Diet Coke demarkation.

When you share an office with 15 other people, weird shit is bound to pop up sooner or later. What kind of weird shit, you ask? You know — the kind that motivates you to diagram out your workspace (specifically, where you could crouch and hide should someone show up on Monday wearing Wonder Woman Underoos and an uzi).

Well, not even three months into my new gig, and I’ve already found myself reaching for the graph paper.

Let’s see, there’s the woman who performs this ritualistic series of sighing, sniffing and throat-clearing whenever she enters the bathroom. The cadence is so rhythmic, so measured, I fully expect to peer out of the stall cracks to see her performing a step show. Then there’s the HR person who thinks nothing of yelling over 10 cubicles to ask when, if ever, you plan on donating to United Way. And who could forget our crazy-ass admin. Her collection of dead plant stalks scattered all around the office in neglected pots has convinced me that she must be cultivating organic kindling for some sort of satanic pyre.

But by far, the most disturbing thing I’ve come across is the pop can scatterer. She leaves a trail of empty Diet Coke cans all over the office — and in the strangest places. I’ve seen them by the printer and on the department bookshelf. Before I knew what was up, I would collect the cans and put them in office recycling. Then one day, I found her tail up, digging to reclaim her kill and place them back in their respective spots. Turns out she likes to leave them in highly-visible places, so she won’t forget to take them home at night (and she does forget — like for weeks on end).

We’re all thinking it, so let’s just say it. All together now — WHAT THE FUCK??? Would it be possible for her to stack them on her OWN desk, or put them into a plastic bag or a drawer? Or, why doesn’t she just flatten the cans on her forehead and fling them across the office like monkey dung? No, that would be too logical. Methinks this is more about demarkation than her getting her nickel’s worth. So I say get it over with already — lift your leg and mark your territory like a woman. Or a feral cat. Whatever.

Kiss your afternoon goodbye, people.

Being that it’s Friday and all, I feel compelled to share with you the evil temptresses that keep me from doing my job on a daily basis. I could be right in the middle of a critical process when all of a sudden, the Internet gnomes strike. From out the DVD drive they come, dancing a jig and singing their siren song.

Now I may be weak, but I am not stupid. I keep one ear to ground, ready to click back to some mind-numbing Excel doc, just in case someone eyeballs my screen or god forbid, stops by my cube for something work-related.

I feel so guilty, so whoreish, but I… cannot… stop. And what’s more – I have no desire to stop. So there.

1. www.celebrity-babies.com. I check this site, like, five times a day. Why do I even care about famous people’s children? I have no idea. All I know is… I am bound to this site. I think it’s hormonal.

2. www.lifehacker.com. My quest for doing all things a bit better and a bit quicker begins right here. How ironic that this productivity web site prevents me from being productive.

3. www.coolhunting.com. They were country when country wasn’t cool. Be prepared to sit a spell – this one will suck you in.

There now — that’s four hours you’ll never get back. Just make sure you have a cover doc running in the background, in case an emergency click is needed.

And now it’s time to come clean…what are YOUR online guilty pleasures? You must share – we have a Friday afternoon to fill here.

Hellitosis.

How exactly do you tell someone that they have bad breath? I’ve run into this problem with my boss lately. In her particular case, the aroma is not unlike that of a runaway hamster that has fallen into the ductwork and died. (If this has ever happened to you, you hear me knockin’.)

Her oral stench is so powerful, it has been to known to crawl over conference room tables and tie nose hairs in knots. Don’t TELL me you can’t smell that, woman! I’m guessing that her olfactory senses have shut down in a last-ditch attempt at self-preservation, rendering her nose powerless.

The bad breath issue came to a head recently when my office mates and I decided to go out to lunch. Boss woman was driving and talking, talking and driving when all of a sudden this wave of stink tangoed across the dashboard and grabbed me by the throat. I looked at her, and then around the minivan. Yes, there seemed to be a positive correlation between the level of smell and the openness of her orifice.

Still 10 minutes from our destination, we were all stuck in what amounted to a terrarium of stink rolling down the road. I imagine the minivan looked straight outta Compton, with swirling clouds of pollutant pounding on the windows like petulant children. But alas, this was as far from a Rocky Mountain high as you could get. Yes, my friends, this was a bona fide halitosis hurricane.

