There are three things I’m known for in my work and social circles: One, I drink milk with every meal. I can be out for lunch with people I barely know, and when the server comes over and asks what you’ll have, whoever I’m with automatically says, “She’ll have milk”.
Two, I always have a book with me. I’ve taught myself to read in five-minute increments, so you will never catch me in any kind of downtime not reading.
Three, I carry an Ariat horse-grooming bag as a handbag. My assistant manager refers to it as my “luggage”. This is Fakesister’s fault. Being the horse person of the family, she was the first to catch on to the trend of carrying these as handbags. I have now spread the trend all over Tallahassee.
Originally they were designed to carry all the stuff you might need to groom a horse, such as various-sized brushes and tools, and water bottles (horse grooming is thirsty work). They are sturdy–made of canvas–but most importantly, they have POCKETS. Women love pockets. No more do you have to to paw through the debris in the bottom of your handbag, because your cell phone is in Pocket X and your lipstick is in Pocket Y.
I was very amused by the fact that they are no longer marketed as horse-grooming bags…now they are called “carry-alls”.
So one day this week I arrived at work, set the Ariat bag down on a chair, and reached for something inside, whereupon a very small cockroach emerged and started crawling around the top edge.
Now, a little scene-setting. At that time of the morning, there are four other people in my office, which is in a big open fishbowl sort of area. When I said “EEK! There’s a roach in my purse”, Ruben hops out of his chair and says, “I’ll get it!” (Here is an employee I’m definitely keeping. I’m thinking it’s time for a raise, even.) By the time he arrived with toilet paper as a weapon, the roach had crawled back in the bag. So he started poking around, apologizing…I don’t mean to pry in your bag, he says. Please don’t apologize, I replied. I am right before dumping the entire contents on the floor.
About that time, the roach emerges. Ruben makes a grab for it, and… it flies away. Whereupon, I said, as you might guess, SHIT! IT’S FLYING!
Now it’s not as if I’m a stranger to flying cockroaches. I lived in New Orleans, which has five species of giant cockroaches, at least one of which flies. Cockroaches are to New Orleans what robins are to the rest of the world: harbingers of spring. But I’ve never seen a tiny cockroach fly. I was totally in shock, and my heart was pounding.
Enter Colleen, who says, “Ruben, there it is! It landed on the back of YOUR chair!” Ruben sneaks up on it, and catches it! I thought that was totally amazing! It’s like catching a housefly in flight. Maybe he had already wounded it in his first attempt. In any case, once the kill mission succeeded, the entire room erupts in laughter.
Because I’m still standing by my desk in a state of paralysis. My assistant manager is laughing so hard he has to put his head down on his desk. I couldn’t help but see the humor myself: Ms. In-Control is defeated by a baby cockroach. Pretty soon we are all laughing hysterically.
Once we came up for air, Colleen said, That is the first time I’ve ever heard you curse. Since she’s been working for me for over a year, I thought, Dang! My disguise is working perfectly!
I have no idea where that roach came from. I’m chalking it up to living in Florida, where sometimes you have to fight your way through a spider web to get out the front door. Your cat drags home the occasional snake and lets it loose in the house (alive). C’est la vie. Probably they don’t have these problems in Alaska.
In other (flying) animal news, my assistant manager received a complaint on Friday that a mockingbird was attacking our customers as they exited the elevator, and he needed to do something about it. He said to me, How is this MY bird? (I had to put my head on MY desk at that point.) Nevertheless, being young enough and customer-service oriented enough that he felt he might possibly be able to control nature, he approached the city landscaping crew to ask if they could suggest anything. They said, put up a sign saying “Beware of Bird”. At this rate, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get my head OFF the desk.