An open letter to the insufferable bitches in my neighboring cubicles:
You, the judgmental shrew in the cubicle to my right. And you, too, the hipper-than-thou scenester in the cubicle to my left.
Boy, do you two drive me fucking crazy. Listening to your pointless, misguided drivel for eight hours a day is making me insane, especially because I’m too polite (read: wussy) to tell you how I really feel. So, here are the comebacks to all of your bullshit that I was too timid to say to your idiot faces this week.
9:00 AM - Righty, you come in, proudly clad in a new jacket. It is white satin, with red and green cuffs. On the back, the word “Italia” is embroidered in green script, and the map of Italy, in green and red is below. You tell us how it was a present from your mother-in-law. You tell us, for the gazillionth time, how your in-laws “are, like, off the BOAT.”
What I wanted to say: “Righty, you are not Italian. Your husband is, but you are not. I know your maiden name. You are a full-blood Irish Catholic. I’ve met your husband on several occasions, and although his parents are ‘like, off the BOAT,’ he doesn’t feel the need to pronounce words like ‘mozzarella,’ ‘minestrone,’ and ‘ricotta’ with a thick Italian accent. While I respect your assimilation into your husband’s culture, I shudder to think how your poor Irish parents must feel. Because, I repeat, YOU ARE NOT ITALIAN. And you can wear satin jackets circa 1987 and gold Italian horn necklaces all you want, but it’s not changing that fact. Fungu.”
2:15 PM - The new CSR walks by, wearing a black turtleneck and jeans. Lefty, you are infuriated because you wore the same exact outfit on Friday. “Everyone here copies the way I dress,” you whine, and start surfing eBay to find a pair of vintage cowboy boots in your size. Ninety minutes later, you are still online, and when you get a new account, you whine to our supervisor that you are too busy. Your account gets reassigned - to me.
What I wanted to say: “Lefty, if you want people to stop dressing like you, you better cough up some dough and start buying some haute couture. That outfit that you wore on Friday? You bought that shirt at the Gap. The jeans are Levis. Who DOESN’T own a black turtleneck and jeans? You’re not as original and hip as you think. So you have a short, shaggy, red hairdo, live in a loft in Fishtown, go dancing at Makin’ Time, and listen to the Scissor Sisters… so do about a thousand other people in this city. You‘re no different from anyone else. And one more thing: just because the guy on your left didn‘t know that the band ‘!!!’ is pronounced ‘Chk Chk Chk‘ it doesn‘t make him an idiot.”
11:30 AM - Although I am listening to Pavement, at full volume, with headphones on, I can still hear the divas blaring from your cube, Righty… Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Cher for chrissakes. I take off my headphones and ask you to turn it down so that I can make a quick phone call. Apparently, you listen in on the whole thing, because as I end the message to my boyfriend with an “I love you” and hang up, you say, “Aww, that’s sweet. Now when is that man going to put a ring on your finger?” When I tell you that I’m in no rush to get married, you say, “You may think that now, sweetie, but your clock is ticking, you know.”
What I wanted to say: “Righty, go to hell. I’m 27 years old and if I ever decide to have babies, I have plenty of time. Right now, I’m having a ball being single and childless. I live in a beautiful apartment, blissfully alone. I travel three or four times a year, sometimes at a moment’s notice. I can go out drinking until three in the morning without worrying about a babysitter and I can spend an entire Sunday naked on the couch, eating Cookie Crisp from the box, without making a bad impression on anyone. You’re a wife and mother - good for you. But some of us want different things and that doesn’t make us worthless or irresponsible. And if you eve call me ‘sweetie‘ again, I will punch you in the throat.”
4:15 PM - Another new CSR, a woman in her late forties, comes to my desk to give me a phone message that I’d missed. She is wearing khakis and a lilac sweater set, has a perm, and is very sweet. Lefty, you glare at her and as she walks away, you hiss “What a square… who wears sweater sets anymore?”
What I wanted to say: “First of all, Lefty, are you a beatnik now? Who calls someone a ‘square?’ Are you going to start ironing your hair and quoting ‘Howl,’ too? And second of all, this woman is your mother’s age. Cut her a break.”
9:00 AM - Lefty, you and I are both wearing v-neck sweaters from H&M. Mine is black and yours is gray, but you scowl and say, “Oh, nice sweater” with venom in your voice. Your gaze travels down to my black suede boots that I bought last month and you say, “I used to have boots like that… back when they were in style.”
What I wanted to say: “Go fuck yourself.”
