Our 13th most-read article of 2019
(Originally published July 15, 2019)
My day begins as usual: I am awoken by compliments and gentle caresses from my parental authority, Mom, or as her ilk is called in my community, my personal assistant. She informs me of the weather report and presents me with a curated outfit perfect for the day’s events, my personal taste, and the aforementioned weather. Unfortunately, she has selected the blue shirt and today I’ve decided blue doesn’t match my aura this morning so I insist upon the yellow. She fetches the yellow shirt and sighs, "Whatever, just get dressed.”
I contemplate her sass whilst picking out my socks, slowly and deliberately. She’s not the perkiest assistant, but I’ve had her for almost five years now and I’ve grown accustomed to her presence. She returns a few times to remind me of our schedule, muttering something about “being late again” and “on notice at work.” Sock selection is an important process and it takes however long it takes; I wish she would remember this.
Half an hour later, my assistant chauffeurs me to my destination whilst huffing something that sounds like “ducking finally” under her breath. In order to lighten her mood, I pepper her with philosophical questions like “What does ‘tomorrow’ mean?” and “What does a five and a three make?” Most PA’s find this exercise enjoyable, just be sure to never accept “I don’t know” for an answer. It’s important to keep challenging their brains.
We arrive at our destination, and I spend the next 9 hours listening to briefings about letters and numbers and navigating office politics. My co-workers and I have a working lunch. There are carrots on the menu today, and we discuss at length what superpower they provide. Kyle says they make you see underwater. Jaden says they make you see at night. I like Kyle’s idea better; I’ll share that with my assistant later. She always laughs when I tell her about our progress at work. I don’t completely understand her sense of humor, but I’m glad she enjoys the fruits of our labor.
My assistant comes to drive me home just as I’ve started working with the Magna-Tiles. I wait all day for my turn on this equipment, and now she’s rushing me to leave. I cross my arms and glare at her but decide not to share the reason for my sour mood. I take slow, tiny steps to the car in protest. She questions me about my motives, but I stay strong and silent in the face of her exasperation. She knows what she did. She needs to learn. It’s important for PA’s to figure things out for themselves. She makes an empty threat about “losing screen time.” She’s bluffing. I hold strong. She threatens again. I meet her gaze, steely-eyed. She leans down to me and hisses something about no screen time for the rest of the week. I notice a few of my colleagues exiting the building. I’ve got to get control of my assistant before her outburst ruins my reputation, so I make a quick decision to run to the car. She can’t embarrass me if she can’t catch me.
Clearly shaken, she secures me into my seat, rambling about safety and parking lots. She is tiresome when she is panicky. Remember: regularly increasing your PA’s heart rate keeps them healthy. We start our trip home in silence, and then she asks me about my workday. I can’t remember anything. As if you had a clearance high enough to know what I do all day, wee lamb. I do tell her about the carrot incident, though, and she laughs as I expected. Such an uncomplicated creature.
We arrive home, and my assistant turns on the television for me. (Bluff called.) However, she does not start the show from the beginning. This is unacceptable. I have been slaving away all day, and I just want a few thirty-minute blocks of talking monster trucks and do-gooding dogs to relax into my evening. Is that too much to ask? I follow my assistant around the house continually alerting her to this injustice as she attempts to do a plethora of tasks that are obviously less important (her bladder does not need to be emptied as frequently as she insists, I am certain). Finally, between prepping a dinner that I’ve just decided I will no longer eat and emptying a dishwasher that she hasn’t noticed didn’t actually run, she pulls up Netflix and allows me to choose a show. During my tenure at this establishment, I’ve found success is all about persistence.
I can tell my assistant is losing her resolve. Instead of eating the dinner I raved about when she served it last week, I request various “healthy” snacks, one after another. “Healthy” is a buzzword for assistants, and they tend to use it loosely. I will eat ¾ of an apple cut in wedges, half a block of cheddar cheese cut into squares, one piece of triangular peanut butter toast, ten half-moon grapes, and two pieces of deli ham rolled into cylinders. It is important to keep your assistant guessing the appropriate shapes. Never accept poorly cut toast, know your worth.
It also behooves you to keep a keen eye on your assistant’s emotional state. I notice my assistant has refilled her chardonnay twice during “dinner,” which is my cue to sit quietly and see how many extra episodes of Peppa Pig I can sneak past her before she looks up from her phone. I succeed in scoring one episode. Not my best work, but we can’t always hit it out of the park.
Assistants are forever preoccupied with our sleep. They talk about it incessantly. They attempt to tie our behaviors to our level of exhaustion, falsely thinking they can control our every action if they can only crack the code on our personalized, perfectly fine-tuned amount of sleep. It is our job to keep this code a secret. It is our one true power. Resist, at least until a new sibling is born, or until you turn six. Six years is the average length of time it takes for an assistant to be completely broken in. Stay strong.
After a rather rushed bath and singular measly story, my assistant tucks me into bed. Here is where I will shine. I get out of bed three times: once because Kyle mentioned the word “zombies” today and that’s scary; once because the door isn’t shut all the way (I could shut it myself, but that is beneath me); and once because I remembered the zombies again. It is a grand performance. I cry real tears. My assistant doesn’t growl at me through gritted teeth until the third instance and I’ve managed to extend the day by half an hour. I hear my assistant head to her room with a heavy sigh. After her door is shut, I sneak out of bed and play with legos for two more hours.
I will be impossible to deal with tomorrow.
It was a successful day indeed.