Monday, July 1, 2013


Angela was usually at her desk frosting cupcakes. Each cupcake took a very long time. It was almost as if she were working in slow motion, secretly dreading ever being done.

Angela was a young, pretty girl in her twenties. She moved to another city to become a paralegal shortly after I was hired. Before she left, she became a massive contributor to desk displays. Desk displays are, in this particular office environment, the grown-up version of the popularity badges many of us did or didn’t get in grade school and high school. In school, they took the form of friendship bracelets or valentines on Valentine’s Day; whoever has the most wins. 

In this office, at least among the women of clerical, it was little things on your desk that someone else had given you. It was the “someone else had given you” part that was critical. If you just brought in a bunch of your own stuff, it didn’t count. 

If you were really savvy, you had a thing you collected. Then everyone knew what your particular brand of crack was. A couple of women collected keychains. The bulletin boards that some of us wasted on work-related gibberish were, in their cubicles, covered with keychains. It reminded me of collections displayed at a county fair.

Anyway, before Angela left, she put aside her cupcakes for several days to make elaborately decorated little poster-board signs for favored individuals. The signs said things like, “I’ll miss you! Love, Angela,” or “You’re the best ever! Love, Angela.” 

As the currency of desk displays goes, the little signs were absolute genius. You never had to say, “Oh, yeah, Angela gave me that,” because it was right there in bold, flower-decorated print. (No, sadly, I did not receive one.)

What baffled me about Angela was not that she seemed to have nothing work-related to do, ever, but that I never saw anyone eating the cupcakes. I honestly don’t know where they went. I’d see her in the morning, frosting cupcakes, and then again later in the day, cupcakes gone. I have no freakin’ idea what happened to the cupcakes.