Monday, September 19, 2011

The Battle of the Toner or How Maria Almost Decked a Little Person

No, not a child. I did NOT almost deck a child.

It was a little person. In my family we call them midgets, but I realize that this is socially unacceptable. We also call mentally handicapped, retarded, but we get away with it because my niece is mentally handicapped and we don't say it in a derogatory way. It's kind of like if you have one, you can say the word but if you don't, you can't. Kind of like my African American friend at work can run up to one of her African American friends and say, "Hey, nigger!"

I can't say that. Nor would I find it acceptable to hear anyone else say it except for Loretta, who is my African American friend. Even when she says it, I cringe.

So, I almost decked a little person. Over toner. For our fax machine at work.

It all started so innocuously.

We got a fax at work and I noticed that it looked kind of streaky, so I told Nanette, my secretary from Hades.

Nanette is in charge of maintaining all the machines in the office. She doesn't do a bang up job of this. I have told her that we need to always keep a spare toner canister handy for our printer, fax and copier. She nods and then doesn't do it.

So...when we run out, someone has to run up to the top floor of our building where the office supply people live in their dark moldy cave and ask for toner. I have learned the hard way that you need to know the exact number of the toner that you need. Ours is something like Q126E. I always forget, so I had Julie, our cruise director my co-worker write it down for me and I keep it in my desk drawer.

Whoever is free runs up and gets it. Somehow this is never Nanette, even though the fact that we DO NOT HAVE A BACK UP CANISTER is all her fault. She is either coughing too hard or sniffly or her back hurts or something. You'd think we were asking her to climb Mount Everest instead of walk halfway down the hall and jump on the elevator.

Anyway, that day...I had free time, so I yanked out the used canister and schlepped upstairs with it. This also helps since the number is right on the thing and if you get Irene and not Lola, she will recycle it for you so you don't have to make a separate trip to the recycling room.

I didn't get Lola or Irene. I got Gil. Gil is a midget little person. Gil is an asshole. At first I felt guilty having that opinion of him because it is like calling someone in a wheelchair an asshole. You don't want to, you WANT them to be decent. It is a good life lesson. Some little people are assholes. Some wheelchair bound people are assholes too. And some George Clooney lookalikes are probably assholes as well, but not George Clooney himself. My friend, Harriet met him once when she was vacationing in Las Vegas and he was filming Ocean's Eleven and she said he was incredibly kind and yes, his eyes really do twinkle and crinkle like that.

But, Gil is just an asshole.

He was sitting at his desk and quickly turned the computer screen away from me which caused me to wonder if he was looking at porn. So, I kind of tried to take a peek and he got rid of the screen. I would bet money that it was porn.

Anyway, here was our conversation.

Maria: Hi, Gil. How're things going?

Gil doesn't answer. Because he is an asshole. He never wastes time on pleasantries. He just stared at me. I sighed.

Maria: I need a new toner canister, Gil. Here's the old one. The number is right on it.

Gil takes the canister warily as if I am handing him a garden snake.

Gil: Did you gals shake it to make it last a few more days?

It really bugs the hell out of me when he calls us GALS, but I want my toner and it seems like something I can let slide. So, I lie and tell him that yes, we did shake it for a few days. We didn't. We never do. This does not make the toner last longer than a few more pages and I just wanted a new one.

Gil gets up, scowling at me. This is his FUCKING JOB. I am not asking him to whip me up some red velvet cake.

He leaves the room and comes back several minutes later.

Gil: We're out.

Pause. Because...well...what is next? Can't he just fucking OFFER it up without me having to drag it out of him?

Maria: Can you order some new ones? And how long will it take?

Gil: I checked and Lola forgot to order your number of toner a few days ago. I'll put a new order in next week.

Maria: So, we have to go a WEEK without toner for our fax machine? Gil, we get lots and lots of faxes. This blows, buddy.

Gil smiles. It is an oily smile. I don't like his smile.

Maria: Can you order one today?

Gil: Can't do that. The orders go out on Monday. It is Tuesday.

Maria: Can I just go to Office Max and you can reimburse me?

Gil: (smiling again...that asshole) Nope. Sorry. Against company policy. Well, unless you want to pay for it yourself.

Maria: Order it on Monday, will ya?

Gil: Sureeeee.

I go back but take the old canister with me because I intend to shake that motherfucker.

I shake it. It works for two more days. Wowweee.

We arrange with the dentist office above us to let us use their fax number when we need to get something by fax and they will call us when something for us comes through. I also tell Nanette that she needs to put in an order for toner in two weeks so that we will have one as back up. It is like telling a teenager to take out the garbage. She stares at me and doesn't see me. When I ask her to please write herself a note, she glares at me before she pouts and picks up a pencil and puts it to paper.

I am pretty sure that she wrote Maria is a smelly bitch and I hate her guts instead of DON'T FORGET TO RE-ORDER TONER IN TWO WEEKS.

The next Monday, Marisol, our office manager, has to go up to office supplies to get some white out and a few boxes of staples. I tell her to remind Gil to order toner. When she comes back a few moments later she says, "I always feel like they are doing something really dirty up there. Do you notice the way they all jump back from their computers or their huddles when you walk in the door? It's like being Mom at the kid's 15th birthday party and you just know that they are playing Spin The Bottle but pretending to play Clue when they see you coming. Or Naked Twister."

She also says that Gil told her that he FORGOT to order that toner but he will do it next week. I asked her if she slugged him.

She looked aghast. "Maria, he's a little person. I was nice."

