Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Part of your world

Just call me the little fucking mermaid. Last week I had a short glimpse of what life might be like if I was one of the popular girls at the Kaisha and had a lunch date lined up every day of the week. But just as Ariel got her mertail back after a short jaunt on land, I find myself confined once again to my cubicle ghetto.

My secretary, ever helpful and outgoing lady that she is, neglected to tell me she wouldn't be in the office for a couple days and so of course there was a fuck-up that needed fixing during that time. I enlisted the help of my colleague's secretary who has got to be the holy grail of secretaries, and made my experience so pleasant that by the end of it I wanted to trade mine in. That sounded a little horrible even for me didn't it? Honestly though, I am still trying to pinpoint whether it is a gaijin thing, a me thing or a severe lack of social skills that prevents her from acting courteously towards me. All I'm asking for is some eye contact time when I pass her in the hall, or if that is too much, a 5 degree tilt of the head. Really now.

I decided to take Holy Grail out to lunch to thank her for being so fantastic and unlike all the other biatches I gots to deal with. I like to think I am over the whole English-so-mumbo-jumbo-it's-cute thing, where you compete with your gaijin friends for who can receive the funniest/cutest email from a Japanese person, the level of cuteness being defined by how mixed up/unexpected the English is. Apparently I'm not however, so when Holy Grail replied by email, "Thank you for your invitation, that's what I thought all along, but I can not create opportunity," I knew we would be Friends for Life. Which is how we found ourselves eating lunch at a macrobiotic cafe, exclaiming far too loudly when discovering we live near each other and generally giggling at nothing like a couple of OL bitches (minus the horrid nurse slippers).

Holy Grail gushed over how happy she was to have the chance to finally have lunch together and I beamed like an idiot and just kept repeating that I was super happy about the whole thing. Actually I think Holy Grail is probably around 10 years older than me (35 (or 65 in secretary years)) and not as inane as some of the barely-legal ninnies just out of university, so we had a nice conversation and I was pleased to discover that she is a genuinely nice person. So nice in fact that due to her secretary age, I figured she probably holds sway with a lot of the secretaries and definitely has a finger on the gossip pulse at the Kaisha (try as I might I can't find it). Which is why when she asked me how I found the Kaisha, I gave the usual party line but also threw in that I am pretty darn lonely in my cubicle ghetto, compounded by the fact that no one talks to me (can you hear the violins yet?). I expected that comment to make the rounds by the end of the day and maybe, just maybe, some kind soul would take pity on me and end the Ostracization. Holy Grail mentioned that she had invited another secretary along who had begged off, claiming she can't speak English. I don't know why I bother mentioning to you that we've had exchanges in Japanese over the photo copier, because clearly I think I'm speaking Japanese but it must be coming out in English. Next time I'm going to just speak Hebrew. According to her, a lot of people simply don't have enough confidence in their English to befriend me so who knows, maybe my neurotic conspiracy theories are moot...either way I'm still part of the out-crowd around here. Last week did show me however, that change is possible and at this rate I will probably build up a small network of people who will acknowledge my existence by right around the time I quit, at which point people I don't even know will start coming out of the woodwork claiming how much they'll miss my white ass around here. Just you wait.

7 comments:

Corinne said...

Ariel had it pretty damn good life in the sea if you ask me! Probably doesn't make you feel any better though... sorry...
Glad you got to meet a nice secretary (finally!). I don't buy the 'no-English confidence' excuse from the othersthough, that's BS! Liking the hebrew idea too.

kathrynoh said...

I get treated like that because I'm a contractor -- and they don't even have the not speaking English excuse. In my case, it's more like 'you're not going to be here long enough for us to bother' ... or maybe they just hate me!

Beth said...

"According to her, a lot of people simply don't have enough confidence in their English to befriend me so who knows, maybe my neurotic conspiracy theories are moot..."

I doubt it. I bet they're just jerks. I've learned in Tokyo that there are a lot of jerks in the professional world. I've never worked for a Kaisha but I'm sure I'm right. It's probably like, 78% of them are jerks, and 20% of them are shy/socially inept. But sooner or later you'll find the other 2%!

I love your blog, by the way. I relate to it so much. Caaaaathartic.

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

Corinne - Didn't she just! I don't buy and never have, there comes a time when you have to be an adult and stop shitting around with excuses about being shy due to language skills.

kathrynoh - That's horrible and may be the case with me as well. Being a foreigner I will never be viewed as someone in for the long haul so they figure it's a waste of time putting effort into a relationship with me.

Beth - Thanks for commenting. I'm not reliquishing my conspiracy theory just yet. I'd say the most dangerous group is the one of socially inept jerks, it's a killer combo.

goinglocoinyokohama said...

"at which point people I don't even know will start coming out of the woodwork claiming how much they'll miss my white ass around here."
Yep, u nailed it. That's EXACTLY what's going to happen...
but at least you're making the best of the situation. More power to you Green eyes...
love your writing!

☆sarita☆ said...

Hi!
found your blog through japan_blogs on twitter, and just wanted to say as a fellow gaijiness in Tokyo, I find your posts both relatable and hilarious ^_^
tho, since i work at a mostly gaijin company rather than a full-on kaisha, i don't have to deal with quite as much j-nonsense. (but i completely agree about the OL slippers!)

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

goingloco: Thanks :) I hope there won't be any tears though, I might laugh so hard I end up crying too!

sarita: Thanks for stopping by and props to a fellow gaijiness! I have adopted some puzzling habits fashioned after the women on this island but those rubber slippers will NEVER be one of them!