Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Have My Cake and Weep in It Too

The fallout from a party I was not invited to is all over the kitchen. I was initially shocked that someone had party at all, given that the generally held belief my office is that egg salad on crustless white and a couple games of internet Scrabble make for a bitchin' lunchtime. Walking in to find the detritus of some occasion worth celebrating was so out of character for this place that it was more terrifying--in a how many of you have been bitten?! kind of way--than it was heartening. Upon closer investigation, though, the signs of sentient life and even, dare I say it, mirth suggested by yesterday's party were crushed by details depressing down to an atomic level.

Grown people had eaten ice cream cake.

It's not that I have anything against ice cream cake, per se. I like ice cream, I like frosting, I even like that chocolate gravel mortar that separates the layers. It's just that building in a timed self-destruct into something as fundamentally happiness-inducing as cake seems kind of like punching a baby in his soft little head. Ice-cream cake could be okay if you took it from the freezer and ate your slice fast enough to maintain its structural integrity. But that's never what happens.

Ice cream cake is always rushed into a party ("Stat!') bleeding melted chocolate through its box and thrown on the table just in time for the candles pressed into its soupy top to stay put through a high speed "Happy Birthday." It's depressing. Everyone gets their pint of cake in a bowl and slurps it up with a spoon. I eat ice cream cake and I feel like I'm at Cortlandt Lanes during the great Birthday Bowling Party Craze of 1989, surrounded by once again by fellow first graders more interested in daring each other to lick their borrowed shoes than shove their sticky fingers back into a bowling ball.

Besides the ice cream cake remnants, I found half a pizza in the fridge and four or five half-empty bottles of soda left to sweat on the counter. I'm sure the soda bottles will sit there until their contents evaporate, or else a passive-aggressive office martyr rinses the bottles, places them in the recycling, and tapes an anonymous note to the fridge about environmentalism and personal responsibility. The pizza will sit in the fridge with the other orphaned leftovers and, untended in such an arctic environ, will be forced to grow its own fuzzy gray blanket for warmth. Sometime in October a passive-aggressive office martyr will get rid of it, but tape an anonymous note to the fridge about hygiene and respect.

This is why I refuse to tell anyone here when my birthday is. I don't think I could handle sprinkles stuck to the corners of people's mouths, or red plastic party cups filled and refilled with Diet Pepsi, or glasses hanging from neck chains in a roughly analogous "let my hair down!" gesture. I'd rather suck up my cake through a straw in private, thankyouverymuch.


Blogger What'sHerFace said...

There! Blogger decided my last post was made in 2006, which fucked everything all up. Back to normal.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Please promise that you will post office martyr notes verbatim. I'm dying to read the mixed metaphors connecting hygeine and respect.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont think you give your co-workers enough credit. You dont know what they do on their free time. I work at a bank, which means I work with the most boring, anal-retentive pencil pushers around but, i KNOW some of them let loose in ways I dont even want to imagine. If and when I see a co-worker out (like at a show) it becomes our little secret that we are one of the 'normal people'. After working here 5 yrs I have learned to give people more credit and kinda lessened the hatred for white-collar America...even if it is an insane parallel universe.

2:05 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

I'm not presuming to make any claims about what my co-workers do on in their leisure. All I know for a fact is that during work hours 1. everyone eats lunch silently at their desks playing internet games, 2. there was a party with sad ice cream cake, 3. office parties around here are awkward to the extreme, and 4. I'd prefer not to celebrate my birthday in the office because I find it so uncomfortable.

As for whether they're flogging each other as soon as they get home, I have no idea. I 'm talking about in-office office personality. Which there is little evidence of. I would be thrilled to see my coworkers at a show, but the fact of the matter is I know that the kid I work near has lived in NYC for ten months and has yet to go to a single show of any genre--though he once spent half a paycheck on sandals. And spent the ensuing weeks mentioning his purchase to fill uncomfortable voids in uncomfortable conversations.

I pray, PRAY for flogging.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous mombi said...

My previous boss (pres. of company) used to leave post it notes all the time, like "DO NOT PUT COFFEE GROUNDS IN THE SINK!!!", "IF YOU TAKE THE LAST CUP, MAKE MORE!!!" underlined 4 times and followed up by a smiley face. Read as, "You're an asshole, I'm not - but, have a nice day".

2:29 PM  
Blogger katy said...

I wish people would speak out against the ice cream cake more often.

Being the little assistant that has to order the cake for ALL the uncomfortable birthday / going-away-to-a-much-higher-paying-job / hooray-you've-been-fired / we-all-know-you-had-sex-cause-you're-knocked-up parties I loathe the ice cream cake. I get to be the person who runs down the halls with the cake already melting in the box and staining my hands a strange shade of blue. And it is always blue. Whoever heard of blue ice cream anyway?

If more people rebelled against the ice cream cake maybe my CEO/COO/CPO/C3-PO's would stop making me order them.

I vote for celebratory carrot sticks. It would be humorous to watch serious people eat carrot sticks.

2:53 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

Carrot sticks would be good. What about apples and sugar cubes too? We could have a barnyard theme. Everyone could strap on a feedbag and then awkward conversation would be nearly impossible!

I'm a friggin' genius.

3:05 PM  

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