Friday, February 14, 2014

2014 sounds like something else, but not us

resistentialism n. The belief that inanimate objects have a natural antipathy toward human beings, and therefore it is not people who control things, but things which increasingly control people.

I have what my friend likes to call a Fake Job.
Let me assure you, it is very real. As in, my alarm goes off at a very early hour three nights a week, and I cannot comfort myself with the knowledge that the strange croaking sound my phone called "Froggy Night" is an illusion.
According to my friend, who has never ventured to the fifth floor under the golden dome, three times a week I go to work at an office that doesn't exist.
Accordingly, she posits that I must be embarking on an imaginary commute each morning as I walk from my butter-yellow town home to my sky-lit little desk.
Thus, we simply decided to call it my Fake Job.
There, I hole-punch, and tape, and paste, and cut and copy, stock the snack bar, and chat with colleagues, and closely observe and delight in the little daily happenings of that small professional community.

Adults, I am here to tell you, are very funny creatures.
They have truck with the most interesting human beings and they act very sophisticated 97% of the times.
But there's a very strange little 3% that sometimes occurs: when it's raining outside and they have a meeting across campus, when they want to avoid the Annoying Woman Who Plagues the Office, when they're struggling to fix the Keurig machine, you realize adults are just humans decked in the armor of business casual.

One day a bevy of workers in the suite all crowded around the door of the conference room, and tried to determine who was in the meeting behind the door, and for what purpose, and if it would be incredibly gauche to interrupt them, or merely forgivably gauche.
They crowded around the insurmountably inscrutable door, and debated when and how to interrupt them, checking the clock as the minutes calmly ticked away before the next meeting was due to start.

Often, in-between labeling envelopes or sorting the mail, I find myself reading articles on friendship and homosexuality, on caramel apple pies and state abortion laws, reading stories about Robin Thicke's wife and the rapid and rosy rise of Ronan Farrow aka Young Blue Eyes. But in-between these duties, I have found a way to find the heartbeat of this office space. To understand who will be annoyed if the Cliff bars are not in the basket, and who amongst the staff does not want the Cliff bars to be in the snack basket, because everyone else will eat them before she can. I have learned who the compulsive mint eaters are, and I have learned who loves the pumpkin-flavored Keurig cup. I have learned the names of the suit-coat-and-tie deities who descend upon the office. And I have finally memorized whose desk is where and if they are in or out or at a lunch meeting.
These are very small little duties, and very small little responsibilities.
But in these very mundane daily actions there is love. Okay, not really.
There is no love in an Excel spreadsheet. There is nothing enlightened or interesting or ethical about an Excel spreadsheet. But even if I think Excel spreadsheets are the stupidest things in the world (and sometimes I do), there is something very satisfying about making an Excel spreadsheet for someone. For an adult who is, just like you, sometimes scatterbrained, harried, overwhelmed, and entirely susceptible to Valentine's Day drama.
Adults, I'm here to tell you, are very funny creatures.


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