When I was headed into my junior year of college, my friend and I decided to spend the summer working on campus. Along with our boyfriends who would become our fiances who would become her husband and my thank goodness I came to my senses and broke up with you guy, we worked what is called Conference Services. For the most part the job is pretty mindless. Essentially, the team coordinates all the summer conferences held on campus at PLNU. I had worked in food service the previous summer and witnessed all the fun being had by all the Conference Service workers. It looked like the job for me. In a sense, I suppose it was. Or it would have been, if I didn't spend my summer living in absolute terror of my psychopathic boss. If I learned one thing that summer, it was that there couldn't possibly be a worse person to work for. Ever.
It would take forever and a day to completely chronicle that summer. I would have to elicit help from my friend, Michelle. We would probably need to get our moms in on the blogging action. I would have to call He Who Shall Not Be Named But Whom, Yes, I Did Give The Ring Back To on the phone to be reminded of some of the details but, clearly, that's not happening. The very long in the very short of it is that this woman threatened to fire everyone on an almost daily basis. If you work at Point Loma for the summer, you stay in on campus housing for free. If you get fired or quit, you pay back every day that you've been there. Or, at least, that's how it used to work. By the time she started threatening, we'd been there long enough that our hard earned cash would have all gone toward paying back our summer housing. Had she fired us on the last day of work, I think we would have been in major debt.
Our boss was constantly threatening us with the fact that her husband was a lawyer and she could sue us. For what you might ask? Well, a whole bunch of things, really, starting with defamation of character and ending with something that had to do with the Good Samaritan law and Prescott prayer chapel. I'm sure that doesn't make any sense to you but I can't word it any better because it never made sense to us either. She'd probably sue me now if she found my blog so instead of calling her by her real name, I'll call her Stormy McGraw.
The summer started out innocently enough but then, after a week or two, Stormy made the CS workers participate in some kind of all night military training action complete with a fax machine and undercover tactics. I can't write intelligently about it because I wasn't there. I had gone home for the weekend but when I got back on campus I was hit with the story. I never sorted it all out in my head. I rolled my eyes, called her crazy, and went about my job. I should have quit right then and there and paid the school for two weeks of on campus living. Almost immediately, people started leaving CS for other on campus positions--this way they could continue living there for free. Stormy McGraw went to the powers that be and put a freeze on any Conference Services workers being hired by other on campus divisions. This meant that we were stuck.
Michelle and I were living in Flex Housing with a third member of our team when that third member was fired. Stormy got it into her head that we should not be living in Flex Housing by ourselves because, well, you know, we had boyfriends (Oh the scandal!) and what without the third girl living there to stop us, we'd abandon all morals and throw caution to the wind and the world would end right then and there. It didn't matter that her apartment was right across the street and she could look into our apartment and often stood on her front steps and did just that. (creepy!) In her mind, apparently, the thought that she could, at any time, gaze into our home wouldn't stop us from our pursuit of moral abandonment. So do you want to know what she did? Oh, you know you do. Instead of asking us to move because now there were just the two of us taking up a whole apartment and she, as the boss, would prefer for us to move to a smaller dorm room, she created a whole messy mess of a scene out of nothing.
Apparently my friend and her boyfriend were contemplating consummating their relationship when other members of Conference Services walked in on them. At least, that's what the story was by the time it had been repeated 80 jillion times. The real story is that they were laying on her bottom bunk reading. With the door open. Fully clothed. But Stormy McGraw (read: psychopath) banished us to a much less inhabited dorm because we were so scandalous and couldn't handle such a big responsibility as having our own on campus apartment that she stared into. The day that she made me move I was running a fever of over a hundred degrees. I called in sick and she thought, since I wasn't working that I just had to move right that moment or the entire world would stop spinning on its axis. Move to Klassen or move home. Those were my choices. We never even unpacked. We lived for the rest of the summer out of boxes. We assumed that when we were finally fired for no reason whatsoever, we'd be all packed up and ready to go.
