The hectic environment around the office worked in my favor since I was gearing up for a presentation tomorrow; we were each presenting marketing concepts for one of the new product lines. The atmosphere was oddly reminiscent of my childhood days in grade school, particularly during times of inclement weather. Often the children and sometimes even the instructor would be buzzing with excitement, huddled around the window watching the hail or unexpected snowfall, and making wild claims and predictions of what was to come. During these times you could find me sitting at my desk, getting ahead on my homework, wondering what could be so entrancing about the weather that would cause a classroom full of people to give into their emotions, losing any sense of aesthetics in behavior. Looking around the office there was a moment when I actually thought I was back in grade school.
While I was able to maintain my focus and hit several mission critical goals throughout the day, I can't say I wasn't affected by the chaos. It's never easy being in a room full of idiots, especially when those idiots are trying desperately to prepare for and defy a change they had absolutely no understanding of, or control over. I was driven to a point where I found myself uncharacteristically releasing my frustration on my co-workers and subordinates. One night I even gave the pizza delivery guy a tongue lashing for getting snappy with me about not having my credit card ready when he showed up.
That afternoon, A co-worker of mine called John came to me exasperated and defeated claiming he still didn't have anything prepared for the Friday meeting. He sat down in my cubicle and took some time to explain his situation to me. Finally, he said he admired my work and proposed an offer to help me with the presentation of my concept. He said he was even willing to work on the slides and offer his charisma and experience as a presenter if I would allow him to join on with my project. Finally, he personally guaranteed he possessed the skills that could make my mine the winning proposal.
"Sorry John, I wish I could help you out but I'm really just ironing out the final kinks, thanks for thinking of me though." I told him, trying to present my lie with tact and good manners. There was actually still plenty of work to do, and it would have been nice to have some help, but it was manageable even if I did have to work on it overnight. Also I had already seen him giving the same bullshit speech to a couple other people in our work group so I knew he was lying about admiring my work. Most of all though, I was not too keen on the idea of him taking credit for my creativity, especially at a time like this. Still, he pressed.
"Are you sure, I've asked everybody man, please can you help me out?" John pleaded, not realizing in his desperation that he had just insulted me, I was quickly growing impatient with him.
"You know John, I think the reason nobody has taken you up on your offer is because it is such a shit idea, that you had to come to me as a last resort." I said, I couldn't help but chuckle as frankness of my statement joined the same rejuvenation I felt on Monday. My response took him by surprise, it was probably the first time he had ever spoken to me on a personal basis and from the look on his face he figured me to be a pushover.
I paused to ponder for a moment, then finished, "In fact, congratulations, that is the shittiest idea I've heard all week, your trophy is in the mail, and now guess what?" I asked him, I could see my words begin to sink in.
"What?" He replied haplessly.
"Get the fuck out of my office Johnathan." I said with as serious a look as I could muster.
"But you don't have an office." He retorted, his face showing a potent blend of confusion and shock.
"Well, then get the fuck out of my cubicle." I corrected, I was well aware of the fact that I didn't have an office, but I suppose at that moment cubicle just didn't quite hit the same note. He got up from his chair and walked out quietly, deflated and hopeless. I tried my best to maintain my serious face, but on the inside there was a celebratory parade marching through my soul. It was as though something inside me had finally won it's first real victory, and was rejoicing in the prospect that it was one of many more to come.
I felt good about my presentation, of course they don't give you any feedback until they've made their final decisions, but I felt like I did my best and I was confident with the concept; also it was Friday and I mostly I was just glad it was over. After our little exchange yesterday, I started feeling bad for John. I wasn't sorry, but I certainly didn't mean to make another person feel like that. I was glad to see he had found someone who took him up on his offer to help with their presentation, even though I thought he was a little bitch for letting John take advantage of him like that.
I was on my way out of the office when Allen caught up with me and told me to be at his house by 8, or beer o'clock as he referred to it, apparently he was having people over to his place before we went out. I hadn't gotten to see him yet because he was in the conference room helping evaluate presentations most of the day, and even though our dialogue was short, it got me excited about the pending activities we had planned that evening. For now I needed to head home and rest up, I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, and I wanted to be fresh and energized for our night on the town.
As I rode up the elevator in Allen's building I took notice as a rather attractive young woman boarded with her small dog (I think it was a Pomeranian). I didn't realize until then how completely out of touch I was with the concept of dating, I wondered over the last five years how many times a beautiful woman walked up and stood right next to me and I didn't even take notice. I didn’t notice while I was pondering this thought, I was also staring at her dog, which was inconveniently being held against her rather large breasts. I caught myself and adjusted my gaze just as she looked over and to find me staring at her like a creep.
"Nice dog." I said, doing my best to explain why I was staring at her with as many words as was appropriate for two strangers in an elevator. I quickly realized silence would probably have been the better option in this situation. She didn't exactly respond to my comment, however, she did look at me with disgust and roll her eyes at my pathetic excuse for ogling her. I'm sure she would have hit the button to get off at the next floor if she didn't have to reach across me to do it. Fortunately we arrived at Allen's floor and I was able to slink off of the elevator with whatever was left of my dignity.
I walked into Allen's apartment, although he hadn't told me it was unlocked, I figured we were at a point where it was safe to assume it was okay. I guess it wasn't. I closed the door behind me and looked up, there were 2 guys I hadn't seen before on the couch, Allen was sitting on the coffee table talking with them; all three of them immediately looked up at me.
The two young men were noticeably irritated as I walked through the living room, I even lifted the case of beer I had brought to help lighten things up; they clearly weren't interested in my petty offering. I looked at Allen and he motioned for me to take it into the kitchen, I was loading the beer into the fridge when he came in behind me. I apologized for not knocking, but he insisted everything was okay.
"You're fine buddy, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were going to be so Johnny-on-the-spot." Allen said apologetically. "I was just wrapping up with those guys, are you cool hanging out in here until we're through?" Allen asked tactfully, I realized that I had definitely just interrupted something more that just three guys hanging out, I didn't have any idea as to what that was, but clearly having privacy was important to them.