Two office vignettes for your reading pleasure; both with titles so good I’m glad I haven’t give up on The Dresden Dolls.
I worked for a plastics and welding supply catalog company that runs out of a former brothel. The front door is still painted red. I wish it looked half as decent as Al Swearengen’s Gem Saloon in Deadwood, but alas even that was probably nicer. The office looked like it hadn’t been cleaned at least since the olden days. I think some of these ladies may have actually worked in the original establishment in the days of yore. (Ooh, did I cross a line?) Anyway, I’m not quite sure why I stayed at that job as long as I did. The coffee was Folgers and it was so strong! I actually brought my own mug with half and half and then added hot water to the coffee in addition. Everything they did used some sort of archaic system. They had an online store, but only one woman had a computer that had The Internet. She printed out all the orders for us. She also printed out all customer e-mails. We had to hand write the response, then she would type them up and send them for us. They used AOL. Even their envelope moistener was old. They used one of those horsehair brushes and dipped it into a porcelain water box. It rained every day and I ate in my car or walked around the yuppifying neighborhood. The building adjacent to the brothel/catalog company is a coffee roasting company, next to that are some gorgeous townhomes. There was always a Porsche parked out front. I was stuck working and Porsche driving biotch was upstairs sipping espresso and watching TLC’s A Makeover Story. Life is so not fair!
“I used to work with this cat”…true story. I worked in an office with a cat named Opti. He was a spoiled sucker, and kind of old and lazy. He meowed incessantly as soon as he saw me walking up the stairs to the building. He’d follow me around the office as I opened the blinds and turned on Crap FM radio. I’d go feed him—he almost never ate all his food. He was spoiled rotten with canned food, dry food, and the occasional roast beef treat. Then I’d settle into another boring day of answering phones and writing on pilfered yellow notepads. I’d grab my homemade breakfast sandwich and suddenly I was Opti’s best friend. I’d appease him with the foil. He’d lick the American cheese even though he had plenty of food in his bowl. He determined which piles of work I could work on shuffling. It was a perfectly viable excuse to not do something just because the cat was taking a nap on the project. I was pretty lonely in that office. My boss gave me the key on the first day and was often out meeting with clients, leaving Opti and me to rule the roost. I worked there on and off for five months. Even though I’ve never had a pet and didn’t quite know how to handle Opti, having a cat as my coworker was pretty much just like every other temp job. He liked to invade my personal space, but at least it wasn’t sexual harassment! He could be nasty when he didn’t get his way or give me the silent treatment, just like my current officemates. He liked to sleep in drawers, and while I’ve never caught any of my other coworkers doing this, I have no doubt some would try if the drawers were bigger.