The Peace Treaty / by laurel

Let it be known that this blog will from this point forward take a turn--a slight detour, if you will. I'm opting to take the scenic route, if we're going to go there with the travel-speak.

Today I have begun chronicling the continued efforts to keep The Peace Treaty intact.

What is The Peace Treaty, you ask?

The Peace Treaty, quite simply, is the agreement I have made with my coworker (who shall remain nameless for now, but I'll probably slip up in the near future, so stay tuned) that we will not fight. Fight? You may be asking yourself, What could there possibly be to fight about?

Oh, there's plenty. Believe me. If there is a point of dissension to be had in any of all possible 'real-life situations' I can guarantee you that he and I will have it. And we will have it out until the cows come home. Or the sun comes up. Or as long as it takes until we abandon that argument for something bigger and better (to argue about).

This is the best way I can think to describe the State of Affairs shortly before The Peace Treaty was enacted is with this conversation between myself and another coworker:

"How would you describe it, from an outsider's perspective?" I asked.

"Snippy. Very snippy. You both would feed off each others' aggravations. One would instigate and then it would just blow up. Back and forth, back and forth."

I responded, "Very much like tennis, but without the love all."


So there you have it. Back and forth, back and forth. All day long. Every day. Basically I could explain it by saying that he and I agree on absolutely nothing. At all. Ever.

But all that soon changed on Tuesday, March 21, 2006. While trying to enjoy a peaceful lunch out (we were trying the 'new place' in the row of 'old places' we frequent), we were embroiled in a an embittered battle over who was meaner: me or him. The conversation is a little fuzzy in my mind, but I can recall a few snippets and it went something like this:

Me, taking an indignant sip of my water: "Well, maybe it would have been easier if you weren't so mean all the time! (This was my carefully crafted steel-wall of an argument: That "It" would be easier if not for his meanness. And 'It' could stand for anything, mind you--anything in this phsyical, or metaphysical world.)

He, eyebrows raised, voice level following quickly after--a Jack and Jill of visual cues: "ME? Mean? I'm not the one who is mean. You are meaner than I am."

And so on. However, we formed a tentative alliance when one of us hypothesized that we couldn't be peaceful for a full 24 hours. Hence, The Peace Treaty was born. The conditions are simple: We aren't allowed to instigate each other, and if one of us infringes upon the Peaceful Agreement, the other has the right to cry, "Instigating!" Upon this accusation, the guilty party must reflect upon their actions, and, accepting the charge, must say, "Accepted." Both parties agree to move on. Both parties also agree not to bring up the past.

However, like even our best laid plans, the Peace Treaty continues to be threatened by our volatile worklationship. What will follow are examples where the Peace Treaty has been on the edge of collapse. Keep in mind that these conversations mostly take place in the exquisitely impersonal realm of iChat while we sit back to back at our desks (in true world leader fashion).

All you need to know about this one is that I organize for a living. It's what I do. And Coworker takes that organization and throws it on our website. The following is regarding a few folders he perceived to be disorganized.

him: Are you sure you named them in order? Hmmm?

me: Yes, you told me to go through and name them alphabetically, I went through and re-did every single folder and named them in the order they are on the store locations page. Just like you said. [occasionally it's good to retrace your steps aloud. It prevents misunderstanding. MOST people would take me for my word and agree. Like I said, MOST people.]

him: Hmmm....okay, we'll see. We'll see.

me: 'We'll see'? Are you implying I did it wrong? Because I did not.

him: Look in the SC folder, there are only 8 pics and there are 10 online. All's I'm saying.

me: Because you told me to only do 8.

him: If you say so. [And this is where we spiral quickly out of control. Are you following? Good.]

me: Okay I'm not accusing you of instigating, but I am going to make you aware of the fact that you are doing 'it' again. And by 'it' I mean, you tell me to do something, and then a week or a month later, you question what I did and make it seem like I made a mistake when I did not, and then refuse to believe me when I tell you that I was only doing what you told me to do. [Pause. Deep breath.] I'm just SAYING, you're doing it again. You might want to watch that.

him: Or what? You'll run to the UN and tattle?

