So when stupid James stupidly came in to work today, he asked me, “How are you doing?”

“Pretty well,” I replied.

“Pretty well?” he repeated.

“Pretty well,” I confirmed. I then finished helping my customer and went back around to the other side of the counter and the samiches I was making.

Stupid James finished doing some stupid crap he was doing and then asked, “So how are you doing?”

“Pretty well,” said I with a brief, somewhat disdainful laugh.

“Pretty well, huh?”

I nodded.

A few minutes passed while he did something stupid and I continued making samiches. Finally he said, “So how are you doing?”

“Pretty well.”

Unfazed by my skeptical tone he continued, “And how’re things going?”

“Pretty well.”

Did he think repetition or rewording of the question was going to change my answer? Indeed, what answer was he looking for, and why? Such mysteries are the stuff of nightmare.

“Did you party last night?” was his next question.

“No.” Responding to stupid James only encourages him to talk, so I try to avoid it when possible.

“Did you do anything fun for Halloween?” Not precisely the exact same question as before…

…but the answer was still, “No.”

A few minutes later, when he was finished with some other stupid pursuit and I was wrapping my samiches, he asked, “How about this past week? Did you do anything fun this week?”

Choosing the activity that could be related in the fewest words, I responded, “I only went to school two days… that was fun.”

“Why?” he wondered. “Were you sick?”

That,” I told him pointedly, “would not have been fun.”

“What wouldn’t?” he asked.

James is one of the more irritating people I’ve ever worked with, which is particularly troublesome since he outranks me. Everyone in the deli despises him, and one of our best employees is even looking for another job purely because of him. Recently (actually I can’t remember when it was) he annoyed me so much that I briefly composed a sonnet about him at work (just after he’d left) and posted it to Facebook from work via my cell phone. His last name is Bane.

A fellow that I know called, rightly, Bane,
Who never takes the time to praise or thank
And causes his subordinates much strain,
Too pleased by far to glory in his rank,
Content to leave them all instead to me,
Neglects the greater number of his tasks
And what he has done condescendingly
Relates, as if in gratitude to bask.
Someday upon his face I’ll try my aim,
And feign to know not whence the missile came.

That end couplet is quite possibly the best set of rhyming lines I’ve ever written, and I do not say that lightly. So I suppose there is some benefit to his acquaintance.

Why did I only go to school two days this past week? Well, once upon a time some weeks ago, Alexx (oh, god, Alexx) came into our classroom to ask us if we’d like to go to a YMCA at some point and tell all the little YMCA-daycare kids there about oral hygiene and hand out little-kid-dental goodiebags. We all thought that sounded great, and readily agreed. It was scheduled for this Wednesday that has just passed. On Monday or Tuesday Alexx came in and said something about getting us directions to the school for Wednesday, and we were all a little confused. On being assured that the thing was at a school and where had we gotten the idea it was at a YMCA? we all then understood. School… YMCA… whatever.

Then she adds that this thing is not an informal visit to kids to give them colored toothbrushes and shit… it is, in fact, a sort of kids’ health fair — three hours long — where there will be physicians and such at booths in some school gym talking to children that are somehow related to a YMCA. Suddenly this isn’t sounding so good at all. We are not dentists. We are not even dental assistants yet. Showing kids the Modified Bass brushing technique is all very well and good, but we are not qualified to staff a booth at a health fair alongside full-fledged doctors. However, given that this was only a day or two before the trip, it was too late to back out. Typical Alexx equivocating bullshit.

At least we didn’t have to go to class on Wednesday. In the afternoon my classmate Christy picked me up and we headed through the snowstorm for the elementary school across town, picking up our classmate Paul on the way. Despite the icy roads we arrived right on time and started looking for a parking spot. At that point we received a text from classmate Paige — not from Linda, our teacher, whom we were supposed to be meeting in the parking lot that very minute — saying that Linda had contacted her to let her know we were calling it off due to weather. Not that the fair thing was canceled; just that we were not going to attend.

Irritated — though, honestly, somewhat relieved at not having to do the health fair thing — Christy and Paul and I went to Village Inn and bitched about the school and the teachers for a while. About an hour after we’d heard from Paige, Christy finally received an email on her phone from Linda — the first and only contact any of the three of us had from her — saying that we would attempt to reschedule the Thing (how does that even work?) and if we didn’t show up for it next time we would be docked attendance points. There was a distinct note of accusation in this email that left us somewhat flabbergasted and gave us fresh food for bitching.

Thursday classes were canceled because of the weather, and they decided not to make up that snow day on Friday because they assumed it would be even worse then. Ironically, but to nobody’s dismay, it cleared up and was quite nice on Friday, and even nicer on Halloween.

Which brings me to Halloween. I’d decided on my costume a couple of months ago — one of those easy costumes consisting mostly of stuff you already have just in case you have to work that night and therefore won’t have the chance to dress up… but also the scariest costume I could think of. That is, a dentist.

The only thing I actually had to purchase was the extraction forceps, which were, like, $8 on ebay. I would have preferred some posterior forceps, because those are way more freaky-looking, but those were also way more expensive. As if they anticipated my intentions. Anyway, I menaced all the kids that came to the door wis the forceps and asked them variants on, “Are you here to have your teeth pulled?” And their eyes would get wide and they would mutely shake their heads. It was freaking awesome. Two people were kind enough to tell me that it was the scariest costume they’d ever seen ^__^

That’s all.

Oh, wait, that’s not quite all. I’d meant to work on stories today and try to take notes on another GW episode or two… but somehow I ended up drawing for six hours instead. Ah, well.