How Not To Die On Monday

Lili Dauphin

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This book will outline the steps necessary to help you appreciate waking up in the morning and enjoy the great day called Monday. Once you put those rules into practice and have learned to master them, you will never look at Monday morning the same way again.



I once started a job as an office assistant on a Monday. I was so happy to get that little job that I cooked rice-and-beans for my entire building just so that I could celebrate. My boss, Ti-mama referred to me as Miss America. Since I didn't know what to make of it--was it a compliment or an attack?-I just smiled. As I was being given the office tour, I overheard two women trying to predict how long my stay on the job would be. "I say four days," said one woman. "No, I say one week," responded the other. "Are you sure?" said the first woman. "Well the last four girls lasted only three days each," said the second woman.

"No, she won't last because she started on the wrong day. Ti-mama hates Mondays." Laughed the receptionist.

Their comments didn't sit so well with me, but, since I really needed the job, I prepared a strategy. When I found out that I would be sharing an office with Ti-mama, I nearly fainted. Ti-mama's office was freezing cold, and she had a fan on her desk to circulate all the cold air. The office was so cold I had to wear a sweater. Maybe the girls that had up and quit had done so because of the artic weather!

Ti-mama's eyes never made contact with mine the entire day, and she didn't say a word to me about what I should be doing. Every time our eyes met, she would simply turn away. When I would ask her for something to do, she'd ignore me. I had to find my own work to do to keep from dying of boredom. All she did the whole day long was eat. Not only did Ti-mama keep piles of food on her desk, she kept food inside the files, on top of the filing cabinets-everywhere you looked there was junk food. I tried not to let it bother me, as I considered Ti-mama's eating habits to be her own business.

At four-fifty p.m. on the first day, Ti-mama handed me a pile of work to do. "This has to be done before you leave," she ordered, even though she knew I had to leave at five, as I had classes in the evening. However, I was so happy to finally feel needed and be recognized as an employee, that I went ahead and worked until eleven o'clock just to establish a good rapport. I figured that since Ti-mama doesn't like Mondays, maybe she'll treat me better on Tuesday. The following day, though, she pulled the same trick on me. Okay, I figured maybe she doesn't like Tuesday either, since it's so close to Monday. But on Wednesday, she again did the same thing. I could see I was in big trouble.

In spite of all those problems, I did really like the job and needed the experience, so for a few days I acquiesced to Ti-mama's lack of consideration. As each day went by, Ti-mama seemed to get more ornery. Finally, it was Friday-I had broken the record for staying an entire week on the job. By week's end, however, I figured I needed to formulate a strategy for keeping my job. I was not going to just quit the job, as I was sure Ti-mama would love that.

I had noticed the other workers were very hostile toward Ti-mama. They would talk behind her back, laugh at her, and leave her to have her lunch alone rather than invite her to join them. All of this treatment would cause her to become highly agitated and defensive. On my first day there, I was invited to hang out with the others. We would all laugh and joke together, even though they could barely understand my Franglish and I worried that Ti-mama might be jealous of all the attention I was getting. So, in an attempt to resolve the situation, the next Monday I packed a large lunch of healthy food and invited Ti-mama to join me.

"Get out of my face, kid," she said. I was shocked and crushed, as no one had ever turned down my rice-and-beans before-until I remembered it was Monday, and Ti-mama hated Mondays. I am now confused because Ti-mama loves to eat. I am thinking that I'm really in trouble.

The following day I tried that tactic again, but to no avail. I worked on that strategy the entire week. I would bring an apple or something sweet for Ti-mama to replace the huge bags of chips and cookies. I would bring fresh coffee to her desk and she'd look at me as if I were a nutcase, while she continued treating me like something to be trod beneath her feet.

By the third week, I discovered that on Ti-mama's birthday, she anonymously received a diet book, some deodorant, and soap. I noticed a tear in her eye as she looked at the gifts; I simply walked over and gave her a hug. Ti-mama placed her great head on my shoulder and rested it there for so long she nearly broke my shoulder. I gave Ti-mama a colorful crocheted scarf that my step-ma had knitted me for Christmas, which I thought would give her a little warmth in the low-temperature room and cheer her up. I then coaxed her out to lunch, to which I'd invited a few of the office girls, and had arranged with the waiter to sing happy birthday to her. Ti-mama cried at all the attention she was receiving. Apparently, this was the first time anyone had celebrated her birthday since she had been on the planet.

By week's end, I had become Ti-mama's best friend, to everyone's surprise. Thereafter Ti-mama talked openly to me about herself and her childhood traumas. She even bought me a pet rabbit. All she really needed was for someone to make her feel wanted. Ti-mama turned out to be one of the kindest, most loving people I have ever met. And I wish the others could have taken the time to get to know her.

A little compassion goes a long way. You can use this strategy yourself, if you so choose. It might not work for everyone because it takes a certain amount of patience; however in the long run it may help you as a human being. Of course, one doesn't take human folly too seriously as it's not the ease of being human that concerns us, but rather, the fact that many of us tend to vent our frustrations on others even when they have nothing to do with our problems. You need to use your best judgment, because the same strategy may not always work with everyone. Sometimes, you just have to walk away. I was born with patience in my veins, because where I am from, you can't make it without it.

There are many different ways of negating a bad situation. One way is to have a drink of water. You just have to choose what is right for you under the circumstances. Another person's reaction to Ti-mama may have been "Storm the ramparts, ladies and gentlemen." I usually use love to get through to people. But, this is a personal decision, and one only you can own. In my case, I could have easily walked away like the other girls, but I chose not to.