Monday, July 18, 2005

Pansy on the Run!

So, I had been at Thong World long enough to have (gasp!) settled in. I was no longer even Pansy Tham- that email account had been closed, and I was officially Brimming with joy? Not I. Add into this was the fact that the holidays were coming up, and in a very un-thonglike display of largesse, the thong queen declared that the offices would be closed on the Wednesday holiday, as well as the two days after. Great if your paycheck came from Thong World, disastrous if you were paid as a temp.

Luckily, a friend of mine was producing a show that was moving from it's venue in Hollywood to the Seattle Rep. A major piece of the show was a particular sofa, shaped like the front end of a Buick. Said sofa absolutely, positively had to be in Seattle by a certain date, or the show couldn't go on. Pansy to the rescue (and vice-versa)! I told my thong boss that I would be off that Monday and Tuesday, my friend and I made a deal on my fee, we went to rent a minivan (from an odd, random house on the edge of Hancock Park) loaded the sofa, and off I went.

Well, that's the short version. First of all, I had to pack.

I have a friend who has the amazing ability to pack for weeks in what most people would consider something ample for, say, mailing one's cable bill. He'll show up for the week with his dopp kit and envelope (as my friend Bitsy calls it), merrily pulling out of this tardis-like pouch magically unwrinkled shirts, sharply pressed chinos, perkily creased socks; all manner of clothing so fresh and crisp you wonder if that damned bag is a wormhole directly connected to a drycleaner.

He bugs me.

I am not he. I am seemingly unable to pack for a simple weekend without bringing more stuff than most expeditions over the Antarctic. Somehow, somewhere in the deep dark reptilian part of my brain I am unable to comprehend that there is no place in the world (that I'd go to, anyway) where all-cotton socks, Calvin Klein t-shirts and soft boxers with humourous patterns are not readily available. I could be going off to an extended stay in a maximum-security psych ward and still I'd have to pack a nice pair of pants, a blazer or two, and a couple of shirts, all with at least three choices of ties, 'cause you know, Trembling Acres might have a mixer or something. If I had one, I'd probably pack a ball gown, just in case I was faced with an underdressed dinner partner, or some strange local custom of enforced drag. Oh, and the toiletries? Imagine half of Sephora crammed into a small Burberry duffel. Not to mention, cell phone, computer, various waters, sodas, supplements... well you get the idea.

In any case, laded with all of my stuff and a giant sofa, I left Hollywood for Seattle. I drove and drove. For those of you who have never driven it, the 5 freeway through California practically begs you to speed. Not just 75 or 80, but 100. Hell, 300. Once you've gotten over the "Grapevine", there's not much to see. Huell Howser might beg to differ, but I didn't see nuthin. Oh, Sacramento, but really, the less said about that... Sacramento seems like California's punishment on politicos.

I did drive through a lovely snowstorm at the Oregon border, though, and with a few hours nap on the famous sofa at a rest stop, morning saw me pull into the Seattle Rep's parking lot to deliver my wares.

Next: Pansy Parks it in Portland!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Further Adventures of Thong World...

So, after a few days at Thong World, I was asked to take a drug test. Now for some reason this annoyed me no end; not that I took drugs, but I felt that if I had to get up at the a$$-crack of the morning to leave the comfort and safety of my down-covered bed to treak to the butt end of beautiful Commerce (gateway to Bell) to sit in front a computer and press random combinations of F-keys while wondering where my life had gone so tragically wrong and try to figure out if there was some way that I could transport myself back 30 or so years to really pound into my earlier toddler head that theater was evil (Eeeeeevil!) and a career in Plastic Surgery was the way to go, not only should I be able to take drugs, it should be compulsory: they should station someone at the front desk where they pop a honey-roasted Valium in my mouth as they check my ID.

So, I creakily (oy, my sciatica) got up on my high horse and refused.

Consternation! Confusion! Thongs Imperiled!

Elsa the Friendly Gorgon called. She wheedled, she cajoled, she seduced (she majorly barked up the wrong tree on so many levels, but god love her for trying). Then she pulled out the big guns.

She offered me two buck an hour more.

Weeeeeel, my high horse was pretty freaking uncomfortable anyway.

Having years later had a drug screening at my current job (although I was one of the last employees to have it in house, since the new owners killed of the in-house health department), I can tell you that a drug screening can discreet, respectful and even slightly homey.

Not in Thong World.

Thong World sent you to an even less attractive corner that might not even been in Commerce. Here, at the corner of Crack and Addicted, you were ushered into a peeling paint covered cinder block building seemingly populated by people who managed to be deemed not perky enough, not helpful enough, without the people skills necessary to man the desk at the DMV. Since the Crusades were over, and they had to pay the bills they landed here: Bob's CheckYourPee.

