Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jangling Peoples’ Nerves- A One Sheet Day

I work in an Office.  There’s not a lot to say about it.  I wish there were.
I don’t dig for artifacts or study pre-Columbian art on the fourth floor of the Met.  I’m not a journalist with the Times or CNBC.  I don’t do hair and make-up for celebrities.  I don’t dive for sunken treasure. I don’t climb mountains or even ride a bike.
I’m not a philanthropist.    I don’t dance or paint.  Oprah is not on my speed dial.  Hell, I don’t even HAVE speed dial.
This is what I do for eight hours, five days a week;
I call insurance companies to ask when they’ll pay the hospital.
Hello?  Are you there?  Wake up for crissake. 
I’ll try to make this interesting.  
My daughter, who lives in San Francisco and is the absolute love of my life, has had to put up with my nagging for over two years about when she’ll come to visit. (You never WRITE…you never CALL, blah blah blah.)  She has an interesting occupation that takes her all over the country and the world, so I don’t get to see her very much.  She isn’t one for writing letters or remembering special occasions.  I constantly remind her that it MIGHT be kind of nice for her to call more often. I suggested she could bring me little charms from the places where she’s been.  She could pop one in an envelope occasionally. They wouldn’t have to be expensive. She wouldn’t have to send them on my birthday, mother’s day, or Christmas …just whenever she can. That way I’d have something to look at, and I could think of her and where she’s been.   Nag- Nag- Nag.
She bought me a ticket to San Francisco. I had a ticket to fly across three time zones..  How cool is that? 
Anyway, at a dinner party she had while I was there, she presented me with a bracelet that her friend Clare, a jewelry designer, put together. It’s a riot of charms and baubles on big links.  I was stunned.  I felt like a total shit for nagging her. All along, she had been getting charms from the places she’d been, but she never let on. I knew I’d wear it forever. 
The charms are as varied as the places she’s been. There’s an oyster from New Orleans, a gold charm from Paris, a silver heart from Tiffany’s, her cat’s license tag from Atlanta where she used to live, a Tee Pee from Wyoming, a silver charm from Portugal,  my Grandma’s jet earring, and so many other wonderful tokens.  It’s the best gift she could have ever given me.
Here’s the one sheet landing part.
When I came back from vacation I proudly wore my bracelet to work.  My office is a strange environment. [See Back to Being a Contributing Member of Society, Let there Be Light, Etc.] I guess cubicles and neon lights have a stunting (stunning?) effect on the human brain. People become mean-spirited and petty, like rats in a maze who can’t find their way to the cheese.
Office people are so fragile and high maintenance that it never ceases to amaze me.  An empty coffee pot can send someone into a wild frenzy.  God forbid a person should eat onions or cook fish in the microwave.  And  cologne?  You don’t even want to know the heated arguments that cologne inspires.  People are highly sensitive to a lamp placed in the wrong spot on a desk, or another person’s attire.  Every little thing cause someone personal trauma.  I’ve never experienced so many personality disorders on such a regular basis.  The tiniest things provoke angst and headaches.
 I wonder how these people manage to survive on a day-to-day basis in the outside world.  I would LOVE to put us all in a third world country for a day. We’d have to pee over holes with no place to wash our hands. We’d share our meals with flies and dust.   It would be a great social experiment. Real things to worry and bitch about.
So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when I was called in to my manager’s office.  I was worried that I’d screwed up a high-dollar account or, god-forbid, there was an emergency at home.
My charm bracelet was bothering everyone.   The tinkling noise it made was making it impossible for people to concentrate on calculations.   I’m serious.  She told me I could no longer wear my bracelet in the office.      No really.  I’m serious.
Please don’t get the impression that I work in a quiet environment.  You’d be wrong to make that assumption.  There are copy and fax machines humming everywhere.  There’s  pencil sharpeners grinding away.  There are ringing phones. There’s conversations happening in clusters at desks.
But my charm bracelet was putting them over the edge.
I’m not the sort of person who has the type of personality for an office collective.  A bomb could go off next to me and I’d continue to plod along.  Tuning people out is something I’m good at.  I miss out on major gossip.  I don’t notice when something is burning.  I could actually sit in the dark and be ok.  I don’t care if someone wears a plunging neckline.  Come to work naked, for all I care.  I might whine a little if I’m too hot, but I have a fan … so it’s all good.  Too cold?  I put on a sweater. The coffee pot is empty?  I make coffee.  Someone decides to steal my lunch?  I guess they needed it. 
I suppose any little thing can bother a person if they allow it to.  I’m guessing it’s the same in every office except places like Google.  I hear they’re allowed to wear whatever they want to work, and even play Ping-Pong when they need a break…right there in the office!    
I guess until I write a novel or marry someone rich, I’ll just have to deal with these fragile souls and leave my pretty bracelet at home.
 After all, the office is no place for such a pure, sweet thing.

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In the Look-Back

In the Look-Back
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Snap shot from the Look-Back