Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Move

"There you are," T said walking into my new office. All of us had moved offices last week. T was no longer sitting right next door to me. He was far off on some distant corridor. But, apparently not far off enough.

"Yep," I said lifting my head up from reading a document.

T walked behind my desk, grabbed a handful of venetian blinds, and bent them towards him. "Your blinds have these little holes too, isn't that something?"

He was right. The blinds on the windows in my office had a bunch of tiny holes in them. Somehow I had forgotten to alert the press to this development.

"Yeah, T."

"Its crazy, isn't it? I mean they are blinds. They are supposed to block the light out. But, these blinds let some light in. That is not the purpose of blinds."

"What's the problem with a little bit of sunlight coming through your blinds?"

"I hate the goddam sun," T said. He actually spit that statement out. Using words and actual spittle. It was then that I noticed he was incredibly pasty. And, he also had a pair of largest sunglasses I have every seen hanging from a plastic necklace around his neck. These were no ordinary sun glasses. I think it was technically a visor. You could have used them as a windshield on a Cooper Mini. Apparently, he hated the sun so much he wanted to block it out for all of us. And with that thing around his neck, he just might succeed.

"T, I don't get it. You had a windowless office before. If you hate the sun, why did you move to an office with a window, where you ran the risk of getting some sun?"

"I don't think it is fair to assume, necessarily, that when you get a window with an office that you will get blinds that don't block the sun."

"But, isn't the point of moving to a window office --"

"Moreover. Moreover, I don't think..." At this point, I tuned out on T's response and started checking my Yahoo mail account. Why am I getting more and more Christian dating service spam?

"I hear you, T. So what are you going to do?"

"I am going to complain to Ms. J and see if I can get real blinds to block out the sun. Otherwise, I'm going to Home Depot to see if I can find on of those contraptions people put in their cars to block out the sun when their car is parked. I'll lick the sun thing one way or another."

When he said that, I honestly thought for a minute that we all might be doomed.

The move had been a multifaceted endeavor that involved contractors doing a bunch of work, and then a complex movement of people across floors. Not suprisingly, it had been a failure.

My life has become a lot easier over the years because I stopped giving a shit about most things. The move and my new office and painting and carpeting and blah, blah, blah. That stuff all fell into what I call the "fuck it" category. But, that was not true with some of my other colleagues, and the move began to drive them slowly insane.

Take S, who was supposed to be moving into my old office. She began scoping my office about three months before the move. She came in with a tape measure one day as I was on a conference call.

"Mind holding this?" She said handing me one end of the tape measure.

"Sorry, hold what?" said one of the people on the phone.

"That was someone who walked into my office," I said to the people on the phone.

S continued, "Pull it out there...that's, stick it there...hold it...yes, yes, that's good."

"Pardon," one of the people on the phone said. I was in a fucking Three's Company episode.

(*editor's note* I have no doubt this last sentence gets us some cool google search referrals)

"S, please, can you do this some other time?" She sighed loudly and walked out of my office.

"Well, Mr. K," one person on the call remarked,"I am impressed with your ability to multitask." Giggles.

She came back though. The following week. This time, she brought a friend. They measured the dimensions of my office and took detailed notes on a clipboard. They measured all three dimensions of the office, counted ceiling tiles. It was an involved and distracting progress.

I thought it was over, but, she came back two weeks later. Measured the office again. Then, a couple weeks after that and measured it again. On the fifth visit, I finally had enough.

"S, why do you keep coming back to measure the office?"

"I have to be sure. I have a lot of furniture and need to get precise measurements."

"I can assure you that the office has neither shrunk nor grown since the last four times you measured it."

She stopped measuring, but kept coming by, getting more and more anxious as the move date came. Not because she was worried about her office size. She was anxious, because it was a three days before the move, and I hadn't packed.

I looked up one morning and saw her chewing on her fingernail, looking around my office pensively. "You aren't going to move are you?"

"Look, S, I am. But, I'm busy. I'll get to packing in time."

The next morning -- two days before the move -- it was no longer the fingernail. She was chewing on her whole index finger. Silently, while standing in my doorway. I was reading something, looked up and there she was. She walked off after a minute. On the one hand, I hadn't done anything to pack so maybe that could cause some concern. On the other hand, she was silently chewing on her finger in my doorway and therefore clearly nuts.

The day before the move, as of 10AM, I still hadn't packed. I was busy, but part of me wanted to see if S would stick her whole fist into her mouth this time. She didn't.

"You're not going to move, are you?"

I could have been nice and assuaged her concerns. "You didn't hear? I'm not moving."

"What?" S ran off down the hallway.

I turned to my packing. About an hour later, I heard S coming down the hallway, talking loudly to Ms. J, the office manager. "I'm telling you he TOLD me he wasn't moving. Come see for yourself."

When they came into my office, it was half packed, and I was putting some files into a box.

Ms. J said, "Looks like he's moving to me. Did you tell her you weren't moving?"

"No," I said.

"I could have sworn you said you weren't moving," S said.

"Did we even talk this morning?" I asked.

"I think I am going nuts, but I could have sworn you said you weren't moving. Seriously, I must be losing my mind"

Awareness is the first step in diagnosing and treating a problem. I shrugged my shoulders, shook my head, and continued packing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last month I had a co-worker write a 2 page interoffice memo re: my status as germ port hole. Seems we caught the same cold, but since I have a toddler in day care, I am the culprit. She held meetings and petitioned that I be required to wear a surgical mask to work to prevent further contamination. Everyone already knew she was a nutjob, so they ignored her.

The way you describe S sounds like her!

10:25 PM  
Blogger Joseph K said...

Anonymous: I hear you. It never ceases to amaze me how obsessive some people you work with can be about picayune shit. I suspect its the result of an internal tussle between their frustration at work and at home, and in the end, I have this question for these folks about this small stuff: does it really matter?

As for your co-worker's nonsense, its pretty much been scientifically established that colds are not transmitted by breathing the virus on someone. They are most likely transmitted by the virus getting on one's hand and then being tramitted by hand to membrane contact. Most susceptible place? The inner membrane of the nose. Yuck.

11:59 PM  

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