Sometimes the matter before us is best and simply put: a “big hand, little hand” issue. At others, it’s a matter of getting one’s bucks, er-uh ducks all in a row. And even still, it’s occasionally an instance when it’s imperative to simply walk the straight and narrow. Sadly, I once had a co-worker, Fearne, who had issues with all three directives.
One dark winter morning, we had all arrived at the office just before eight to gather in the studio, lounge on upholstery (that none of us could otherwise afford), and enjoy a cup of coffee. Such was our way … to ease into the day, just as we eased into projects or meetings with clients. We would usually share tales of antics from the previous night or perhaps gossip in a “butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth” manner! If we were hard-pressed on a design project, we might discuss work. But, in our hearts and from our own experience, we knew that our workday rarely became substantive until afternoon.
That particular morning, our topic had oddly turned to politics, as we discussed the pending Gore/Bush showdown. We were all liberal in our bent and thus confidently mused on the realities of a Gore presidency. Poor Fearne! She excused herself twice before ten, seemingly to use the “Little Designer’s Den”, which was what we called her bathroom, the Women’s Room. The rest of the staff was relatively male and shared the smaller facility on the far end of the third floor!
The conversation continued in such a manner, well beyond the third cup of java, well past eleven. At that point, Fearne abruptly stood up, pointed to the clock and blurted: “Oh my God! Look at the time. My husband will be furious. It’s late; I haven’t fixed dinner; and I didn’t even call!” She grabbed her handbag and scurried to the door, slamming it in her haste.
The rest of us, feeling slightly abandoned and definitely befuddled, looked at each other in amazement. Fearne was always rather ditsy, but this scenario would transcend that explanation. Granted it was abnormally gray outside, but certainly not like that of late night. I glibly suggested that perhaps Fearne had a “little hand, big hand issue” (as I often attempt to ease stress and confusion with feeble humor). To that, Robert replied: “oh, I am certain that Fearne has no such issues with hand size!”
And with that comment, we all proceeded to our desks and began our day … without Fearne.
The next morning, again we gathered as usual. Fearne stopped me by the coffee-maker and apologized for her outburst and swift exit: “Mark, I just can’t smoke pot anymore while I am at work!” That would explain her frequent trips to the “facilities”! I suggested that she tell everyone what happened but she declined. She confided to me that she would rather that we all think she was rather daft than admit to smoking pot publicly. Even if “publicly” meant for the benefit of four extremely liberal gay men.
Regrettably, she did get fired that day. My boss felt that he couldn’t really tolerate such stupidity … and that he could’ve understood if she had been on some medication or alcohol. I didn’t say a word, simply nodding in agreement. Fearne really was inept, I guess.
The irony here, my friends, is that Fearne would a few years later inherit two million dollars and set herself up in what would become a lucrative design business in a tony resort town. We ran into each other a year ago on the steps of a coffee shop at Furniture Market in High Point. I could’ve sworn she was stoned, and still not following a straight path.
Neither of us mentioned that incident that years ago led to her dismissal, although I did look at my watch!
As I left to continue my endless mission of futile showroom-hopping, I did notice that she ducked (or was it “bucked”?) into the Women’s Room. “It’s true. It’s true.”
For discretion’s sake and in fear of networking payback, I shall never reveal the details of a late September afternoon, Fearne, and an unfortunate computer transaction. Upon ringing up three aromatherapy candles for a Mrs. Halstead, she looked at the client squarely in the face and announced: “that will be $7,892, dear.” Fearne neither flinched nor caught her error. But I best not pursue further detail.
(Image: “Arm” by Ruth Marten, 2011.)