Tangles with the Rabbit Warren

Beatrix Potter--Benjamin Bunny--1904So I’ve told you once about the first identified bunny, who shall now be called Butterscotch.

And I’ve said I’ll try to make work issues interesting to others, but this is written for one person, really. I keep rewriting this to anonymize it more and more and more, even though I don’t give a fuck, because I don’t want to hurt the people who have to show up on Monday, and my stats tell me people are sharing this work-related shit on Facebook and I can’t tell who it is. Hello, Facebook! Hello to you!

I’m sure some of you have figured out what my profession is (the rest of you don’t have more than the vaguest of interests), but all you need to know is I work at places with databases. In this last place I was at, we have a public facing database of our products. You can search it from the web and see our inventory. Easy-peasy. This is not difficult to understand. And yet, one department in our organization could not fucking grasp it. Or maybe they just couldn’t let go of the pickle and get their hand out of the jar so as to grasp it, I don’t know.

This is the department that Butterscotch is in! Of course. (Now, there are some very nice people in that department–in all departments. The good, nice people all are willing to learn and admit when they make mistakes and are kind. In short, they are normal. This post is not about them.) At least once a month, we peons in the department that processes the inventory (the Underworld) get an email from someone in said department, which I will call the Warren, asking if something is in our inventory. The easy, codependent thing to do, and the thing that many people do, is search our database and send them a sarcastic message back telling them what you did to figure out if the item was in the database or not. However, sarcasm is useless on stupid people. It just doesn’t take. They only hear what they want to hear and usually take everything literally.

This last time it happened was particularly representative of some Warren behavior, and someone I love got real irritated. She may out herself if she chooses, but I’ll leave her be.

This wasn’t Butterscotch. It came from a different rabbit, Applesauce, and in the form of a sixty-odd item list that she had sent repeatedly to Z with the query, “Are these items in the database?” I don’t know, Applesauce–are they? What is an item, Applesauce? What is the intrinsic nature of things? Can anyone actually ever own anything? Don’t we really just borrow it from the Universe? Aren’t hands, like, amazing? Whoa.

Z had responded once in October that some items never would be ours and why, but the others would be available soon.

In January, Applesauce asked again, “Are these items in the database yet? I haven’t heard from you.” Z sent the email chain back to Applesauce, and said, “See my response in the previous message.” Ah, the old email chain trick. It only works on people who live in reality with a healthy dose of shame. I’ve sent the chain to someone before after not having heard from her in six months asking if she still remembered me, and she responded to me, “My, how fast a week goes by!” The Force was strong in that one. I’m going to try it someday. Just obfuscate and deny and change the subject. It was really amazing. I had no idea what to say to someone who brought a croquet mallet to a poker game. It was so odd I just kept it moving, so mission accomplished. You crazy. I’m not fucking with you. When people act unpredictably, it makes other people nervous, because you don’t know what to expect at any given moment, so you usually don’t get aggressive, even when you have a right to; instead you get very, very docile. Take it from a loon.

And with Applesauce, the email chain had no effect. Z had a long reprieve between these series of botherings. There were other rabbitings to be suffered, of course, but this issue was sporadic. Silence should not be interpreted as the end of an issue, however. With dumb people, you never know.

In March, Applesauce asked again. “Dear Z, I haven’t heard from you yet, and if I have, I don’t have the response in my email.” (Not true. What she didn’t have was the response she wanted, but details, details.) “Are these items in the database? Butterscotch keeps asking, and I’d like to alert the public if they are.”

Z, after some local yelling, finally responded in kind. “Applesauce, are you having some trouble searching the database? Seer or I would be happy to instruct you in doing so.”

This did not seem to sink in. Two hours later:

“Z, let me make myself clear [emphasis mine, but she really did say this, I swear to fucking piss]: we would like to alert the public to the presence of these items, and I really, really need to know if they are in the database. Please let me know if they are present or not. Thank you for your assistance.”

At that point, Z and I bumped it up (oh, I am involved now, you bet your boots I am, because I think this shit is fun. I asked Z to give me a taste. Some are sicker than others), because neither of us were going to be very nice. Satisfied, perhaps; nice, not likely. We were told to send a message that said we could search the database for her, but it would be much faster for her to search it herself. I was going to call her and ask her in real-time what the issue was, because “I’m not sure I do understand the issue. Why don’t you make yourself clear, Applesauce?” Really, I’m not. What the fuck was her deal? Tell me. Tell me. Make yourself clear. You can be all big and bad behind email, but when I saw her twenty minutes after she sent this message in a meeting, she would not make eye contact. I said hi and got a murmured weird response. Why? Dunno. I just sat directly across from her and stared at her for two hours, smiling like a crazy person and she wouldn’t look at me. What? I’m not going to cut you! Not at work!

I’m still not clear.

Applesauce has been quiet again. So she’ll probably ask again in July if the items are in the database. Because that’s how she rolls.

Here’s how insane this all got: I was then going to have a workshop on searching. Just to make the Warren leave us alone and not embarrass us in public. And the Warren got so excited, telling me that they really felt this was necessary. They didn’t understand this was as if I were having a public forum on bathing because they were stank-ass fools, and they were telling me that the ears were so tricky; could I please cover them?

I don’t understand if in the Warren they:

a) Don’t know how to search the internet. Our search works like a Google search. It isn’t hard. The software under it isn’t very good, but it isn’t hard to use. Term must enter! Result will leave! Hello, what’s this? Is it my item? Bless my stars, it is! Oh, ho, ho. It’s magic! You know! Never believe it’s not so.

b) Don’t know that this is all the search there is. We in the Underground (or I guess I should say, those in the Underground, since this is no longer my problem) can’t search the back end that we can see much. We use the same search that you do. The Ministry of Fixes, who makes the database, they have different access to that shit (and it’s still not their job to do shit for you–I mean, to do this shit for you. MiniFix is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish), but we just have public facing user interface, baby. You can cook with a toaster oven. I’ve been in a fantastic restaurant in Williamsburg that only had a tiny, tiny oven just a little bigger than a toaster and a grill, and he made some marvelous shit. First place I had olive oil ice cream, with spiced pecans and drizzled with oil. Fucking fantastic.

What was…oh. Fucking Warren. Jesus. Those fucks.

c) Don’t understand that it this is a part of their jobs. Do they not know their own responsibilities? Or are they just too busy looking at CNN on their laptops in staff meetings to keep up with the duties of their jobs? Yes, motherfucker, we can see your screen. It isn’t invisible, Nutmeg. You tacky shit. (Nutmeg: that’s a piece of work right there, let me tell you. Apparently, after my two years there, she still didn’t know who I was, because after I left she called a temp who has worked there for at least five months by my name because her cube was next to mine and she was going by the name plate. And she talks like a walking nose that wishes it was from Cape Cod. I still don’t even know what the hell she does there besides write a paragraph or two once a month. It must be something, but I don’t know what the hell it is.)

d) Don’t know that when it comes to making other people do their work for them, we ain’t playin. Hey, Applesauce? Applesauce? Fuck you.

You don’t understand? Let me make myself clear.

Black Sheep– “For Doz That Slept” (1991)

(Please note that this song is not embeddable, not safe for work without headphones, and in my opinion, so worth the click. It’s either been way too long since you’ve heard it, or it is new to you and will fill you with the same delight that it gave those of us who heard it when we were 14 and the album dropped back in 1991, the time of record stores, highly architectured hair, the Fly Girls, and Contempo Casuals. At least, it will delight you if you are as immature as good ol’ Seer is.)


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