The Office

by Crom

The office is a strange and twisted kind of animal. I’ve never understood the zealous desire to get bigger and better office space, with more people and finer china in the dimly lit company kitchens. Over a year ago the company over lords decided that the decrepit mausoleum that we used for an office in the Willowglen Business Park was too moldy and small for the ever growing throng of waterheads and squinty eyed technicians required to keep this skid from crashing and sinking. Not that I blame them really, the old place had some character to it that almost anyone could do without. Numerous pieces of the roof had gone missing over the years, never to be replaced. The one bathroom per gender seemed a trifle small for the 178 people that worked there, and the men’s jakes seemed to have a terrible lunar cycle of flooding. The parking arrangements were akin to looting rules on the high seas, and often resulted in a similar level of violence as piracy. I usually parked in the neighborhood on the bluff overlooking the park, and fell down the hill to get to the office (yes, fell, that fucking Matterhorn was steep). During winter there was something of an unspoken challenge to see who could ski down the hill in their snow shoes, without dying or falling over. I managed this feat only once, and no one was watching.

So they found a new office. With many more fluorescent lights to eat our souls and some birds too. I’ll never understand the twisted appeal of fluorescent lights. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the cost advantages; less power usage and cheaper to purchase, all a great homage to the savage Demi-God: The Bottom Line. Except they slowly make you ill, and wither your soul. For as long as I remember they’ve had an almost superhuman power to put me to sleep. In high school the only room that had NO natural light, and nothing but F-power, was the Biology room. For the first 4 months I took bio 20 I thought that the subject material was so boring that it would knock me out. No matter how hard I tried I simply couldn’t stay awake. Until I started doing my Bio homework in the English classroom, suddenly the material was interesting and I didn’t pass into unconsciousness whenever the front of the book was open. All hail the F-power, with the magical capacity to render humans dumbfounded. All around my cubicle I’ve disabled the lighting, and I run a rebel base around my desk with a small Ikea lamp. Which brings up the other lovely feature that office dogs love: cubicles. There is nothing on this earth that sucks my will to live more then this twisted form of Fuck Shui. Not only are you going to be sitting in a dim cave all day, but we’re going to box you up and chuck a phone in. Hopefully you won’t go Berko and smash down the walls.

The office seems to make people indecent punks as well. In every office I’ve ever been in people have had a tacit arrangement to accumulate swag. Not useful or fun stuff either, just random junk that proves you’re a little bit better then everyone around you. One perfect example was a technician, who had setup a little mini network of extra junk around the office, including fiber optic converters, switches, a router, and some wireless junk. This punk had all this at his desk, claiming it was for “Testing”, neglecting to recall the amount of gear that was in the lab, 20 steps away. Several grand of useful shit that was being used up by the demonseed; this is the technological pissing contest that crops up in these offices. People love to populate their desks with shit that proves they’re more entrenched in this life then anyone else. If I could swing it, my desk would have nothing but a pad of paper on it, and by desk, I mean tree, in a park, far far away from the putrid non-light.

I’m not the first person to suggest that mankind wasn’t designed to sit in tiny cubes all day, going over tasks that serve to only deepen the psychic trauma that mankind has inflicted upon itself in the name of “Progress”. If I sketched out and burned down the office and went to live in the woods, I’d barely register on the “original-o-meter”. Feeling this life sucking business take place though, I feel the need to shout at the rain a little. Why do we do this to ourselves? I’m sure if I really sat down and had a real good THUNK, I could come up with some way of living in the woods and living. Forrester, or fire watch or some job that lets me breathe free in the naked world. Except I like being warm and flushing toilets. These are things I consider to be positive moves in the scale of Progress. I refuse to believe that progress in our standard of living, means enslaving ourselves to a mechanism that twists and ruins the joy that we feel in life. No one can sit in their fairly stolen chair, at their desk, with scattered bullshit and family photos around the surface, without wondering aloud and not for the first time,

“What the fuck am I doing here??”

  • The Office
  • by Crom
  • Published on November 1st, 2005

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