I live for Friday, what some would say is "Wishing my life away".
Not that the week was bad. It’s just that my favorite thing to do is to stay inside, not leave the unit unless I want to and Friday signifies my having two whole days in a row — rather than a day here, a day there to indulge myself in doing my favorite thing.
Yesterday was one of those rare days when I was able to stay indoors and, while sitting in my perch on the couch, it occurred to me that, but for the fact I must leave the unit on Monday, Wednesday, Friday to work out, I could easily turn into a complete recluse. Be perfectly content opening the windows to the sun, spotting neighbors out and about during the day while I myself meditated, watched television, worked on that needlepoint project (now in its third year with it looking like another three to completion) and, when the sun goes down, leaving insufficient lighting to continue needlepointing, switching to work on the scrapbook of the most photographed child in America, my great grandbaby.
Having been too sleepy Monday to watch this season’s Summer Baking Championship, on Food Network, I’d recorded it and while catching up yesterday, seeing the new crop of bakers, how they’d fared, I couldn’t help but wonder how embarrassing it must have been for a baker who introduced herself as "Executive Pastry Chef ……… previously nominated for a James Beard award as Best Pastry Chef", to be the first to go home — before a home baker even, and before a guy who didn’t finish decorating or get the mandatory twist on his cake.
First round, the James Beard baker produced a cake donut, which Duff pronounced as "really chewy, tasting like a pretzel that’s not done".
Elimination round, she produced a cake Damaris evaluated as "Leany"; Carla said her water feature gelatin was "Rubbery, looked like a piece of salami". So, the James Beard baker was eliminated, the first to go home from the competition.
Calling 'em as I see 'em, when she first introduced herself, there was something about her that caused me to think I’d not choose her to bake a cake for me. She seemed stern, dry, humorless.
Further judging her book by its cover, I guessed she, as Executive Chef, might be difficult to work alongside of, that she was probably a pill, pompous, arrogant, lording over those she was in charge of, throwing her James Beard nomination in their face.
Going home first had to be the absolute worst humbling experience ever for her.
Thinking about her returning to work, after having failed so miserably, opened the vault and made me think of a guy I worked for at the law firm.
Some kind of personal friend of the General Counsel, who was head attorney over all attorneys in the firm, this guy had just finished law school, not yet taken the bar exam but, because of whatever relationship he had with the GC, was hired on with the expectation he would pass the bar.
This guy came in like gangbusters. He wasn’t mean or cruel to me, it was just that he was pompous, arrogant, pushy, creepy, always had a blank look in his eyes as though the lights were on but no one was home.
My skin crawled when he’d call me into his office to give instructions, because he never looked in my face, never talked to ME. He talked to my pelvic area. With a creepy smirk on his lips and a faraway look in his blank eyes, it was like he had x-ray vision and was undressing me as he gave instructions to my pelvis.
I didn’t like him — no one really did, but being assigned as his secretary, working so closely with him, I saw what others did not see, was witness to the weird things he did.
Like the time, we received a very big bill for the rental car I’d ordered for a business trip he'd taken.
I couldn’t figure out how it was he’d returned from that business trip weeks and weeks and weeks already, but the rental place was still charging us.
Getting to the bottom of it, he said he didn’t understand it either because, upon his return, he’d parked the car on the back lot of the airport rental place, left the keys in it.
He didn’t seem to know or understand that just parking the car somewhere on the lot, without notifying one of the agents, did not serve as having checked the car back in.
Also, any part of his job that he could push off on me, he did. Up to and including, when it was time for him to take the bar exam, he gave me his paperwork, told me to fill it out and submit.
It was an odd request but, of course, I did as I was told ..... except, there was a check yes or no question on the paperwork that I couldn’t just assume, so I asked. He didn’t answer my inquiry. Instead, he just smiled his creepy smirky smile at my pelvic until standing in his office became so uncomfortable for me, as I waited for his reply, that I just exited the office and left the yes/no question blank.
The yes/no question was "Have you ever been in a mental institution" or something to that effect.
I remember thinking it very telling that he would not give me an answer.
At any rate, the paperwork was accepted, he took the exam and failed it miserably.
I can still see the look on his face, and his frantic body language, when he returned to the office the morning after being notified of failing to pass the bar.
He was frantic, running back/forth to the GC's office, here/there like a chicken with its head cut off, and I didn't know why.
Word quickly spread, and it was a secretary in another section that called me to say, "God does not like ugly".
"What do you mean?", asked I.
"He didn’t pass the bar", said she.
The guy never said a word to me about failing, and the General Counsel removed him immediately from being assigned to my Environmental section, into an obscure office closer to his own (the GC’s) office, which was great that I didn’t have to deal with him any longer.
The secretary that got stuck with him called me one day but, for the life of me, I can't remember what it was he'd done that she needed to talk out with me; but she didn't have to suffer long because, from what I recall, the fiasco was such an embarrassment for the GC that the guy just disappeared one day, without a word as to whether he was let go or quit.
I doubt he ever retook the bar exam or, if he did, passed because had he done so, the GC would have wanted to save face, found a way to bring him back.
I know another who failed the bar. It was early in my career, and I didn't work for this second guy per se.
I was working for a small municipality, where he was a member of the City Counsel.
Very nice man, he became a legend for having failed the bar exam 47 times before passing, but his job wasn’t incumbent upon his passing. Passing was a personal goal he was determined to accomplish and, after 25 years, he passed on his 48th try.
Sometimes bad things happen to sketchy people, even when they have a GC carving a path for them, and good happens for good people who persist on their own.
So, anyway, if my assumptions of the James Beard baker are correct and she's not a sweetheart who is highly favored by those she's in charge of, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when she returned to the workplace.