was playing games over in my corner. I glanced over after I finished the level and he looked over at me and shook his head.


After work, I went to have a laser treatment (still embarrassing, but rather effective) and went grocery shopping. Nothing humiliating happened while I was at Publix - I adore Publix as much as I hate Joe. I decided on a loaf of artisan bread and got meat and cheese at the deli. There’s something lovely about nibbling on cheese or roasted chicken while a nice lady slices more for me to take home. Then I found chips and bagels and cream cheese.

I plan to spend the evening making a few more slides, nibbling on wonderfully fresh, little sandwiches and deciding what to do with myself tomorrow. I do hope I start looking better in front of people though.


Anonymous said...

ooh, sorry that you have to deal with Joe. he does not sounds like fun at all.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

Damn. It sounds like Joe is using your methods. He's using Chris and you're using Jane. Maybe it's not so bad. You don't have to talk to him.

Estrella said...

I love Eenie, Meanie, Minie and Moe. That's fantastic. :-)

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