Since I mentioned her in my last post, I want to give you a little background on dirty Diana so you can fully appreciate what a giant douche she was.
I started working in the biostats department at Pitt as a student. They put me in a room with about 6 or 7 other women, including Diana. We did coding, transposing, data entry and verification of factory records, and I also ran errand, made deliveries, etc.
Pitt has a standardized job title/salary base system – you have staff specialist 1-5, research specialist 1-5, etc. Staff 1 was the lowest. Research 1 was equal to Staff 1. Everyone in the room, including Diana was Staff 1, but Diana introduced herself as the “room supervisor.” This wasn’t an actual title. She had been there for more almost 20 years (she was late 50s/early 60s when I met her) and had never been promoted or received a raise other than cost of living. This was because she was only qualified to work at the lowest level. And she hated this fact. It drove her crazy to see other people move up the (albeit short) ladder. So to appease her they let her believe she was the “room supervisor.” This basically meant that she got to keep the phone on her desk. She loved this, being a huge control freak. She wasn’t actually the supervisor of anyone. But she thought she was.
Diana was annoyingly stubborn. And while a lot of people are stubborn, Diana was the deadly combination of stubborn and stupid. We would code and transpose plant records onto entry forms and she had absolutely no common sense or ability to reason. For example, one plant was in a very French area and even though an “e” looked like a “b”, it just didn’t occur to her that the name she was coding was Le’toile and not Lb’toile. Or when a person wrote her first name in all lowercase and the “a” looked a little off, she decided the woman’s name was Climee. (even though in both these and many, many other cases, looking hard enough through the records would find the answer). And I know we all make mistakes, but her problem was that when one of us would verify the records and send them on to entry, she would receive the finished entry records to refile, see that the change was made, change it back to the incorrect name, and send it back up to data entry to be updated. This cycle would repeat itself over and over, because of She Who Could Not Be Wrong.
She was a liar and loved to make up shit to get people in trouble. Once, I was coming back from lunch, and my actual supervisor stopped me outside the office and asked me to run an errand. She didn’t hear what was said, but she did see this happen. While I was out my dad called for me. When I came back, she told me to call my dad (which I had to do standing at her desk, because she could not give up control of the phone for even a second). Anyway, when I called my dad, he was pissed at me for not taking my job seriously. WTF?? It turns out that when he called and asked for me, instead of simply saying I was not in the office, she proceeded to tell him a long tale of how I left for lunch at 12, but I hadn’t come back to the office yet even though it was almost 2 and she just didn’t know where I was because I should have been back buy 1 but her it was nearly 2 and oh my, she just didn’t know because I didn’t come back and I didn’t call or anything. Nice, huh?
Diana was a grudge-holder like no other. If she was wronged by someone, that was it – she would throw a hissy fit, stomp, give the silent treatment, or in some cases, cut off ties completely. When she and I had our final blowout, she pretended like I did not exist (which was fine by me), but she acted like a baby in that she would refuse to look at me, refuse to talk to me even if there was a work conversation, tell someone to tell me something, etc. For YEARS, this went on. This wasn’t surprising though because she was estranged form her entire family. When I first started working there, she talked about being estranged from her son, because of his girlfriend turning him against her. I felt bad until I heard about the other son, her brother, her sister-in-law, her husband’s siblings, the neighbors, her mailman, and so on. I am not exaggerating – she was “wronged” by al these people.
She constantly offended people. Once, I brought in a piece of apple pie and she asked what it was. I told her and she went, “Yuck, blech, gag, ack – along with full-on retching sounds for (I kid you not) 2 whole minutes. And then said “I hate apple pie.” I wanted to shove that pie in her disgusting face. She was overweight and sloppy, but she didn’t hesitate to make a comment about someone else “not needing a donut.”
And speaking of donuts, she was diabetic, so if someone brought in treats like donuts, she couldn’t eat one. But since she was the kind of person that felt like she should get her share, she always pushed and ran to get one to take home for her husband. Now don’t get me wrong – no one cared if she too one home to frankenbob, but it was motivated not out of wanting to being him a treat, but out of not wanting to miss out on what she was owed. And we’re not talking about company purchased treats, either – this was other employees springing for something out of their own pocket, so if you ask me, she wasn’t “owed” anything.
And she was disgusting. She had some kind of scaly skin condition. That’s not what is disgusting- lots of people have dermatologic disorders. What is disgusting is that she would wear sneakers into work and change onto flats. And she’d keep knee-highs in her desk – worn over and over knee highs. And on donut day, she would put frankenbob’s donut in a scaly, dirty knee-high to take home. Gag!
Her house was cluttered far worse than anything I could ever imagine. She collected bells and had over 3,000 on display. She once brought photos in of her Christmas decorations and seriously –every single surface was covered with knickknacks. And I mean covered as in, tchochke shoved right up against each other so that no table surface showed in between. Every table, every shelf, every windowsill, every appliance, everything. We asked her how she dusted and she looked confused.
And the grossest. One day she was telling up one of her “humorous” stories, and said that every night at the same time, the cat would walk over to (Franken)Bob sitting in his chair and spray him. Then she laughed like it was hilarious. WTF???? We never ate anything she made after that.
And speaking of her food – once, she brought in a cake for my friend Toenail’s birthday that frankenbob made. It was box cake with can icing – fine by me. Except he mixed a ton of vanilla extract into the chocolate icing before he iced the cake. It tasted like shit.
She was one of those people who had to be different. If you said black, she said white, you said up she said down. Every St. Patrick’s’ day, she would wear this droopy, greasy looking orange shirt and rant all day about how she was protestant and protestants wear orange and not green, blahblahblah, like anyone gave a shit about her, protestants, orange, Irish, or anything other than getting the fuck out of the office and away from her crazy ass.
Lastly, she was a one-upper type. She always had it worse than you, she always knew more than you, etc. And the strangest thing is that every single day she would come in and say, “327 was the daily number last night (or whatever the number was). I’m mad I didn’t play it because 26 years ago, Bob had a friend whose mother lived at 327 oak street.” Seriously –every single day, she would have some obscure, 3 times removed connection to the lottery number. And sometimes it was really bad, like 26 years ago (it was always 26b years ago), I knew a woman who had 3 kids and her phone number had a 27 in it.
Finally, you may wonder why I call her husband frankenbob. Well, that would be because he looked like and had the manners of a monster. Once he stopped in the office and we were all talking about the lottery and winning a million dollars. I said that I would still work because I was young, I like my career, and because a million isn’t really that much. And he got in my face and yelled that he would actually come to my house and shoot me if that ever happened because how dare I take a job from someone else who needs it. Which were big fucking words from someone who hadn’t worked in 30 years. He had been in a car accident in his 30’s, which he walked away from. Some other were seriously hurt and there were lawsuits. He jumped on in. And yes – he really did probably hurt his back a little. But he never worked again. Never tried to find anything else that wouldn’t affect his “bad back”. And I use the quotes because I saw and heard about all the shit he used to do that should have been impossible for a man too hurt to work.
There are so many more stories, but I think this should give you a pretty accurate picture of Dirty Diana.