This is a post from the deep, dark past of my old blog. Even though I am now free range and no longer work in cube farm hell, I still enjoy this little ramble. It’s kinda like looking at an old picture of yourself with hair teased to within an inch of being a ceiling fan hazard wearing an acrylic rainbow sweater and blue eye shadow. Sometimes it’s good to look back and see how far you’ve come.
The fluorescents are too bright. I feel washed-out.
Cave crickets are translucent due to the perpetual darkness. I am colorless from too much unnatural light.
Even the furniture is painted and upholstered in shades of non-colors: beige, taupe, gray. All outlined in stark black like an illustration of something that should be real.
Is this life or the manual?
(See Fig. 1 – Female Employee slumped over cubicle desk.)
The coffee is flavorless and the creamer is synthetic. The sugar looks too white to be trusted. Much like the management.
The steady rhythm of telephones and the copy machine is like distant drums. When they stop, the silence is unnerving.
Surrounding me are inanimate objects that demand my attention: blinking monitors, email notifications, stacks of folders and papers. Yet the living avoid contact and look down when passing in the halls.
The only conversation I’ve had today was with my printer, coaxing it to give up a piece of jammed paper.
Here, all my natural instincts are considered signs of aggression. I have to remember to speak softly and not show too many teeth. Sudden movements and off-hand references from obscure movies cause confusion and fear.
(See Fig. 2 – Female Employee fashioning primitive weaponry from rubberbands, paperclips and hi-liter ink.)
It is safer to not draw too much attention so I keep my head down. Documents are strewn across my desk, multiple windows opened on my monitors. Looking busy is my camouflage.
I pretend that I am biding my time, waiting for just the right moment to attack and unleash my fury. It’s a hard ruse to maintain. For now it is only about survival. Towing the line while trying not to hang myself with it.
There is hope, though. I am preparing a signal fire. Every day I gather a little more fuel, building it bigger and higher. When conditions are finally right, I’ll set it ablaze and the smoke will rise above the canopy and my rescue will come.
(See Fig. 3 – Female Employee dousing cubicle in kerosene exactly three seconds before she realizes that the whole signal fire thing was supposed to be a metaphor.)