Monday, March 2, 2009

Rosie the Robotic Maid

It’s time to add a new caricature to my growing list of work characters. (See Mary Tyler Moore, Monica Gellar, and Richie Rich for examples.) I shall call her Rosie the Robotic Maid. I call her this because, although I’d like to think she’s got a kind heart, she is mostly just in the way, doesn’t get it, and seems to have no grasp of subtlety, just as a robot would not. Oh, that and she’s a compulsive cleaner.

Case and point. This morning in the executive team’s lineup, The Young Gun opened a gift from some foundation, sent to our team. It was a lovely, handcrafted bowl, which will have absolutely zero use other than sitting on a table and looking like it needs dusting. Still, it was a nice gesture. The Young Gun placed the bowl on a table in the board room and left it there after the meeting.

Not five minutes after their meeting was adjourned, Rosie tried to bring the bowl to me. As a compulsive cleaner, she usually goes through the board room two or three times a day to straighten chairs, dust off the table, pick up miniscule, practically invisible crumbs from the floor and reset all the statues on the surrounding tables into perfect symmetry. Of course, as she did it this morning, the offending bowl messed up her arranging, and she immediately thought of me. I’m not sure why I’m the one who must answer these sorts of questions.

“Here, someone left this bowl in the board room. It’s real pretty, but we need to find out whose it is,” she tries to leave it at my desk, but I interject quickly.

“Actually it was a gift to the exec team, and I think the Young Gun wanted to leave it in there.”

“A… gift…?” These are the moments when I can see her inner circuitry start to smoke. Adding a new item to our collection? But, but, but, now she has to commit its precise location and orientation to her memory!

“Yes, and Steve unwrapped it and put it on the side table in there. I think that’s where he wanted to leave it for now.”

She kind of stared at the bowl for a minute, and I could tell this was just going to ruin her whole day. She will spend entire hours thinking about that bowl, and the fact that it doesn’t belong. She finally turned around and said, “Okay,” in this incredulous tone. Like I had just told her we were going to fill the bowl with condoms and pass it around to small children, and she was powerless to stop our dastardly plan. It was an interesting moment.

Her other quirks include following people around when they’re in the office kitchen to make sure they don’t make a mess, calling and leaving messages telling the precise time she called (“It’s…uh…Rosie and I’m calling…uh…at 7:42 a.m. on Friday, February 13…”) despite the fact that it shows us when she called on our phones, speaking up too much in meetings, and continuing to talk and interrupt people as they try to move on. A hypothetical example:

Meeting presenter (MP): So, does anyone have any ideas about how we can improve things?
Rosie (In a voice twenty decibles too loud for the room): Well, first of all, we should really give that information out in some other way. Like the Daily Newsletter.
MP: Good point. Other ideas?
Rosie: But I’m not the one putting that together anymore, so don’t send it to me.
MP: Jane, in the back?
Jane: I really think we should-
Rosie: And I’m so glad we have someone to really do those newsletters now.
Jane: Maybe if we go to-
Rosie: And she just does a FANTASTIC job of getting that information out to people.
Jane: If we go toward a more electronic-
Rosie: So don’t send it to me!! (Laughs at a joke that no one else gets. Various people cover eyes in embarrassment.)

Welcome, Rosie, to the very elite group of people at work who I really can’t stand to talk to. You’ve earned it!

Picture from here. Found via Ffffound.


Arlynn said...

I hate Rosie, but I love your blog. Thanks for making me smile on a Monday morning : )

Jenn said...

I'm glad you like it. It's nice to know I have a reader or two out there who commiserate with my every day work woes.

Robin said...

Hilarious! I have worked with some interesting folks over the years, wish I had written this. My best story? The colleague who brought in a photo of her husband to display. He was wearing a thong. A thong, on her desk for all of us to see! I shudder at the memory.