Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Out of my last three work days, I've managed to leave my access card at home for two of them. It's not that huge an issue because I rarely leave my desk, let alone my floor, but it's the very first issue of my day and therefore, by definition, it's unsavory.

On Monday when I forgot my card I called my boss and she ran over to let me in. This is fine and not awkward. This morning, however, I discovered I left my card at home (fie!), then discovered I left my cell phone at home (foiled!), then discovered a phone in the vestibule (victory!), then discovered my boss wasn't in her office (vexation!). So I really was locked out. Locked out third-grade-style too, in my jeans and severely office inappropriate ratty Converse sneakers, chewing on a hangnail and looking as concerned as if I'd been booted off the schoolbus to find my mom was still at my brothers' tae kwon do class.

Of course in the thirty seconds it took for someone else to show up with a card, the little old lady who lives in my head and knits yards of paranoid fantasy started clicking her needles. I would be sitting in the lobby looking obviously underdressed and conspicuously under the age of forty, which would single me out to the Human Resources director (who would without a doubt be the next person up the elevator) as being a delinquent college student hellbent on stealing textbooks for her fall classes in plant biology. No, I'd explain, I work here, I really do, and I was a creative writing major! I don't even know anything about plant biology! The HR director would ask me what plant cell walls are made out of, and my knee jerk reaction would be to spit out cellulose, and she would hustle me to the elevator despite my protests that I'm just an editorial assistant who's really good at Jeopardy. I would have no way to get back upstairs after she instructed security not to let me back into the building, and I would be immediately fired because I couldn't call upstairs to explain my absence since my cell phone was sitting on my nighttable.

What actually happened was less disastrous to my tenure at the company, but only marginally less awkward. The next person up the elevator was actually the V.P. of my section, to whom I had to stutteringly explain why it is I was loitering like a sixteen year old smoker outside the 7-11. He kindly beeped me in, and then regaled me with a ten minute story about the landscaping of one of my company's international offices.

I'm not sure whether it was more difficult to feign laughter at his weak jokes about air travel and passports and shrubs or to hold back tears at his declaration that he knew he had made it when he was granted access to the foreign branch's parking garage.

It was made abundantly clear to me that the yellow brick road to equal success begins at my desk and extends into the future. Should I trudge along it for thirty years in my V.P.'s footsteps, the ever-growing promised land on the horizon will admit me through its golden gates and bestow into my trembling hands the unspeakable honor of free parking in Germany.

Bear down upon your spreadsheets, ye administrative masses! Sharpen your pencils to a razor point and fill out expense reports 'til it is but a nub in thine grip! Toil tirelessly in the fields of paperwork and overnight mailing until you too, my lowly wretch, are plucked from the sty of entry-level employment and installed at the Right Hand of Management!

Amen, ye shall exclaim as you pull your half car into its designated spot in Germany! Hosannah in the Highest!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

and then you will be telling dumb jokes too. (it's inevitable)

3:28 PM  
Anonymous stupidboy said...

You make plant biology books? I'm a plant biologist! Could you steal stuff for me?

3:32 AM  

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