For some time, the bathroom at the office building where girl2 and I work has featured signs like this one, both inside the stalls and on the bathroom walls, telling employees to remember that their mamas don't work here.
Damn right no lady would leave her stall untidy!
Nor could she resist ripping down the signs as soon as they went up. Why? Is it the overly formal lingo that euphemistically calls peeing on the toilet seat "slovenly behavior"? Is it that removing those signs feels like an act of rebellion against company incursions into her private life? Is it that she knows the men's room has no such signs? Hard to say.
But it has become clear that the anonymous sign-maker has both PowerPoint and an unwavering commitment to bathroom cleanliness on his or her side. As soon as a sign is torn down, a new one is put up in its place. And not just the same sign, printed out again. No! A brand new sign with different clip art and ultra-clever phrasing. But always the same message. To which I say ... fight on brave warrior ... fight on.
Though if you are responsible for the "air fresheners" that look like a gelatinous blue sea creature living in a tub near the sink ... I'm not touching those.
Say you have been accepted by a top-notch grad school in a foreign country (in this case, the U.S.). Say you're a little short on cash, but you need a visa. Suddenly things aren't looking so good. What do you do?
How about ... contact Career Services at your future grad school and see if they can put you in touch with an alum who now works at "Company X", which recruits there! With a dash of luck, a splash of charm, and a deluge of hubris, you'll be golden! Witness below (all names have been changed to protect the ... um ... innocent. We'll call them Jane and John):
From: Jane @ Company X Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2007 7:53 PM To: John Subject: RE: resume of John (referred by Career Services Office of Grad School X)
Thank you for forwarding, John. I will do my best to get your resume into the right channels. Please don't hesitate to follow up with me - maybe in a week or two.
*********************************************************************************** From: John
Sent: Wed 2/7/2007 6:52 AM To: Jane @ Company X Subject: RE: resume of John (referred by Career Services Office of Grad School X)
Sorry for asking you a little earlier. Do you need any other documents like proof of offer from Grad School X?
"If you are not confident,you will always find a reason not to win"
From: Jane @ Company X Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:37 PM To: John Subject: RE: resume of John(referred by Career Services Office of Grad School X)
I just want to be sure that I have set your expectations appropriately. I am going to submit your resume into hiring channels. It will be the decision of the recruiters whether there is a hiring need that your experience can address.
Of what I know, the company does not sponsor graduate school unless the employee has worked for the firm for a few years and meets other very specific performance criteria.
As I learn more, I will be in touch, but I also do not want you to have unrealistic expectations.
Subject: RE: resume of John (referred by Career Services Office of Grad School X )
Hi Jane ,
Thanks for your comprehensive email.
Yes, I am aware that company does not sponser any students who did not work there.But I had seen in an internet page that Company X was providing scholarships for American students who are starting their studies..I may be wrong.
My expectations are
1. Company X should be ok with my joining for a few months and then taking a sabbatical for 2 years.
2.If they could give me some benefits regards to internship opportunities then it would be great.
Time is running out unfortunately and I have come up with some thing to get I-20 and study at Grad School X .
I am ready for any interview at any time.
Btw how were the master'sprogram, internship opportunities and international exposure?
John" If you are not confident,you will always find a reason not to win"
So if you've ever spent more than a day or two in my company, you know that I have a dark secret. At first it might not seem like a big deal. You might say to yourself, "Oh, I've done that before" ... "It doesn't really seem like a problem" ... "Otherwise she's kind of normal".
That's right. I'm girl1 and I'm a chapstickoholic. Although I prefer to think of myself as a ... connoisseur. Addiction gets such a bad rap.
It started out simply. Basic black Chapstick every so often. No big deal. I could quit any time. Then it started. A few days after application, I could feel my lips getting dry. Simple solution: another application. People started to notice and mock. But shaming didn't stop me. I reached again and again for that little tube, until it was daily ... and finally ... hourly.
Then I started to wonder ... is basic black really the best? I mean, there's no flavor other than a faint taste of Vaseline ... what about cherry? And it's waxy ... what about that yellow stuff in a little pot? And that, friends, was the beginning of my descent into the hell of everything from Dr. Pepper flavoring to sparkly blue gloss to medicated balms.
Now I carry it in my pockets. I check before I go out to make sure I have it with me. I can't just keep it in my bag or coat, because I might put those things down somewhere while I'm at a party and it would be awkward to leave the conversation I'm in to run and fetch it. (Much less so to smear it on my lips as I talk). I noticed in pictures from my birthday party this year that there's a snapshot of me with a drink in one hand and gloss in the other. And it doesn't end there. At night I tuck myself in and nestle a tube right next to my bed.
I almost have things under control now. I have a brand I prefer - and highly recommend if you're into that sort of thing: Burt's Bees. It's kind of minty and not petroleum-based, so it's okay that I'm essentially eating a tube of it every two weeks, right? Sometimes I can fool myself into thinking that all in all, it's pretty harmless.
Unfortunately, I learned too late that my minty monkey was nothing but a 400-pound gateway drug gorilla. Sure, my lips were nice and greasy ... but what about my hands? Every time I washed them, they started to feel dry ... ick! So now I carry lotion with me everywhere I go.
But it's okay; I make it work. I just wax up and try to forget the subterfuge, desperation, and begging that ensued when a TSA screener confiscated my gooey collection of goodies (which tipped the scales at more than 3 ounces) right before a 5-hour flight ...
Girl2 and I share a hatred of housework, so I know that she understands when I say that I have no problem living amongst the odds and ends of my daily life. Over the years, however, well-meaning family members and friends have expressed in no uncertain terms that they hold my apartment to a higher standard than that to which I have become accustomed.
I know that you, dear readers, can sympathize with my scorn for silly social norms like loading the dishwasher after every meal (best to wait until you have a nice big stack in the sink!) or making the bed every morning (it's just going to get messed up again at night!) But I am mature enough to recognize that there can be some value in these conventional behaviors ... since the state of one's apartment is a delicate balancing act that can have major implications for your social life.
So. How do you know when the tipping point has been reached and it is time to purge your space of old newspapers and dirty dishes? I give you five small examples. Cautionary scenes from the life of a ... friend:
Your econ study group in grad school refuses to meet in your apartment because they claim that "there will be bags of trash sitting in your kitchen like there were last time we came over." (Despite your vehement protest, "But it was winter! And I took it out as soon as you got there!")
Upon entering your apartment, your friend begins screaming "Get a maid! Get a maid!"
You open the refrigerator on February 6th and gaze warmly upon that wonderful casserole you made on New Year's Day and slowly close the door again to ensure that the odor does not escape.
Your boyfriend tells you that you have a "dirty frat guy sink" - possibly because it has not drained properly in more than three months (although that is only speculation, since he did not elaborate).
An ex-boyfriend, pointing to the 10-foot radius around the cat box, asks "Who's been having a kitty litter party in there?"