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Two Turtle Doves

The Glass Ceiling

I remember the moment I decided to stop wearing a suit and tie in public—forever. It was a couple days before Christmas and I dropped by the K-Mart to pick up a punch bowl for the office party.  I was looming  in Housewares when an elderly woman approached me with a fistful of coupons.  Alvin and the Chipmunks were singing that insidious song through the sound system.

“I want to file a complaint.”  She said.

“I don’t work here.”  Me.

“You’re not the manager?”  She asked,  insistent.

“No. I’m not the manager.“  I replied, perhaps a little snippy.

She glared up at me like…well…like I was lying.  More than anything, I hate being implicated in an aspersion when I’m innocent. I’d rather receive three french hens every day for a year from someone I don’t truly love than be deemed a liar (unless of course, I actually am, in which case, I will simply deny until totally boxed in).

“This is an Italian suit,  lady. You need to find someone with a name tag,”  I continued, perhaps a little prideful.

“That lady over there said to ask  you. That you were a manager.” She pressed.

We turned our attention to a  squat woman in a burka, a rare sight in Richmond, Virginia in those days.

“That lady over there doesn’t speak English.”  Me, perhaps a little too loud.

“I speak better English than you,” the lady yelled back across the aisle.  “I speak five languages. How many you speak?”

Oh yeah.  One of  those days.  A blue light siren began twirling above my head and something inaudible was announced over the speakers, interrupting  the chipmunk falsetto drone. I froze as a wave of shoppers began scurrying  in our direction; something about cutlery.

“You don’t have this Foot Soaker in stock.”  The elderly lady shoved a coupon under my nose as the herd surrounded us.

“I know I don’t, ma’am…Because…. I. Don’t. Work.  Here.”  Me.

“She deserves a rain check,”  Burka lady. “It’s false advertising if you don’t. Bait and switch.”

“Yes. Bait and switch,”  Elderly lady.

Bait and Switch!“  Somebody yelled from the mob. “Bait and Switch….

About that time an employee approached me and ask if she could please go on break now.  I turned and walked out of K-Mart forever, sans punch bowl.  We drank shots all afternoon at the office instead. That was 1994.  By Christmas the following year, I was corporate history on so many different levels.

The Trap Door

My wife, Mona got ‘let go’  this week from her Fortune 500 employer. Ironically, she received sparkling evaluations from her clients and never missed a quarterly bonus but who knows how these things are ever really decided. I do suspect there was a big fat vice-president involved but then again, isn’t there always?

She came home in tears. I told her it was the best thing that ever happened to her, she just didn’t know it yet. That they did her a favor, freed up her future…

I took her and the Kid, a looking-for-work sommelier,  to dinner only to discover, over appetizers, that  my wife was most upset because they turned off her BlackBerry with no advance notice. “How heartless is that?”  she asked me after her second glass of  Pinot Noir.  “And right before Christmas, too…”

“Dicks,” the Kid.

He then ordered a bottle of 2005 Bordeaux to make everyone (but me) feel better.  He insisted it was a good deal and I believed him.  I just don’t understand drinking wine. I understand drinking whiskey but that never really worked out for me either, come to think of it.  These days I simply sip iced tea,  observe, and if the waitress doesn’t bring the AMEX back in separate pieces, pick up the check.

“Screw it. Let’s celebrate. I’ll buy you an iPhone tomorrow, ” I said.

“Yeah. Only Suits use BlackBerrys,” the Kid added.

We all agreed.

And, since I’m a Realtor, technically, we are now all three ‘unemployed’ according to the way the government  bureaucrats report these statistics. Suits. Dicks…

Road Trip

So…we’ve decided to load up the X3 (no new car anytime soon) and hit the road for the remainder of 2009: Chicago to St Louis to Memphis to Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to Cleveland to Chicago (or thereabouts). We will listen to iTunes, eat at Cracker Barrels, stop overnight, visit loved ones, and see the country; the Wife, the Kid, and Me.  It will be like the Grapes of Wrath except we’ll be in a BMW.