I told her that he didn't have cancer, he was small. That doesn't buy him niceties when he fucks up. I go upstairs and I swear to god, they all scattered like cock roaches when I walked in the door. Gil was nowhere to be found. I thought I saw a shadow move under his desk and wanted to go have a look see, but decided to deal with Lola instead. I asked her WHY THE HELL THE TONER WASN'T ORDERED. THIS IS CAUSING US TO LOSE OUR DENTAL ALLIES AS THEY ARE SICK TO DEATH OF GETTING OUR FAXES.

And we are getting several faxes that we are unable to read, so can't even call them back to tell them to send it to the dentist's office instead.

Lola is sensitive. She literally puffs out her bottom lip like a four year old who has been denied a third cookie. I want to yank her lip and pull it over her head, but I smile and say that I am really annoyed and maybe there is some way to solve this problem? Like maybe expedite this situation?

Her lip is really quivering now, so I ask where Gil is. She glances toward the supply closet but says, "Um, don't know. He was just here..."

I grin evilly at her and almost tell her that she really needs to keep her day job and not entertain fantasies about joining a theater troupe because she sucks big time at acting. I go to the supply closet and yank open the door. Gil is standing behind a big box. I know this because I can see him in the big mirror on the other side of the room. I walk right up to him and he looks shocked, like I am psychic or something. He looks like Liv used to look when we would play hide and seek when she was four and she would hide her eyes on her bed and think that if she couldn't see me, I couldn't see her. I will let him keep his illusions.

I am only five feet tall, so it isn't like I am hugely hovering over him,but hey...I am hovering nicely. I glare at him and tell him that I want toner by this afternoon. I don't care if he has to go skip to Office Max or wherever himself, I WANT THAT TONER.

I was promised the toner and I want it, I am clear when I say this. I say it slowly and meaningfully. He glares up at me and looks as if he might say something snotty to me. So, I decide to take a chance.

I say, "Gil, I wasn't planning to take this to Alan (Alan is head of office supplies, but he is always in meetings or at office supply seminars...I practically never see him but I know for a fact that he is an even bigger asshole than Gil) but if you don't get me that freakin' toner, I will not only make a big stink to Alan, I will also let him know that you are looking at porn during office hours. Which, by the way, is just odious."

Gil's eyes almost pop out of his head. I almost smile because like...SCORE! Instead, I hold his gaze. Gil already thinks I am psychic because I looked through a packing box and saw him, now he thinks that I have totally spied his porn stash too.

Gil looks away for a second and then tells me that he will have the toner by late this afternoon.

"Make it two canisters," I say. "We need a back up canister."

By 4:15, we had our toner. Nanette signed the requisition form and we were gold.

I told Nanette that she needs to always keep an extra toner for ALL the machines. She gave me her surly nod. Yeah, that bedroom is going to be all tidy when I get home, you bet your butt, Brittney.


But, at least I shook up Gil's ass.

And do I look like I feel guilty for yelling and waving my freak flag at a little person? Nope. Because we are all equal. We all have to eat a serving of shit now and again and it was his turn. Nobody puts Baby in a corner! Nobody messes with a righteous woman and her toner.

Now, if I could just intimidate Nanette. Maybe I could pretend to be able to read her cat's mind. Yeah.

I have the makings of a real bitch in me, yes? And I am just scratching the surface.

Don't mess with the Maria. She kicks ass and takes names, sucker.


kristi said...

You go, girl! I worked with a deaf girl and she was a total asshole...could not STAND her!

Earth Muffin said...

That was awesome.

teeveezed said...


He needed a kick in the crotch.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I am sick of people with handicaps who trade on them, always expecting special treatment. I'm glad you put Gil in his place, but now we need to do something about Nanette. She is trading on being old because she knows that you would not like to be seen as someone who fires an old woman. She is probably doing less and less all the time because she can. Something's got to give because she is screwing with your quality of life and compromising the whole office. And what a great post losing her will make! Yes, I'm a bitch in training, too. See my training wheels?

JY said...

just cuz they have some kind of "handicap" does not make them immune.....

B said...

Good for you!!!

sybil law said...

Well here's something even more UN PC - little people (I say midget, too) give me the creeps. Always have - no real idea why.
Regardless, good for you - fuck Gil and his lame ass attitude.
While you're on a roll, can you at least THREATEN that useless Nanette with being fired if she doesn't get her shit together?
I don't know how you can deal with her.

Annemarie of Holland said...

Don't know if my other comment came through, but I am SO with heartinsanfrancisco on Nanette!

Anonymous said...


Jean said...

GAH!!!! Do you have a tech person? Porn sites should be BLOCKED at work, for the luv of gawd. Ick. And what a jerk.

And Nanette? She There's a great admin out there right now, looking for a job that you need to hire. Surly ass Nanette can file for unemployment. Period. Start documenting, via email, every time she is insubordinate to you. That way when she files for wrongful termination/age discrimination, you have a 50lb. file of WHY.

Feeling your pain...

LizC said...

I was also thinking something's gotta give with Nanette too. I too was wondering if reverse ageism is in play here. From your decription, her attitude is definitely detrimental to the functioning of a professional office.

English Rider said...

and so a new reality TV program is born...Funny post. Unable to refrain from offering unsolicited practical advice: use call forwarding to automatically send your faxes to another fully-toned machine.

Anonymous said...

hilarious and on top of an very excellent and sage post.



Lawfrog said...

You're my hero! Seriously!! Gil is a total asshole and has probably been getting away with his assholishness his entire life because everyone gives him a pass since he's a little person. YOU GO MARIA!!

Katie in CT said...

You verbally decked him, even better! How often did we wish we had the courage to confront someone like Gil? Way to go, Maria!

Miss Healthypants said...

Oh my gosh, Maria - you are my hero!! *smiles*

"Nobody puts Baby in a corner! Nobody messes with a righteous woman and her toner." BEST LINE EVER!! :) That really made me laugh. :)