Office Thoughts

7:00 a.m.: Fuzzy feeling in my head this morning as I awake. Hungover or just misanthropic? Can’t tell anymore.

Checked the weather with my iPhone weather app. Checked the news with my news app. Checked my email with my email app. Checked my calendar with my calendar app. Checked my hours of sleep with my sleep cycle app.

7:12 a.m.: Ripped another page from my Dictionary Rip Daily Calendar; the word for today is vacuous. My future marriage? My bank account? My historic and creative contribution to human civilization?

7:32 a.m.: 88th consecutive day of porridge for breakfast. If I were to be wrung upside down like a ruminant and sliced open across the abdomen, gently baked, pre-cooked human haggis would be found ready to serve.

7:51 a.m.: Lemminged my way onto the subway and headed to the office. Contemplated the modern English vernacular and our tendency to verbify nouns.

7:55 a.m.: Looked at public transit ads for my daily dose of worldly wisdom. I find that public transit ads tend to reflect the personality of the common commuter. Today I learned commuters are compulsive gamblers. In the bottom left-hand corner of an ad from the Responsible Gambling Council it read, “Take our online quiz for a chance to win a home entertainment system.”

8:21 a.m.: Arrived at the office eight minutes before I actually start to clock pay, before anyone else has arrived. Checked Google News (imminent Korean war); checked Wikipedia’s featured article for today (West Country and Battle of Britain classes of steam locomotive); checked French Wikipedia’s featured article (Bob l’éponge); checked  首页 Wikipedia’s featured article. Could not determine which article was the featured one.

8:59 a.m.: Received email from boss; tasked me with sorting through the paper recycling. I leaf through the skinned, moistened, cooked, dried, bleached, discarded carcasses of the Earth’s carbon-monoxide converters; Mother Nature’s mufflers. As I’m sorting through the thousands of pages, I find the old resumés of all the people I beat out for the job of sorting through the resumés of all the people I beat out for the job. Office existentialism.

9:13 a.m.: Got a call from the receptionist. She says she’s late because her usual early-morning gym jamboree went longer than expected after she got stuck on the elliptical. This is an improvement from last week when she didn’t show up at all because she accidentally swallowed a squash ball.

I have a theory that in the future there won’t be any such thing as national citizenships, there will only be gym memberships. There won’t be passport stamps, just renewal deadlines on your gym membership and you won’t be a real person unless you have a gym membership. I feel that way now sometimes.

I’ve been thinking about fire escapes a lot lately too. I think the evolution of an office worker’s consciousness naturally reaches a point about fire exits on its quest to plateau somewhere near comatose. I’ve determined that there is no escape. Because of this I’m now spooked by the sauna-like temperatures wafting from the printer every time I ink a redwood’s worth of paper.

12:49 p.m.: Lunchtime. Sunk to the concourse food court below my office. Read about Earth Day on those little elevator televisions installed to help employees ignore each other. Another theory I have is that in the future, governments will legislate office buildings to turn off all unnecessary lights, even during the day, and levy a fee for those who don’t. I also predict, shortly after, an increase in insurance premiums for personal injuries incurred in the dark at work.

One of the shops in the concourse sells sticks of vegetables in a Saran-wrapped plastic cup.

I’m slurping my Tim Hortons cream-of-something soup when a woman sits beside me and starts FaceTiming on her phone in Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish but the screen-kissing leads me to conclude its somewhat of a personal conversation. They could be talking about BDSM and I’d be none the wiser (or aroused). She ends her chat and makes a regular call, this time in English with a strong Spanish accent. She asks over the phone, rather loudly, “Hello? Do you fix cats? Can you fix my cat?” I keep hearing it as if her cat is a car and what she needs fixing is her transmission.

1:58 p.m.: Returned to the office. Checked Google News again. Korean War still maybe imminent. Checked ephemeral sports statistics on their quest towards greater redundancy.

2:11 p.m.: The boss called, tasked me with going through boxes of folders and making a list of what I find. This is called indexing, and it’s my favourite task because it levies no significant form of responsibility on me at all. Just write what I see. The collection of polychromatic folders filed side by side looks like a Skittles advertisement waiting to happen.

3:14 p.m.: Something has come over me. This is happening more and more often: an atmosphere of skinned surface tension rises as goosebumps dart from my fleshy hide. I’ve begun getting this weird sense of pride every time I make a well-organized Excel spreadsheet. It’s as if I’m crafting a piece of art. (What has become of me?)

3:44 p.m.: Our receptionist has been tasked with delivering a cellphone charger to a lawyer currently in court. I overhear her instructions: she is to enter the courtroom and immediately bow to the judge, then respectfully make her way to the benches. This is the tradition, but it registers in my mind as a peculiar ritual.

There are a lot of social niceties pertaining to respect for authority that I find unnecessary, now that I think about it. I can’t tell if this is a genuine mistrust of authority figures or the realization that I’ll never become one myself.

5:14 p.m.: Headed home. Saw someone on the subway reading the same book I’m currently reading. Unable to think up appropriate icebreaker. Unable to think up appropriate hip, cynical observation of how I cannot think up an appropriate icebreaker.

5:51 p.m.: Finally arrived home. I flopped down on my stained couch, felt a strong urge to watch back-to-back episodes of Jeopardy! and judge my self-worth using an Excel spreadsheet to calculate how much money I could be winning or losing. I go to bed knowing that I would owe Alex Trebek $1,300.

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