One woman, lots of paint and hundreds of tiles. If you're here because you found a painted tile, it's yours to keep.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Binky's Revelation

Binky had been working in the office for about 10 years. After 9 years with the company, new management came in and they were, to put it bluntly, not very nice. Binky realizes that’s not really all that blunt, but she hates anger and confrontation and people saying things in a way that’s not very nice, and that’s how the new people at the top were …cranky, power-trippy types who believed they knew everything about the business, even when they clearly did not. Like they got their jollies speaking to people in a ridiculously condescending manner when really all they had to do was be straight-up honest in a nice way and things could’ve gone far smoother.

At first, she would go home and feel all stressed about it, like she was about to explode, but Binky usually did well with keeping her anger in check. She just didn’t know what to do with all this stress. Then she started going out with the other office workers on Fridays and everybody would whine and complain all night over drinks, but that didn’t really make her feel better either, ‘cause then she’d still feel all negative and have a little chardonnay hangover the next day.

Then late one night Binky couldn’t sleep because it was a Sunday and she knew she had to go into that angry workplace again on Monday where the tension was thick and the tempers short. She turned the TV on, hoping the boring infomercials would lull her into the sleep zone, but they didn’t. The infomercial was sorta fascinating. It was all about calming herbs and the books you could have shipped for only $99.95, with eight E-Z payments spread out over a whole year, and if you ordered now, they'd even throw in a Calmerizer blender and three herb starters.

Binky lay there, with her cat Blackie curled up at her side and began to dream of the whirring blender that could change her world. She never did order the book or the Calmerizer but began googling for herbs the next day at work. She ordered a bunch and that night bought her own fancy stainless steel blender.

The following week she went to work like the mad scientist she was about to become, right in her own comfy kitchen. She’d play music all the while, mostly opera because it always made her giggle. But she could never tell anyone that, because her favorite operas, they're apparently sad and they end in tragedy. Yet that high-pitched passionate and crazy singing, for some odd reason, makes her laugh so hard that tears start rolling down her face and she just can't stop. Once when she saw a Maria Callas performance in a movie, she broke down laughing until the tears rolled but all was OK, because the serious movie goers at the art cinema house simply thought she was overcome with grief. Digging deep into the cavern of her very large purse, she unearthed an old Dunkin Donuts napkin to sop up her tears. It smelled like a jelly donut, which made her laugh even harder, and cry even more. While exiting the movie, a distinguished looking older gentleman who appeared to be choking back tears of his own, handed her a perfectly white starched and unused old-fashioned handkerchief, what her grandma called a hanky, and said "Do not worry, dearest. You cried for all of us."

Binky thanked him and laughed hysterically most of the way home, and felt completely emotionally cleansed. She filled the hanky up with catnip, tied the ends together and gave it to Blackie, who rolled around on the living room floor and laughed too, in his own little kitty-cat way.

While Binky has developed an affinity for catnip, she doesn't need as many herbs as the suits, because she and Blackie listen to the secret opera. She mostly does the herbs for the suits. They seem to really need it, and she was doing her best to provide that in order to make going to work more manageable, for everyone.

She soon had a whole stockpile of herbs and would whip up things special depending on the mood of the office on any particular day. She had St. John’s wort, valerian, chamomile, red clover, black haw … Binky never heard of most of these things before but soon became obsessed with growing and smooshing herbs and learning how to incorporate them into delicious brownies, chocolate chip cookies and even carrot cakes, all of which she brought to work and happily watched everyone around her consume. The suits especially loved the catnip oatmeal cookies … but she just called them oatmeal cookies. Said they were her favorite grandma’s special recipe. She felt sorta bad that she'd fibbed about her late grandmother, but she knew her grandma would have supported her in this venture and would probably get quite a kick out of it.

After awhile, those herbs started to kick in, and even the crankiest little suits became pleasurable to be around. She loved how she had taken control of the situation in her own little way. It made her feel like she was quietly running things. She could see how this was making a difference not only in her own life, but everyone around her seemed happier and healthier, and was getting along better. She watched one of the suits actually apologize for the way she'd been acting, said she didn't even know what had gotten into her but just woke up one day and realize she was being a complete ogre. Binky watched in wonder as some of the walls began to crumble and the sun began to shine down again on her little office.

She liked to imagine the tiny role she had played in her co-workers lives without them ever realizing. Even Blackie was happier. She loved it when Binky baked those catnip cookies because she always threw some of the catnip on the kitchen floor, and he’d roll all around in it. When she was done, Binky would make herself a big cup of catnip tea before turning in for the night.

Sometimes, Binky wished she could share this little herbal secret with the co-workers with whom she’d grown closest, but she knew them well enough to know that there was no way they could keep a secret this good. She could just hear them talking now … “Yeah, Binky over there, is the one who’s really in charge … do ya know she has us all secretly drugged with her herbs? We don’t even wanna know what she puts in these cookies, but they sure are good. Wanna try one?”

Binky knew that the very reason this little experiment was so compelling to her was the secret nature of it. She never wanted to be a real manager, the type where people expect you to be in control and run things. That was way too much pressure. She felt far more powerful being a secret manager with a magic herbal lab, with a forever meowing four-legged assistant known simply as Blackie.

Blackie kept all her secrets, and in return Binky gave him a special treat each day -- one large jumbo shrimp.

Left Binky in the ladies' room at the Starbucks on Davie Boulevard and Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. She likes to drink the herbal tea there, but always adds a little dash of the catnip she carries in a fancy little jeweled box in her giant purse.


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