One of the guys from my Kuwait office posted this on his blog. His blog is anonymous, and he sounds off about plenty on it so I can't link directly to it, but he said I could reprint it here. It's a really sweet goodbye. I have serious doubts that I did all these things he credits me with... mostly I just stumbled around blindly, but that doesn't matter so much. It's still a lovely piece. And I don't really look like an elf.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
And just like that
And just like that, things went back to the way they were!
Three months ago Marie came to work. It's always difficult to tell how you're going to get along with Americans in your workplace. Kuwait is quite overrun with them like ants on sugar - and for the most part they haven't done the country any good. But my first impressions of Marie were quite different -- surreal actually. Why is she always smiling? What does she know that I don't? Is it me or does she look like an elf? (Note from Marie: Elf in question here.)
It was difficult for the folks at work not to take a shine to her. She seemed so out of her element - single american female out in the big bad world. So out of her element and yet still in control.
She had come to Kuwait to help us come to grips with the not-so-fun side of comic book production. She's sort of like a reluctant comic book geek/world traveller/editor type person. And here she was in one of the most life-sucking deserts in the world and already she wanted to take a bus, go to the post office and see the camel races.
And so we boys and girls of the comic book industry in the middle east - set to work creating a universe. Characters were born and then surgically altered. At our whim their loved ones lived and died. The planets were set to spin, rules were set, the animals were named and on the seventh day we rested - although my suspicion is that marie never really did!
It wasn't long before Frankie would take me aside and say "Marie knows her s*it doesn't she!?" and i would be quick to agree.
Any fight that broke out at work (and in our little dysfunctional company there were plenty to go around) it was always decided that Marie would know the right answer. And so it was that this insane person brought some sanity to the workplace.
It was more than that though. I remember when the company was made up of 4 people and it wasn't divided up into editorial, creative and financial. It was made up of four neurotic, psychologically disturbed individuals - one who always came late and drunk, one who was always trying to jump off the 28th floor of our old office building, one who would disappear to the stairwell to steal his 24th smoke of the day and one who did the filing. well it's obvious which one i'm NOT.
And then we grew into this big massive self hating organism. Friends became co-workers, and some even became bosses. And it was all lost in what was 'good for the company'. And then Marie came.
On the last day Alec, Muneer and myself took her out for dinner. Thai food. I recommended the place cus i knew the food was top notch and everyone would like it. I'd taken my sister and closest friends there but always made sure i never brought it up in front of other ppl. It was after all, a safe haven for me away from work and home. Anyways we had a great time and there was a little sadness in the air because well the three months were up and she was leaving. Chicken in green curry, vegetable soup, pad thai, squid and an amazing dish which was made simply of chicken on toast covered in sesame seeds. "This stuff is so good," i said and munched away as the others nodded their assent vigorously.
We shot the breeze and we laughed and it was all-in-all a great night. And then the next morning, Marie got on a plane and left for Barcelona.
The office was kind of dead and people realised that the most important things were once again deadlines and paychecks. The workload never stops and it only takes a little effort to just throw yourself into it.
Oh well I'm sure the office will never quite be as much fun as it used to be.
Alec and Muneer went for lunch the day after Marie left while i was neck deep in writing an Iron Man character profile for the website. I was so tense and engrossed that i didn't look up when they came back. "We have a present for you," said Muneer, smiling. Alec was smiling too.
Why are they smiling i said to myself. Do they know something I don't know?
Alec placed something on my table, wrapped up in kleenex. "it's a rat isn't is?" i said. "Something like that," says Alec. After unwrapping several layers, i saw what it was - and i was quite touched.
Chicken on toast with sesame seeds.
Sure the office won't be as much fun as it was when Marie was around. But it will also never be the same.