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November 24, 2008

November 24, 2008 – More From Stanley

             As I stroll in to the office I see all the familiar faces.  Stanley, our accountant is eating soup.  I suppose soup is a pretty safe thing to eat.  There he sits in the corner, dribbling on his faded button up shirt, which appears to be as much of antique as he is.  A string of drool hangs motionless from his bottom lip.   He doesn’t collect the cab leases anymore.  I’m not sure why.  My guess is that the drivers have become impatient with him as I had long ago.

             I go straight to “Victoria”, our effeminate bookkeeper.  I don’t often deal with people who are so old that their age consists of a three-digit number.  Perhaps I have some room to grow.  I smile, nod, and slowly continue to the back office.  Stanley is a nice man, I don’t wish him any ill will. 

            Victoria is the morale booster of the office, always trying to put a positive spin on things.  I’m not able to do that anymore, but I keep my peace, and focus on the matter at hand – paying my lease.  Victoria and I are on the same page with the operation of the company, and it’s malfeasance, but he keeps quiet.   I can see the reaffirmation of my snide comments in his eyes.  There’s an understanding here.  Albeit a unspoken one…

            Catherine is here too.  We make small talk, sharing strained smiles.  We have an understanding as well, although not one that is acknowledged.  Our encounter is brief.

            On the way out I pass Lupita in her lopsided office chair, which has become warped by years of strain by Julie and Bertha.  It’s resilience is astounding.  Lupita’s despondency is evident, with her glistening forehead, greasy hair, and sad face. It seems as if years of working at the company are beginning to show their age.  She has the good book to keep her company, as do the other office workers.

            Lupita and I are on good terms.  She likes me.  As I leave I pick up oil for the taxi and business cards that I offer as receipts since the company has decided that something more official isn’t necessary.  I’m expected to stamp the back of them with a generic template for the customers to fill out with any pertinent information from their trip.  I am much too busy for that.  As I am walking out I’m asked how many business cards I took.  I tell Lupita what she wants to hear.  I tell her that I only have 40.

            Catherine has been instructing the dispatchers to monitor how many business cards (which simply have the company name and phone number on them) that the drivers leave with.  I can only begin to speculate the reason for this.  Catherine has a reason for everything.  Reasons that she understands.

            And for the oil, when I do check it, which is done rather infrequently, it often needs several quarts.  But usually I don’t check it at all, I just dump in a few quarts – there’s always room.  I am expected to fill out a log specifying how much I take.   The rule is two.  I grab six and go on my way.

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