I have returned to the land of the clock-watchers. At least temporarily.
The whole weekend leading up to my first day at the new (real) office I was freaking out quite a bit. See, for more than a year most days the only words I had to utter were, “venti chai latte please." Or, after I realized all those venti chia lattes might be the reason I was gaining so much weight, “large coffee, just black please.” Or, when I gave up coffee completely, “a cup of peppermint tea, for here please.”
My point is, it didn’t take a whole lot of verbal skills on my part. Then, when I did have to talk, I found myself unable to articulate my thoughts. Which was weird, since I was still having thoughts when I was all by myself. I was having lots of thoughts. Some of these thoughts I was even putting to paper but when I tried to shoot from the hip and just express my thoughts it was all, “umm,” “uh,” “well,” “it’s like” and of course “you know what I’m saying.”
In college there was a girl that sat in front of me in some required introduction to literature course. She always raised her hand and when she was called on, her response was something akin to, “Well, it’s like…there was this guy…but umm…well, he was like…you know what I’m saying?”
It took all the strength I had to not hit her in the back of the head and scream, “No. Because you haven’t said anything.”
Now, oh so many years later, I found myself uttering those very same words. Words that would not fly at my new job in communications. Because it is presumed when you take a communications position, you can actually communicate. A point I made to Bridie the other day adding, “It’s ironic, isn’t it?” Then looked up at her and asked, “Wait, is that irony. I don’t think it is.”
I had even lost my ability to define irony.
Not wanting to make a complete ass of myself (or get fired on my first day) I started practicing communicating, not allowing myself to utter the phrases, “You know what I’m saying?” or, “You know what I mean?”
I even started talking (out loud) to myself. That made for some interesting looks while walking down the street. I practiced using my words all weekend, well, that is until I lost my ability to communicate in front a particularly adorable bartender. But that is a story for another time.
By Tuesday morning I was feeling very confident in my ability to string several sentences of conversation together. I even impressed myself during the tour of the new office, stopping to ask Big Boss about his weekend and answering Little Boss’s questions about my weekend without so much as an “umm.”
But there are other things about working in an office that I had forgotten for which I wasn’t quite prepared.
For instance, when my crazy heavy hair started to annoy me in the middle of the afternoon yesterday, I couldn’t just walk to my bathroom and pull my hair up into a sloppy bun on the top of my head. Speaking of bathrooms, I have a very tiny bladder and a water addiction. This leads to a lot of bathroom breaks, but now every time I have the urge, I have to hold it for as long as possible, less my co-workers think I'm a freak.
Oh, and my co-workers. They expect me to know stuff. And not just how to speak and write eloquently but other things. One yelled out the question, “What is the abbreviation for Missouri?” I responded, “MO.” But I wasn’t sure. Not like 100 percent positive. She didn’t care. I answered and so that must be the answer. Not like at home when Alec Trebek asks a question and I respond and then the person on the TV responds with the correct answer (or actually, in this case, question). Thank god for Mrs. Davis’s fifth grade geography class or I may have gotten the state abbreviation question wrong.
And this doesn’t include the whole process of getting ready in the morning (do you have any idea how long it takes to blow dry 70 pounds of hair) or taking the subway into work (I forgot how germy it is down there). Key cards to get into the building and running into the turnstile because you didn’t realize there was a delay in the time you swipe your card and the time the lock releases. Elevator rides where I freak out about more germs the lack of air, the sweat running down my back and the possibility of the car getting stuck. Having to bring your lunch or go out, not just stand in front of your fridge, staring into it, willing something yummy and delicious to magically appear. And where is the TV? And what time is naptime?
Still, I think after only two days I’m adjusting quite nicely. Really the hardest part has been the not being able to check Facebook every 15 minutes. But, actually, that might be a good thing.