Day 44 | Dry as the Sahara | Fighting Off Taking a Deep, Blissful Dive into a Pot of Pasta
Red-faced pseudo-identity is riding me hard today. With temptation. I’m hungry. “Thirsty.” I’ve got me a serious hankering.
Weather’s turned cold. From 90’s to 50’s. I’m wearing flannel pj bottoms, a turtleneck and a cardigan sweater. I want rotini with meat sauce, piping hot, doused in parm and warm bread. Red wine to wash it down. Lots of it.
All this despite the good news.
EMC extended an offer.
Finally other candidates in the running are hearing, “they went with another candidate.”
[from the drunken chronicles]
I finished up a 6-month contract at EMC last June . Previously, I had worked for Pam and her small consultancy Quik-Mark; the third time she’s recruited me to work for her. This last time had ended badly—I got fired—just following the annual company meeting.
The preceding year and a half under her employ, I continued to admire her [Harvard MBA, MIT Undergrad, former Olympic gymnast]; had hardly seen her. I sent her a mountain of chocolate at Christmastime, a tea set and assorted teas for her birthday. She rarely returned my phone calls or emails regarding pressing business matters. Working remotely I was in no-man’s land, untethered. Her ignoring me was nothing short of dehumanizing. She treats everyone that way, but I had hoped for more since I was her personal assistant.
The annual company meeting had started like this.
I came by way of Amtrak from Boston into Penn and Pam and our colleague Tina met me in front of Friday’s in the chaos of the filthy station. I was thrilled to see Pam, but hugs were exchanged in transit. We’ve got to hustle for the LIRR. I recall seeing the back of her, the air in her hair, her satin blouse, her bumping her suitcase through the turnstiles.
Tina had trouble navigating and keeping up the pace; she’s 5′ feet tall, a tad heavy and has matchsticks for legs. Her wheeled luggage kept losing traction and toppling over through the myriads of people. We boarded the train and scrambled for a 4-seat sitting area [quick! grab the seats!]. Pam threw elbows and pitched her petite ass underneath a considerably-sized businessman. He moved over to the next seat, practically unperturbed.
We’re there, the three of us and instead of chatting and catching up, Pam is listening to voicemail and Tina is texting. This is where I thought Pam and I could save face, rely on yesteryear, speak about the time I told her I slept with a colleague renown in Boston academia and aghast, her eyes teared up and her jaw formed a giant O until she broke into laughter. We only see each other in a great while, we’ll have fun over the next three days, make it last through the mundane times.
That’s what I figured.
But it feels shitty and I want to turn around for home.
Where it’s not filthy and stifling and rushed and impersonal.
We’re up at our stop, following Pam’s directive. I’m helping Tina gather her things and Pam is swiftly breezing through the sliding doors. Tina and I hit the platform, being pushed about in the throes of commuters, and instead of waiting for Pam’s fiancé (an attorney who’s yet to begin divorce proceedings with his wife) to pick us up here, we’re racing down the platform towards the station entrance, out of the parking lot.
Poor Tina is having a hard time keeping up and I’m thinking, what the hell is the big hurry, when her heel gets caught in a crevice and she flies forward, topples over her luggage and awkwardly lands on her wrist. I help her up. Her skin is abraded and it bleeds; she holds her arm like a broken wing.
The incident manages to break Pam out of her New-York-Frantic-Idiotic-Pace and she says, “oh, Tina” and brushes the pebbles from her skin. Tina fibs, says she’s okay; she had a lousy upbringing and her parents didn’t impart pity or compassion. Pam gathers Tina’s suitcase, Tina holds the broken wing close to her gut. The New Yorker resumes the lead down the platform. My eyes glare into her back. Tina is silently choking back the tears.
We get to the end of the mile-long platform and Fiancé, come to find out, is back where we disembarked. Pam tells him on her cell to come and get us.
Fiancé! Great to meet you! [not]
Fiancé drops off Tina and I at the hotel.
I’m in the bar within fifteen minutes.
We don’t see Pam until the following morning for a day of Fun and Games—go-karts, rock climbing. I’m the one who set it up; a fat girl who has no interest in that type of shit and who’s pined for team-building exercises. At lunch, I go outside and smoke a cigarette with the Russian accountant. I’m rebelling—smoking, no rock climbing, no go-kart. Pam texts me in the limo. She sits just behind the front seat, I’m hiding in the far back.
What’s wrong. Everyone can see you’re unhappy. Smile.
We stop in at her house in Cold Spring Harbor and I meet her dog. He makes me smile.
By dinnertime I’m dying for a drink, the anesthetizer. I’m the first to arrive to the Italian restaurant and into half of the second Ketel martini when the others begin to arrive. When Pam shows up, winded, I’m starting my third. I saved her a seat next to me and when she pushes in close the table I put my arm around her and blubber, “how come I never see you'” and “how come we never have any fun” and “I’m so unhappy…with you” with tears running down my face.
She talked and laughed with the others, thinking I have a lush on my hands!
The following morning Husband and I meet up with Pam in a quaint little bakery and discuss my job status [my being unhappy]. Pam offers to relocate me to Long Island. Husband has a job in Cambridge and for us to relocate on my salary doesn’t make any sense. I tell Pam I’ll commute to Long Island a couple days a week. She says that doesn’t promise us working together in person. She tries to sell me on relocating again, a promotion which includes doing HR stuff, she’s expanding the firm. I hate HR stuff. We decide I’ll leave Quik-Mark at the end of August and I’ll train my new replacement.
Which, incidentally, Pam already has in place.
The staff returns to their respective hideaways across the Northeast. A day later, a young female consultant [she lives on Beacon Hill] who I’ve been graciously booking accommodations and attendance at golf tournaments across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, asks me to buy a monitor for her. I had asked for a monitor weeks ago so I could work in the nearby office with Pam’s Managing Partner, Al, but was denied it—”not in the budget.” Monitors had been approved for staff at the company meeting. Pam and her partner figured, gee, we should give our staff what they need to efficiently do their job. So Miss Cute Rich Blond Consultant is put-off when I tell her discreetly, please, just order it yourself. The monitor-thing is a sore subject with me.
She rats on me to Pam.
Pam emails me, this isn’t like you. I email Blondie, angry. Blondie forwards my email to Pam. Pam asks me to apologize to Blondie. I tell her I won’t. Pam says [over email] you’re dismissed—you can quit this very moment or wait until Natalie comes on board and you’ve trained her.
I say, I’m out of here this instant!
Pam: You still have to apologize to Kitty.
Dearest Kitty, please accept my most, humblest apologies for rumpling your fragile and well-bred feathers. With deepest sincerity, Ginny.
I got out of ordering the monitor.
The bridge with Pam is burned to hell.
[gulp, gulp, gulp]