office mates

I used to be very shy. A quiet girl who liked to read books and stay out of the way. I wrote a lot of stories to entertain myself, and I wrote them from inside a walk-in closet because I’m a dork. I avoided making new friends because I knew I’d end up moving, and I didn’t want to lose more friends.

At some point, I shed the shyness. At another point, I stopped having a filter. I don’t know if it’s because of this website, or if I would have been too honest about myself to people even if I didn’t do it semi-anonymously here with complete strangers.

I know that I now share an office with a boy who has learned so much about me in the past week that he just capped a “pam-used-to-date-a-magician” joke on me. Last week, after I finished saying something where I ended the sentence with an apology for talking so much while simultaneously asking a question about whether or not I should change the music I was playing, he said, “Wow. I have really learned a lot about you in a very short period of time.” And he said it like he had just taken four hours worth of SATs. Like he crammed for the PAMs.

I know I do this with co-workers. I tend to bond pretty closely with the people I spend all this time with. I’m well aware this may be a one-way bond. I know when I don’t like a job, when I’m not looking forward to seeing the people I’m working with, when I’m dreading the meeting because there’s nobody in the room who looks at me and sees me. You know what I mean? That sounded so stupid, what I just wrote. But there are times when you have a job and everybody there is just in their own world. Nobody cuts through and sees you in there. It’s how I know I’m in the wrong place, the wrong job, when I look around a room full of people and feel completely alone.

I once had an officemate who would leave Watchtowers on my desk. She thought I was going to hell for living with a man to whom I wasn’t married. I think she actually left the Watchtower on my desk because I had a picture of an unmade bed framed on my wall. When she gave me a Chick Tract for dressing up for Halloween, I told my employers that I was going to call the ACLU if this lady didn’t leave me alone. I don’t even know if the ACLU would have anything to do with my frustration, but it seemed to make someone listen enough to stop this lady from crossing herself when I walked by, praying for my soul during lunch hour.

So they swapped my officemate for a boy who was the loudest, most outrageous (read: perfect partner for pamie’s procrastination) employee we had. I think I’d gotten the reputation for being not only patient, but rather obnoxious as well. We were a pretty ridiculous office, the one that had a Winnie-the-Pooh bubble machine blowing bubbles out the door. I still remember the day Buddie was convinced that someone in the building had stolen his “Romantic Classics II” collection and he wanted to figure out how we were going to kill the person who had violated his personal space. This pairing, while a match made in Karaoke Heaven, wasn’t the most conducive to customer service.

At my next job I scored my own office, but was part of a two-member team. This means that while I might not have shared floorspace with Nathan, we pretty much spent every minute of every day together. I still wonder where he is.

Last time I was on this show I shared an office with a fellow computer savvy semi-geek. We probably brought out the stress in each other, though, as we’re both the kind to get worked up, put on some headphones, and worry that not only the script will never get finished, it will never be good enough. At least once a day we’d talk each other down from some kind of possibly self-imagined ledge.

But this time I’m rooming with a very different kind of officemate. He’s seriously laid-back, which reminds me of Dave, my old smoking buddy from back during my IBM days who would intentionally mispronounce Andre Braugher’s name just to drive me crazy before spending the rest of the day discussing Prince songs.

My new officemate makes me laugh and seems to understand that every time I spaz it will be temporary. Maybe he’s just that patient. We’re only going to have a few months where we spend hundreds of hours sitting six feet away from each other, learning way too much about the other one (he heard me on the phone with my mom the other day…), but it’s a pretty intense way to get to know someone. Like, he’s had a peanut butter granola bar on the corner of his desk for almost two weeks. Does he know it’s there, or am I the only one who knows because it’s kind of behind his phone? And why do I fixate on it? Is it because it’s orange? Why do I want to tell him about the granola bar? That’s weird. It’s none of my business, and it totally doesn’t matter. But it does.

Oh, my God. Nobody should ever be forced to room with me.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that, so far, neither of us has asked the other one, “Do you know what time it is that you SHUT UP?!”

Actually, I’m just lucky he’s not going to sue me.

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