How I Quit Smoking
1. The Lozenge
So I’m at work and I realize that I need to have copies of a letter to this client — deadline yesterday — for my boss. I go to the copier. Put the paper on the little glass thing, whatever you call it, shut the trap (that is what it’s called, isn’t it?), notice it’s set on “1” and hit Start. Nothing. I hit Start again. Nothing. I open the trap, shut it, reset for “1” and hit Start again. Nothing.
Ralph saunters over. “Problem?”
Ralph is the annoying office boy, kinda like that guy on “Saturday Night Live” except Ralph’s hair is worse and he’s not funny.
“No, Ralph.” I tap my finger against the machine and stare, wide-eyed, at Ralph. “Don’t you need to be somewhere, Ralph?” I’m pissed. I’m a nice person and this asshole has me being bitchy. Damn. I keep staring at this asshole.
Ralph looks at the letter I’m copying. He smiles. “You should have done those yesterday. That’s what I did.”
He walks away and I realize the lozenge isn’t working. It sucks.
2. The Gum
It is Tuesday. Another meeting day. This time I’ve thought ahead and I have my copies. I am awesome and in control of my destiny. I will tell myself this all day.
My cubicle is clean. I spent all day yesterday thinking about organization and management. If I can organize and manage my life, I can organize and manage my craving. I feel good. This is working.
“Hey, hey, hey…”
Oh shit. It’s Ralph. What the hell does he want? Doesn’t he feel my intense hatred seeping through the particle board that separates us?
“Yes, Ralph.” It’s a statement. I acknowledge his presence but that’s it.
“Just wondered if you put together those files for the bowosss.” He draws the word boss out like he’s invented it.
Fuck. No, I haven’t. I forgot all about it. I cannot, will not, let Ralph see me freak out. “What do you mean files? Did she want them for today’s meeting?” Shit. I have now freaked out in front of Ralph. And it bites.
3. The Patch
Thank God it’s Friday. I tell myself this all day long hoping it will make five o’clock come faster. The minute hand on the clock sneers at me as it crawls around the face. Occasionally I sneer back.
Ralph pokes his head over the partition. Why can’t this goddamn company afford actual walls?
“Hey, Tin-Tin.” Ralph has decided that “Tin-Tin” not only embodies a suitable nickname but is actually some sort of compliment. I cannot figure out how since I’ve heard there’s a dog bearing a similar name. I know he thinks it’s a compliment because last Wednesday he sprayed that all over me, drunk, at an impromptu happy hour.
I know I now loathe Ralph.
I now seethe.
“It’s Christina.” I glare with meaning, I think. “My friends,” I stare again, “my friends call me Tina.
He slithers around the partition, and slaps me in the arm, like I’m his pal. I look at my arm. Dammit. It hurts now. I decide to try something new and smile at him.
“Sure, you can call me Tin-Tin.” What am I saying? I have now officially lost my ever-lovin’ mind. I give him the buddy tap back, just a bit harder than he did.
“Well, babe, if you insist.” He taps. This time fuckin’ hard.
I give him a long, drawn out laugh and wonder how much of a red mark this will leave on my tricep.
I hate Monday mornings. I cannot work out the switch from weekend mode to workday mode. About half of my coffee splashes like modern art on my silk blouse. Shit.
Ralph, chipper as ever, has been at the office for at least an hour now. Fucker.
My eyes roll until they hurt and I’m afraid they won’t find their way back home.
“You ready for another great work week?”
You’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t stand this ass. My stomach growls.
“Didn’t you eat your breakfast, Tin-Tin?”
I want to answer him, but I can’t. This is killing me. I can’t bring myself to admit that the vegetables I ate last night are not leaving me peacefully. I have to get rid of him before I blow him out of the room with, um, some gastrointestinal issues.
“Get the fuck out of my cubicle, bitch.”
Ralphie leaves and I swear, if he had a tail, it was tucked between his legs.