maintaining composure in a hostile work environment: a haiku

resist the urge to
destroy the firm’s property —
this is not office space.

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.”

Still.

Schadenfreude is inevitable when the person everyone hates is suffering.

The reclamation of beauty

When I was four years old,
I drew (fair-skinned) mermaids
with huge breasts & light hair
that flowed down to their tiny waists.
The mermaids’ faces never looked like mine —
their eyes were larger (& not almond-shaped),
their noses were smaller (& pointed),
their mouths were fuller (& bright pink).
Every night, I’d pray that the next morning,
I’d wake up transformed into Ariel,
a beautiful (white) mermaid.

When I was fourteen years old,
I watched Gilmore girls obsessively.
While I could relate to Lane (Rory’s Korean best friend)
she never considered herself pretty,
nor was she sought after by cute boys
(the measure of a teenage girl’s beauty & self-worth).
Her first (unrequited) love was music &
her failed attempts at dating were a repetitive punchline.
The sarcastic brown girl was always the funny foil
to the doe-eyed protagonist with a porcelain complexion.
I wasn’t the heroine in my own life.

When I was twenty-four years old,
I lifted my chin defiantly & looked in the mirror.
My eyes were dark brown (& almond shaped)
my nose was wide (& round)
my mouth was small (& pale pink).
I’d never be a tall, restrained, universally liked queen,
since I was a short, loud, unapologetically honest woman.
There was a newfound freedom (& power) in being myself.
I (finally) recognized that when
my handsome man said, “You’re beautiful.”
it was the truth.

“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.”

“Still.”

“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.”

“Wow.”

“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!”

In every workplace, there’s always one person that everyone hates.

In every workplace, there’s always one person that everyone hates.

At my office, that guy is intolerable. He’s smart, but makes sure everyone knows it. He thinks his time is the most precious, so he’ll throw projects on my desk at 4:55 PM on a Friday. (Hopefully this won’t happen today.) Unfortunately, he also has job security because he’s my boss’s bitch.

Whenever that guy is on vacation, everyone rejoices. The halls seem a bit brighter. There isn’t a cloud of doom hanging over his office. No one dreads a last minute email insisting a project has to be done immediately because it’s of the utmost importance.

In Harry Potter, there are creatures called dementors. These creatures feed on others’ happiness, thus causing people to plummet into depression or worse, despair. This is why that guy is nicknamed Dementor.

Mike, Dusty, and I have dealt with Dementor the most. Dusty is a self-proclaimed Alabama redneck. He’s unapologetically politically incorrect, but we get along because he’s got a no bullshit policy. The three of us always brainstorm (and sometimes execute) pranks to play on Dementor.

“Well, what I could do is gather some of them mushrooms from the woods –”

“Dusty, we can’t poison Dementor.”

“Damn it, Mike. Ruinin’ my fun.”

“We could put eyedrops or white-out in his coffee.”

“That shit don’t work, Sam. He won’t get diarrhea — his coffee’ll just look weird.”

“I saw that YouTube video of the guy gettin’ tazed who was all, ‘Don’t taze me, bro!’ That would be pretty funny!”

“Great idea, Mike! Let’s do it at the next staff meeting!” Dusty paused. “But you and I can’t do it. The boss man ain’t gonna believe that it malfunctioned if we were usin’ it.”

“That’s true, Dusty.” Mike turned to me, “Sam, I’ll buy you a pink tazer if you do the honors.”

“Guys, I’ve never used a tazer before.”

“Exactly why this is a brilliant plan.”

“We’re totally gonna get fired!” I shook my head. “Wait — there’s that dead roach in the kitchen…”

“Say no more. I’m on it. When he goes to lunch, we’re goin’ in!”

Dementor’s strangled scream of disgust was worth having to plant the dead roach in his desk drawer.

Four reasons you should watch The Mindy Project

Some people have dismissed The Mindy Project as a silly romantic comedy show. While it can be, at times, it’s so much more than that. There are a million reasons why you should watch it, but I’ll give you four main ones for the sake of brevity. There’s over a month until the season two premiere, so there’s plenty of time to catch up on season one.

