bunt sign

Friday, March 23, 2001

If I weren't such a feeb on the phone, I'd have saved myself half an hour today. I go on and on when I'm in traffic about the idiot in front of me who makes me miss a light. He just stole ten minutes of my life, I say.

But because I hate making phone calls, I went on an errand today without confirming that the person I was supposed to meet would be there. It was a tentative appointment, and I don't have so much disposable time that I can afford to go on wild goose chases, even short ones. I stole half an hour of my own time.

I didn't call, because I hate making calls. That's why it's hard to be my friend, because I'll wait forever for you to call me. This is a real handicap at work sometimes. I run the office, and that involves a lot of phone contact. Phones are supposed to be a tool that I can use to make my job easier, but I'll use any excuse to avoid making a call.

Anyway, I did call the guy after I got home, and we reset the meeting for Monday, same time and place, unless he forgets or I flake out again. I won't call, but I won't be bothered if we miss the connection. I have to feel that way, since I won't use the phone to make sure it's still on.

This phone-phobia makes me wonder how well suited I am to my job. It's not the only deficiency I have in the office. I hate filling out forms so much that I put them off, often until it's too late. I'm really bad at deadlines, although most of the time I get the company's bills paid on time. (I'm worse at paying my own bills.)

Every so often, all these defects combine to make me into the company goat. I'm afraid (though not certain) that something along that line is currently brewing. It's all about a minor accident that one of our crew members suffered over a month ago. I knew about it within a few days but didn't know the details in time to file a report with our workers comp carrier within five days as required.

Tim, Jay's supervisor, told me that Jay would call to fill me in. A few days went by, and I forgot about it. Then after a couple of weeks I got the bill from the hospital, asking for information so they could submit it to workers comp. I sent Jay a claim form to fill out and asked him to call me with the details. It was another week before I got the information, and by that time I'd received another bill from the hospital, demanding payment.

I talked to Tim about it today, and it's apparently a big joke at the shop where this happened. It's not that it isn't a legitimate claim. Jay was lifting a large trash can, getting ready for a dump run, when a gust of wind blew something into his eye. He didn't know if it was sawdust, or metal shavings, or just general shop dust.

No one thought much about it at the time, but when his eye was still hurting the next morning, he went to the emergency room to have it washed out. They gave him some valium and sent him home. He could have gone to work the next day, but instead he went out of town to a cousin's wedding. And I didn't learn about the ER visit until the bill came, or about the details of the accident until today.

Now all of Jay's co-workers tease him about it. When they want a day off, they'll say, "Ooh! I think I got something in my eye. Better go home." To me it's not such a joke. I spent most of today giving the workers comp carrier what meager information I had, and now I have to wait for a response, hoping they'll accept the claim and pay the bill.

One of the reasons I stay in a job that seems such a bad fit for me is that other people in the company are willing to put up with my quirks and shortcomings. The Boss will make a phone call for me, if I ask him. He hates forms as much as I do, though, so I do my part by biting the bullet and tackling them. It's a symbiotic relationship that I wouldn't be likely to find if I moved on to a "better" job.

Working at home, unsupervised, has its disadvantages, too, but overall it's the main reason I don't try to improve my situation. It's the only place I've ever worked where I can be totally myself all the time. I don't have to spend my free time dusting the figurines, just to impress someone with my diligence. I can walk away from a troublesome task and go back to it when I'm ready.

I can be the slob that I am and leave my desk piled haphazardly with papers that to someone like the Boss would be a sign of the apocalypse. Since my only dealings with him are by phone and fax, all I have to do is make sure I can find something when I need it. Whatever gift allows me to do that rarely fails me.

It's rare that I find myself in a situation where I'm over my head, as I might be with this workers comp deal. It's not a huge amount of money, but it's a check I'd rather not write, because then I'll have to go over it all again to justify it to the Boss. He's forgiving of my faults, until they cost him actual dollars. I just have to hope I can skate by one more time.

flower box

Ever watch a movie that made you feel grimy just for being in the same room where it was playing? And they tell you in the first scene what's going to happen, and it's disgusting, but you keep watching because you can't believe it? And it's just as repellent from start to finish as you imagined it would be?

In the Company of Men (Neil LaBute, 1997). Makes you wonder how the human race survived this long, if people can treat each other like that. Makes you realize you've known predators who would do such terrible things, and victims who would take it. Makes you want to go out and find someone to be kind and caring toward, just to take away the shame.

previousbunt signemailnext

Latest recommendations:

Patrick has taken all of his Stoplight Stories and given them their own section of his site. This is some of the best short fiction you'll read on the Web.

And Saundra now has an index for her serial science fiction story, Cherry Half Moon.

Other recent recommendations can be found on the links page.
Subscribe to the list to be notified of updates.

Hold it steady right there, let me hit it.
Well I reckon that oughta git it.