The Co-op – A Sitcom

I’m starting my eighth year at my job at an educational cooperative, or the Co-op as we call it.  There have been a lot of rough times, and a lot of good times. The best part is we’re a little family all our own, especially under the current boss. The former boss – well, life was different then.

A few years back in the midst of another laugh-so-you-won’t-cry day, my coworker came up with an idea.  We were having a group therapy session after the boss left for the day. Now some people could say we were bitching and complaining. Not true. Three of us especially formed a bond over those afternoons and if it weren’t for those sessions, none of us would have outlasted him. But that’s another blog.

We were blowing off the pressure when my friend looked at me and said, “You know, you should write a sitcom about us.” We’ll set aside for a moment that I couldn’t write a screenplay to save my life. She had a point. We’d compared ourselves to the three main characters in 9-5 so often, they’d occasionally started calling me Dora Lee.

We had it all: a sexist perfectionist boss who wore far too much cologne (though he was a perfectly wonderful person outside the office – go figure); a smart, organized, skilled woman who was trapped under a glass ceiling; a young and pretty professional with tons of brains and a flaky streak; and a quickly-approaching middle age mom with childcare issues and a sarcastic mouth.  Add to it a revolving cast of characters as therapists and teachers came in and out of the office, and we were set.

Come on. You could totally see this on TV.

I borrowed (and elaborated on) an event from real life for one of my books, in fact. It had to do with a water fountain leaking, my boss’s reaction, and the lack of janitors.  There would be something new every week, and we’d come up with our own little plots. There’s something to be said for the idea of writing a book about this place someday. Not now. I still have to work here.

But we thought life dulled after the old boss left. Trust me, we’re a much more relaxed bunch now. But the comedic factor seemed to wain.

And then this week hit.

Maybe I’m the only one who’d see the humor in this, but we have been trying to get ready for three major trainings next week with a copier on the fritz and a rapidly dwindling paper supply with no  delivery of more in sight. The boss lady and I were in rather maniacal laughter over that yesterday afternoon. So I planned a trip this morning to go get more paper.

Keystone Cops, look out, ’cause here comes Cate.

On the way out of town, I get a call from the boss. She’s got produce for me! Yum! So we meet in the parking lot of a local grocery store and do the South Dakota version of the drug hand-off – trading cucumbers. So we both head out of town, going the same direction. I start out leading, but then she passes. Then my phone rings.  She’s calling. Not that I can hear her, because the reception on that particular highway sucks.

I finally make out she wants me to let the pickup behind me pass. Okay. Odd request, but whatever. So I slow down only to find out that the pickup is driven by none other than old boss. So we all play this weird game of leap frog until I pull into my destination.

I need to get four cases of paper from our “parent” school, so I head that way – only to be detoured about five times by construction. Can’t get anywhere near the front of the school, so I park by the gym. I go in, but can’t get to the office because they’re waxing the floors. So I go around outside. Try another door. Wax. Try another door, and so on.

When I finally get to office, the guy in charge of the paper supply is gone. But they’ll let me have it, I just have to get the car in front of the school. Illegally. Going through an alley. Which also involves squeezing my not insubstantial van between a massive crane and a dump truck. Paper gets loaded, and I head home.

Get to the campus where our office is located and try to pull up to the loading dock, only to find it blocked by a massive shipment of books for the library. Park in the nearest lot (about 1/2 block away),  and go to find the janitor to help. Sure, he’ll help, but we need to bring the load in at the far side of the building because they have a load of toilet paper blocking the nearest door.

By the time I finally got to sit down at my desk today, I was thinking again about that sitcom my friend wants me to write. Hell, I think I have a half hour’s material there. And, if you’ve made it this far, you probably skimmed. God bless you for sticking with me.

But if you throw in a few zingers here and there, I totally think it’s an episode. What do you think? Could we give The Office a run for their money? Or am I the only one cracking up right now?

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