Thursday, September 27, 2007

This Cubicle Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us. So I'll Leave.

OK, I've been in the corporate world for a grand total of . . . . carry the 9 . . . two days. And already there's a major brouhaha a'brewin', and I'm just to the left of the thick of it.

Actually, it has nothing whatsoever to do with me, except that I was sitting at the "temp's desk" (the one with cigarette burns and the drawer that only fits on its runners upside down) waiting to be given an order by someone 2/3rds my age and desperately trying to keep the "I have a Master's Degree so fuck off with your photocopies, thank you" off my face.

I've been in the office for about 11 minutes when in storms a man who embodies every single gay male stereotype we all love to hate, right down to the be-tassled loafers and the lisp. He liberally doused the office with indigation-fueled spittle, literally put his foot down (I've never actually seen anyone do that before, it's an oddly precise gesture), made several squealing noises and hit someone with his purse before storming back out again.

I work in shoes.

Not literally in shoes, although I am wearing a pair at work, but I mean I'm working in the shoe department. I had to sheepishly admit today that I have no idea what "espadrilles" are and whether or not a Croc (sp?) qualifies as a "loafer" or a "slide." When I was 10, I knew what a slide was. Now I come to find out I was mistaken. My world fails to crumble.

But back to the drama. There was some hissing of the sort that tells you that somewhere nearby there's a Japanese person who's very very angry. Office drama is kind of funny, though, because the normal weapons of conflict are missing or inappropriate. You can't slam a door when you're exiting a cubicle, or you're liable to bring the entire rabbit warren down in a sort of cheap, tweedy domino effect, cubicle walls bouncing off the shiny, sweaty heads of middle management. You can't shout because then other people will know the actual terms of the debate rather than the hastily whispered, hugely apocryphal water-cooler version. You can't throw things because, hey, we're all professionals here; I'll just bad-mouth you to Suzy during recess instead.

I've been in academia a long time. I don't want anyone to get the idea that there are no dramas there; there are plenty of dramas. It's just that teachers, particularly part-time college teachers, rarely see each other except when our breaks happen to coincide or at once-a-quarter staff meetings where we all ignore the boss and pass notes about each other. Our dramas always happened, therefore, in super slo-mo, and by the time we got around to the next opportunity to snipe at each other, we'd all forgotten what the incident was about and whose turn it was.

So what will I do for drama if I actually manage to get this freelance writer career thing going? I suppose I could tell one cat lies about the other, but that has limited traction. They usually gang up on me, playing turd football in the living room while I'm trying to concentrate. I suck at turd football, and they know it. They always pick me last.

In case you're wondering how the story of the livid shoe fairy turned out, well, it's not over yet. Like a daytime soap opera, story lines at the office rarely come to a conclusion, they just morph into new story lines. By tomorrow he'll likely be falsely accused of murder shortly before discovering that he's really a prince of some tiny island nation which is actually filmed on a back lot somewhere in Hollywood, and his despotic twin brother will come to the office to kill him but he'll accidentally kill some nameless, innocent bystander who's incidental to the soap opera and therefore disposable. Someone like. . . .

Shit. The temp.


NuclearToast said...

Just be careful with popcorn in the microwave. Otherwise some pompous full-timer will be singing into the camera, "Raggsy started the FIE-UH!"

DK said...

Have you tried sending stories like this to publications? Truth is stranger than fiction?

Lynn Sinclair said...

It's been 15 years since I did the office scene. Now I remember why I don't miss it.

Tony Easton said...

Welcome to Corporate America, my love, the land of the self-indugent, misery loving, self-centered paper dolls who feel that they are the center of the universe. Great modivation for writer's block, huh?

Ash said...

Wow – I sounds more like you got a job in a mental hospital than a shoe department! All you need to know is that Croc’s are super ugly but very comfortable. I think they fall into the clog category.