Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Memory is Blue

This is a story of an alternative universe that I lived in once. A mythical vision called Corporate America. I was once a network expert with a half-dozen certificates. A half-dozen more in my file for various computer programs. The job was over in Seattle, the other side of the state from where I used to live. I had a Toyota Dolphin RV, and a burning urge to make my mark in the corporate world. I went over for the interview. They liked me, but they hired everyone subject to 90 days probation. Well I not to be outmatched, told them I had no plans to tie myself up in a Seattle apartment lease, in case I got sacked during the probationary period. I'd be living on their parking lot, at the far space, in my little RV. I got the job, keeping their intra-and-internet accessible to the right people. I had a cardboard windshield shade that was covered in solar cells, to keep my batteries charged. I understand there's a roll of solar cell material that you can use for that nowadays. Every Friday I'd split for Spokane, cleaning the waste tank at the first available stop. Back to Seattle on Sunday arriving just in time to drink with my co-workers, for a couple of hours, before the bars closed.

One of the perks was that since I was their "man on site" by virtue of my lifestyle, I had a key for the door of the company. My one misuse of this power was to bring in a rubbermaid bathtub style stock trough. My one weakness, aside from possibly being vulnerable to kryptonite, is a tub bath every other day at minimum if I can arrange it. I'd set up the bath up in the men's room just off the entrance, take my bath either just after quitting time, in case I got lucky that night. Or in the wee hours of the morning after partying but before work. This was to be my downfall.

My boss, a man younger than myself by 15 some years, I had just become 40, fancied himself a modern, free-thinking man, and quite the lady-killer. This despite a four-year marriage. He went out every night, despite the fact he had a wife and kids at home. On the night of my final day of my 90 day probation, a Friday oddly, he cleared out of his office. I decided to get in a bath before I went out. About a half hour into my bath, the boss came back to get his credit cards he kept in his desk drawer. Fine that, but he decided he needed to stop at the little boys room on the way out.

It was quite a shock to his pseudo modern sensibilities to see his forty year old network expert, in a tub of sudsy water.

A greater shock was that I had his Executive assistant in there with me. I was going to take her over to Spokane for the weekend. In retrospect I guess we should have skipped the bath.

When our boss regained his composure, He told me to see him first thing Monday morning. And her to see him then likewise.

After he left, she was going to scramble out of the tub and have hysterics. I told her stay there. I went to the janitors closet just inside the bathroom and hung the closed for maintinence sign, -I should have done that earlier- and returned to the tub. "If we're fired, we're fired! Hey, I'm another line on my Resume, and only 90 days out of practice of looking for a job."

We traveled the 300 miles to Spokane, had a giddy orgy of champagne, Chinese food (better in Seattle), and a cheap no-tell motel. When we returned to Seattle late Sunday night, the fur and rumors were flying. We'd robbed the company and fled the jurisdiction. I briefly considered saying "fuckit" and taking my playmate to Mexico. But I told my co-workers, I'd come to drink, not explain myself. Monday morning would be soon enough.

Monday morning was soon enough, I'd prudently secured my RV and everything on/in it off-site. My alleged superior told me I was being fired for performance reasons, and that my RV would be searched by four husky security guards in case any equipment had been found missing. I handed him the diagnostic laptop, told him that's the only property I'd ever taken off-site, and if he wanted to search my RV, he'd better have a proper search warrant, and be ready to pay travel to Spokane. He tried to confiscate my cell phone, but I'd brought that with me. He kept trying to fuck me over. I told him if I didn't see my final salary, and two weeks severance, -technically I wasn't entitled to that on probation, but what the hell- his sweet, long-suffering wife, and her new lawyer were going to get a complete financial breakdown on him plus some digicam photos that would go a long way in securing a full custody, full support divorce from him.

I was tired of him trying to climb over me, to reach a position of moral indignation that would justify his fucking me over in this way, when he really just wanted to punish me for getting something he wanted. I did have a breakdown of his financials. Morbid curiosity mostly, plus some great snaps of him macking on some downtown girls that wore only a bra and shorts in the bars they worked. It was only in that moment I thought of combining them together and raising hell for him. I made him dismiss the security guards he planned to have escort me out. I told him pointedly that any attempted creativity on his part as to why I was fired, and a hungry divorce lawyer would be at his wife's door with a videotape and a fat manila envelope. When his 'Executive Assistant' came back with the paperwork including my final check. I told her to stay, I signed all my papers, had him, -and her as witness- sign my copies. "Now I don't work here anymore right?" He nodded thinking I was going to punch him out or something, I took Ms. Assistant into a dip-kiss that could have been part of a tango.....

I then left, secured my stuff on my bicycle, including a couple of 100 gig drives technical had rushed out to me. I had ordered them after all. I pedaled over to Ballard, that bridge is hell for a cyclist with vertigo issues. Went shopping in the local Safeway just across the bridge. Secured my bike on my RV and went to spend a few hours goofing off at the Denney's Restaurant across the street. Mostly I tried to find the cheapest gas station. I went and cashed my checks and alerted my banks back home that I wanted a moratorium on any direct withdrawals for six months. Sort of a backstop to self discipline. After I spent a couple of days tying up some final business in Seattle, I wandered home the slow way through Canada, since there was nothing that required me in Spokane until the weekend. I highly recommend a leisurely road trip after a job termination. It heals your wounded psyche, and possibly saves the lives of people who thought they had authority over you.

Around six months had elapsed and I thought I'd seen the last of that place, when through the doors of one of my favorite drinking holes wandered my erstwhile boss' former executive assistant. Around two months after I left, he got frisky, and threatened her with termination if she didn't put out. She recorded the incident. she got six months severance. A hot and hungry lawyer visited the boss' missus, several lawyers visited the boss curious about financial irregularities within the company. The company's ass-ettes got grabbed by Microsoft, and hopefully most everyone else lived happily ever after...

One thing I'm thankful for around this time of the year, are the memories....

1 comment:

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