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Scrooge's · Scratchings


Bah. Humbug.

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Today I got a visit from the Bedecking Squad. Seems my office was insufficiently tinseled and garlanded. So a gang of elves turned up right after lunch and started draping evergreens and lights over everything in sight. My monitor has a little "snowscape" on top. My nice plain white mug has been replace with one that has the boss's face on it. They painted my chair red with silver snowflakes. My lightswitch plate has a holly pattern now, for crying out loud. Then those wretched little elves did a happy little dance around me, ringing bells and tossing handfuls of glitter in the air. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get glitter out of your hair? If people knew what it's like to work here, they'd rethink this whole Christmas thing.
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Okay, this takes the cake. You've all read my rants about my workplace. There are decorations on every surface: lights, evergreens, jingle bells, tinsel, fake snow, you name it. Even our computer desktops match the decor. I'm surrounded by so much red and green, in such eyewatering combinations, that I'm starting to pray for spontaneous colorblindness. On "Theme Days," like Dickens Day or Snow Carnival, all the decorations are redone and half the people turn up in theme costumes. "Seasonal scents" are pumped through the air - Frosty Pine, Cozy Cinnamon, etc. (Thank goodness it only took one evacuation to put an end to the "Nostalgic Woodsmoke.") The only break from the piped-in Christmas music is the mandated "caroling break" every afternoon.

I don't think I've talked about the food recently. I have to admit the cafeteria is pretty good... as long as you regard vegetables as a very minor sidelight to slabs of roast beef or turkey and think dessert is the main point of the meal. The breakroom, which is right by my office, is always heaped with cookies and candy. There are cocoa makers next to the coffee makers. Even the coffee is candy cane flavored. (Ever had peppermint in coffee? It's vile.) I'm surprised I don't weigh 500 pounds by now. But now the one last vestige of normalcy is gone.

The water in the watercoolers has been replaced with (nonalcoholic) eggnog.

I hate eggnog.

Kill me now.
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I know I've cast aspersions on the music of the season in passing, but it's about time I explain to you, my readers, the depth of my loathing for Christmas music. I don't care whether it's children on my doorstep, dogs barking inane winter songs that don't even mention the holiday or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It all stinks. It's clichéd, overplayed, badly performed, and worse yet, it's everywhere. While normal Muzak at least has the decency to stay in the background, at this time of year we get bells and stars and fa-la-las from every store PA, radio, TV, and stuffed animal.

Of course, my workplace is even worse. Since by definition we all LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!! we are expected to participate in every bit of it. That includes singing. Sit back and imagine your officemates caroling from cube to cube every afternoon. And I do mean your officemates, not professional singers. Anybody who has so much as a non-holiday ringtone is obviously missing the Christmas spirit and in need of a fresh brainwashing - I mean, cheering up.

If I hear Little Drummer Boy at the water cooler one more time, I'm going to pa-rum-pum-pum-pum somebody right out a window.
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The weather up here is, amazingly, not as harsh as you might think. The wind doesn't howl in Arctic gales; there's usually just enough to make small drifts. The temperature stays below freezing, though not so far as to make icicles form in one's nostrils upon stepping out the door. But what we do have is snow.

And more snow.

They say the Arctic gets so little precipitation it counts as a desert. Not around here. We seldom go more than a few hours without a fresh snowfall. Don't ask me why we don't have 50' drifts; it seems to settle over time or something. Doesn't mean we don't have to shovel the stuff. I tried hiring the local elf kids to keep my sidewalk clear. Two problems with that. One, they all have chores like helping in the reindeer stables or wrapping packages, jobs that take up so much time this close to Christmas that they don't even have school. Two, they all have the attention span of mayflies on crack. They shovel five feet, then a snowball fight breaks out. Another two, and they realize my front yard really needs a snowman.

So I shovel my way out every morning and shovel my way in every night. I'd get a snowblower, but they're against the Homeowners' Association's (read: the Big Guy's) rules.
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This is probably the only workplace in the world where paper with pictures of the boss's face all over it is considered an office supply. If this stuff (Big Guy print or otherwise) was only used on presents going out into the world, I wouldn't care. But everything gets wrapped. Everything. Interoffice memos. Cookie plates. You should see the supply cabinet - you can't find a replacement printer cartridge without reading a zillion little tags until you find the one that says "A gift for you from: HP C9509FN OEM" And then of course you have to unwrap it, and dispose of the utterly pointless paper...
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