So, I come to work on Monday and there is this giant aquarium right next to my desk, empty of life except for a turtle. It looks used (not in a cool retro, vintage way) and is made of solid wood painted black. Stacy, the design team (yes, she is the design/art team in its entirety), had mentioned the possibility of a turtle arriving as the official mascot of work (like that bulldog for Yale). But, like most things at work that aren’t a complete necessity or legally required of them, I figured it would never happen. But there she was at 7:53 on Monday morning.
The turtle actually belongs to Stacy and has been for the past 10 years. She was driving on the road just outside work during rush hour traffic (which of course was almost at a complete stop) when she saw this turtle trying to cross the road. She opened the door to her car and the turtle being just beneath her, she scooped it up and put it into her car. Stacy took the turtle to the vet and was told that it had parasites and would have died within a week. This being Stacy’s 8th turtle, she named it Henry VIII, short for Henrietta.
Being the receptionist, I get quite a lot of foot traffic but it exponentially increased with Henrietta’s new arrival. You think you know a person but then they see this turtle and they go insane. For example, almost everyone believes that they have a direct responsibility over Henrietta. Is she okay? She looks hungry. Should you feed her? Who cleans the tank? She looks lonely. I think she needs a friend. Is she warm enough? Does this tank have a heater? Her water looks murky. Where is the filter? How do you even know it’s a girl? Constantly. All day. I’ve never had a turtle. I don’t know anything about turtles. She’s just there. And I’m closest, so I get asked all the questions. That doesn’t mean I have all the answers.
And then there are the people that talk to the turtle…like a puppy or a baby or anything cute. I’m not a turtle or an orca at SeaWorld, so I’ve never been inside of a glass-encased pool with people talking to me outside of it….but I am pretty sure they can’t hear you. And it’s as if I don’t exist – these people somehow don’t realize that they are being ridiculously silly. Right in front of me. Because the aquarium is directly in front of me. And they don’t talk to the turtle for 5 seconds…it’s minutes.
People are also obsessed with the floating log in the aquarium (see one of the photos below). Stacy, who has had Henrietta for 10 years, has said that she loves to climb on top of the log and bask in the sunlight. I saw Henrietta on top of the log one morning soon after she said that, so I obviously had no reason to disagree. But no one else believes us. They don’t think it can happen and have requested I send an all points bulletin out to the entire company as soon as she’s on top of that log. It’s like saying to a Mother: I don’t believe your 10 year old kid likes the top bunk. I’ve never seen them on the top bunk and there isn’t a ladder getting up there. How do I even know it’s a possibility for them to get up there? Email me a photo as soon as they get up there. Cause I just don’t believe it. Seriously?
And finally, the creepy guy. You all have him. Every workplace has that one guy that manages to make every single person irritated and uncomfortable. Like when you go to Wal-Mart a little later at night than you’re comfortable and there’s this guy that keeps on appearing in whatever section you are in. I could literally write a book about how creepy this man is. Everyone has a bubble, especially Americans. We all have this specific amount of space we need between ourselves and the person standing next to us. Out of necessity and comfort. This man is more readily equipped to pop people’s bubbles than a porcupine is. Now, for some creepy examples: My desk is a U-shape. I know I’m the receptionist, so I don’t have an office or any real privacy. But the space within the U is mine. That’s my bubble. You can talk to me outside of the U but do not enter the U. He always enters the U. And whispers into my ear. And will hold the back of my chair while I’m sitting into it, talking to me. It’s just awkward. And it’s not just me. He will pretty much do this to everyone. He even started giving Stacy a shoulder message randomly. Not cool. Anyway, he saw the turtle and he got creepier. He started talking like someone from the Jersey Shore….to the turtle. Hey baby. Give me a kiss. Yes. He actually said that. And then he sticks his face up to the glass. Henrietta, being a smart turtle, bites at his face.
At least I have a desk buddy now. And a conversation piece. And a creep-magnet.