Another workshop and training seminar at work. The only thing I could think of was that if I feigned an Ebola contamination, there was a chance this ridiculous experience in counterproductive team building would be shut down. Unfortunately it also meant I would more than likely be held in quarantine with little access to cocktails or digital cable.
Ironically this particular meeting involved the keys to customer and employee satisfaction. These meetings have become a regular monthly occurrence at the service headquarters of the once giant retail company that I am employed, where most of the focus in sales is now on large appliances to redneck and racist customers that make it a point to insist we are taking the Christ out of Christmas by saying "Happy Holidays" or who share their segregationist like views that an interracial couple has no reason to be standing under mistletoe in our latest Christmas advertisement. One can only wonder that if you stop and think about it, Jesus may have been a little more ebony than ivory, having originated in the Middle East after all, and who are we to say he didn't like a little milk in his Cocoa Puffs. In this scenario I am also assuming that Jesus is straight.
As our meeting soon begins I am readying myself for two hours of pure Hell, sprinkled with heavy lidded boredom.....and then she spoke. Her name is Judy Shittalker. Her name was not really Judy Shittalker but that is what I named her soon after discovering her talent of the boisterous and the inane.
Our instructor had begun his oral interpretation of the customer service model, only to be immediately interrupted by an overweight, explicative slinging angel that was sent from redneck heaven, otherwise known as Wal-Mart, to break up the interminable monotony that the afternoon had just promised to be filled with.
"Did you know Golden Chick has a 78 oz sweet iced tea" Judy shouted. I was not aware myself of this fact and by the looks of the individuals around me,, neither were they. "Well I'm gonna tell you right now, that shit is delicious!"
I personally didn't understand what a bathtub sized sweet tea had to do with corporate customer service and quickly figured out, I also didn't care. I was now awake, I was listening because God knew what this redneck loose cannon was capable of in two hours.
The instructor was a fairly handsome man. He did have a slight speech impediment and a leg that was shorter than the other. I probably would have given all my attention to this man as he lisped and limped around the classroom, had it not been for Judy. Judy was now a vested interest.
As our instructor began to explain our customer care model, Judy interrupted Limpy McLipser to declare that the information he was providing was nothing more than "mish-mash and gobbledy gook" Those are not real words, I thought to myself, except for gook as I was informed very recently by a disgruntled customer. With her declaration Judy then hoisted her giant tea into the air and took a sip while meeting direct eye contact with our instructor. Her eyes seemed to say, "YES IT IS GOING DOWN LIKE THIS".
Soon after her remark Judy bent down to pick up a stray M&M that had fallen from the table in front of her, revealing a tattoo that was emblazoned amongst her watermelon sized breasts. It was Sylvester from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. To this day I do not now what the statement inside the speech bubble stated other than the word PUSSY, which was clearly noticeable.
Our instructor did his best to stay on topic, but Judy would interject with nonsensical statements about the origin of steel cut oats, the history of pioneer territories in the Western United States and the difference between cockroach specimens from North versus South America.
Her rants were so random and clueless and she didn't care if someone asked her about these topics or not as they were all offered with the same degree of importance and volume from Judy. It was as if Foghorn Leghorn and Mama June from "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" fame had had a baby, and that baby was severely shaken and grew up to love sweet iced tea. The bastard result was now sitting in front of me searching for yet another stray M&M that she by no means was leaving on the floor for Periplaneta Americana (the American Cockroach) to find later.
Our instructor quickly moved to another service model and gave an example of doing your best to move up within our company. Judy's thoughts on this was to explain "If I was the boss I would take all the best people and move them to the bottom of the heap" A collage of perplexed faces stared back at her, but in my mind I could only think SO WOULD I ! I mean I would do it just to be shitty, but for Judy this was some incomprehensible sort of corporate structure that only she had the power to devise and understand.
Our instructor soon seemed ready to step in. Not really a step I guess more like a hobble or stagger. "Judy" he began, "it is our job to influence our co-workers as to do the very best we can as a team". This remark didn't change Judy's outlook as she shot back, " I actually try not to influence others and if they are influenced then they need to mind their own Goddamed business".
As the afternoon meandered on, more and more gems of wisdom came from Judy and the instructor even tried to compliment her by calling her feelings "passionate and fiery" but Judy seemed uncomfortable by the wording and looked like she may have been filing a sexual harassment charge inside her head.
As the meeting eventually came to a close, with little accomplished other than most of us learning of Judy's favorite do it yourself rash ointment recipe when contracting a skin infection from a pet pig, Judy then seemed quiet as if she wanted to explain something, something that didn't involve rashes or pigs, or even iced tea.
"I know I can be loud and I get off topic" she started "It's only because I guess I feel that no one has ever really heard me." Soon everyone seemed to take a sincere interest in what Judy was saying. " I am loud to be heard, I tell stories and facts to seem interesting" and I guess I am stubborn and bull headed because I just don't trust people. I never really had a chance to you know? No one ever wanted to be nice to me or be a friend, so I just kinda gave up and did my own thing and said whatever the hell I wanted to".
Right then and there we started seeing her in a whole new light. This was someone that for all her crass and crazy behavior was just wanting be liked and share one tiny bit of companionship with another human being.
A girl that had been so quiet during the entire meeting turned to Judy and said, "Hey, my girlfriend and I are going to grab a drink with some friends after work and we would love it if you join us"?
With the beginning of tears in her eyes Judy looked up and calmly said, "I appreciate the offer but I am not really into your lifestyle" And with that our meeting was adjourned.