9:15 AM - Righty, you have a new photo of your toddler daughter who somehow, I must admit, ended up being adorable. You spend the next hour and a half showing everyone who walks by the picture of her making poopy on the potty and twenty minutes after that trying to find space on your desk for the frame. Because you have TWELVE other photos of her, clogging up your cube. For the rest of the day, your incessant jabbering is peppered with statements like the following: “Oh, I like your skirt, pink is my daughter’s favorite color,” “Ooh, you’re eating popcorn, my daughter loves popcorn,” “Is that a SpongeBob screensaver? My daughter knows all the words to the theme song,” and “Oh, that’s a cute picture of your baby, did I tell you that I’m taking my daughter to an agent tomorrow?”
What I wanted to say: “While I respect and admire the fact that you love and are proud of your child, give it a rest! You want to see her face during the day? One or two photos will suffice, and maybe you’d stop losing paperwork if you had a square inch or two of your desk that wasn’t covered up with pictures. And all the talk? We KNOW you have a baby. We don’t care. You’re just showing off, trying to make us jealous. All it’s making us is angry.”
12:00 NOON - Righty, you’re taking a half day so that you can take your daughter up to New York, to meet with an agent and get her into commercials and catalog work. You send out an email to the entire company saying, “I’m out at noon to take my daughter to New York and make her a star!” As you’re about to leave, you can’t find your car keys. “Where are my BMW keys?” you ask. “I can’t believe I can’t find the keys to my BMW. Has anyone seen my BMW keys?” And when you find them, they are, surprise, surprise, behind one of your picture frames. Then you say, “Oh, here are my BMW keys, thank God I found them!” And then you leave, and I spend a blissful afternoon, Righty-free.
What I wanted to say: “Nobody gives a shit why you’re leaving early. When I took a half day last month, my email didn’t say ‘I’m off to get a PAP smear,’ did it? And about the car: yes, we all know you drive a BMW. We also know that the BMW was given to you free from your uncle, that it’s twenty years old, covered in rust, and breaks down on average once a month. Again, we are not impressed.”
4:45 PM - The new CSR (the black turtleneck and jeans one, not the sweater set one) walks by again. You scowl again, Lefty, although I can’t imagine why, as I’ve never seen you wear anything like the orange hoodie, pigtails, and Converse All-Stars that she’s sporting. But as she walks away, you say, “Jesus Christ, if you have belt loops, wear a fucking BELT.”
What I wanted to say: “You work in a casual office in Northeast Philadelphia. If you want a job where you can tell people what to wear, maybe you should leave here and get a job photographing Glamour ‘Don’ts’ or something. And, I repeat, your clothes are from Franklin Mills, just like everyone else’s. Just because you have your new $80 cowboy boots from eBay that are a size too small, and you put those teeny little band buttons on your messenger bag, and you wear your belt with the buckle on the side instead of the front, and you still have the leather coat that your mother wore in 1978, it doesn’t make you better than the rest of us. I mean, you sure as hell don’t seem HAPPY.”
10:30 AM - I skipped breakfast and now I am famished. I go to the vending machine and purchase a small bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and a Tastykake. As I dig in, Righty, you poke your head around the cube wall and sing, “Carbs, carbs, carbs!”
What I wanted to say: “Righty, I am not overweight. Even if I was, you have no right to say anything about what I eat. By the way, that gummy lasagna that you bring in for lunch every day is loaded with carbs, too.”
2:45 PM - Righty, you send a basically incoherent email to the department with some procedural suggestions.
What I wanted to say: “’You’re’ is a contraction meaning ‘You are.’ ‘Your’ is a possessive pronoun. ‘They’re’ is a contraction meaning ‘they are.’ ‘There’ is an adverb, pronoun, or adjective. ‘Their’ is a possessive pronoun. ‘Too’ means also. ‘To’ is a preposition. ’Supposably’ is not a word, but ’supposedly’ is. AND WHEN YOU TYPE IN ALL CAPS, IT’S REALLY RUDE.”
6:15 PM - To celebrate the busiest year on record, our boss is taking the entire department, all nine of us, out to dinner in Olde City. We park in a garage and have to walk four blocks to the restaurant. The sidewalks are still snowy and icy, and Lefty, in your high-heeled cowboy boots, you’re falling behind. You slip, you slide, and you shuffle. “Wait for me, guys!” you call to us. When our boss makes a joke about how maybe you should have worn more appropriate winter footwear, you sneer at him and say, “Fashion before function!”
What I wanted to say: “I hope you fall on your ass.”
This was just one week, of hundreds.
I hate you both, so much.
this is in or around Philadelphia