Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rebel Without A Pause

Steven Slater, a Jet Blue Flight Attendant with 28 years experience under his beverage cart, gets hit on the head by an aggregiously obnoxious passenger, and without stopping to pause, he snapped. America has fallen in love with this man for, if nothing else, the flare with which he bid his adieu. As I understand it, he took to the public address system to apologize to the other passengers, called the head banging bastard a name the implies he likes to fuck his mother, grabbed a beer from the galley, pulled the emergency chute, slid down as only a Queen could, walked past tarmacs and runways to his car, drove home and waited for the police.

Can't you just see him sitting there with his uniform uncharacteristically askew, looking at the beer still in his hand, thinking to himself, I grabbed a fucking BEER?

Or how about this young girl. Hard to say whether this actually happened or it was staged.  Either way, it's the way so many of us would love to go.  Telling our employers to stick that in their pipe and take a good long hit of shut the fuck up.

I had my own mental breakdown at work last month. Mine had flare as well but there were no arrests made and I didn't get to grab a beer on my way out. It would seem my pause button was not functioning that day. Rule #1 of office etiquette is to type angry emails but never send them right away. You should let them steep while you simmer. I know this, really I do. But on this day, I had managed to walk into work for the first time in months and direct my attention to my duties in a positive and productive manner.

I'm not saying I'd been slacking but I certainly hadn't been giving it my all. I'm grappling with an ex-husband who will be sentenced later this month for a white collar crime, embezzeling just over $1.3 from his employer, yet still not paying me for his share of the kids medical and educational expenses. I had just broken up with my long term boyfriend who went from being a God to a festering, puss spewing, Mephistopheles seemingly overnight. I'm carrying a bit of a chip, ney a boulder, on my shoulder when it comes to our penis endowed counterparts.

But on this particular morning, I had managed to overcome. I was plugged into my Ipod and I was back on my game. Then the most arogant and unholy email arrived from a man, addressed to the entire network of companies. It felt like someone popped my lovely little happy bubble and I began to seeth with anger. Hormonally speaking, this is what I refer to as "random bouts of rage". Being the creative writer I am, I couldn't reply with something simple like, oh say for example, that wasn't very nice.

No, not me. Instead I typed with my 95 WPM fingers moving every bit as fast as my brain could tick off every known explitive I could imagine. Along with berading him for numbing the morale of the masses, I suggested he should take a good long look at his own moral fiber. Then I ended by giving myself an out, suggesting perhaps he was being sarcastic, just joking, because then I could go back to thinking he wasn't going to be damned to hell to burn for all eternity.  Did I mention, this man is the President of one of our companies? Oh, I did I also mention, I hit reply to all?

I spent the rest of the day being lauded as a hero. My phone lit up, people were lined up outside my office to worship me. I was the Steven Slater of my industry. But like Mr. Slater, I knew I needed to sit still and wait for the repercusion. It came in the form of a call from my boss, the President of my company, who told me the Board of Directors would be meeting over the weekend to discuss my fate. He assured me he would do everything in his power to save me but he told me it did not look good. He was preparing me for the enevitability of unemployment. The last thing he said to me, in his south side Chicago, deadpan style was, Jesus Christ, couldn't you just have waited until you calmed down?

How could I tell him my pause button wasn't functioning?  How could he know I was chemically unbalanced with menopausal homones, hot flashes and rage against mankind or man(un)kind in my case. Was I subconsciously trying to sabotage a twenty year career in this industry so I could run off like Elizabeth Gilbert and do some Eating, Praying, Loving and Writing? Perhaps.

I didn't lose my job. I was given a two-week suspension without pay to "send a message", that being - yes, it does suck to work here and we don't want to hear from you about how bad it sucks because the economy sucks right now and you're not going to find anything better. So shut up and work like you're living the dream.

And all it makes me want to do is pull the emergency chute on my life, grab a beer and go home to write.


  1. I live in fear of hitting reply all in error one day. Or accidently putting something wrong on Facebook. I'm glad you survived. Did you enjoy the two weeks off, despite the no pay?

  2. Elder - I already had a girls reunion trip planned for the first little part so I was able to travel back to Oklahoma to see 7 of my best girlfriends. After that, it was pretty much boring. No money meant no spontaneous vacations. BTW, I intentionally hit reply to all. My crazy flag was flying extra high that day.

  3. Is that a crazy flag you were flying? Or perhaps the ultra wonderful "sometimes you've just gotta call a spade a dirty little shovel" flag?

  4. I suppose you are right Mongo. It needed to be done but I'm a single mom who could have been living on the streets, so that kinda makes it crazy, in retrospect of course.

  5. It's tricky, eh? Flying the flag sometimes gets you fired, and sometimes gets you respect. God knows I've gambled wrong and fucked that up a million times. But when it get it right? Ahhhhhh.

  6. Hey Mongo - I need to converse with you privately. Can't find your old blog and email address. Please provide. And yes, that feeling when you stepped off the ledge and got it right. Nothing like it.

  7. I would say that two-week suspension was totally worth it.

  8. See, I don't hear about this kind of thing over here. Thanks for this post, otherwise I wouldn't have been made aware of my new hero.