the new job, and I nearly manage to act normal for an entire week

I don’t have strep throat! Hallelujah. I thought I did. Kate did. And I have some sort of upper respiratory fun that has produced, among other things, a horrible sore throat. But, as the nurse at the clinic informed me when I showed up and demanded that I also be tested for strep, “You’d be really sick, like can’t-go-to-work sick.” I insisted that this might not be true because Kate had still been going to work and because I would be going to work no matter how sick I was; I couldn’t very well call out of my brand new job on only the second week. What kind of impression would that make? They may have hired a fully qualified invalid, but they certainly didn’t need to KNOW that. Not yet.

Well, as it turns out, Kate and I have both managed to become quite ill independently from one another.

Anyhoo, moving on. I promised you all stories about the new job, but so far, it’s been void of much action. This is partly because I haven’t been able to work on the actual team I was hired for until they process my background, security info, and lots of fun stuff like that. Oh the joys of government work. So I’ve just been working on odds-and-ends editing tasks and palling around with a terribly nice admin lady (who seems to be temporarily in charge of me) and some other random new guy who is also in the process of being processed.

Last Friday, however, my admin friend was not in the office and, of course, it was the day that my badge wouldn’t work. One must use such a badge to get through pretty much every door in the building, but since I was new and didn’t have one yet, I had been issued a temporary badge. On Friday, the temporary badges weren’t working. None of them. And not only was my nice admin friend out of the office, but everybody else from our section seemed to be too. I mean, who wants to work on a Friday? Besides the new kids that is.

I basically could not get through any doors by myself and could not even lurk around said doors waiting to pounce on the coattails of other employees, because there WERE NO OTHER EMPLOYEES. Well, hardly any.

So every time I had to leave and pee, and if you know much about me you know this is about every 20 minutes, I had to take the elevator down seven stories and bother the security guard at the front desk. He, in turn, had to get some other person to come and man his post while he came all the way back upstairs with me to let me back into my section of the office.

Needless to say, I made a valiant effort to make it at least an hour between trips to the bathroom. This was accomplished through numerous texts to Kass (I need a new nickname for her since she’s no longer Roomei; Bestie, maybe? I’ll think on that.) complaining about my awkward circumstances and tiny bladder. I should have picked a more sympathetic audience. After the third or fourth such complaint, I received a response that read simply, “Drip…drip…drip…waterfalls. Ocean. Lake. Rain…”

Finally, hours later, my friend, the other new kid, arrived in the office (he is not a morning person, apparently). I thought he might be able to help me out, since he sat quite close to the door. I didn’t want to explain about having to pee, since I really didn’t know him all THAT well, so I explained about the badge problem, said I was going down the hall to the kitchen (clever substitution on my part – much less awkward to mention than the bathroom), and asked if he would mind letting me back in when I knocked on the door.

Friends, catastrophe of epic proportions: HE OFFERED TO GO WITH ME. “Oh, I was just thinking I needed some coffee, I’ll walk over with you.” He really is very nice, but seriously?

I couldn’t sneak off to the bathroom with him in tow. And I couldn’t just leave again in a couple of minutes, because he would wonder why I hadn’t just said I needed to visit the bathroom the first time around. And I couldn’t sneak back out and get the security guard to let me in again, because my friend sat right by the door and would notice exactly what was going on.

I don’t know why I was so oddly incapable of just admitting that I had to pee, which, in other company, is something I will yell across a crowded room.

Somehow, I survived another EXTREMELY UNPLEASANT hour or so. This time, I did not announce where I was going at all, but just left with the hope that he would remember my original request about letting me back in when I knocked. Either way, it was a much more awkward and uncomfortable work day than I had been planning to have or, possibly, had ever experienced.

So, moral of the story: White lies are entirely harmless 99.8 percent of the time. But that other 0.02 percent will bite you in the bum (or cause intense discomfort to certain other body parts) with a vengeance.

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