Friday, May 06, 2005

View from the Attic


Wooden Shoe Display, Amsterdam
Originally uploaded by panopticon.

The picture above has absolutely nothing to do with anything I'm going to write. I just wanted to jazz up the page a little.

My common (though not exclusive) practice is to write blog entries in the evening, let them mellow overnight, and post them the next day.

This has saved me on more than one occasion from making public things I've written in the throes of depression, things so maudlin that Sylvia Plath would roll her eyes and tell me to just get the fuck over it.

Today, however, I'm spinning my wheels at the office waiting for a tech to get back to me about an annoying bug in the program I need to use.

So I'm blogging. My head is elsewhere. I've had enough of this place. My boss is absentee without explanation. I've been working overtime. They can give me five minutes of mental freedom.

It's hot in here. Sticky hot.

I work in the attic of what used to be one family's Extremely Large House or Starter-Sized Mansion (depends on your point of view).

Sounds charming, I'm sure, but my office used to be a maid's bedroom. They didn't much care in the 1890s whether the maids slept comfortably. This means that a century later, I am writing to you from a sweatbox.

In the winter, it's an icebox. Bob Cratchit would feel right at home. Actually, Bob Cratchit was better off. He had a candle on his desk. I have to hold my fingers over my Mac's exhaust vent to keep them from cramping up.

The house itself is an interesting place to work. The day I interviewed, they brought me up the servants' stairs to the third floor, and sat me down in a windowless room that had a large, prominent Have-a-Heart Trap in one corner.

"Squirrels," said the drone from Human Resources.

The ceiling was also dripping steadily into a bucket right next to my chair.

"Let me start off by showing you our department org chart..."

Drip.

"I see you've been working in Web design since 1995..."

Drip. Drip.

"...and our benefits package is really excellent..."

Plunk, drip. Drip.

Why am I certain this has never happened to any of my friends who work in corporate jobs?

The walls around my desk are dormers. If I were not unusually short, every time I stood up I'd bonk my head on the ceiling. I sometimes wonder if I only got the job because I met the height requirement.

On the other hand, the walls are in such rotten shape that nobody complained when I started decorating them by taping up large prints of my photos. It looks cheerful and reduces greatly the amount of crumbling plaster that lands on my face.

Did I mention that I'm wearing a necktie today? I can hardly breathe. If I have to wear a necktie, the women I work with should have to wear girdles or at least control-top pantyhouse one size too small.

We all had to dress up because Very Important People are visiting two floors below. Mind you, it's not on my schedule to meet with or otherwise interact with any of them.

It's just that in leaving or entering the buildling, they might see us. If they saw us, and we were not in business attire, they might become enraged and banish us to the attic.

Oh, wait.

12 comments:

birdfarm said...

In my opinion you should post whenever the urge hits, because...

a) Sylvia Plath couldn't roll her eyes at you—not because it is doubtful she has any to speak of, but because she has already trumped you with the ultimate drama-queen act of total maudlin self-pity and thus has no right to criticize. (I realize that was your point but it's my point too, only differently).

b) This post is absolutely hilarious, possibly one of the best yet (I say possibly because I haven't finished all the archives). Thus there was clearly no need for it to mellow overnight. So if you posted whenever the urge hit, you might post more than once a day, thus helping out those of us who are becoming addicted to your blog.

xoxoxo,
birdfarm

Rachel said...

Yes. What Birdfarm said. (especially the part about the addiction)

MarQ1 said...

I love this post. Isn't business fun?

Jon said...

I love the hypocrisy in business attire. In the summer, women scrap the hose and wear sleeveless and strappy sandals and then bitch that they don't make as much as we do. Well hells bells! Perhaps if they continued to dress appropriately they would get paid accordingly. I hated when my company made us wear ties and my brain cells are dying while the woman next to me is wearing a t-shirt and capris and sandals.

Drip drip. By the by, your house sounds like where I live. Ugh.

Corvus said...

"Perhaps if they continued to dress appropriately they would get paid accordingly."

I think you have the cause and effect backwards there, bub. The lower expectations of womens' business dress are set by the same rich, white, straight, men who think a man has to wear a tie to be professional.

sister sue said...

Are there any mad women in the attic with you? And has Jane tried to visit?

goblinbox said...

My God, and I thought my argument with my coworker about adjusting the thermostat was bad! (He's a reptile and wants the heat on all the time. I usually have to layer my clothes so I can strip down to a light shirt before I overheat.) But at least we have a thermostat in my office to argue ABOUT.

Franklin said...

It is my heart's delight to have a sister who can make witty literary jokes about things I post.

Mad women in the attic with me? Oh hell. This place is like Wonderland, thus:

"But I don't want to go in among mad people," Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.

"You must be," said that Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

No sign of Jane, though. Jane couldn't take the pressure.

Lee Ann said...

I think I may have worked in that house...the Very Important People never made it to our attic either. And I wore pantyhose just for the occasion, too...

Ours was an automotive publisher housed in a Starter Mansion. It was supposed to be "charming in a formerly Victoriana kind of way." As in, "Formerly, there was a fireplace here and if you were Victorian, you might be warm by now. Instead, you are merely required to wear uncomfortable pantyhose rather than knit them, and the resident mice have chewed through the wires of the thermostat so your hopes of remaining warm are nil. Welcome to our team...."

birdfarm said...

Franklin, I think you didn't post for so long just to spite me. I'm petulant. If not for your comment I would be despondent. Or have DTs. One or the other.

As a child I had an eight-record set of some comforting male voice reading "Alice in Wonderland." (you remember records, right?) I always listened to it when I was home sick and I loved how he did this particular interchange. "I'm mad. You're mad." Ah, I love it. In fact I think I used to quote this particular interchange... if you post again soon I won't mention this sort of thing again.

(How quickly petulance turns to extortion)

markknitz said...

i work in a very corporate environment, but because i am a lowly temp (or perhaps not)i am not required to wear a tie. amen. i hate those things. i wore one to an opening recently and i thought i was going to choke to death. i used to work at mtv and briefly at W. you should see what some people would wear to work. i got really spoiled at mtv, but i never looked that great.
and this was another typically great post. i love them to read them whenever they get there!

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