abstention: a haiku

paper pushing is
torture when the sun commands,
“leave the office now!”

Throwback Thursday: three birthdays ago

Shaina, me, & Andrea. Atlanta, Georgia. 02.26.11.

Shaina, me, & Andrea. Atlanta, Georgia. 02.26.11.

Three birthdays ago, Andrea, Shaina, and the Wolf Pack celebrated my twenty-third birthday with me in Atlanta. We stayed in a hotel in Buckhead (down the street from my office, where I didn’t work at the time). After dinner, we went clubbing in midtown.

The night ended with us ordering an obscene amount of food from a diner that didn’t deliver. We were too drunk to go pick up our order & passed out. The next morning, we woke up to several messages letting us know that our food was ready.

“Can you answer a question about The Facebook?”

Old Jim hovered in the doorway of my office, clutching his coffee mug.

“What’s up, Jim?” I gestured for him to enter.

“Can you answer a question about The Facebook?” His brow furrowed as he took a seat.

I suppressed a laugh. “It’s just Facebook, no the.”

“Whatever it’s called!”


“How can somebody who’s not your friend can message you? And how the hell can they find you?!”

“It depends on your privacy settings. Maybe your daughter tagged you in a photo or something, then they saw you through there.”

“That’s the thing — this woman ain’t even my daughter’s friend!”

I raised an eyebrow. “Who’s Facebook stalking you, Jim?”

Old Jim shifted uncomfortably. “This woman claims we went on a date back in high school ‘n’ I don’t even know her!”

“Ice cold!” I shook my head. “Dumped her after one date and don’t even remember her.”

“I messaged her back sayin’ that she probably told me to hit the road after that time. She gave all these details about the date, too. Shit was fifty years ago, Sam!”

“She’s been holding the torch for you all this time.”

“I sure hope not! I checked out her profile ‘n’ she’s divorced.”

“Maybe she’s going back through her Rolodex or whatever y’all old folks use to keep people’s contact info.”

He huffed, pretending to be offended. “You know I’ve got an iPhone for that!”

“Better warn the wife — this woman’s on a mission.”

“She just wanted to catch up!”


“She did mention that she’d be in town next month.”

“Are you gonna see her?!”

“Hell no!”

“Exes only creep for one of two reasons: to make themselves feel better upon seeing your life is in shambles or to see if they can get back with you.”

“I should just go off the grid like Dusty.”

“I’m sure there’s room in his post-apocalypse bunker for you.”

“That’s not a piece — that’s a billboard!”

The office was sweltering. Normally, I would wear a cardigan over a sleeveless dress for the entire day, but I was on the verge of melting. Since everyone was out to lunch, no one could be scandalized by my bare arms. I walked to the supplies room and reached for the paperclips on the top shelf.

“Did ya forget to wash or somethin’?” Old Jim asked from the doorway.

I jumped, dropping a box of paperclips that scattered on the floor.  “Geez, Jim — you scared me!”

“Am I gonna hafta talk with HR about your bathing habits?”

“I bathe daily! Do I smell or something?”

“Nah, you’ve got some stuff on your shoulders.”

“Oh!” I laughed as he helped me gather the paperclips. “I have tattoos on my back.”



“How many?”

“Three pieces — one on each shoulder blade and got a new one in between.”

“Of what?”

I pulled up a photo on my phone. I had the middle piece done the day before, so it was still sore. Amanda took a photo of my back after I got it done.

“Holy shit, Sam! That’s not a piece — that’s a billboard!” Old Jim’s eyes widened. “What’s your mama got to say?”

“She knows about the other two, not about this new one.”

“You kids ‘n’ your tattoos ‘n’ rebelliousness.”

“If I was being rebellious, I would’ve gotten some that would be in plain view all the time.”

“Then why’d ya get ’em done?”

“Each of them is for someone awesome in my life. The puzzle pieces heart is for my sister who is autistic (puzzle pieces are the symbol for autism). My best friend from college and I have matching ones of the bear and the tiger, which we got senior year. The one I got yesterday is for my boyfriend and me.”

“What’s the quote say? Is that French?”

“It’s a quote from The Little Prince that says, It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“At least you got meaningful ones, not some dumb shit.”

“Maybe that should be my next one — Not some dumb shit in plain typewriter font.”

“Your mama would be thrilled about that one.”

“She’s always pissed at me. I might as well do what I want.”

“Are you seriously gonna get more?”

“I’m going to fill up my whole back.”

“You’ll be a mural on the side of a building!”


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Schadenfreude is inevitable when the person everyone hates is suffering.

No one likes that guy (who is also known as Dementor) at work.

Dementor terrorizes everyone, so it’s not a surprise that he only has enemies here. Old Jim tolerates him because they share so many cases. People have waited years for karma to kick his ass. This week proved to be the beginning of his comeuppance.

The other day, Dementor left mid-afternoon because a pipe burst in his basement. We got reprieve from him for the rest of the day. This morning, he stomped into my office.

