Thursday, August 18, 2011

The New Office

Today is my fourth day at the new office.  I am starting to know my way around, and get a feel for my office-mates.  It was a lot better than the first day, which sucked, the Internet being down for most of the day.  I didn’t have access to email, or really anything, all day.  I was forced to do some actual work on this contract I’ve got hanging over my head, instead of stalking my exes and nemeses on Facebook, or shopping for sale items on Amazon.

Finally, around noon, I went and complained to the IT guys.

Me: I think the network’s down or something.
Barista: Yeah, we’ve had a couple other people mention that.

[I should clarify that “the new office” is actually a Starbuck’s.]

Me: Well, is there anything you can do?
Me: Like re-set the network or something?
Me: I just thought . . . since others were experiencing . . .
Barista: I can give you the number for AT&T.

I took the number and returned to my “cubicle” in the corner, which by the way is the most coveted spot in the office: huge wooden desk; two available (and functioning) electrical outlets; hard-backed bench that’s so uncomfortable it MUST be ergonomically correct.  The bench is more conducive to real work than the cushy chairs, and thus boosts my productivity, which is never a bad thing on one’s first few days.  Trying to make a good impression and all.  Pretty much every day that I’ve been able to get this spot, I notice my office-mates who arrive later staring enviously at it, and subconsciously willing me to leave.

What can I say?  Early bird gets the worm.

In fact, by the time I’d returned from my consultation with IT – with the AT&T’s support number scrawled on one of those cardboard coffee cup sleeve s – Whoever invented THAT is living large, huh?  Probably someone who started out small, just like me, here at the office – these two World of Warcraft geeks had taken over most of my desk.  Stringy greasy hair, black surplus garb; heart wrenching cases of acne.

Me: You guys able to get Internet?
WoW Geek 1 delivers a look of mild disdain.
WoW Geek 2: I’ll let you know in a minute . . . actually, nah, looks like no connection.
Me (waving irritatingly-genius and bitterness-inducing cardboard coffee cup sleeve): The barista gave me the number to call AT&T.
WoW Geek 2: Seems like that’s their problem, not ours.
Me (feeling surge of camaraderie toward WoW geeks): Yeah, right?
WoW Geek 2: Well, I’m not calling . . . (then addressing WoW Geek 1) You wanna head back over to McDonalds then?
WoW Geek 1 (eyeing WoW Geek 2’s venti iced tea):  How much did that tea cost?
WoW Geek 2: Like five or six dollars.
WoW Geek 1: You shoulda asked for less ice.
WoW Geek 2:  But I wanted ice.
WoW Geek 1: You shoulda asked for less though; there’s like no tea in there.  It’s all ice.
Me: There’s free WiFi at McDonalds?

Hmm, better benefits?  But going from Starbucks to McDonalds would be like leaving Abercrombie and Fitch to work at Wal-mart, or resigning from a well-paid government job with tenure, security and benefits to . . . hang-out with a bunch of other unemployed losers at the local Starbucks.  Wait a minute . . . that’s exactly what I’ve done.

WoW Geek 2: Yeah, we usually spend the morning at McDonald’s and then head over here when it’s the lunch hour.  It gets way too crowded over there.

So here are some of the characters at the new office, that I can only imagine will reappear in future postings, and with whom I will no doubt form lasting and meaningful relationships:

Former Secret Government Agency guy: obviously laid off some time ago, persists in dressing in suit and tie, and wearing his govt.-issued badge . . . to Starbuck’s . . . every day.  He likes a table with his back to wall so that co-workers cannot see the Top Secret shit he’s up to, on Craigslist.

SAHM ISO Nanny: Stay-at-home-mom who conducts endless Nanny interviews at the same table every day, while using her foot to rock colicky newborn in its car bucket.  I want to whisper to each of the prospective Nannies, while she’s up purchasing muffins: “She only pays $8 an hour.”

Evidently homeless lady:  Newspaper-filled shopping cart.  She showers in the bathroom at the same time every day and pours herself a big serving of half-n-half into a McDonald’s cup.  Bizarrely, I find her a lot less sad than Former Secret Government Agency (FSGA) guy.

A smattering of failed writers: they sit in the cushy chairs, mostly, and stare into space.  Obviously all envy and despise one another.

Baristas: the IT guy, and the receptionist gal.  I think I overheard FSGA guy telling her, “Hold my calls please Deidre.”

WoW Geeks: Aforementioned.  At the moment, I feel closest to them.

So Day 2, there was this sign on the conference table, not far from my cubicle saying that the Meeting Area was reserved at noon, and we’d all need to vacate.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

WTF?  Huge inconvenience.  Had to go to the Satellite office of Panera, but there are so many distractions there – in the form of sandwiches and baked good – that I couldn’t get a damn thing done.  Ended up meeting up with the WoW geeks at Mickey-Dees.  But they were calling it a day.

This morning, I ran over the curb on my way into the parking lot.  Major-ly embarrassing.  Everyone at the outside tables looked over, and watched me walk in, shaking their heads, and muttering to one another and themselves.

All in all, it’s been a good first week though.  I haven’t done much of anything on that contract, but I’ve settled in, made some new friends – or acquaintances at least, and, well, I did take the time to start this awesome blog.

Anyway, it’s nice having a job where you kinda look forward to heading into the office.  And tomorrow, I would imagine, is casual Friday.

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