Sunday, March 21, 2010

Printer Problems With Anita.

Tell me if I'm crazy or not. I think my office mate purposely jams the printer at the end of the day so that I can't use it while she's gone.

Does that sound insane?

Well, insane is exactly what my officemate is. Her name is Anita, and she's been a part-timer at this tiny junior college in the Pacific Northwest for twenty years. I'm a new full-time instructor who got paired with her because - as I've heard - she scared too many other part-timers away when she was in a much larger office with 5-6 others.

Now it's just me and her in this office that she clearly thinks of as hers. Her books cover 7 of the ten shelves, although when I pointed that out she showed me that I actually had 2 books on shelf #4, and that seemed to be enough of a compromise to suit her.

She makes a weird kind of tea in the coffee maker each morning, and all day long it stinks like a cab I once took in Turkey. Her desk faces the office door, while my desk is pushed up against the side wall. I asked her one day if the little desk was supposed to mine or hers, and she said, "Seniority trumps everything."

"Even though I'm a full-timer," I ventured.

We aren't often in the same room, but when we are she talks on the phone loudly. Once while I was printing some pages she opened the toner door and pulled out the black ink thingie. "This is mine," she said. "I bought it, not the school. If you want to print, then get your own ink."

Well, I thought I'd foiled her when I properly requisitioned some toner and installed it myself. I showed her but she was unimpressed.

The next day I came to the office I saw the "JAM" light flashing on the printer. I opened it up and saw two long scissored strips of cardboard threaded through the various rollers inside. It looked deliberate to me. I couldn't budge them, and ended up printing in the departmental office.

But when I found her in the office the next day, the printer was humming away, and she was smiling.

Is this going to be a problem for me?