Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I Don't Know

My officemate was out sick today, which wouldn’t normally be a problem for me. It’s nice actually. If she’s sick, I prefer that she stay at home and not infect me with whatever pestilence she may be carrying. I happily do the same for her. We cooperate like that. Plus I can eat all the Hershey’s miniatures I want without wondering if there’s someone behind me secretly keeping count.

The problem is that everyone else in the place seems to be under the impression that I am her personal assistant. Every doofus who appears in our office looking for her thinks that I care that he can’t find her. Invariably, he’ll walk in, see her empty chair, and then turn to stare at me expectantly, waiting for me to take off my headphones and provide an explanation for this baffling situation that he is experiencing. She isn’t at her desk. What will he do now?

Usually the stare is accompanied by the pointless query “Is she here?”

Is that a rhetorical question? Do you think she’s hiding under her desk? I don’t think she is, but why don’t you go ahead and look, just to make sure. Check out the file cabinet too. While you’re at it, look under my desk. Maybe she crawled into the AC vent in the ceiling? That’s definitely where I would hide. Did you find her? No? Then I guess the answer to your question, which you interrupted both my train of thought AND a great song to ask, is no. No, she is not. Definitely not here. There is an obvious lack of her presence here, in this place, at this time. She’s not here.

That’s what I wanted to say, but no, I was nice, to each and every one the doofuses (doofi?), even though they didn’t deserve it.

“No, she’s out sick today.”

“OK, thanks” and a quick exit is the appropriate and expected response here. There’s really nothing else to say, is there? “Out sick” is pretty much a complete description of her whereabouts. She may or may not be stoned on Nyquil and sleeping on the couch while an episode of Oprah plays in the background, but for our purposes here, “sick” is all the information we need. End of discussion.

I got that appropriate and expected response from all but one doofus. One was not satisfied with “out sick.” He wanted more.

“Do you know when she’ll be back?”

Do I know when she’ll be back? Do I, a person with no medical training whatsoever, know when a sick person will feel well enough to come back to work? Do I?? Sorry dude, I wish I did. If I had those kinds of unassisted soothsaying abilities, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you. I’d have my own TV show. Unfortunately, I don’t have a functional crystal ball either, and I left my Tarot cards at home. Oh, wait! I saw a Magic 8 Ball on Mary’s desk yesterday. Let’s go see if she’ll let us borrow it. Maybe the 8 Ball will know!

OK, I didn’t say any of that either, but I wanted to. Instead I repeated the only information that I had.

“No, I don’t know. She’s out sick,” said this time in a flat tone and with a slightly sideways glance that silently said, “That was the dumbest question I’ve ever heard. Get out of my sight.”

And then I put my headphones back on. I think he left after that. I refuse to feel guilty about it, because anyone dumb enough to ask that question probably wouldn’t be able to pick up on subtle voice inflections and facial expressions anyway, and wouldn’t know that I had silently told him to leave my presence.

It’s either that, or he just thinks I’m a bitch. Either way.


Blogger Cheesy said...

MAYBE NEXT TIME JUST MAKE A SIGN..."She's out sick... and don't bother Jill over there>>>>"

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get sorta the same thing. Mr. Jazz works for an airline. When people have concerns or questions they ask me! And for some reason seem sorta pissed off if I ask them how the hell should I know? It's not like he's a high powered executive either.

The latest? Right after that thing in England where they were gonna mix up their bomb on the plane, a colleague came to me and said, my boyfriend is coming to see me. He can't bring any hand baggage, but he has a cheap ticket and can't check anything. What should he do?

Hell, I dunno, walk? Idjits.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you only eat the Hershey's miniatures, or do you ever branch out to the Mr. Goodbar or Krackle minis? 'Cause I'll tell you what, I just had a Krackle and it was divine. You know, just FYI.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next time a doofi asks "Is she here?"...you can try "Gee, I don't know, but that's a terrific question!" Then return to your work while they wonder what to do next. :)

7:00 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

cheesy, You're right. I should have just made a sign. But then I wouldn't have anything to complain about, and that's no fun. :)

jazz, That must be hell. There's no way I could be nice throughout the holiday travel season with that kind of stupidity in my vicinity. Good luck.

kara, I'm an equal opportunity eater. I enjoy all the Miniatures, even the dark chocolate ones. Tip: Krackles are wonderful dipped in peanut butter.

em, That might be fun. Maybe I could set up some sort of human behavior experiment....

9:27 AM  
Blogger slaghammer said...

That was the most beautiful rant that I’ve ever read. I love you even more now.

4:22 PM  

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