So my boss and I have an amusing pastime which is to torment one another over owls.
I like owls. I have kind of a thing for owls. It’s a thing. Don’t judge me.
A while ago we bought a little print of an owl at a street fair and I took it to work to hang on my office wall. My boss was not a fan. “It looks mean!” she said. I had it sitting on my desk and she’d stand there talking to me and my office mate and then oh so casually she’d reach over and turn it around so its back was to us.
Eventually I put it up on the wall, over where she couldn’t easily reach it, but before I did I made a single color copy and a black and white copy. I used the primitive Office version of Paint to cut, paste and resize the b&w owl image to many sizes, printed a few sheets of this, and cut all the little pictures out. She happened to be out of the office on a Friday so I taped them up all over her office, onto her framed pictures, behind things, under the phone receiver, you name it. I dragged my office mate in as witness because I was nervous about anyone thinking I’d prowled around in her office inappropriately (aside of course from bombing it with owl pictures).
On Monday I was sick and laid around at home fretting: What if she didn’t think it was funny? Oh God, what have I done?!
Finally I received a text: Oh, you’re diabolical.
Then another: But you have met your match. Watch out! I’ll get you back when you least expect it.
A few weeks later she tried to get me back by having various staff pretend to call in sick, but I didn’t get as excited about it as I probably should have so she dropped it.
Months passed. Finally I was out shopping for the program one glorious, sunny Friday afternoon. I was at Walgreens buying vitamins or something. My boss was in California at a corporate meeting, after which she would be going on vacation to the East Coast for two weeks. I’d be in charge while she’s gone, and I was nervous about this.
I get a text from her: Did you see my email? Why is DBHR calling? Are they there yet?
Uh, DBHR is the state.
Then: I’m trying to get an earlier flight back. This meeting is boring anyway.
What?! I reply that I’m shopping but I think I’ll just pop back to the program and make sure everything is okay.
No, she texts back. Not an emergency! Finish your shopping.
A minute later: Wonder who could be complaining to them about us?
I wonder if it’s a patient we’d had recently who is known to file grievances; he’d been upset that we wouldn’t allow him to use electronics like his cell phone or tablet. He enjoyed threatening to sue us.
Nah, she says. The state wouldn’t care about that. They only care about abuse, neglect, death.
Abuse?! Neglect?! DEATH?!! Now I am freely panicking. Sweat is starting to bead up on my forehead. I feel faint.
….Yeah, they would care about abuse. Like maybe abuse of a DON who richly deserved it, maybe for covering someone’s office in owls or something.
Oh internets. You know when you ride a really scary roller coaster, and you’re not so sure you should be doing this, and you’re pretty sure you’re going to die? And you don’t die, and afterward you’re so giddy with relief that you can’t stop laughing and smiling? You’re like, hysterical with relief? You know that feeling? Yeah. That was the feeling. I laughed for about thirty full minutes. I walked through the store laughing and smiling uncontrollably with relief such that total strangers laughed along with me. I probably looked like a candidate for my workplace.
Oh, you got me good, I texted to her. You got me real good. But you’d better start sleeping with one eye open.
Recently we had a “getting to know you” activity posted in the hallway at work. Each of us listed three interesting facts about ourselves. My boss’s last fact: Not fond of owls.
I promptly printed up a little something and pasted it over that line: I love owls with every fiber of my being.
Shortly thereafter I found pictures of owls with the red circle/slash symbol over them pasted to things in my office. There was one in my fridge.
Today she sent me a link to a site about fractal art. It was a picture of a hawk or some other type of raptor, which she had mistaken for an owl. I googled “fractal art owl” and sent her that link. She replied: Ugly!!!
I emailed her: Oh, did I show you my new wallpaper?