I’ve always been aware
, at least, of how dull it is to sit behind a desk all day. My mother works in this type of hell, and I never paid much attention to her complaints, always dismissed her headaches
as one of those involuntary reactions to coming home, like how a sneeze is imminent for some upon walking outside from indoors.
And then there was “Office Space,” which just made fun of it all. And it is. It is funny. I'm not quite in a maze of cubicles, but still. I wish I could shrink my boss and put him in a vial, so I can tease the neighborhood stray.
I walk into the big black door with sleep in my eyes. The exciting part comes early in my day: finding the door unlocked so the key won’t need to hide from my fingers. The mat right inside the door never ceases to amaze me, though. Which direction will the fibers be crushed under my feet today? Will today be the day I lose my footing?
Oh God, I'm pathetic.
Then to the kitchen to stick my lunch in the refrigerator, which is probably older than me, by the looks of it. Grab a Pepsi, push in the chair left out by a negligent co-worker. Damn them. I could do it with my eyes closed, all four limbs tied behind my back.
Then in my office, with that couch that always looks so inviting but remains untouched lest I am caught enjoying myself by my manic depressive employer, I sit at my desk, in front of the computer and promptly zone out. I officially start work at 8 AM, but there’s so much to do before I even think about any of that. There’s mail to check, there’s a vast world of information that was updated while I was dreaming. How can I miss all that? I always keep the database up, though, in case someone decides to come in and be cordial.
Good morning? Sure, why not.
It’s time to do something so I don’t feel so bad about being paid. I play little games with myself. See how many new names I can input before I have to blink, before my eyes shrivel up and fall out. Then there are those days when I actually design things. Those are pretty much nothing days, since most of my time is consumed by being inspired. Inspiration is hard to come by in a prison operational between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM, Monday to Friday.
I pace myself, never letting my eyes get too watery or too dry. Meaning I never give in to the urge to sink to my knees and weep, cry out to the Father for mercy and deliverance, and I never play the games to the point of insanity.
I make a round in the office. Randomly popping my head in people's offices, leaving a trail of sticky notes, hoping to make someone, anyone laugh. Maybe it'll make this place bearable. Make sure the copy machine is fully operational. Nobody wants another episode like Xerox Crisis ’98. (A more frightening tale of despair, deception, and disillusionment, you’ll never hear.) El Niño had a role in it all, I’m certain.
Lunch rolls around and I don’t eat with them. I don’t choose to participate in the lunch-hour activities because they’re too…medieval. A mutual gathering of minds around the kitchen table, swords unsheathed. Everyone’s equal at lunch, it’s the watering hole of the fucking circle of life. Lions eat organic pasta with the lambs. Either there is no age, or everyone’s pushing 50. I don’t wish to suck down overpriced salad from Eatzi’s. With capers, no less.
"Throw out fresh new ideas?" Ehh, no thanks.
I look out my window sometimes. Not too often, though. The day I see a joyous face, a rosy-cheeked child, or lovers locked in a passionate embrace, perhaps, will be the day I doff my shackles and join the living. Which will not be beneficial for my collegiate responsibility of earning money. So it’s best not to risk it.
I wonder if I have any mail.
I take pleasure, or delight, at the very least, in the little things in the office. The supply room serves as a source of boundless entertainment. Bright white, antique white, textured, smooth, oatmeal, heather. What’s this one? Maybe I can guess. And the stock room, with Architecture magazine piled to the ceiling. Ever wonder who designed that house in San Juan that took inspiration from the ancient rock cut tombs? I don’t.
The paper cutter. Imagine if we had to even attempt to cut straight. Riots would develop. Disgruntled fathers would throw their babies into the air because they can’t decipher the sender of that official notice, because “Social Services” appears as “cial rvices.”
The shadows have now moved to the other side of my office signaling the end of (insert weekday here). Data entry and/or design inspiration gathering is over. What’s left of the Pepsi is now tepid and undrinkable. I think to pour it out, but the can will be there tomorrow. It will be another reason for me not to test the stamina of my eyes.
At the end of the week, if it’s the right week, someone cuts a check with my name on it. I can tell that it was printed on an old printer. I can see every pixel in the text.