Saturday, July 17, 2004

Report: Day 127 

"R--, it's Brian.  I need your help."
"Ok, what's up."
"Today is office gossip day.  And I just heard a rumor that I've been in a torrid affair with A------ for weeks now.  It's starting to affect our work and people are talking.  It's literally all we think about and we're so distracted that we're making mistakes and our productivity is way down."
"Do you think you can help me spread that around?"
"Sure.  No Problem.  Is this Benrick?"
"Yeah.  I just need to get the word out about my torrid love affair with A------."
"Can do."
Thirty minutes later I was approached by the government documents librarian and the primary cataloger.  "Brian, how long has it been going on?"
"Why, I don't know what you mean, I'm sure."
"Yes, you do.  I'm talking about you and A------."
"You mean my beautiful and charming co-worker?   Why what about us?"
"Oh, you're still gonna deny it, huh?"
"Listen I don't kiss and t--  I mean, there'ss nothing to tell."
Today I will try a new fruit.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Report: Day 126 

My specific task was to exercise my consumer rights by attempting to purchase an item by the unit, not the predetermined number of units in the package.  Examples given were a dolop of face cream or two cookies.  Benrick claims I, as a consumer, have the right to do this.  However, non of my research could turn up any indication that this was correct.  I guess that's the trouble with having free Lexis on account of my job. 
I resolved to attempt it anyway.  So I went to the Stop N Shop and picked up a box of Pop Tarts.  I waited in line at the checkout and when I got to the front I opened the box and then opened a package and removed a single pop tart whcih I placed on the scanner.   Diane, the checker, looked at me askance. 
"There's no individual bar code, so you may need to ring it up manually."
"There's a bar code right there on the box."
"Yeah, but this bar code is for the whole box.  I just want this one pop tart.  Just the one."
"Well, they come in a box."
"Initially, that's true.  Initially they are in a box, but I want just a single unit.  Just the one."
"I'm gonna need to contact the manager."
"Ok.  I mean, I know you want to sell me the whole box because of corporate greed and the proffit motive, but when I buy a whole box most of them wind up going bad.  And that's crazy given the list of preservatives they have here on the label.   That's why I just want one."
"Yeah, you're gonna have to talk to my manager."
"Ok.  Cool."  So I picked up a tabloid and read about Oprah's recent weight gain while we waited for the manager to come over.  The people behind me were cursing me loudly, but I just ignored them and waited for the manager to come over.
"Hello, I'm Jason.  How can I help you."
"Hi Jason, I'm Brian and I want to buy just this one pop tart so I asked her to ring it up manually so I wasn't charged for all eight of them.  Becuase I just want one."
I watched the manager consider me.  I bet he was doing a cost value analysis considering factors such as how stubborn he thought I might be, how crappy his day had been up to that point, how much the pop tarts were worth and other salient facts.  I watched his face and I think I pinpointed the exact instant he decided to offer me a deal. 
"Well, we only sell them in a box, we don't sell them individually.  But how about if I get you a coupon to save you fifty cents on the box."
I took the deal.
Today is office gossip day.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Report: Day 125 

The hardest part about taking your horoscope seriously is to decide which of your horoscopes you will take seriously. I looked at about 15 different horoscopes, all of which were radically different lending credence to my theory that horoscopes are bunk, before deciding on the following from astrology.com.

Go over details today with a magnifying glass and leave no stone unturned. Keep explanations to a minimum and make them concise. Keep yourself busy to stay out of trouble. If you must act, do so quickly and decisively. Take notes about everything that happens to you. Watch what you say, or idle words might find their way back to you at an inconvenient moment. If you remain calm and contained, it should be much easier to unwind at the end of the day.

Now a bit of background. Two days ago I contacted my attorney, with whom I am having a torrid attorney client relationship, at her home by phone. She answered as she normally would but a few seconds into our conversation an unfamilliar male voice appeared on the line. "Hello!" he blustered.

"Why, hello!" I said. "Who is this and what are you doing on our line?"

"Who is this?" he asked angrily.

"My name is Brian, and this is Bevin."

"Hello. I'm Bevin," she added.

"Yes, she's Bevin and as I say I'm Brian. What's your name?"

