My Week 249: Who Is The Elusive Shane? Titus Gets Punchy

Who is Shane?

This question continues to plague me. A little over two years ago, I received a company cell phone, one of the perks of being a permanent employee at the secret agency. It’s just a simple iPhone–it doesn’t have a built-in Geiger counter or tear gas cartridges, nor does it change my voice to sound like Batman or provide me the gift of super-hearing. It DOES have Google Maps and a calculator, so that’s almost as good as an Industrial Satellite Laser, and you might have guessed that I watched a lot of James Bond movies as a kid. At any rate, I got this phone, and I also immediately started getting random text messages (these are actual screen shots from my phone so if you’re having trouble reading them, click on them to enlarge). The first was an invitation for a boat ride of some kind.

 I didn’t know what “SocaSweetness” might be, but the liberal use of numerals for letters, abbreviations, and the overenthusiastic exclamation marks were a surefire indication that it was going to be a very loud event, and most likely NOT for me. The next message was the first indication that someone named “Shane” was somehow connected to me, and that his friends were a jolly, if perhaps prone to “blazing”, group of people.

LMFAO

And for those of you who don’t know, “blaze”, according to Urbandictionary.com, means “smoke weed”. Shane henceforth was known as “Blazefordayz Shane”. I’ve written about Shane before—his girlfriend who excoriated me for not answering her numerous Facetime calls, his mother who scolded me for never texting her back (TEXT ME BACK SHANE!), and his many friends towards whom I’ve become quite motherly:

Don’t text and drive!

Shane has nice friends.

Of course, my favourite was the Warehouse Job episode, which I wrote about previously in My Week 226: All About The Bordens.

But the other day, I was at People’s Jewellers, a well-known jewellery store chain, and the store clerk asked for my phone number to check the status of my protection plan. I gave it to her and she looked perplexed. “Shane Brien?” she said. “From Brampton?” And I gasped audibly and replied, “BlazeforDayz Shane is REAL?!” She looked at me confused and I said, “Oh sorry—that must be the person who had the phone before me.” See, in my mind, Shane had become a mythical figure, a sort of pot-smoking, Soca dancing Bigfoot—it never occurred to me that he was an actual human person. And then I had an epiphany. I could use my keen skills of detection, and the wonderful world of social media, to finally identify Shane once and for all. So I engaged my “little grey cells” as Hercule Poirot would say, and headed straight to Facebook.

Do you know how many people on Facebook are named Shane Brien? Or Shane Brian? Or Shane Bryan? Or Shayne…you get the picture. There are a LOT of them. But I could easily narrow it down by excluding any of them who lived outside of Ontario (which was a shame, because there’s a lovely Shane Brian in New Brunswick and I wish him and his adorable girlfriend all the best in life). Anyway, I tried to narrow it down a little further by a process of elimination based on their profile pictures:

1) Shane Brien, standing in the middle of an icy highway in Northern Ontario. I don’t think MY Shane likes the cold. It would be too hard to Soca dance when your extremities are frozen.

2) Shane Brien, tiger-striped kitty cat. Does having a profile picture of a sweet floof detract from your semi-gangster image or is the cat just a decoy?

3) Shane Brien, no profile pic, but underneath it just says ‘Prison’. Now, MY Shane may flirt with the law, but marijuana is legal in Canada; besides, Shane’s mother would kill him if he did anything criminal. And so would I.

4) Shane O’Brien. That sounds Irish. I don’t think Shane is Irish. Also there’s an NHL player named Shane O’Brien and he is now officially my top pick for next year’s hockey pool. He will be my secret weapon, allowing me to defeat the even more mysterious and even more elusive Jeffrey, who won this year’s hockey pool while I came in a shameful 12th.

5) Shane Brien, Contractor, Advanced Warehouse Structures. Shane…warehouse job…I’d say it looks like the pieces are falling into place, except this Shane has 3 kids and I don’t remember his girlfriend saying anything about children. In fact, I believe her exact words were, and I quote, “You better not be with that Angela.”

And because the store clerk at People’s insisted on changing the name on the phone number to mine, I can never go back to the store and try to find out more information. Maybe I should have accepted the invite to Vegas. Shane and I would have had a blast.

Vegas Baby!

Titus Gets Punchy

Alarm goes off.