As the air got thinner, my survival instincts kicked in. I quickly surveyed my options. 1). Pull sweater up over nose for a makeshift gas mask. 2) Open window (obvious, yes, but she all but killed subtlety when she opened the flaps on the oral landfill). 3) Find a focus object to take my mind off the discomfort, just as women do during labor.

Just as I was about to take action, we arrived at the restaurant. I yanked on the door handle. Safety locked. I yanked again. Still locked! For the love of god, would I ever escape? Finally, she opened her door, and all other locks magically released, spilling me out into the parking lot like a heap of dirty laundry.

The meal that followed was perhaps the best I ever ate. As is customary with near-death experiences, the whole world was now like a kaleidoscope of blessings. Now I may have been reborn, but I am not a fool. Lessons were learned. I do hereby promise to never, never cry shotgun again.

Work-from-home.

I thought I’d post untitledhusband’s work-from-home schedule, much to his dismay. He’s of the paranoid ilk, and seems to think someone from work will find out just what he’s up to on those work-from-home days. This is puzzling — even though he does a lot of “multi-tasking” when working from home, he still gets more work done there than at work.

8 a.m. Turn on computer (and loud email and IM notification chime).
8:02-10 a.m. Surf the Internets.
10-10:30 a.m. Wash a load of grundies (This sometimes takes longer, because as of late, he has been spending more time laundering the skid marks out.)
10:30-11 a.m. Fret about said skid marks.
11-11:30 a.m. Download music from iTunes.
11:30-11:45 Cut toenails, examining clippings for signs of disease and/or fungus and/or foreign debris.
11:45-Noon Cut dog’s toenails. Collect the nasty little peppercorns and toss in the trash.
Noon-2:30 p.m. Watch “Ocean’s 11” for the 20th time.
2:30-3:30 p.m. Work out.
3:30-4:00 p.m. Shower and get dressed.
4-5 p.m. Work.

Rage against The Machine.

Coming out of the elevators yesterday, I ran into this guy who used to be an internal client of mine. I barely recognized him, for he had gained like 80 pounds. Poor guy. I feel bad for anyone who is on the heavy end of their weight cycle. It was just shocking though, because this guy (a.k.a. “The Machine”) used to bike 20 miles every day before work.

With slicked-back hair and skin like tanned leather, The Machine would pull into the parking ramp every morning in his spotless white Cadillac El Dorado. Straight-up old school bad-ass. I’m guessing while the rest of us were watching “Sixteen Candles” and “Weird Science” back in high school, he was jacking off to “Wall Street.” Greed is good, brotha. Greed is good.

The Machine was known for calling 8 o’clock meetings on Fridays, to which he was always fifteen minutes early. He oozed so much confidence, people tended to stutter and stammer in his presence. And he liked that. He was one of the first in our company to volunteer to be a Six Sigma Black Belt (one to examine all company processes and make them efficient – i.e. job cuts).

Now that The Machine is fat (like me), I expect we’ll soon be chatting it up like old girlfriends, discussing our kids’ poop schedules, comparing our mother’s bracelets and ranting about the sucky bra selection at Lane Bryant.

Fat has a way of doing that – making one seem weak and therefore approachable. Maybe this deeply-rooted perception is primal. Bump into a fat person, and you’d simply ricochet off of them like you would one of those inflatable castles. Run up against a thin person, and there’s a good chance you’d be impaled by their hip bone.

But methinks the world should be more fearful of The Fat. Beneath our jolly exteriors, we’re secretly plotting a hostile takeover of the world. From our command center at Krispy Kreme’s corporate headquarters, we will issue our demands. Every store will have a drive-through, and airlines will be forced to rip out those ass-pinchers they call seats and install Lazy Boy’s.

So if I were you, I’d be nice to The Fat. I mean, we’re accustomed to instant gratification. We’re not about to wait for karma to get off its lazy ass and punish you for your evil ways. Which reminds me — perhaps I should e-mail The Machine and ask him if he’s Six Sigma’d lunch yet. I’m guessing not.