i occupy the most insignificant position in our office. i am not only everybody's bitch, but that is a major part of my job. and the rest doesn't exactly rock my socks off.
but despite my low ranking in the food (and pay, and respect) chain around here, i still have seniority over a couple of people. one is my assistant, and come to think of it, she probably occupies the most truly insignificant position, because she is everybody's bitch's bitch, plus she doesn't even have the other stuff to fall back on. the other is a woman who was hired earlier this spring not to replace someone, as is usually the case with new personnel around here, but to inhabit a whole new role. part of this role involved what was, until her hiring, my cubicle.
cubicles can be notoriously small, nondescript, boring, maybe even cell-like, and mine was little different, but it was a top-story corner office compared with the place they've got me now, which is to say, crammed into the corner of a counter space designed for buffet-style dessert selections, not computers. it's so narrow that i have to turn my head forty-five degrees to my right in order to look at the computer monitor, which had to be placed at that angle because it is longer than the depth of the "desk." my shelves', cabinets' and desk's worth of material had to be fit into its new home, a single drawer. worst of all, the screen is clearly visible from the entrace to the office suite as well as from all the way down the hall, making my usual guilty internet pleasures frustratingly difficult to access with any sort of discreetness or privacy.
so by the time this new woman had set foot in this office suite, she already faced a disadvantage -- my slight grudge at losing my little cube-shaped home. (okay, substantial grudge, but in fact it was directed more at the major decision-makers of the department than the new hire herself.) she may have known about this, or at least about the grudge-warranting fact that she'd
cruelly displaced me, because from the beginning her demeanor was something resembling honey, sap or some other thick, ultrasweet sticky substance. she was kind, certainly -- excruciatingly so. and i do like her, because she seems cooperative, efficient, not overdemanding, and generally a good team player (detest as i do that term and its suggestions of motivational speeches and junior high school p.e. teachers).
but there is a line, i think, between "sweet" and "the kind of sweet that kills." it's somewhere after saying "your [hair/outfit/face] is so cute!" once a week, but before saying it ten times a week. it's after "hey, we're both wearing pink today! that's fun," but before "but you look way, way better in it." it's after the exchange that goes, "do you have plans for the weekend?" "yes, i'm driving to anaheim to visit my sister, who is there for the weekend." "ohhh, fun!" but it's before the exchange continues into, "why is she there?" "band trip." "ohhh, fun! what kind of band trip?" "high school band." "ohhh, fun! what does she play?" "flute." "ohhh, fun!"
i realize that i'm giving away my offensive, inconsiderate colors by expressing less than appreciative feelings toward someone's kindness. i am grateful, and i'm not really criticizing so much as saying that exercising discernment in the dispensation of compliments is a worthy practice that, from now on, will afford more respectful acknowledgment from me.
except on the internet, of course. flatter away!*
*greg, the "you're so cute when you're irate and sarcastic" comment would be overwhelmingly appropriate here.