Me (*stretching*): ERGH. Time to get up.
Titus: NO.
Me: Oh my god, you just punched me in the eye!!
Titus: It was an accident–I was trying to high five you. Where are you going? Stay in bed.
Me: No! I have to see if my eye is OK!
Titus: You’re fine. Stop being a baby. Besides, eye patches are all the rage this season.
Me: I don’t want an eyepatch! OWW. If you scratched my cornea with your germy paw, I’ll be so mad.
Titus (whispers): I just wanted you to stay home with me. I’m sorry.
Me: Sigh. I love you, buddy.
Titus: You’ll look awesome with an eyepatch. Like an angry pirate.
Me: ARRRR.

My Week 226: All About The Bordens

On Friday, I was sitting at my desk at the secret agency when my phone screen suddenly lit up. I looked over, and there was a text message. I immediately stopped what I was doing to investigate, because no one ever texts me except the people I work with, and I was AT work. And I don’t mean to imply that I’m unpopular or live a very lonely existence—it’s just that Ken still insists on using Blackberry Messenger like a 90 year-old man and Kate only uses Facebook Messenger, because god forbid a daughter should actually ever call her mother. As for the rest of my family, they DO call me at work, usually during meetings and whatnot, causing me to rush out in terror, worried that the worst has happened, only to be asked to come to dinner on the weekend.

So I sat there for a moment, pondering the possibilities, and then opened up the message. It said, “Just checking if you’re available for a job.” I was immediately intrigued. Of course, I already have a very good job, but I’m only an “Acting” Manager, and there’s always the risk that one day, I’ll have to stop acting like one, and actually BECOME one. So I thought for a moment, and then wrote back, “Ooh, what kind of job?!” I’ll admit that I may have sounded a little over-excited, but tone is hard over text, and I wanted to convey a sense of child-like wonder as well as tremendous enthusiasm. I waited breathlessly for a reply. Nothing. Had I overplayed my hand? Still nothing. To pass the time, I went to the website of the company that the text had come from. There were some very interesting jobs available there: Medical Sales Representative, Relationship Banker, Records Management Specialist, Unloader…I didn’t know what some of these were, but they all sounded very life-fulfilling.

It was almost lunchtime, so I went to heat up my leftovers. When I came back, there was an ominous reply. “It’s a warehouse job”.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that perhaps this wasn’t a job, but was, in fact, a “job”. Was I being offered the opportunity to commit some kind of crime? And then it all made sense: Medical Sales Representative must be code for Drug Dealer. Relationship Banker? That was obviously running an Escort Agency. Records Management Specialist, I guessed, would be something akin to a Mob Accountant. Unloaders…unloaded stolen goods. What had I gotten myself into?

But then, I had a thought. I was always trying to challenge myself to try new things, things that I would never normally do. And a “warehouse job” was certainly something I’d never entertained before, but why not? I mean, I don’t know much about heists, but there are a LOT of movies out there about them, and if Sandra Bullock could do it, why couldn’t I? I regularly organize and oversee an annual event involving more than 1500 people at a large convention centre—how hard could it be to rob ONE warehouse? And the best part was that the secret agency had its OWN warehouse that I could practice on! But wait. The one thing I knew from watching all those heist movies was that a good warehouse job always involved a team. Luckily, I had a team, and a very efficient and intelligent team at that. And the best part was that we wouldn’t need any type of weapon because they are all very fit, kind of like ninjas, if the way they sneak up on me in my office is any indication. I was getting an Oceans 8 vibe from the whole scenario, and starting thinking about next steps, the most imperative of which was that I needed information: how big was the warehouse, where was it located, what was the security guard’s schedule, how many cameras were there, and so on.

I took a deep breath. Yes, I was going all in. “Send me the specs. I’ll get my team together,” I wrote back. I imagined them at the other end of the conversation, giving each other quiet high fives and saying, “It’s on. Mydangblog is getting her team together. Send the file with the blueprints.” While I waited for what I assumed would be a VERY appreciative response, I realized that I hadn’t even asked about pay, like how many bundles of Bordens I was going to get (Bordens are the Canadian equivalent of Benjamins, but only 76 cents to the dollar). But while I was picturing a large leather case, and all those shiny Bordens, the reply came: “What do you mean?”

It suddenly occurred to me that, perhaps, I had badly misjudged the offer. I wrote back, “Is this a job, or a ‘job’?” Again, the answer came back: “What?” I did the only thing I could do, and replied, “Wrong number.”