Needless to say, my particular brand of OFFENDED DIGNITY(R) didn't go over very well.

I eventually was led to a my cubicle/dungeon, and finally after about an hour of trying (performance anxiety- they sent some dude in there to make sure that I didn't Sizemore my way through it), I filled the cup.

All so I could continue to make the world safe for drug-free butt-floss unterhosen.

Coming soon: Pansy Escapes!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

There may be a few of you that don't know the origin of the title of this blog (yes, I know, a blog- how late last year. That Pansy, always on the bleeding edge)

Long about 6 years ago, months after I had parted ways with Rizzoli and the show I had been working on closed, the state of California (and American Express, my landlady and Pacific Bell) started making serious if annoying noises about me getting a job. Since the lottery maintained its dreary habit of not picking my numbers, and David Geffen refused to adopt me (Why David, WHY!!!), I went looking. A friend turned me on to temp work. The agency I went to, in a rather random building on Wilshire, was run by an unfortunate woman that I like to think of as Elsa, the friendly Gorgon. Within about 6 minutes, she was sending me off to my personal hell, the place that I like to refer to as "Thong World"

Thong World, as you may guess (clever boots, you) was a place that made underthings. Just in case there is a lawyer out there I won't mention the company, but you've heard of them. They were (I assume are) located in a particularly unattractive part of the LA basin, and, as much as I love LA, that's saying something.

My job? God knows what I was supposed to do. In hindsight, I think I was supposed to run reports- the job description was for someone who knew Excel. Well, I can surf Excel with the best of them, but this job seemed to involve having my rather nice and very attractive boss pop out of her office every few hours to stand behind me and run me through a DOS program that involved a lot of use of the F-keys and random acronyms to tell the plant in Tel Aviv or Tuscon or Tijuana that the thongs for this season would be fuschia jersey with grey sateen piping. I was never let in on whether this was a report that I should be running daily, hourly, or weekly, or whether there was any particular reason behind doing this. Like an irregular cookoo-clock, she would pop out of the office, reel off a list of F-keys, have me press enter, and leave.

Thongs were played close to the, er, vest. In case of industrial spies, you know.

The other workers were, uhhhh, colourful. There was one girl, who was terrified of being fired, since she had sent "inappropriate" emails. She had forwarded something that had her put on full Thong Probation. Double Secret Thong Probation, to be exact. Unfortunately for her, she seemed to have a couple of friends that delighted in sending her emails that downloaded porno pictures, complete with macros forwarding them to the global address book. Oddly, this girl didn't think not to open these emails from her purported friends. Her computer savvy was about zero also, since she had no idea how to undo the pictures that her "friends" sent to her- including a very outre picture of a young woman in truly desperate need of a Brazilian wax that automatically became her wallpaper. Charming.

She didn't last.

Then there was Gun-Boy. He was a very nice young Asian guy who was obsessed with "The Matrix". He called himself Neo, had the leather coat, and was on a serious mission ot get the exact boots that Keanu wore. Looaaddds of research went into finding these boots; substitutes would not be accepted. While this was enough to send an eyebrow skyward, there was also his Y2K issues. (yes, it was 1999) He was one of those people who were expecting Y2K anarchy- to the point of arming himself. Really arming himself. Like Rambo. When he told me that come January first I'd be begging to be his bitch... well, let's just say my eyebrow may have actually have slapped a passing plane. His job was to keep up an incredibly complicated spreadsheet that no-one else was allowed near.

Oh, and there was the woman whose sole job was to call Mexico and scream at the top of her voice in an accent that sounded like she should be "plwotteenk trubble fuhr moose and sqwurrurl" about the thongs being held up.

Or the overly tanned glad-hander who was some sort of exec who was canned by the woman who headed the company, a gorgon of whom everyone was so afraid, they painted the entire complex in expectation of her royal visit.

In any case- if you're still awake, I will solve the mystery of Pansy....

At Thong World, there was no internet access- one must not be visiting when there are thongs to be made. When I got there, I was directed to do my chores using the address of the previous occupant, who had no doubt fled screaming into to night. For an entire month, I would email all of my friends, furiously deleting the sent items and trash folder as soon as I sent anything (remember, all eyes are on you in Thong World). The nome de plume was....

Pansy Tham.

Yes, Pansy Tham.

I think that some of my friends (quite understandably) could not pass up the opportunity of calling me Pansy with impugnity, so it's stuck enough that I've named this blog after it. For those of you who knew the story, you have got some added info that I hope will give you a few giggles. For those of you who never knew, you have far, far more info than you ever needed.

Don't ask me to pity you, I lived through it.