“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


Ultimate TMI

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

On Friday, the last day of work before the three-day New Year's Eve weekend, I had nearly completed my workday when I was suddenly and unexpectedly faced with one of the most unusual experiences of my professional life. I was sitting at my desk working when the woman who sits in the cubical next to me came walking back to her desk. Since I had been working hard to get out of there on time, I had not even realized she was away from her desk.

As she walked by my cubical on the way to her own, she exclaimed, "Oh, I feel so much better now." Over the past couple of months I have found that this woman will take advantage of any hint of interest in conversation to tell her entire life-story in one sitting, so having heard her life-story two or three times already, I simply replied, "Well, that's good," and continued working. I figured this was the perfect response – ambiguous enough to apply to whatever she might be referring, terminal enough to not encourage a continued conversation, yet attentive enough to prevent her feeling ignored. Perhaps it was the perfect response, but I could not possibly have been prepared for what was coming next.

There was a moment of silence as she sat down in her chair, and then it happened. Over the cubical wall I heard her say, "I just came from the bathroom," and she paused as though expecting a response.

At that moment, I just kept thinking over and over, "Oh, please let her have just said something else, anything else, just anything other than what I think she just said." Unfortunately, I had heard her correctly. She said exactly what I thought she said, and she wasn't done yet. No, it was about to get so very, very, very, much worse.

I was still sitting there in silence, stunned by her previous statement when she continued, apparently thinking I, a temporary employee in the office, needed further explanation of her recent whereabouts. "I just sat there and I pushed and pushed...."

You think I'm kidding, don't you? I wish I was. Honestly, I am not. This is the absolute truth, no exaggeration whatsoever. She honestly said that very thing.

There is only one person I can think of who could possibly get away with saying something like this to me, and even he would laugh in embarassment over it if he did. There is no one else who could even come close to telling me something like this; my family wouldn't, and none of my friends would –not even Blond Girl, my closest friend, would ever accost my ears with such repugnant words. Somehow this woman whom I barely know seemed to think it was appropriate casual workplace conversation. Casual indeed.

On the other hand, I do feel sorry for her. She has been a widow for several years, and while she has a daughter and grandchildren who she is very close to, I think she is desperately lonely. I can't think of any other reason for her nearly incessant chatter, so I am torn between feelings of pity and horror at the utter impropriety of her divulgence that day.

This story doesn't really have a conclusion yet. Though by now she may have forgotten that it ever happened, I still can't get the incident out of my head. One simple conversation – nearly one sided at that – and now it's all I can think about whenever I see her.


At 1/04/2006 11:27 PM, Anonymous hotrodmama wrote:

I'm speechless. Really!
However, I do want to comment on the picture. At first I was drawn to the obvious. I guess that's why you used that particular pic for this story, right? But then, I saw what should have been obvious to the eyes of a fellow kitty lover. It looks more like Diva, but it definitely portrays our Molly. I have to be so careful not to let even one little square of TP dangling down to tantalize her. Daddy Warbucks thinks she's mentally challenged but I think she's brilliant. Why else would a kitty unwind an entire roll of TP if not to count how many squares are in a triple roll? :>)

At 1/05/2006 10:53 AM, Blogger Kristi wrote:

Oh dear. That is...nauseating. I work with someone very similar to your co-worker. Luckily, he has spared me such details as these though.

At 1/05/2006 12:47 PM, Blogger yellojkt wrote:

I worked with one guy that was very proud of his work and would brag about the damage he did. It takes all types.omlfn

At 1/05/2006 10:49 PM, Blogger Champs wrote:

This lady must be related to Blond Girl's mom (Gran Bee). She will tell us the blow-by-blow (pun intended of course) account of her doing a "big job" as she calls it. I really don't want to know the shape, color, consistancy (sp?)and how many wipes it took! All I want to hear when I ask "How was your day?" is "pretty good."

At 1/05/2006 11:00 PM, Blogger Blond Girl wrote:

You're right; I would NEVER accost you in such a way. Though I must admit that I came close to being guilty of such a crime. At work today I commented to Smoothie that I needed to "pee like a race horse!" She nearly snorted pop out of her nose in laughter, then recovered and asked what in the world that meant. I explained that I didn't know exactly where it came from, but it meant you had to go really bad and really a lot... like a horse that has finished a race and then stands there and pees so hard it digs a hole in the sand.... I think she is still laughing at the mental image!

But no, I promise to NEVER divulge how hard I pushed... or ever become like my mom (Thanks, Champs!)

At 1/06/2006 9:38 PM, Anonymous Chele In {dot} LA wrote:

the other Michele sent me

At 1/06/2006 9:41 PM, Blogger Karen wrote:

OMG! Unbelievable! Honestly, what are some people thinking? I wonder if she spends a lot of time alone and has lost that "filter" that tells her when something should or shouldn't be shared. Ewwww....

Greetings from Wisconsin - just over the border, hey?! (Sorry, I don't really talk that way.

Anyway, Michele sent me...

At 1/06/2006 10:02 PM, Blogger kontan wrote:

what do you say to that? are congratulations in order? it's not like you asked if everything came out ok!


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