The envelope, please*

One thing about my office is that in 1998, someone made an envelope for each employee, labeled with our name. When you check out a car or a parking pass, they put the keys in this envelope.  It’s just an ordinary business envelope that you’d mail a letter in.

Last week, I borrowed a pass and kept my envelope for about three days, and then misplaced it. I know.

I went into my boss. “S., I lost my envelope.”

“What envelope?”

“You know. The ENVELOPE.”

Um, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

You know, the one they made for each of us in 1998 with our names on it? 

You lost that?  You’re on your own.”  He turns back to his computer.

I snuck in to the office early, and made my own envelope, which just involved grabbing one from the stack and writing my name on it.  I found the paperwork, filled it out, and then went to return my fake envelope to the Actual Person.

“Ha ha ha, I lost my envelope.”  I try to do that laughing thing, like, "we’re all on the same, happy, laughing side, aren’t we? Yes we are.  Neither one of us are the kind who would have a fit over losing an envelope that has no particular significance, because we, being on the same non-crazy side here, would think that was ridiculous.  Ha ha ha, wouldn’t we?"

Mr. E. looks nervous, like he’s somewhat suspicious, but trying to be a team player.   “Well, the security alert level has just gone up around here.  Code orange.”

Ha ha ha, I respond, and back away slowly.

I make it back to my desk.

“Hey, B., guess what?  I lost my envelope, and nothing bad happened.”

“Uh, I wouldn’t be so sure about that.  Look who’s coming…

Mr. E has found some flaw with the envelope and the paperwork, and has come back to bring it to my attention.  We go through a long rigmarole that I won’t bore you with, and he eventually leaves.

“Looks like I’ll be going on administrative leave soon,” I comment to B.

Administrative leave is our current gallows humor, because our old deputy director, who has basically dedicated his life to land use regulation, protecting the environment, watching birds, and this agency has been on administrative leave for like, two months now, for what seems to be at the very most, a minor lapse in judgment.  I always thought of administrative leave as the thing they put cops on when they shoot someone in the line of duty.

The cop might be kind of rattled, so they place him/her on leave for three days.  This has been two months, for a crime that just isn’t like that, with no end in site.  If any of you have ever had a minor lapse in judgement, do you still feel really shaken up and unable to do your work seven years later?

But I’m making that administrative leave joke, and one of the people in our office who functions like cops walks by:

“Oh, you’re going on administrative leave?  That happened to me too!  What did you do?”

“Oh, I lost my envelope.  I’m just kidding.”
I soon realize, after this really long set of stories that are complicated, and seem, well, um, the tiniest bit unbelievable, that she’s not kidding.  There’s a part about people who have been following her, stalking her for 15 years, and a part where a sniper shot her dog, Barky, with a high speed rifle from a  distant ridge while she was on a Sunday drive in another county, and how she just had to take a few days off because her grandson and his girlfriend, who live with her, had a baby.

I want to get on the subject of the baby, so I comment.  “Oh!  That’s nice.  How’s the baby?”

“Oh, I had to stay home so they didn’t kill the thing.”

At about this point, J. walks in and interrupts.  Betsy, I need your advice on something.  I got a certified letter in the mail from my father’s wife saying that I need to provide three weeks notice if I want to get together with my father.  Does that seem right to you?"

"No.  That's definitely wrong."

My boss walks by, chuckling, and gives me that look, like, “freak magnet, that’s what you are.”  But it causes the people dissipate, and I decide I should call the attorney to see how this is going.

I call, and she starts laughing hysterically when I say who I am.  She can barely choke out hello.

“Funny that you should call.  I just got a notice about an hour ago that those people are suing you personally.  Not the County, but you.”  She can barely breathe, she’s laughing so hard.

Its kind of infectious, so I start laughing too, and then stop.  “Wait, is this funny?  Should I be laughing too, or just you?”

She laughs for a while, trying to collect herself, and then says, “well, the reason the lawyer decided to sue you and Ms. Pasta instead of the County is because he didn’t know how to serve a summons to a whole County.  So he’s written and asked me to serve you.  That’s just really non-standard and hilarious.”

“Oh.  Okay then.  Will you be defending us?”

She is literally in such a solid laughing fit that she can hardly speak, and says, “oh, don’t worry, someone will.  Don’t worry.”

Okay then.  Not a care in the world.


  1. The blogspot crowd seems to be changing templates left and right. Guess I'm just a stick in the mud. Maybe I'll cave too, one of these days.

  2. yes, PC, they make it so easy now. This is probably just a gateway template, and soon they'll be pitching the harder stuff.

    Your blog always has a nice photo or graphic though, so it seems festive enough.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Dowdy Church-lady Post

The random edition

Upleveling Our Badassery