And then I had an epiphany. The message was for Shane, “Blayz for Dayz” Shane who had apparently owned my phone number before me, whose girlfriend still tried to Facetime me, whose mother left me angry texts demanding that he call her right away, whose friends like to play soccer and smoke weed. I felt terrible—not only had I missed out on what might have been a VERY lucrative opportunity, I had also probably gotten Shane fired from his temp job. I hope he doesn’t have to resort to crime to pay his bills. But if he does, I know where he can find a team.

My Week 161: Meetings Are Hard, I Swear at the Police

So this week, I found out that my immediate boss had been promoted. I’ve been doing her job for a few months, but no one said anything to me about what would happen with my position. I didn’t want to ask because why poke the bear, right? (Not that she’s a bear—she’s actually lovely). But the date was quickly approaching when my term was supposed to end, and I wasn’t sure what to do, because I’ve kind of gotten pretty homey with her office, having installed my Retro Coca-Cola mini-fridge, my single-serve Keurig, and an assortment of family pictures, vintage wooden boxes, my melty Salvador Dali clock, and sundry other items. Not to mention things like binders and extra computer monitors and a drawer full of about 17 pairs of reading glasses and five different types of green tea. Was I supposed to wait until the last minute and then throw it all on a wheely cart or something? I was getting a little stressed out, especially since people in upper management were avoiding me like the plague and I was starting to get worried. Then, late on Wednesday afternoon, I got a call that the CEO wanted to see me, and I got a bit panicky. Why? Because I was recently nominated to chair one of our weekly meetings, and for the first week, I thought it would be nice to bring snacks to make up for the fact that I was very nervous about having to steer the group and be the one to say things like “in respect of the time, I think we should move on—let’s take this conversation off-line (which is something that I have to say now that I’m a manager. I was at another management workshop on Monday, and the presenter said that. I turned to the woman next to me, and said, “I didn’t think we were ON-LINE” and she just looked at me like I was crazy and responded, “We ARE.” And I so badly wanted to say “NO! This is not TRON!” but I didn’t, because one of my directors was sitting at the table with me also, and I didn’t think that would help my case.)

Anyway, for the first week as chair, I brought miniature Hershey’s chocolate bars, and everyone was like, “Oooh! Good job, mydangblog!” and they ate them all up. So I decided for the next week that I would really have to up my game. Then I was at Winners in the checkout aisle where they have all the good snacks, and I saw these little crates full of liqueur-filled chocolates. I mean, how do you make chocolate one step better? You throw alcohol into the mix, am I right?! I bought two crates—one with chocolates filled with tequila, and one that was labelled “Mojito”. Who wouldn’t like that? Well, as it turns out, no one. I’d put the little bottles into a bowl, and placed it on the table. Everyone looked at it. “Aren’t they cute?” I said excitedly. “They have liqueur in them. Please, help yourselves.” Nobody moved. Then one of the Directors next to me cleared his throat, laughed in a kind of weird way, and said loudly, “Oh, I think it’s a little early in the day for that, heh heh.” Then everyone else was like, “No thanks…I couldn’t possibly…” and the bowl sat there in the middle of the table like my own personal alcoholic badge of shame. At the end of the meeting, I cheerily invited people to take some with them “for later, wink, wink” but people were like “Oh, tequila makes me wild—I better not” or “It’s too late in the season for a mojito” and I was left with the bowl, a mounting sense of trepidation, and an uncertainty about exactly when mojito season was.

 

So you can see why when I was called to the CEO’s office, I was a little nervous. Had she heard about my “liqueur-filled chocolate faux pas”? I walked in with a pen, a notebook, and one of my many pairs of reading glasses, just in case I had to take notes about how not to encourage inebriation amongst my co-workers. As luck would have it, however, she was actually offering me an extension of my manager’s position:

CEO: So we discussed your position at the Executive meeting…
Me (silently): Please don’t say ‘tequila’…
CEO: And we all feel that you’re doing an excellent job, so we’ve decided to extend your position, if you’re willing to continue.
Me: Oh, that’s a relief!
CEO (confused): Does that mean you accept?
Me: Yes, sure, great.
CEO: Would you like to think about it?
Me: Do I NEED to think about it? I mean, if you WANT me to—
CEO (laughs): No, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. But don’t say anything to anyone until we have a chance to make an official announcement, please.
Me: Oh, OK. But I can tell my husband, right? And my mom?
CEO: What? Uh, yes. That’s fine.
Me: Super. Thanks again.