"This is my phone!" he said.

"Then there is a serious problem because I called Bevin and I know I called Bevin because she answered."

"Yes, I answered when he called me," said Bevin.

"What's your name again?" I asked. "Hello? Are you still there?"

"Continue." He was otherwise silent.



"Continue? I can't until you tell me your name. Listen, let's be friends. I just want to know your name. Hello? Hello? Are you shy or something?"

Bevin and I heard a click and after a bit of discussion we decided that the mystery man had left the scene. We giggled a little about the odd technical glitch that brought us together with that shy man and continued our conversation. But very shortly thereafter we heard a dial tone on our line and then we heard someone dialing.

"Hello! Hello! Who is dialing please? What are you doing on our line?"

There was a long silence.

"Do you want to be friends?" I asked.

There was a long beat and then, "I'm trying to dial the technician to repair the line. That's what I'm trying to do." It was our mystery friend.

Bevin and I ended our conversation and I told her I'd try her again in a few minutes on her cell. When I reached Bevin on her cell we were still laughing about how unnerved that guy was and whatever. And then Bevin said, "You know, his name is James A----- and he lives at blah blah blah Street Apartment 5F."

I was quiet for a while and then, "how do you know that?"

"He verified his address for the phone company while I was on the line, so I wrote it down."

I was giddy with the possibilities and it was decided that I would write James a letter the following day. Horoscope day.

Now, if you've read many of these posts, you are certainly aware that I am not afraid of writing letters. I love written correspondence and I have the theory that you have to send it to get it. So, yesterday I wrote James a letter on Wonder Woman stationary during my lunch break.

July 14, 2004

Dear James,

We've not met formally, but I feel like we have. I'm Brian from the phone the other night. You remember. I was all "what's your name?" and you were all silent and shy and stuff. I didn't mean to freak you out, I just wanted to be your friend. That's all. I swear.

Anyway, I had houseguests last week, which was totally fun, but also caused my cats to be totally crabby. Do you like cats? I hope so, James. I have two and the extra people in my small apartment totally cramped their style. They are finally getting back to normal. I believe they were very close to snapping and smothering someone in their sleep! I'll have you to dinner sometime so you can meet them. Don't worry! I'll not let them smother you, James. I promise!

So I hope you got that phone thing corrected. But if you didn't I'm sure we'll speak again next time I call my friend Bevin. I hope you're less shy!


P.S. Write me back. We should totally be penpals, buddy!

But before I dropped it in the mailbox I revisited the horoscope I was taking seriously and I was suddenly a little nervous. There's that part about idle words and whatever and Bevin described the smothering bit as "a little serial killer." But after consultation with both Haywood and Bevin, I ultimately opted to send the letter. I feel like this was a successful Benrick because I took my horoscope seriously enough to pause before dropping it in the mailbox.

Oh, James. Write me back!

Today I am exercising my full rights as a consumer.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Report: Day 124 

My task was to teach a parrot to say the unpalatable truth. However, I have no parrot. I thought briefly about acquiring one, but after a little research I learned that parrots live to be like 80 or something and you ought to have a great big cage for them or they get cramped and the commitment just seemed altogether too life changing.

Plus I have kitties and they are vicious hunters and they would eat my thousand dollar bird without thinking twice. It's the way of my kitties.

So I decided to use the next best thing: The One True Love of my Life.

"E-----, baby. Come here." She dutifuly obeyed. "Listen, I've got a dicy situation that I need you to take care of for me."

"Ok. What's her problem?" The One True Love of My Life never gets her pronouns right.

"You know Jezebelle? The cleaning lady?"

"I know him."

"Her feet stink, E-----. Phew! Stink-o-Rama!"

"Oh, that's just see he's Mexican."

"E-----, that's right. She is Mexican, and her feet smell."

"Oh, yes."

"Well, the problem is that I don't know how to tell her to wash her damn socks. It's a problem, E-----. Do you think you could help me out?"

Later in the day jezebelle came up to me very upset. "Do you know what that crazy Korean just said to me?"

"No," I lied.

"She told me my feet stink! Have you ever?!"

"Well, you know she's a lunatic. And that's why I love her so."

Today I am taking my horoscope seriously.

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