[Later, he comes back, tail between his legs, ready to announce that, once again, to the victor goes the spoils.]

him: I told you 8 pics only because I forgot how many pics went into a page.

me: Well okay, so can we agree that it was your fault then, and move on?

him: Maybe I assumed that you would see the page, ask me if I was sure that I only wanted 8 and I would have caught it there.

me: You know, it's not up to me to catch your mistakes. You said 8. I did 8.

him: You can question. I'm just saying.

me: No, I really can't, because you get defensive when I do or you make it my fault, somehow.

him: Well, I'd like to think that you don't just blindly work here, it's not that mechanical.

me: I don't just blindly work, but when you say "8 pics only'' I'm not really leaving that open to interpretation.

him: I mean you question every other thing I do, I'm actually quite surprised that you don't ask me, "Why am I doing this?"

me: Right, so you just said that I question what you do, so why are you telling me I can question you when I clearly already do? You're going in circles. ALL'S I'm saying is you've got that accusatory tone today.

him: Today? No, you question me on personal issues, never work. Tone? I don't have a tone. I woke up great and you're getting all defensive on me.

me: I'm not getting defensive, you tried to shove something off on me WAY too early in the morning. I'm just guarding my territory here and saying, don't push that on me.

him: Ok I'm over it.

me: Okay, fair enough. Is the peace treaty still intact?

him: Yes, this was just discourse.

In another instance of "I've already done the work but we seem to have 'lost' it, yet again, Episode 2: Where Laurel loses her mind," I am asked to fix a picture I've already fixed at least three times already.

me: I've never made one before? 'cause I'm pretty sure I already have.

him: Don't know. You probably have.

me: Can you check please? Before you make me do it AGAIN?

This literally came out of nowhere. I have to say this, because I wouldn't want you, dear reader, to stumble upon this post and think that you've entered the conversation at the punchline, if you will. This just came stark raving out of Nowhere (capital N).

I was taking orders for a midday Starbucks pilgrimage at work, when Coworker X walks in the office, looks at us, and, upon seeing that something was afoot, says,

(Pause. Wait for it.)

"Who are we punching? Are we planning to punch someone?"

And there you have it.

I was minding my own business at this very moment, I promise. I was tap-tap-tapping away on my slightly grimey keyboard when I was assaulted with--well, just read on.

Him: Well would you hear that.

Me: What?

Him; Ulices is suddenly all chatty cathy over there.

Me: Wow...

Him: I blame you.


This may put the Peace Treaty on hold forever, but I'm willing to take that risk.

This is the perk of being friends with the girl who is in charge of putting art up on the walls in our office. There is now a picture of Coworker hanging on the wall, dressed up as a bumble bee, striking a pose similar to that ubiquitous Karate Kid stance, and scowling. Complete with antennae.

Oh, and did I mention that it's twelve feet tall?

No, I don't think I did. It's twelve feet tall.

For some reason, (and since our world and worklationship seem to be 90% contained within the confines of iChat, so our lingo and vernacular reflect the SuperGeek culture in which we live) Coworker changes his iChat icon up quite a bit. That's understandable, you say. Of course it is, I prefer consistency myself, but if you wish to switch your picture every five minutes, by all means, do it. But Coworker doesn't just change his logo from, say, a guitar to a field of puppies. No, Coworker seems to have exhausted the supply of--are you ready for this?--human brain clipart available to iChatters. Every new icon he chooses is yet another tireless perspective or brushstroke of the grey matter. What this says about him, I don't know, except perhaps that I think he is secretly plotting to take over the planet.

me: Whoa, your icon keeps changing. But of course we find our way back to the proverbial brain clipart.

him: Yes. As opposed to your face. All the time. Thats all im saying. [Pause. waits for me to respond.] Speechless.

me: Instigator!

him: This is America, I get choices.

me: Have your choices. Don't criticize my face. ALL I'M SAYIN'.

him: I'm just saying I'm adventurous when it comes to my icons. As opposed to you over there, all Nancy McStagnant. Is all I'm sayin.

me: You might switch the look of your icon but the subject matter remains the same. Namely, brain matter. All the time. Like you're some soulless Wizard behind a curtain.

[and just like that we change the subject.]

him: I'm entertaining the thought of going out to lunch.