Last Fall, I had an unfortunate infestation of ants in my home. They poured out of the wall, underneath the baseboards and marched across the hardwood floors of my living and made a condo out of my laptop bag. I immediately took said bag and tossed it on our enclosed back porch. Then, I attended to the source of the problem, setting traps and spraying the gap between the baseboard and floor. Unfortunately, since I am a lazy f**k, I never got around to fumigating my bag, which had now become a retirement community for stinkbugs as well.
In the meantime I had begun taking my wife’s laptop bag to work. She never used it for anything, but it wasn’t exactly the most manly thing in the world. It was a Vera Bradley, solid color, quilted laptop bag. I didn’t have a lot of options. I knew my work was not going to replace my bag and I didn’t feel like buying a new one for a work laptop. I simply just kept using my wife’s and stowed it out of sight for the duration of my stay with my former employer.
Flash forward to this week. I get up and proceed to get for work at my current job, which is an hour drive away. I go out into our living room and see that one of my cats has knocked over my new, company issued laptop bag, possibly to lay on it, as they always do. Then, I realized the horror. One of my other cats has decided to piss all over it, leaving a puddle of urine laying there.
I cleaned it off best I could, using Lysol wipes and hot water. I simply did not have time to tear apart the entire house, waking my wife and daughter at 6:00 AM in order to find a replacement. Besides, after I used the wipes on the bag, it seemed to be OK. That was, until I was driving home and the smell really hit me. I couldn’t take it back to work in that condition.
That night, my wife suggested taking her bag to work, like I had before. I was a little leery. When you’ve worked at the same company for nearly ten years and you do something like bringing a purse to work. They kind of give you the benefit of the doubt if you’ve never done it before. When you’ve been at a company for only six months and do something like that, your coworkers don’t understand your life the same way. Everyone at my old job knew the tale of my cat causing us to have to replace the floor in our basement so this was simply par for the course. At the new job, they don’t know this and will generate their own opinions.
Needless to say, I took my wife’s bag. I knew it was probably a bad move and I should have really considered, putting it in my desk drawer, out of sight. Unfortunately, I had an all day meeting and simply did not have the opportunity to do this.
About ten minutes into the meeting, of which I am sharing my laptop screen on the projector, I receive an IM.
“Where did you get the pretty laptop bag?”
Fortunately, I had moved all of my email and IM screens to my laptop and only extended my windows desktop to the projector. This message was only visible to me. Well, me and the three other people with which my coworker decided to share. Suddenly, the incident took on a life of its own as more people, including my boss and my boss’ boss, were chiming in about my lovely bag.
During a break, I was able to come out and try some damage control, to no avail. People were laughing. I wasn’t sure why. Then I found out. We have nine large flat screen monitors hanging throughout the cube farm which displays stats and various other bits of information for the department. The slide show rotates through different screens and eventually, I noticed what everyone was laughing about. Tucked in between two of the slides was a picture of two or my coworkers modeling the bag in rather funny poses with the title of “The Companion Bag” above the words “MyLastName & CO.”, essentially making this an advertisement.
I couldn’t help but laugh because while it was making fun of me for bringing my wife’s bag, it also put their manhood on the line to have been photographed modeling it. Needless to say, it was all in good fun and if I can’t laugh at myself, I shouldn’t laugh at others. I gave them a “Well Played” and then went back into my meeting. Of course, I had to share and explain the incident, reiterating that my cat caused the situation.
I made sure that I found a suitable replacement for the next day, while I wait until my regular bad dries after being washed. It just goes to show that if I had ever expressed doubts about coming here, they made me feel welcome, even at my own expense.
Now, I must disown my cat.