Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Paying the Aquatic Piper

I work in a very interesting office, as you know if you read last week's post titled The Great Pentagon Doughnut War. I'm very fortunate to have some extremely intelligent, well-educated, and intellectually stimulating people to work with.

Well, most of the time, anyhow.

You know about the doughnuts vs munchkins issue that has divided our office. Now let me tell you about the water bill.

To fully understand the story, you need to know that the Pentagon was built over a period of 18 months in 1943-1944. At the time, it was a relative architectural and technical marvel, but by the early 1990's it was starting to show its age ... one symptom of which was water lines that were delivering water that was ... well ... not necessarily drinkable. As a result, almost every office in the building took deliveries each month of bottled water for drinking and the brewing of coffee*.

When I came to work in my present office in 1996, I volunteered to take over management of the office water fund ... the incumbent was getting ready to leave, and it seemed like a fairly painless task. It is a job I still have to this day, nobody else being interested in taking it on. As the water fund manager, I monitor usage, place the orders, receive the water deliveries, and pay the bill to the company that delivers the water each month** ...

... and there's the proverbial rub.

You see, I ain't runnin' no charity here. When the bill comes to me for payment, I turn to my colleagues and request a per-capita share of the bad news ... usually anywhere from four to six dollars, depending on the number of five-gallon bottles of water we turn into urine in the course of the month.

You can probably hear the howls of anguish each month from where you are.

For the record, here are a few of the typical conversations that take place each time I ask for those per-capita shares of the bill:

1. I am not taking bread from the mouths of your children.

2. I am not vacationing in Rio (or anywhere else) on the alleged profits I make from the water fund.

3. I'm sorry*** you have to cancel that trip to Disney World you promised your kids because I'm after you for a measley five bucks.

4. I'm really sorry**** your children won't get new shoes or birthday presents this year because you have to pay the water bill.

5. Yes, I know that all the water lines in the Pentagon were replaced during the renovation, and we can now drink from the fountains and taps without getting sterile or growing two heads.

6. Just grit your teeth and pay the %$&@ bill, okay.

Doughnuts and water. Believe it or not, in spite of both, we actually do get along and work well together.

But at the beginning of each month, when the water bill comes due, I always look under my car for devices that don't belong there.

Have a good day. If anyone ever asks you to manage a water fund, just say no. You'll thank me.

More thoughts tomorrow.


* The fuel on which the Department of Defense runs.

** The fellow who delivers the water to our office is huge. If he had lights on his backside, he'd look like a semi. I don't want him pissed off at me for non-payment.

*** Not.

**** Sure, go ahead and blame me, you cheapskate.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

What a work-related hassle! I suppose the one who buys the coffee has the same problem. In large offices there will be people who expect a free ride.

Linda Kay said...

I'm just totally amazed that people are paying for their own water!

Bilbo said...

"Mike" (my coworker, not Mike the blogger) tells me that I need to clarify that these are actual comments they've made ... I didn't have to make anything up. I need a little respect here - it's not easy passing gallons of water for these people.

Anonymous said...

The key to a good complaint about the water bill is it must be outlandish, while rooted in some semblance of truth...this is Mike BTW, since I show up as an anonymous contributor

Straight Up No Chaser said...

I think I'm glad I work alone along side my dog.

Chuck Bear said...

$4 -$5 a month is not excessive, by any means!

There's also the creeps who pilfer others' Cokes from the communal refrigerator.

Mike said...

Does the water guy take the empty bottles and fill them up at the water fountain now?

Anonymous said...

A racket is a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem, such as for a problem that does not actually exist, that will not be put into effect, or that would not otherwise exist if the racket were not to exist. Conducting a racket is racketeering.[1] Particularly, the potential problem may be caused by the same party that offers to solve it, although that fact may be concealed, with the specific intent to engender continual patronage for this party