03.21.2002 – – – 1:04 PM
So, I’m a small person. Short. Petite, if you will. And I have blonde hair and freckles and blue eyes. I feel that this often works in my favor, for several reasons. First, I get away with a lot. Because I look all tiny and innocent, and I know JUST how wide I need to open my eyes and JUST the right angle to tilt my head to look sweet and pure. You know, all angelic with my blonde halo of hair and shit. And I know that if I act shocked and outraged towards anyone who would even CONSIDER that I would do something wrong, while working the head and eyes, I will get away with it. It’s a combination that never fails. Unless I use it on my parents, which is another story. Second, people think I’m physically weak. This isn’t something I’m just assuming, I have actually been told that I am wimpy To. My. Face. Example: I used to work in a very busy bar, where several times during a shift I would have to re-stock beer and alcohol. That could mean moving a keg, or pulling out cases of beer, or carting 12 handles of booze down two flights of stairs. But there were several (male) managers at the bar who would have one of my male coworkers grab the stuff for me. Once, I was told that I wasn’t strong enough to carry a case of beer. Not strong enough? Suddenly, even though re-stocking was a total pain in my ass, I always wanted to do it. I don’t like it when people tell me I can’t do something. And, I had to prove that not only could I do it, but I could do it better. So I would carry two cases of beer at a time. And it really wasn’t a struggle, but MAN, one manager seriously yelled at me for doing that. Even though all the guys that worked there would carry two cases at a time, and several of the women would, too. But because the women were taller, it was okay. Everyone told me I should enjoy it, but I couldn’t because I’m a hard worker and it wasn’t fair. Third, I am often assumed to be a pushover. Part of this is because, in some situations, I am quiet as I size up the situation. I know my friends are laughing at the idea of me being quiet, but I’m thinking more along the lines of professional situations. When I meet work people, I am far more demure than when I’m out with my friends. I’ve often found that, while I’m taking people in, they are also taking me in. But it’s not the real me, it’s The Professional Me: the me who doesn’t talk loudly, laughs at everyone’s jokes, pretends to be listening to what everyone is saying. If I encountered Professional Me when I was out, I would think I was a pushover, too.
I write all this because yesterday, I got into a fight with a woman at work. Let’s call her Toothy, because she had some unfortunate things going on in her mouth. Toothy thought she could pull the wool over my eyes because all day, I’d been acting like this sweet little idiot. She started talking to me about getting paid for some stuff she did, and tried to tell me that she had been promised cash for her work. I said, “Really? Who told you that? Because they were wrong. I’m the person who arranges payment, and we never pay people in cash.” Toothy, who has known my boss and all the other people we were working with for upwards of 18 years, says, “I don’t know. One of those guys.” Me: “Really? Which guy?” Toothy: “I don’t know, the point is, one of them told me I was getting cash.” We went back and forth like that for a few minutes. Finally, she says, “Well, every time I have worked with you people, I have been paid in cash.” So I told her that I have been working here for over a year and we’ve never paid anyone in cash. My lord, we are a GIANT conglomerate! We don’t even pay for pizza with cash, it has to go through 85 accountants and six monkeys! I told her that since I was the one who handled the processing and paperwork, I was the one who decided how people were going to get paid (even though that’s not true, but it sounded good), and she wasn’t getting cash. She got all huffy and then she GOT IN MY FACE. Like, she leaned her big, three-toothed moon an inch away from mine, and with her nasty cigarette breath she said, “well, look, HON, (which is something I HATE being called by anyone other than family), if I don’t get my check by Monday, I’m going through the union.” Oooh, scary. Going through the Singers’ and Actors’ Union is not going to make me quake in my flip flops. Me: “Go ahead and go through the union, then. It will take you months to get your check, and they’ll take out all sorts of taxes.” Toothy realized I had called her bluff. So she said to me, “well, I think this is total bull shit. I don’t know how you run your business.” Dude. Lady! You are talking to the lowest person on the totem poll. I don’t care what you think about my company! I know they rob people, it’s the music industry! But, as long as they pay me, I will defend them to you. So I told her that I would tell Payroll to send her a check as fast as they could, but it would probably not arrive until the beginning of April. She started to freak out, all yelling and stuff. I stood there and took it for a second, then sort of started yelling back. I say sort of because I don’t really remember what I said as my temper took over. And also because I was very conscious of the fact that my boss and five other people were just standing there watching. After we were done, Toothy still didn’t have her cash, and tried to get her brother to talk to me. But I was done. I told her she and her brother could talk to my boss. Then I got really annoyed that my boss had watched the whole thing and hadn’t said anything. THEN I got scared, like maybe he hadn’t said anything because I had overstepped my bounds and he was going to fire me. So after Toothy and Co. left, I apologized to my boss. His reply? “No, no, you were great.” Great? Then why the hell didn’t you have my back? Why did you let this crazy lady scream at me? Thanks. I walked away totally pissed, and sat next to two people who had seen the whole thing. I asked this one woman, “am I wrong to be mad at my boss right now for not helping me there?” and she said, “no, because I’m mad at him for not helping you.” Then the man I was next to said, “Woah, Heather may look like a pushover, but don’t fuck with her!” He’s British, so it sounded really cool. Now, looking back on it, I wonder what I said during the part I don’t really remember. Maybe I was speaking in tongues? That would be bitchin’.