>Ok. I have to confess to a certain irritation to the branch of office politics that is the “Office Birthday”.
On my way out the door yesterday I was accosted by one of “The Ladies” (I’ll elaborate on this sub-species of the office environment in a moment) asking me if I had the cash to contribute to the purchase of a birthday cake.
“No, sorry…” I tell her.
“It’s only a couple of dollars…” she insisted.
“I really don’t have it…”
“Well, the party’s not until tomorrow; maybe tomorrow?”
Standing firm by my decision, I shrugged her off and walked out the door.
What I did not want to tell her (mostly because I’ve only been here a month and I don’t want to damage any inter-office relationships) is that the whole idea of “forced financial contributions” to “office birthdays” pisses me off.
First of all, why the hell is the office a place to celebrate people’s birthdays? I mean, does the taking an hour from your workday to sing a half-hearted “Happy Birthday to You” when all you really wanted was a piece of the cake you financially contributed (and you’d damned well better get a corner piece) to constitute your lunch hour? How does that work, exactly? If we choose not to participate, do we get essentially a 2-hour lunch break? Or is it penance for being a bunch of cold-hearted bastards who agree that this whole phenomenon is a soul-sucking event?
And, “The Ladies”. You know who they are. They’re the ones who live for this kind of shit. They’re the ones who bake cupcakes for the entire office to celebrate someone buying new socks. They get a high from spending hours hunched over their dining room tables with their cadre of scrapbooking supplies constructing handmade cards while they pet one of their eight cats. Clutching their hand-made creations they float from cubicle to cubicle like honeybees with a pen and this heavily (bordering on overly) decorated card instructing you to relay your sentiments to “X” person’s birthday. So you scribble a less than enthusiastic “happy birthday” and go back to your spreadsheets.
But these women go all out. Especially when the birthday is for someone in upper management. They decorate the break room like it’s someone’s wedding shower and set up paper plates and plastic utensils like it’s a grand catered event. They send cute little birthday spam emails with large, pink letters in Comic Sans font complete with animated gif’s and exclamation points. I see the Red Hat Society in their future.
Okay, maybe I seem bitter. But it’s principle, people. How sincere can forced birthday sentiments be for chrissakes. Additionally, I should not be confronted with judgmental looks from “The Ladies” whenever I see them in the restroom. I’m sorry if doing the “birthday thing” provides them with a great delightful purpose, but don’t force your priorities on me. It’s not like I’m expecting a piece of aforementioned cake of which I chose to decline sponsorship. I’d just rather stay in my cube in all my curmudgeonly glory instead of standing around in the miniscule breakroom noshing on over-sugured store-bought cake and engaging in impromptu bullshit conversation in a room of people of whom ¾ I don’t know. I’d rather hang out at my desk and listen to my co-worker sing the Mango song at random intervals.
Voulez-voulez-vous “aargh here’s a pirate…he’s after my booty!”
…by the way…the cake was awesome!!