The day I’ve been waiting for has finally come. My old coworker’s (Mike) wife is pregnant with their first child. Fortunately for her, Mike has had experience in dealing with pregnant women. Way, way back, when I was pregnant with Boy9, I was stuck working in a tiny little training room with Mike for the entire nine months of dreadful, horrible, I-think-I’m-not-really-pregnant-but-am-dying-from-jungle-fever pregnancy.
I managed not to cry in front of anyone when I was pregnant, but I couldn’t hide the anger. Oh, the anger! Poor Frank walked into the training room and made a comment about all the snack food the pregnant woman had on the shelves behind her. In my peripheral vision I could see Mike shaking his head wildly at Frank, but it was too late. Oh, the rant that Frank had to endure—something about months of debilitating nausea and the next time I had to go without a cracker for more than 5 minutes I’d be sure to come and gak up my guts on Frank’s desk. Fortunately Frank had four children and knew the best, nay the only possible response…maintain eye contact, slowly back away, then turn and run when out of range of the lumbering pregnant woman.
And then I read an article that said while in labor, women should not eat or drink, rather they can suck on a wet rag to moisten their chapped-from-screaming-for-10-hours-straight lips. Suck on a wet rag?! I ranted for 17 days straight about that wet rag. The rant ended when our other coworker, Len, turned it into a joke, “Next time I have guests I’ll say, ‘May I offer you beer, iced-tea, coffee, wet rag?’” I think Mike took Len out to lunch at an expensive restaurant downtown as grateful payment for finally putting an end to the wet-rag rant.
And then: Cruella Deville. We had a coworker named Cruella de Ville. Do you get the pun on that name? De Ville. Devil? Disney is sneaky like that with the Satan references in their movies. Of course, Cruella wasn’t her real name, but…oh, who am I kidding? Yes, it was! Yes, her name was Cruella de Ville.
Cruella was so horrible that the only way our bosses knew how to deal with her was to keep promoting her out of their departments, so they did until she ended up at some sort of director level with the power to make all our lives a dread misery.
I remember the day that Mike finally had to deal with her for the first time. He’d heard the rumors of how she could crush your will into a fine grey powder just by looking at you a certain way. But Mike was ready. Mike’s always been good with words and is able to think on his feet. When it was time for their meeting, he hitched up his pants and strutted across the training room floor telling me that he wouldn’t let her get to him. If she started her games, he would give it right back to her. He wasn’t like the rest of us chickens. You just had to know how to stand your ground. I just shook my head and said, “I dunno, dude. You’d better be careful.”
An hour later he slipped back in through the training room door, shut it carefully behind him and then leaned against it, pale and panting. He slumped down to the floor and put his head in his hands. He was shaking and whimpering, “I don’t know what happened. I went in there, ready for the meeting, and within 5 minutes, I was stammering and blabbering and couldn’t even remember my own name. It was horrible! Horrible, I tell you!”
And we all felt that way about Cruella. But then I got pregnant. And angry. And aggressive. I’m not normally aggressive. Remember how I told you that my other coworker, Michele, bought me “Assertiveness for Dummies” because I’ve always been a total wimp? (That is 100% true. I still have the book. I can see it from where I’m sitting right now.)
Well one day, Cruella came into the training room and sat down next to me. I saw Mike in the corner, trembling and trying to make himself look small. Cruella was talking about some boring work thing and…she was wrong. She was wrong. And so, in my unfiltered, aggressive pregnant state, I said, “You’re wrong. It doesn’t work that way.”
I heard a small “eeep” from the other side of the room and Mike had to catch himself before he fell off his chair. I’m pretty sure he reached up and adjusted his monitor so that he could hide behind it.
Cruella just gave me her annoying, superior, you’re-stupid-and-I’m-smarter-than-you curled lip and tried to tell me how I was wrong, but I wasn’t wrong! She was! So I told her again, “Nope. That’s not how it works. I can prove it.”
At this point, I think Mike was trying to stuff himself into the closet so that he wouldn’t get hit with any shrapnel.
But the unexpected happened…Cruella caved! She was wrong! And she knew it. She changed the subject and we all lived to see another day.
So….congratulations, Mike. I’m sure you’ll make a fine pregnancy-husband and an awesome father. I would strongly recommend you hide any articles that refer to wet rags, and if you’re wrong, just admit it. Quickly. Or else turn and run.
And when the baby is about three months old, I’ll be sending you a CD of music to help the baby sleep.
Oh–I almost forgot! The picture of the day!
Nothing inspiring. Just the dirty dishes and the beginning of The Stand on the tv on the kitchen counter. I finished the book and it was waaaaay anti-climactic; it just sort of fizzled out. But I’m going to watch the mini-series, regardless. In for a penny, in for a pound.