May 13, 2004
Royal Snittage

The Young Prince breezes through the door at half past eight, trailing clouds of Aramis and self-importance.

"Good morning," I say to him, favoring him with my sunniest smile. I'm in a better than average mood today: well-rested for the first time in weeks, gently caffeinated, enjoying a spectacular Hair-and-Maybelline Day ... one of those rare golden mornings when everything fits, everything works, everything seems possible. One of those mornings when I actually feel like saying "Good morning" to my co-workers (as opposed to saying it because I'm being paid to say it, or because my boss is within earshot, or because I don't want to burn in the fiery flames of Cranky Admin Assistants' Hell for all eternity).

But The Young Prince glides past the front desk without a word.

"Good morning?" I say again, a little louder this time. 

Perhaps he didn't hear me. My ears have been plugged up all week -- some sort of sideways sinus infection, I think: the whole world has a muffled, underwater quality to it, not entirely unpleasantly -- and I realize that it's possible that I'm not speaking as loudly as I think I am. (Sort of the old I'M WEARING HEADPHONES AND I'M UNAWARE THAT I'M TALKING REALLY REALLY LOUD phenomenon, only in reverse.) Perhaps he hasn't had his Triple Grande Mocha-Almond Latte yet this morning, and he's still fighting off the cobwebs. Perhaps he's distracted by work, or he's had a fight with his girlfriend, or he's worried about whether or not his socks match his Ferragamos. I can only imagine how complicated life must be for a Young Prince. But he continues walking past me, without saying a word. As he passes, I see a peculiar, fixed expression on his face ... a smirky half-smile playing at his lips, chin pointed at the ceiling, eyebrows lifted slightly above the Ray Bans he wears indoors and out.

He hears me. He's simply not deigning to acknowledge me.

It's been like this every morning this week ... ever since I refused to type those stoopid insurance forms for him. In my own defense, I would like to point out that he never came right out and asked me to type the forms. What he asked me was, "Do we have access to a typewriter around here?" ... to which I replied yes, there is an ancient Selectric gathering dust in the library somewhere, knock yourself out. And I never came right out and said I wouldn't type the forms for him: what I said was "I'm not going to be able to help you with that right now." I had exactly nine and a half minutes to get the timesheets photocopied, packaged and ready for the California Overnight guy; otherwise nobody gets paid next week. But the Young Prince didn't bother waiting around to hear my explanation. He scooped up his insurance forms and stomped away in a fit of royal snittage. Half an hour later I saw him hunched over the library typewriter, laboriously typing his insurance forms with two fingers.

Even the back of his head looked pissed off.

Clearly I am being 'punished' now for my insubordination. I expect I can look forward to at least another three or four days of being totally ignored ... a couple of 4 p.m. Soil Density reports, maybe ... a snooty speakerphone message or two, thrown in for good measure. Plus this is undoubtedly going to mean another black mark on my report card Performance Review next week. (Secra has difficulty getting along with her classmates.) The punishment will last until he suddenly decides to 'forgive' me, for whatever reason, and he starts hanging out at the front desk on Friday afternoons again ... making pleasantly insincere chitchat about hiking and bike shoes and MP3 players, like nothing ever happened.

Until the next time something doesn't go 100% his way, that is. Then the drama begins all over again.

With a shrug, I return to my morning e-mail. I've got more critical things to worry about this morning, frankly. (Like my toenails. Do they look better with polish or without?) The Young Prince ranks exceedingly low on my list of priority worries today. There was a time when being blown off this way would have reduced me to tears. Actually, there are still times when I feel that way ... certain days of the month when I feel fragile and vulnerable and utterly unable to cope with rudeness, with inconsideration, with the collective ridiculousness of the Dirt Company men. (It's like working in an office full of eleven-year-old girls, I swear to god.  Except that eleven-year-old girls SMELL better, as a general rule.) 

But this isn't one of those days, luckily. Today I feel too good -- too rested, too pulled together, too all-the-way-around glad-to-be-alive -- to let it get under my skin. I'm not going to get upset. I'm not going to react at all, as a matter of fact. No tears or tantrums ... no front desk meltdowns ... no huffs or hissies or royal snittage from this girl today, thankyouverymuch.

I'll leave that to the MEN in this office.

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~ nil bastardum carborundum ~

and bring me one of those Triple Grande Mocha-Almond Lattes
while you're at it, wouldya?