Every day this week, I’ve smiled. I’ve picked up on the first ring, I’ve answered your lengthy emails, I’ve even laughed at your lousy (if not completely nonsensical) jokes but today, today is mine. I’m calling in sad. Taking a sad day.
Today, I’m going to beeline past all of you without saying hello, without removing my sunglasses, yes I’m aware it’s raining outside, ask me if it makes a difference. I won’t be slamming my office door. I want to, but the last thing I need is all of you gossiping about me in the company kitchen, like I don’t know what’s up. I’m more than aware of what we collectively think about door slammers. I don’t need that strike against me, not today. Fair warning: I may slam the phone down into the receiver after every phone call, if I manage to answer those. I’m only human. You understand.
You should probably avoid asking me any long-winded questions; anything that requires more than a one-word answer is probably too ambitious. Don’t ask me to paraphrase yesterday’s meeting, for example. Don’t ask me for my favorite lamb recipe. Don’t ask me who I’m rooting for on American Idol. It’s way too early in the season for that, idiot. What is wrong with you? Don’t ask me what is wrong with me. Don’t ask me why I’m sad. Those two are important; write those down.
You look like you still have questions. Let me help you out: I’m broke. I didn’t sleep last night. Everyone forgot my birthday. My best friend isn’t speaking to me. I’m not wearing any makeup. I just broke up with someone. The weather is bumming me out. I’m PMSing. I was out drinking until three hours ago. Someone died. I hate this job. I hate you. Pick three of those and abstain from asking me why I look like this.
Please don’t stand bashfully in my doorway and do that gentle side-knock that says, “Hey, you. You look sad, but I’m your work buddy and I just want you to know that I’m here for you in your time of need. Did you know I’m a great hugger? I’m a great hugger. The best, in fact. I hope you’re all right, I hate to see someone as miserable as you acting even more miserable than I previously knew to be possible. Also, I know this is a really, really bad time, but please don’t forget to sign my check before you leave. It’s Friday.” Just leave the goddamn check on my desk and GTFO.
I will order the worst of all the lunches. I will order the undercooked meatloaf with the hardened mashed potatoes; I will drink a milkshake, a spiked milkshake; I will eat some of your French fries without asking permission, especially if they’re smothered in gravy and mozzarella and bacon and barbecue sauce and all of that other completely unappetizing nonsense self-loathing people drown their French fries in, I will eat all of those hatred fries. With my hands. No green vegetables.
Today, I will listen to “The Funeral” on repeat. Loudly. I will play songs so depressing that you will become sad by proxy. You will weep in your cubicle and incite an argument with your boyfriend via IM, and though this war was a long time coming I’ll know I played the catalyst and momentarily, I’ll feel vindicated. Misery really does love company. Drinks after work?