I’ve gotta write this quickly, ’cause in a minute I’m probably going to be sick!
After a much too short, glorious week last week, with my manager and the department secretary both off on vacation – presumably not together – they both returned to the office today and I’ve had a really shitty day. I’m not particularly blaming it on the department secretary. She hasn’t done anything wrong in particular. Mostly it’s just the vibe in the office when everyone is present and accounted for. The real problem though is my boss.
I’ve made no secret in the past about how he and I don’t really get along. We don’t see eye to eye on much of anything and he talks down to me like I’m some sort of village idiot, when in reality, it is he who comes across like an idiot because he’s usually speaking a different language – figuratively – than the rest of us. No matter what I say, he tells me I’m wrong. He will literally sit there and agree with me and then tell me I’m wrong as if my being wrong is a for-gone conclusion, some sort of default position for him.
I can’t go into a whole lot of detail here, but there is something coming any day now, that is going to be a bad situation. A year and a half ago, at about 1:30 in the morning, New Year’s Day, a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Police Officer shot a man in the back on a station platform, surrounded by witnesses. The cop was white and the “victim” was black and the neighborhood where the shooting took place was very ethnic. Several witnesses took cell phone video footage of the incident and the video plainly shows that the “victim” and his cohorts were being disruptive and resisting arrest. The Police man and his partner were trying to subdue the rabble rousers and the officer claims that he was reaching for his taser when he inadvertently pulled his service revolver instead. He shot the man at close range before he knew what had happened.
I am by no means suggesting this is not tragic and I suspect some sort of punitive action is required, however, I find it unlikely that it was the officer’s intent to murder the man, in cold blood, in a crowded area full of attentive witnesses. I’m certain it was a mistake, a terrible, horrible mistake.
People being how they are, however, the hours that followed the funeral of the man in question turned into a chaotic, free-for-all riot, with looting and cars set on fire and the whole shebang. At the time, my company, as well as several others in the affected area made the decision to close the offices and send everyone home for their safety.
The officer in question has been put on trial for murder and that trial is winding down this week. I have personally been told by both an Oakland Fire Department Battalion Chief and an Oakland Police Department Officer that regardless of the verdict, they expect wide spread civil unrest (read: rioting and destruction). If the officer is found guilty of murder many people will riot in “celebration” and others in protest and if the officer is found not-guilty, well, the same thing will happen, only the parties will be reversed.
It is expected that the verdict will come this week; possibly as early as Wednesday, and in typical fashion, my employer is late to the party in planning a response. I had a conversation with my boss today about what we were going to do and he couldn’t give me a definitive, clear-cut answer.
This is serious business we’re talking about here folks. Very limited forewarning, the day of, and the possibility of having to “defend in place” meaning the building may have to go into Lock-Down and not allow anyone in or out of the building until the crisis passes. As is par for the course, my boss couldn’t answer any questions about how we were going to handle things. He couldn’t acknowledge that we aren’t prepared and that the powers that be aren’t handling things appropriately. He just kept tossing out his usual, patented answers, “We’re just going to have to figure out a way to make it work” and “We just have to do it.”
He was pissing me off and it was apparent. When he comes to me with some cock and bull request to paint a space in a way that doesn’t comply with our standards and I remind him of this, he tells me, “It’s for ‘senior leadership’ we just have to do it.” I don’t like it, but I go along with it because the boss said do it and at the end of the day, it’s not that critical. When he made me create a financial document that wasn’t completely legitimate, I did it because he intimidated me into it and because I knew that the supporting documentation for it existed somewhere, if not in my possession.
But we’re not talking about questionable ethics of subverting policies here. We’re talking about the safety and well-being of 2000 people under our care. We’re talking about the safety and well-being of ourselves! I want answers. I want some assurances that when I come to work on Wednesday, and Thursday and Friday – when I agree to put myself in harm’s way and be one of the last ones out of the building (assuming I can get out of the building) while making sure that all my “constituents” are getting to safety – I want to KNOW that my company has done everything in its power to make sure I’m safe and provided for. And while I was trying to make this point abundantly clear to my boss, he sat there the exact same way he always does, not listening, telling me I’m wrong, and not addressing my concerns one iota.
It was a long, shitty day and by 4:00, I was ready for some shameful, emotional eating. So I went to Starbucks for one of these:
While I worked on that, I walked across the street to CVS to look for some Shout Stain Removal Wipes to deal with the coffee I spilled on my shirt before I left. Naturally, they didn’t have any. That bummed me out more. And then I saw these:
And then I saw these:
And I couldn’t make up my mind so I bought them both and have been munching ever since.
BUT! At least it’s not a cocktail!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go. I think I’m gonna be sick!