My husband J and I do the best thing when we get home from work; we stand in the kitchen, sharing a joint and tell each other about our day. At a little before 6pm, the sun is just leaving behind that muted brilliance of summertime light, and it softens our little kitchen and part of the hall. The cat lays his big fat beer belly across the carpet, enjoying one of us trailing around a piece of string and we talk about the crazy fucked up shit that happens at work.
Today he told me about his unbalanced nutbag architect of a boss who gives him all kinds of shit for other peoples’ fuckups. Then there’s the Russian foreman who had a breakdown after several years of working for The Nutbag and was basically publicly ridiculed for something every day, even after J was given his job and more money – we feel kinda sorry for the guy, he used to give J hell and they hated each other and would bump heads on the job site all the time. But now he’s been all bitched into submission and you can’t help feel glad that it’s not you. For a while he would tell me about this shady skinny dude on the job that would slide up next to him in the elevator and try to squeeze his ass – naughty! also hilare.
Typically I tell him about what’s pissing me off at work, a dipshit client or retarded co-worker whose job application I begin to suspect has been falsified. Today I told him about the co-worker I had been bitching about yesterday, and how today we were told she wouldn’t be coming in as her son had passed away. That was a shock and everyone just stood there and said they didn’t know what to say. I had been so annoyed with her because every time I work with her, she always end up leaving for some period of time for some terrible reason. When I met her, she was severely obese, pushing 400lbs easy. I don’t know how she managed the travel, but she ended up having heart surgery twice, so that look a long time to recover from. She was on her second marriage to a man 10 years her junior and had two boys in their late teens, one of which was a high functioning autistic who was still living at home. Then she was in a very bad car accident and apparently developed a chronic pain condition. I didn’t see her for two years but when I did, she had had some type of bariatric surgery as she was now literally half her size and then she had surgeries to remove excess skin. She said she was getting her tits and ass done but I don’t know if she did.
A while later her sister died, terminal cancer. Then one of her sons had gotten married pretty young, and fathered a baby born with a congenital heart defect, who lived a while but never made it home. His fledging marriage didn’t last, and later, this woman got divorced again. Since we started working together on this project a couple months ago, she’s been absent weeks for her son being sick (no longer at home though), her mother having open heart surgery and most recently she’s been out for 3 weeks, hospitalized with something. I complained to J about being left in the lurch and scrambling to reassemble the team and not get behind schedule. About soothing the client while trying to find out what she was working on and get it covered, only to have her call this week and say she’s coming back sometime in the next 2 weeks and can we stop everything and catch her up?
Since I am used to her being gone for personal reasons so much, I wasn’t even feeling much sympathy for her being out sick, but when I heard about her son this morning, I felt terrible. I couldn’t help thinking that at the same time I was bad mouthing her last night, she was probably receiving the news. Damn. How can one person have so much tragedy in a life? I can’t even imagine.
Being able to wind down together while relaying the day is not something J and I have ever gotten to do before, I’m always on the road, 4 days a week. It’s been eight years like that, and that kinda blows my mind. But I really love this time and I know I won’t get to do it forever, I’ll have to go back on the road eventually. And I just realized how much it means to me.