Like I said, I could write for decades on this topic but I won't. I just want to tell you about the curtain rods and the time I really seriously lost my mind for a minute. At the beginning of the summer Stormy asked me to get curtain rods for some of the dorm showers. Apparently they were rusty and Stormy just didn't approve. I was the leader of the transportation team and she sent me on a wild goose chase to find very specific rods. I came back and reported to her that after going to just about every store I could think of, I still hadn't found what she was looking for. As the summer trickled on, she became more and more obsessive over it. She'd send me out, when I was in the middle of something else, to look for curtain rods. When I got back, my job would be waiting. I'd get overtime pay because I wasn't finished when everyone else clocked out for the day. I'd buy rods. They'd be wrong. But not because they were actually wrong but because she would suddenly change the parameters of what she had asked for. Eventually, after weeks and weeks of searching, I found what she wanted. In the right size. With the right amount of tension. In the correct color. That was as far as I went with the rods. I was transportation team. We picked up candy bars at Costco and lugged around dirty laundry. We didn't install curtain rods.
At the end of the summer, on one of the last days of work, when I had still not been fired, we were all cleaning out our storage house. I marched to and fro with clean linens and pillows and, as I walked out, I saw He Who Shall Not Be Named But Whom, Yes, I Did Give The Ring Back To standing with something in his hand. His face looked puzzled.
Me: What's wrong?
HWSNBNBWYIDGTRBT: Is this one of the curtain rods you bought?
Me: (narrowing my eyes) Yeeessss.
HWSNBNBWYIDGTRBT: Are those the rest of them?
Me: (following his finger with my eyes) YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!
There, in a pile, were all of the brand new curtain rods. The curtain rods that weeks and weeks ago just had to be purchased or all the world would cave in on itself. I had handed them to her. She had glared at me and mumbled something about, "Finally. Took you long enough." And then promptly plopped them down in the storage house. Of course. Because I always throw the things I want most into storage. In that moment, standing out in the hot sun staring at a pile of curtain rods that had taken hours of my life I'll never get back, I flipped out. Thankfully she was nowhere to be seen because I most certainly would have lost my job on that afternoon. I stormed over to the pile screaming something about, "Who does she think she is? No, I'm serious. She's been threatening us all summer and I am sick of it. First she loses the credit card and then gives me a huge lecture and threatens to fire me when I wasn't even working but she spouts something about how I'm upper management so it's essentially my fault and then I find it in her desk and hand it to her and she's all, 'oh you found it? Where was it? In your wallet?' And I'm all, 'uh no. In your desk.' And she's all, 'oh. That's funny.' And then she moves my whole team to other positions and leaves Melanie and me to lug all the dirty linens from all the dorms by ourselves. And then she never even hangs up the stupid curtain rods!" And I think there was an expletive or two in there because I'd literally lost my mind and I didn't know that one day I'd be a pastor's wife. I remember the scenario as though I was hovering over it while it was happening which makes me think that somehow my spirit departed my body because I was in such a fit of rage that it didn't want to be connected to me. I know that doesn't happen but that's what it was like is all I'm saying. So I marched over to those rods and I picked one up and I started beating it against the side of the Lotus House (that's the storage house). I'm not exactly short but I'm fairly smallish and I remember even big guys backing away from me like, "Holy smokes. It snapped." I wasn't female anymore. I was an "it." Completely beside myself. Eventually HWSNBNBWYIDGTRBT came up behind me and wrapped his arms around me and told me it was all going to be okay and to please put the gun, er, in this case, curtain rod, down. I collapsed and started sobbing. Over curtain rods. And over the most stressful summer of my life.
When my mind returned to my body, I glanced down and saw a mangled curtain rod. Another team member picked it up and casually buried it in the bottom of a trash can. The summer ended and I never got fired. But Stormy McGraw did. The other day her account popped up on my Facebook as someone I might know.
I ignored it.