We will enjoy every one of  those days of Christmas,  just like the song suggests. I hear there is even a place with Ladies Dancing just outside Charleston, WV. We  answer to no one this Holiday Season. After all, we don’t work here.

And finally, a word of advice for the rest of you to take into the New Year:

Don’t be so concerned with the glass ceiling. It’s the trap door you have to watch out for.

Me.

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  • 13 comments

    13 Comments so far

    1. Missy Caulk December 18th, 2009 12:16 pm

      This was a very engaging story. Sorry about your wife loosing her job but ultimately it will be a good thing.
      Have fun on your trip, that sounds like fun.
      Merry Christmas.

    2. Greg Swann December 18th, 2009 12:38 pm

      Sorry for Mona, but you are always a treat to read. Happy Christmas to you all!

    3. Thomas Johnson December 18th, 2009 1:11 pm

      Wonderful post, enjoy the Tour de Navidad.

    4. Jeff Brown December 18th, 2009 2:20 pm

      Great stuff as usual, Geno. Turnin’ the Blackberry off sans notice should be a Class B felony. Merry Christmas

    5. Teri Lussier December 18th, 2009 2:37 pm

      >It will be like the Grapes of Wrath except we’ll be in a BMW.

      I’ll be quoting this for the rest of my life.
      Except I’ll be in a Jeep.

      Have a Happy Christmas, G!

    6. Julia December 18th, 2009 5:31 pm

      Get the apple pancakes with whipped cream. Some kinda Crackle Barrel goodness.

    7. Don Reedy December 18th, 2009 5:45 pm

      At this year’s office party where 12 of us were selected to sing parts in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” I was stuck singing “Seven swans a swimming” some six odd times or so. Won 2nd prize for what I assume was theatrical prowess (“Five gold rings” is the choice part in this operetta, as you know, and always a shoe-in for 1st place).

      But this afternoon I’m just singing “Three Petros Driving”, and the smile is wide and long my friend.

      Remember during your trip, especially Mona, that “It’s a Wonderful Life”, and the termination of your Blackberry was a sign that an “angel just got her wings.” Mona, you’re that angel, and you’ll fly higher this year than ever.

      As for any of you out there who don’t believe in Christmas…..or cry during “It’s a Wonderful Life”…..

      You’re all dicks.

    8. Geno Petro December 18th, 2009 7:41 pm

      We’re still a couple old grumpy dogs eh, Mr Reedy?

      Cheers and Peace to all,

      G

    9. Don Reedy December 18th, 2009 9:12 pm

      Indeed, indeed, Mr. Petro.

      But we can still bark, and bite, and we’ll always roll over, wag our waggers, and enjoy a good petting.

      Love and cheers to you and Mona,

      Don

    10. Tom Bryant December 18th, 2009 9:47 pm

      Awesome, Geno. Have a great trip. You’ve all earned it.

    11. Eric Blackwell December 19th, 2009 5:31 pm

      Geno – Merry Christmas my friend. Enjoy the Petro family “Grapes of Wrath” tour. ;-) Teri is right about that…mines a Hyundai..grin. You are without compare and one of the things I was most grateful for when I was in Phoenix was to actually meet yourself and Mona.

      Mona – Sorry to hear about the job loss. I would offer to “whack ‘em” but the vowels in Blackwell are not in the right place… ;-)

      Suits with Blackberries, especially the fat VP types…they don’t believe in Christmas anyway… ;-)

      Here’s to an awesome 2010 for Team Petro. It’s my Christmas wish at least…

    12. Dan Gobis December 19th, 2009 7:47 pm

      Merry Christmas! Enjoy your tour.

    13. Christine Beaur-Mortezaie December 21st, 2009 12:26 pm

      Life makes you take funny turns but this will probably be one of your best holiday memories. Have a wonderful Christmas.

      And my best to Mona whom I very much enjoyed meeting in Phoenix.