Drive into the Tree

As much as I’d like to say I’ve put this behind me, an incident involving the worst boss I’ve ever had still haunts me.

It was few years ago, in the middle of December, 2006, the worst time to be afraid of losing a job. It was close to Christmas. I found out that Linda, my boss at the office wasn’t too happy with me and she would have gotten rid of me earlier if it hadn’t been for my friend the accountant. While I was out on a work-related errand, Linda was looking in my mailroom for something faulty and found it – a newsletter with the previous address. We had moved less than a month before to the new office and I only had a fragment of the updated letter with a few translations to be done, which meant not all of our constituencies could be served. So, instead of pushing my boss on the issue of mailing the letter out complete, I mailed out the other one. When I came back from the errand, the receptionist coolly told me my boss needed to see me.

I don’t even remember what I needed to fetch from my errand. All I know is that it essentially was a shopping trip to get something for the mailroom or something the accountant said was needed. What I do remember is quickly going to Linda’s office, sitting down, only to have her start screaming at me: “DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE LEGAL RAMIFICATION OF WHAT YOU’VE DONE?! WHY DID YOU MAIL THAT OTHER LETTER?

In a fantasy scenario, I would have told Linda to frak herself and walk out. In real life, Linda’s verbal barrage was more like a beating where I threw up my hands to protect myself, only to find myself still getting hurt. Looking back, I’m not proud of it, but I tried to blame my assistant, as if would help. It didn’t. Instead, Linda bared her teeth and huffed through her nostrils like a bull. Somehow, her red jacket only intensified her aggression. After she was done screaming at me, I left her office. During the whole meeting, the door was never closed and I never even remembered her telling me to close it. Everyone in the office had heard my humiliation. I’m surprised I even worked a few more hours. I don’t even remember what I did until the office closed.

After work, I drove to Mission Valley to shop around at Best Buy. I thought that gadget shopping could erase what happened in Linda’s office that afternoon, but it didn’t. All I could think about was driving my car into a giant tree or trolley track pillar at high speed. 60 MPH in a suburban street would have done the job nicely, but 80 to 100 MPH would have been extremely effective. Only I didn’t destroy my car. That would come much later. In the Best Buy parking lot, I called one friend, who didn’t pick up. I left a message and called my friend Brian and told him about my impulse to drive my car into something. I can’t remember the conversation at all, but I was able to drive myself home.

I called in sick the next day. The day after, when I returned to work, Linda was sweet to me, too sweet. She still wanted to get rid of me, though.

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