I am the only woman in an all male artist studio. I have worked with these guys for 16 years. My office window used to overlook a strip club and there is enough testosterone and alpha-male posturing that I fantasize about bringing an axe to work almost every day. I have had my boss bang on glass to the girls going to strip, and now know not to look when someone says “there’s gum on my pants”. I know what everyone’s poop looks like and what they would like to do to the secretary down the hall.
I walk the tightrope of being the chummy girl-liking lesbian and the feminist that tries in vain to shut down the constant misogynistic banter. My mind splits in two just like that axe cleaving thru the center of someone’s skull.
Don’t get me wrong, an art studio is a great place to work, but the range of conversations swings from what my dog did last night to what your mom did last night. It wears me out and I find myself googling how to dispose of bloody bodies at work.
I’m complaining because the only other female in the office was a hamster I kept on my desk. (I told you it was fun working at an art studio). I’d say hello in the morning and put her in her magic ball to roll around the office. For some reason the guys kept the language down because a female rodent was rolling thru the place…like a little sexual harassment officer checking on everyone.
She kept me from bringing that axe to work…
…and then I found her dead in the cage on Monday morning.
I was devastated. I know…it’s a rodent who’s lifespan maxes out at 2.5 years…I should have seen it coming. Kids flush these things and goldfish down the toilet all the time. I just hadn’t realized how much her little furry heartbeat was my lifeline to staying out of jail for murder. As long as she rolled around the office I would buy hamster treats instead of that axe. And now she’s gone.
The morally correct thing to do would be to buy another rodent. We buried her near the bike path down by the river next to half a dozen other hamsters and gerbils we’ve buried. Yes, I’ve fantasized about killing my coworkers for quite a while and have stunted the urge thru rodent therapy. But something is stopping me from getting another animal.
A part of me thinks I’m still missing my furry little friend and it’s too soon. The other part of me is thinking that buying rodents is not the best way to process office dynamics in an art studio. I seem to be frozen as to what to do next. Hamster or axe? It is a Moebius strip I run around just like my furry friend’s magic ball. Each time I circle thru a corner I fold back on myself without an answer.
It might boil down to cost. The cheapest axe I could find was $18.75. Hamsters and gerbils range $10-20 depending on what kind you get.
I think I might go to Petco at lunch and bargain hunt for a rodent…if they don’t offer me a deal there’s a Home Depot right across the street. I could have a hamster wheel rolling or mug shots taken by the end of the day.