This story requires a disclaimer and a back story.

The company I work for recently bought a company that makes tea. The company I work for is not a tea company. My company sells more lascivious entertainment of the adult variety. The two companies share a building. Right next to a where a nice Oolong is stored in the warehouse could be a rack for vibrators. You get the idea.

The people who work for the tea company are nice people. The people who work for my company are nice people, too, but they’re more the kind of people you might cross the street to avoid if you were walking alone late at night. Not because they would do anything necessarily, but because, you’d think to yourself, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.” You would never have to cross the street for the tea people. The tea people would be assessed by your on-board computer, if you had one, as threat level green, on par with a baby kitty cat, while the other employees in the building, myself included, would be assessed as threat level orange, in other words, time to cross the street.

There’s a lady at the tea company who does the same work that I do. We’re both graphic designers, but she designs tea company stuff where I design things of a more lascivious entertainment of the adult variety. This tea lady is nice. If I had to use one word to describe her, it would be nice. Barbara, the tea lady, is nice.

Today, as I was working away, munching on some chips with my headphones blaring, Barbara came into my office to grab a printout. Even though it was obvious that I was A) working B) eating and C) wearing headphones, Barbara started talking to me… while I had headphones on… as if I was faking not being able to hear her. I removed a headphone and she just kept going with her sentence. “What did you say?” I asked when I had swallowed what I was chewing. “Oh, I was asking about your car.” I was recently in a car accident. I answered her questions and she went about her business wishing me a pleasant day.

Then I chatted with a friend of mine to complain about how nice Barbara is. This chat was with the person you might know better as Blast, so heretofore, we shall use the names Drat to refer to me and Blast to refer to my friend. The conversation goes a little like this:

Drat: The tea lady is annoying. She means well, but she’s too nice. She always wants to chat.  I’m sitting here with headphones on munching on chips, which means I’m double occupied, and she wants to chat at me anyway.

Blast: Oh. What is a tea lady?

Drat: She’s me for the tea company we bought and I find her niceness annoying. She’s the anti-me.

Blast: Oh. Is she hot?

Drat: No. Her name’s Barbara and she seems like a Barbara. She’s older than me and nice.

Blast: Barbaras throughout Earth are all pretty much the same, except one. Barbara Bach. The rest? All the same.

Drat: Who’s that?

Blast: Some random 70s hottie.

Drat: “Hottie” and “Barbara” do not mix well. Nor do “street smart” or “badass.”

Blast: No, but Barbara and tea, on the other hand, kinda go together. Tea and crumpets are often served by women named Barbara.

Drat: Barbara and “I need a ride to the airport at 5AM” go together. Barbaras can’t say no. They’re too nice.

Blast: Barbaras wear robes all the time at home.

Drat: And own cats and teapots in the shape of cats.

Blast: Barbaras also like mass-produced art.

Drat: Their favorite cartoon is Cathy.

Blast: Their favorite tv show is anything with Martha Stewart.

Drat: They love gardening and email forwards.

Blast: And bland food and soap operas.

Drat: Spicy and Barbara do not mix. Barbaras actually like and talk to their families. You can’t hide your Barbaraness by being called Barb either. Although it is slightly better.

Blast: Barbie is the only path out of Barbaraness. Unfortunately, it is often a path to stripping, drugs, and/or prostitution.

Drat: Barbaras dislike loud music and horror movies.

Blast: Barbaras like flowers.

Drat: They don’t like commercials without kittens. Barbaras love motivational posters – the real kind. They also think lolcats are hilarious, but that real cats would spell better.

Blast: Barbaras are reasonably certain that there are little people working inside of computers, and that spells are cast to make the cursors move.

Drat: Barbaras believe that unicorns are real, but they never tell anyone besides other Barbaras. Barbaras talk to their pets and houseplants.

Blast: It is also a verified fact that Barbaras are born with makeup on their eyes, and their eyes open approximately 22% wider than non-Barbaras. They stay that wide, even while sleeping. Barbaras also smile 143% more than anyone on earth.

Drat: Barbaras say, “you startled me!” approx. 30 times more than the general population in a given month.

Blast: And always do so while waving their hands in front of their face to scare away the Demon of Startle.

Drat: Barbaras get their hair cut at least twice a month.

Blast: And yet it never actually grows or changes in any discernible way.

Drat: Barbaras think manicures are silly and a waste of money that could be used for buying more cat toys.

Blast: Barbaras secrete a special enzyme from their scalps that coats each individual hair in both frosting and hair spray.

Drat: Barbaras never have nightmares. Barbaras think rap music is something involving a piano score. Barbaras have seen every single episode of Wheel of Fortune ever aired.

Blast: Barbaras have seen episodes of Wheel of Fortune that have yet to air. Barbaras often say, “those people.”  It is the only observable phenomenon to cause their smiles to lessen… almost imperceptibly unless measured with calipers.

Drat: Barbaras think everyone is as nice as they are. The only exception is teenagers or as they call them, “hooligans, but they will grow out it.” Barbaras who have been mugged think that the person’s guilt will eventually get to them and they will bring back the Barbaras’ purses.

Blast: Barbaras believe that somewhere there lies a fabled realm where all the Barbaras purses that were stolen and not returned before the thieves met an untimely end reside, frolicking with lace and sheer curtains while Yanni plays in the background.

Drat: Barbaras are the most prolific collectors and makers of doilies. Barbaras are responsible for every purchase of something called a “dust ruffle” in human history. Barbaras buy spoons at souvenir shops.

Blast: Barbaras are single-handedly responsible for the use of the word “darling” to describe inanimate objects.

Drat: Barbaras have the most extensive porcelain collections. Collectively, Barbaras own more porcelain kitties than the number of real cats on earth. Barbaras favorite activities are needlepoint and crochet.

Blast: Barbaras propped up the hat industry throughout most of the 20th century, as each Barbara must own at least 35 hats. As the name has reduced in popularity, many hat makers were forced to sell their organs to make ends meet.

Drat: Barbaras own at least 50 blankets, one for every occasion and temperature. They are stored by thickness and color. Barbaras refer to each by its proper type: duvet, throw, bedspread, quilt, Snuggie, etc. Barbaras will often lend their umbrellas to coworkers since they carry at least 3 on them at all times. Barbaras own a sweater, sweatshirt or t-shirt for every holiday.

Blast: Barbaras believe that all babies are indeed brought by the stork. As a result Vlasic pickles are venerated, and that episode where Bugs Bunny has to take over for a drunk stork is horrifying. Barbaras have been known to kill when witnessing white being worn after Easter.

Drat: Barbaras are unclear on the following concepts: internet, video games, cell phones, instant watch, DVRs, torrents and fiberoptics. Barbaras are still trying to learn how to program their VCRs. Barbaras think pornography is Victoria’s Secret or one of those racy perfume commercials. Barbaras crochet tea cozies for all of their friends and relatives but most people think they’re toilet paper covers and use them as such if they use them at all.

Oh, Barbara.

DISCLAIMER: Even though this post and everything in it refers to Barbara, it is not necessarily a reflection on anyone with that name. You should all know by now that I make things up. I apologize to any Barbaras or Barbs I may have offended. The nice lady could have just as easily been named something else instead, but as it happens, her name is Barbara and so is this post. By the way, I’m sorry you’re named that.

This post is part of the Drat & Blast series.