Thursday, January 19, 2006

the token negro almost explodes

okay, so i'm usually a little more tolerant of ignorance. i mean, 80% of the folks i work with don't have a fucking clue (100% of management), so if i were to get upset every time someone pulls into stupidville for permanent residence i'd need to be institutionalized cuz i'd be going crazy every fucking day.

well, i finally hit my limit. i am no longer tolerant of ignorance when it encroaches upon my work time. i can no longer accept stupidity as an excuse for why folk act like they were lobotomized at birth.

i have finally reached that point where my face explodes into a look of 'are you insane???' of its own accord.

it was last week. one of the managers i work closely with stopped by my office to discuss a report i had submitted to him regarding a backlog of companies that were overdue for our services. al is a pretty cool dude, really. he's an older guy, an ex-peace corps hippie flower child who put down his gauntlet against 'the man' and instead chose to join 'the man's' ranks as a nameless, faceless peon, just like the rest of us punks. he's one of the few folk i actually converse with about stuff other than work. we've even played tennis together on numerous occasions. this isn't to say i don't think al is a little 'off'. see, al has a habit of hearing you but not really hearing you. he stares at you while you talk to him, his furrowed brow and intermittent nods at various intervals of the discussion fooling you into believing he's actually understanding what you're saying. he even repeats what you just said, which is supposed to be confirmation he understands what you just said. after you nod and breathe a sigh of relief that you don't have to repeat yourself, he does the total complete opposite of what you just asked him to do.


so now that you know what i'm up against, i'll continue with the story. al is in my office with a report telling him about the companies we are overdue to assist. there is a list of the companies at the end of the report. he tells me he has looked at the list and can't locate half of the files for the companies on that list. i told him i'd look into it.

after doing my own research, i concluded that our consultants had the files. when he returned to my office later that day (thursday to be exact), i handed him the list.

"i've checked my database and i don't see any activity on these companies," i told him as i turned to my monitor, " therefore, you should check with the consultants to see if they've got the files and are just holding on to them."

i focused my attention on my monitor, which is my way of saying "now get the fuck out of my office." however, al missed the cue and stood there silently. i looked up to see he was deep in thought. deep in thought??? dude, there is nothing to think about! go check with the fucking consultants to see if they've got the fucking files! plain and simple, a to b, 2+2=4 and shit!

finally, after about three minutes of him thinking about god knows what, he finally speaks.

"i'll be back."

WHAT??? why the fuck would you have to come back? i've done my fucking job! stop fucking interrupting me!

i sighed loudly as he exited, knowing the day was just gonna go down from there but hoping he'd take the hint and at the very least hold off for at least three or four hours before bringing his ass back.

he didn't get that hint.

cuz an hour later, he's back in my doorway. my fingers were flying over the keys on the keyboard as i leaned forward to look into the monitor more closely. that's my "i don't see yo ass cuz i'm too fucking busy to deal with your bullshit so step the fuck away from my door" stance.

of course that shit didn't work.

"nikki, do you have time to run down this list to see what's going on with these files?"

i finally glanced up to see he was holding the paper i'd handed to him earlier in his hand. i could feel the plates begin to shift on my face as i fought for the self-control necessary to hold its eruption at bay.

"why would we need to run down the list, al?" i asked in a controlled manner, "remember, i told you earlier that any missing file from that list is probably with a consultant because i've already checked my records and there is nothing here to suggest otherwise."


my fingers restarted their assault on the keyboard as i turned my attention back to the monitor. he remained standing there, digesting the words i had slowly articulated to him as though he were a three year old child. see, i realized early on i have to spoon feed sentences to al a syllable at a time. i can't just talk as though he gets it. i've gotta

well he was swallowing alright. swallowing and evidently spitting the shit out cuz he didn't get a damn thing i was telling him.

"so do you have time to go over this list?"

the plates started shifting faster as the lava began to build, the incendiary liquid scorching my skin as i painfully bit down on my tongue until i could taste blood. i took a deep breath, then sighed.

"al," i had the spoon in my hand ready to feed the big ass baby. "i've got a couple of really high-priority projects to work on right now. " then i paused for emphasis. "so i won't have time to assist you for at least another hour."

then i stared him down with that "now you know, so get the fuck out of my office so i can do some REAL FUCKING WORK." look on my face.

he understood that look.

"okay," he said, "just stop by my office when you're done."

gawtdamnit, but thursday is one of the busiest days for me. the only day MORE busy is friday. so when i was unable to get with him thursday afternoon, he comes to my office friday morning trying to hijack my time before i had even settled in for my longest day of the week. when i saw him approach, i inwardly groaned as the lava began unfurling within me to flow beneath the surface of my skin like an uncontrollable force of fucking "get the fuck away from me" fury.

i interrupted his ass before he even got the first word out.

"aiight al, let's look at the list."

he pulls in a chair, sits down, and places the list on the desk behind me. i turn around and we look at the list.


what the fuck are we doing here? this is a fucking waste of my fucking time you fucking idiot

those words were screaming from me, my mouth was pursed tightly as i fought to keep the words from spewing from me to engulf al in flames.

"so..." i started, "why are we looking at this list again?"

"because we've got to find these missing files."


i needed that silence. i needed that silence real bad because i was about to murder this guy right there in my office and the token negro don't get a'get out of jail free' pass. i drank greedily of that silence like it was a pint of 'da crown', gulping it down so that its effects would take hold quickly.

then i began to explain to him YETAFUCKINGGAIN that there was nothing i could do about the list at that point. i made a few token queries into my database like i was checking on something i had already checked on before, and an HOUR later, sent him on his fucking way. he would continue to interrupt me throughout the rest of the fucking day about this list, having me check again and again and me telling him again and again that all he needs to do is check with the consultants.

this goes on for another three days.

yesterday afternoon i decide to just fuck protocol and email the consultants myself to tell them we were looking for files. i told them to email me a list of the company files they've got in their offices.

needless to say, every fucking missing file was in the hand of one of the consultants. GAWTDAMNIT. all that bother for NOTHING.

i need to be the token negro in a new spot. this shit is getting old.