So I left her office. I was really excited, even though I’m not great at sharing that kind of thing publicly, so as I walked down the row of cubicles, I checked to see if anyone was looking. There was no one around, so I randomly jumped in the air and clicked my heels together. Then I kept walking. I thought it was all good until a while later, when one of the other managers came to see me about something. Then at the end of the conversation, I realized that I hadn’t been as inconspicuous as I thought:

Manager: By the way. What the hell was with the heel-clicking earlier?
Me: Oh my god, you saw that?!
Manager (laughing): Yeah. It was kind of awesome. I told your Director about it, and when I tried to imitate you, I almost fell down.
Me: You told the Director?! Oh my god, I’m so embarrassed. What did she say?
Manager: She thought it was hilarious. Don’t be embarrassed. There’s nothing wrong with clicking your heels together. People should do it more often.

Anyway, it all worked out OK, despite the booze and acting like a middle-aged leprechaun. One of the things I have to do as a manager is attend a lot of meetings. And I’ve gotten really good at attending them (mostly because when they go into my calendar, I automatically get a 15 minute reminder before they start, so I’m never late). I realized the other day that, essentially, my role in meetings involves several important jobs. First, I have to listen and take notes. This can often be hard, because a lot of my meetings involve people who like to speak using solely acronyms, like “So we have the PRRT for the TIA and the MOU”, and for a long time, I would be like WTF? Three weeks ago, I was at a meeting and had to leave early, so I said, “TTFN” but no one got it. Anyway, by this point, I have a pretty good glossary of “The Initials of Stuff and What They Stand For”. My other job is also very important: when someone says, “Are we all OK with this?” I nod very vigorously, and when someone says, “Are there any questions?”, I shake my head very vigorously (even though I just want to whisper, “SO MANY.”). But I like to support my co-workers, and I’m nothing if not a team player. And for this week’s snack, I’m considering chocolate spiders. Everyone likes those, don’t they?

Thursday: I swear at the police

On Thursday night, I was out for dinner with my brother, sister-in-law and some friends to celebrate my sister-in-law’s father’s birthday. A few days prior, I had gotten a phone message from a guy with a very heavy accent telling me that I was in serious trouble and that if I didn’t immediately call him back, he would be forced to contact the police and that I should retain a lawyer. It sounded very ominous, and also like the total scam that it was, not unlike the calls that were making the rounds last year from “Revenue Canada” which instructed people to send iTunes gift cards to Paypal accounts OR ELSE, and some people actually did. I called the number back so I could give the dude a piece of my mind, but as per usual, the number was no longer in service. In addition, I’ve also been getting slammed with text messages from a bank that I don’t deal with, telling me that my account is compromised. It was scary at first, but then I realized they must have me confused with someone else, like the guy who keeps texting me with pithy sayings like, “Hey Shane! Blazefor dayz!” even though I keep telling him I’m not really “Shane” and that I haven’t “blazed” for innumerable dayz.

Anyway, I was sitting at dinner when the phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number but I answered it, and a recorded message said, “This call may be recorded for Quality Assurance purposes”, then a very stern-sounding man said, “Hello. I’m calling from the Police Services Board.” And how did I respond? I cut him off and said, “Yeah, right. F*ck off” and I hung up. Then I called the number back. And it said, “Welcome to the Police Services Board Fundraising Line, helping children everywhere.” I immediately hung up and gasped in shock. What had I done?! Had I just effectively black-balled myself? What if I had an emergency and had to dial 9-1-1? Would they say, “Oh right…it’s mydangblog. Yeah, you’re a funny one. F*ck off with your emergency”? So I did what any normal person would do. No, I didn’t call Ken, because this was one of the few times that wouldn’t have helped. Instead, I called the number back:

Recorded Voice: You have reached the Police Services Board Fundraising Line. Please leave a message after the tone.
Me: Um, hi. So a little while ago, somebody from your fundraising campaign called me, and I thought it was a scam, so I was really, really rude to the person. I might have used a swear word. Anyway, I feel really bad about it, and I would like to sincerely apologize to him. And the children. So, um, really sorry. Thanks.

Hopefully, they can hear how sincere I am (since I used so many ‘reallys’, which is always a sign of good intentions), and not put me on a “Do Not Respond” list. Because otherwise, FYI, TBH, I am truly SOL, LOL. FML. CYA.