Friday, August 12, 2005

I Have No Balls

I’m a big pussy. Confrontation makes my sphincter tighten up, my throat fill with angst, and the ‘flight or fight’ response kicks my ass so I can usually be found hiding in a bathroom stall or taking an early, early lunch.

(Unless someone is threatening my kids. Or I perceive a threat. Then I have balls the size of 600-pound record-breaking pumpkins and turn into the meanest bad-ass mama lion you’ve ever seen. I WILL tear your head off with one swift bite to the throat, and leave your dead, mangled body for the vultures to consume. Just so we’re clear.)

Even through the white noise at work, I can hear the high-pitched nasal whine of our Night Computer Operator. He’s a bizarre man. He rarely showers. (One year at Christmas, we gave him a ‘care package’ that included soap, deodorant, shaving cream, and razors…we don’t think he touched any of it. I’m not kidding, sometimes the stench coming off his body is so bad, it makes our eyes water…I’m not exaggerating.) He lives on regular Coke and boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes. He’s here from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. While he does his job really, really well, and never misses a day, and is a valuable asset to the company…he creeps us all out. Mightily.

He used to live in a van (down by the river!), seriously! Then when it got too full of used computer equipment, he got a small apartment. No phone. No pool. No pets. He married a Cuban National or something, knocked her up twice (which we shudder at...the thought of him naked…’scuse me while I wipe up the pre-vomit). Then she moved with the kids to one of the Dakota states and divorced him. He’s lonely, and we all realize that, but he’s one of those guys that doesn’t stop talking…ever…and won’t leave when social morays dictate.

Also…he never cuts his hair…and he never shaves…and he’s mostly gray…so he looks like the Abominable Snowman from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. I mentioned this to the guys in my department a few years ago at a meeting (without Night Operator) and we all laughed. Then they began buying me Abominable Snowman action figures. I have half a dozen in my cube. Now every time Night Operator pops his head in my area, and he looks particularly hairy, I have to stifle a screamy-laugh at his ‘Bumble’ appearance.

When I hear Night Operator in the morning, talking way too loud, way too much, I pray he won’t come looking for me. It’s like being caught in a trap I can’t walk out. We even have a ‘save-me’ system, if I hear him in a co-worker’s cube, droning on and on and on, I’ll call co-worker and make some excuse for him to come see me, some software problem or whatnot. That’s usually enough to make Night Operator find something else to do or someone else to bug. The problem is, Night Operator usually has something company-related to talk about. But what a normal person could get the answer to in one minute, Night Operator takes ten. Painful.

He was here this morning. I made myself a small little worker-bee and didn’t venture out of my little space. I was the Invisible Woman.

I know, I know, I’m a bitch.

I feel bad about that, I really do.

It’s exclusionary tactics, and after my post yesterday about girls being evil, here I am being…EVIL.

If Night Operator took better care of himself…if he didn’t talk so much…if he didn’t stand so close…if he left a group discussion when we’re all pulling ourselves along the wall to get away…or if he looked like Johnny Depp in ‘Don Juan DeMarco’…then it would be different.

So. I’ll keep being nice, polite, I’ll answer his questions, I’ll gently back away when the conversation is really over, I’ll save my co-workers and be saved, and try to see things from his point of view…a lonely man who just wants to belong.

His care package at Christmas this year will still contain soap and razors, though. Oh yes.


At 11:45 AM, Blogger Orange said...

Girl, you should thank your lucky stars His Stankiness is not a woman. Back in my publishing days, there was an older woman in the proofreading department, she was heavy, and she didn't wash her bits. You could smell her stank by her cubicle, and you could get a whiff of her when she passed by. But the smell really came into its own in the ladies room. I don't know exactly where the smell was coming from. It wasn't a poo smell. It was just...foul. Rank. Stifling. Made you retch and gag. No matter how bad you had to go, if you walked into the ladies room and J.'s smell was there, you walked out.

Her coworkers talked to her boss, her boss talked to HR, HR talked to her and stressed the importance of hygiene...and there was never any improvement. I'm guessing her sense of smell must have been knocked out, because damn, she was fetid. She was nice enough, though, if you could get past the aroma.

See? You're no more evil than me.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger your fiend, mr. jones said...

I have had to talk to two different employees of mine when I was managing movie theaters re: smell. One talk went poorly where the guy stormed out and never came back.

The other one went well-ish. However, the conversation really had to do with the guy being an alcoholic who drank so much, the smell came oozing through the pores the next day. We pleaded with him to get help, he didn't think he had a problem (he was so much a functioning drinker, that he appeared stone cold sober at work, except for the smell), and it finally came down to the hygiene talk, which he got enough of to stop drinking so much he stunk of it the next day.

But he still didn't get any help for the real problem and, one week, forgot to show up for work three days in a row.

This stuff is never easy.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger No_Newz said...

Oh my goodness. Ick! I think every company has one of those. We called ours Milton from Office Space. The thing that most grossed me out about him was not so much his odorificness but his white spit balls that would bounce whilst he spoke. String cheese. SHUDDER!
Good luck with smelly man.
Lois Lane

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Beltane said...

Good god. Ok maybe I don't envy you working people who have connections outside the home.


I think I'll stay in my squeaky clean and very fresh smelling house and happily enjoy.

E-fucking-gads. I am now not hungry for lunch.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Love that story!!!

and mostly it makes me all sad inside that I don't have a group of co-workers to share action figures and knicknames with...waaah, poor pouty me...god, I love adults, though!!!

...except stinky weirdo ones...

At 7:58 PM, Blogger Pisser said...

Our stinky weirdo is very adorable, actually looks a LOT like Milton. He was hit by a car and it broke both his legs. He can walk now but I wonder if the accident affected his ability to bathe properly. Well, we've got him trained to wipe everything down with Lysol towlettes, saying we all do it for health reasons...yeah, right.

He is also large. I'm thinking night shift + health probs = stink, stank, stunk.

At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:29 PM, Blogger midwest_hick said...

I think every place of employment has a token stanky the guy a hug....if ya got a

At 4:53 PM, Blogger Charlie said...

A couple of years ago, I worked at a place with a guy who smelled. It wasn't really an offensive smell, but you could definitely tell when he was on your half of the building through scent alone. And that's just not right. It was never real bad, though, so nobody ever worked up the courage to talk to him about it. And he was a fantastic programmer.

At 5:56 PM, Blogger Cynical Girl said...

Where's HR in all of this?

I just had to counsel someone for looking inappropriate on Friday. I'm like the dress code polic. Don't even get me started about the girl who smelled like worm-infested puppy poo back in 2001. She came into my office, and then I went into someone else's office who said to me, "You smell horrible. What is that?" It leeched on to me! I was horrified.

At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Rob said...

Personally, I'm rather happy that you have "no balls", Mona! Somehow you just wouldn't have the same appeal if you did! ;-)

Seriously, I sympathize with ANYONE who has to deal with this often "delicate" problem in the workplace. Luckily, I've never had to counsel a female employee on this issue, but I did have a soldier with TERRIBLE hygiene (and a few other personal habits that totally disgusted his fellow soldiers) when I was a young lieutenant in the Army. I should have just told the Platoon Sergeant to "take care of it" -- but I manned-up and pulled the kid aside one day and explained that a few things needed to change. He was still not exactly a candidate for a "GQ" cover after that, but things got better and, luckily, he decided to go back home and work on the family farm rather than re-enlisting when his time was up. We were all grateful for this act of "service" on his part!


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