Four reasons you should watch The Mindy Project

1. Mindy Kaling’s titular Dr. Mindy Lahiri a badass (yet flawed and relatable) woman of color.

People of color are underrepresented in the media. Too often, a person of color’s character is shunted into a stereotypical role, so the character serves as the token supporting character in an ensemble show. Other times, that character plays as a perfect hero/heroine — a symbol of the peaceful movement to overcome oppression or the like. This isn’t the case with The Mindy Project.

Though Dr. Mindy Lahiri is a badass OB/GYN and an awesome friend, she’s also oblivious and (generally) has terrible taste in men. She drinks too much and doesn’t exercise enough. She admits that her body type ranges from “chubby” to “curvy.” She watches too much reality TV and meddles in her friends’ (and coworkers’) lives. She isn’t a flawless saint who represents every woman of color. She’s a relatable woman who makes all women feel better about not having it together 100% of the time.

2. The realistic portrayal of healthy female friendships.

One of the TV/movie tropes that I hate most is that “women are catty and can’t be friends.” While I’ve met women who demonstrate this, my female friends and I are truly like sisters. We protect and confide in each other. We don’t have secret resentments, talk shit, or plot to steal each other’s men. Though Bridesmaids attempted to be a female buddy comedy, it focused a lot of Annie and Helen’s rivalry for Lillian’s friendship. The Mindy Project doesn’t do this.

The Mindy Project portrays healthy female friendships that are like the ones I have with my friends. Mindy and Gwen are the ethnically reversed version of Andrea and me. Mindy, Gwen, and the rest of their friends actually enjoy hanging out together. They’re not passive aggressive, jealous rivals. They don’t just talk about their relationships; they help each other with legitimate problems.

3.  Mindy is half of an interracial couple throughout the show.

Some people complain that there are way too many basic-looking white guys on this show. I agree, but Mindy Kaling (and Mindy Lahiri) digs that type of guy. No one questions why a white woman who plays a lead in a show would be primarily dating white guys, so I don’t think that criticism should be leveraged against The Mindy Project, either.

I don’t think that Mindy Kaling thinks white guys are the best men; that’s just her preference. It’s refreshing to watch a show that doesn’t make this an issue. I doubt that there will be an Indian guy who will turn out to be Mindy Lahiri’s soul mate, just because he’s Indian (another trope that I hate). Still, the show addresses the difficulties that come with being in a relationship where both people are have different occupations, backgrounds, and religions.

4. *Spoiler alert* Mindy and Danny’s begrudging professional relationship that evolves into something more.

I’m a sucker for drawn-out romantic developments on TV shows. At the beginning of the show, Mindy and Danny are coworkers who are diametrically opposed in almost every way possible. After being forced to work together, they reluctantly start to respect each other. They eventually become friends and their bickering becomes affectionate.

Danny is the guy that Mindy never saw coming. They have other love interests, but their chemistry is what keeps a lot of fans (myself included) watching. It’s possible that they will turn into Jack and Liz from 30 Rock. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how their non-relationship continues to evolve next season.

Go watch The Mindy Project, already! Are there any shows that you don’t think enough people are watching?

New York trip: Friday

Last weekend, I went to New York with my boyfriend. We had awesome adventures and I took a ton of photos, so I’m going to make three posts about the trip (one per day we were in New York). I’ve also done this because I wanted to schedule some posts while I’ll be on the dreaded family vacation of doom at Disney World until Saturday. -_-

Ceddy and I arrived at LaGuardia on Friday morning around 9AM. We took the MTA bus into the city, then took the subway uptown.

First, we stopped at the Nespresso café on 5th Avenue. We sampled the caramel espresso, while Ceddy shopped for other flavors.

Nespresso cafe. Manhattan, New York. 07.26.13.

Nespresso cafe. Manhattan, New York. 07.26.13.

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