“Sam, do you know what happened to my coffee mug?” Dementor’s usually pale face was red and pinched with rage.

“Nope. The only mugs I’ve seen are the ones in the cabinet. Why?”

“Someone took mine out of my office and made a mess on the floor!”

“I have no clue.” I shrugged, turning back to my computer.

A few minutes later, the HR director called me.

“Samantha, you don’t think Mike would’ve –”

“Definitely not.”

“Okay, just making sure. Dementor emailed our boss, who suggested that it was the new maintenance crew who could’ve broken his mug while cleaning his office.”

“Dementor must not have anything better to do.”

“It just isn’t his week, is it?” She stifled a laugh.

“Apparently. Maybe he’ll start being nicer to people so bad things stop happening to him.”


Schadenfreude is inevitable when the person everyone hates is suffering.

“Nobody would watch a movie about kids workin’ on a farm who fall in love!”

“This is the slowest lunch place ever.” I glanced at my watch, noting that Mike and I had been waiting for our food for fifteen minutes.

“I thought we’d get our orders quicker by getting ’em to-go, but I guess not.”

Mike took a seat at a table by the window. I followed suit.

“What do you and your wife have planned for this weekend?”

“Just gonna do stuff around the house and fix up the barn. She might have a horse show, but she’s not sure yet.”

“How did y’all meet?”

“Well, we knew each other growin’ up ‘cuz we lived in a real small town in Washington state.”

“Were y’all the pair of kindergartners that everyone knew would be together?”

“Not at all. We actually didn’t get to be close ’til I went away to college up at Stanford. Summer before my senior year, I came home and worked on her uncle’s wheat farm with her.”

“A wheat farm?!”

“Wheat farming is big out there.”

“This is like the plot of a Lifetime movie.”

“Nobody would watch a movie about kids workin’ on a farm who fall in love!”

“They definitely would. Especially if they cast the actors from Nashville.”

“Maybe people would watch for the scenery. It’s beautiful — the sky’s clear out there. Not like here (in town, at least) where you can barely see the stars after dark.”

“What would be on the soundtrack — Fleetwood Mac? Led Zeppelin?”

“All the other classics, too.” Mike laughed. “Y’know, she was actually seein’ somebody else when we started hangin’ out.”

“Oh shit! You stole her away?”

“She didn’t like that other guy much anyway.”


“She’s always been a firecracker. Never puts up with anybody’s shit (in a good way).”

“Sounds like she and Dusty’s wife would be friends.”

“They definitely would. We had a low-key wedding at the end of the summer. Her mom made her dress. Her friends did the flowers and mine helped cook the food for the reception.”


“Then I went back to school for my senior year and the rest is history!”

“Seriously, though. Which actors would you want to play y’all in the movie of your life?”

“Hell if we know any of the young actors these days!”

The grass is always greener (for competitive people).

The elevator ride up to my office isn’t long. Our firm is on the second floor of a large tower, so it’s typically a minute or two ride. As I was walking into the building last week, I got stuck behind a pair of pretty, thin girls a few years older than me. They wore four inch Christian Louboutin pumps, so they were walking slowly. Plus, it was Monday, so no one was in a hurry to get to work.

In the short walk from the front door to the elevator and the ride up to the office, I was privy to their woes about life and love. One was a blonde and the other was a brunette, so I’ll call them Betty and Veronica since I don’t know their real names.

Betty tossed her waist-length blonde hair as she pushed through the revolving doors. Veronica followed, slinging her enormous Louis Vuitton handbag over her shoulder. Another elevator never arrived, so I squeezed into theirs.

“Can you believe Shelly?”

“I know. I hate her.”

“Her wedding was perfect. Bitch has gotten everything she’s ever wanted since high school.”

“Which designer did she decide on for her dress?”

“Vera Wang.”

Of course.”

“Everyone from high school seemed surprised by how Mark looked.”

“I mean, it’s kinda like Lance and me. You wouldn’t think he was my type, but –”

“Are y’all engaged?”

Veronica sighed exasperatedly. “No, we just live together.”

Betty nodded sympathetically. “How long have y’all been together?”

“Since 2005.”

“Wow. That’s –”

“A long time.”

“Beau and I have been dating since 2004, so I know how that is.”

“I just don’t know how much longer I can wait.”

“Seriously. I’m almost thirty.”

“Me too. I do not want to be a thirty-five-year-old bride.”

“Ew, me neither. Then what? You have kids at like, forty? Hell no!”

“Maybe we should have brunch with Shelly and Mark.”


“Y’know, so Mark could talk about how great married life is –”

“That’s an awesome idea! I’ll text that lucky bitch now.”

I cleared my throat. “Excuse me. This is my floor.”

Betty and Veronica jumped, horrified that I was standing in the other corner of the elevator the entire time. As I exited the elevator, I made a mental note. Must tell Ceddy that I’m grateful that we’re together and refuse to compete in a race to complete life’s supposed milestones.