Monday, August 12, 2013

Office Supplies

Everything was a little dirty. I had just been hired. My new desk was in a shared cube with another lady. The cube had a window, which was encouraging, and a large stack of boxes (blocking half the view), which was not.

The desk and phone were gross. One of the drawers had had something spilled in it during the Carter administration that had congealed into a dark red sheet resembling a fruit-roll. I found out where the cleaning supplies were and went to work. I went through a whole package of paper towels. By the time I was done everything looked great. I was ready for office supplies.

I love office supplies. I love heavy pens that write smoothly, pencils, notebooks, calendars and little pads of paper in white or pretty colors. Paperclips, envelopes, tacks, staplers and staple-removers, Sharpies, hole-punchers and highlighters - all that stuff just makes me happy. It’s like Hello Kitty things for grown-ups.

After going to see three different ladies who were in charge of random subsets of the office supplies, I returned to my desk with, among other disappointments, a pair of old scissors with one tip broken off and a broken tape dispenser. There was a new purple pen that looked nice. I'd been advised to keep an eye on it (they were popular and often disappeared, and I would not be getting a second) but although the ink was pretty, it didn't write well at all.

I distracted myself with my first task. It was a large stack of single-sheet documents. I was supposed to put a sticker with a barcode on each sheet corresponding to the account number printed in the corner. I had to wear a rubber finger because after the first ten pages or so, your fingers would lose all tack.

The only problem was that the rubber finger was a little big for one of my fingers, and a little small for the next. They come in different sizes, but I only had the one. So it fell off a lot. It wasn’t a big deal or anything, until I made some kind of waving motion for some reason, and the little rubber finger flew right over the cube wall.

I went looking for it, but never found it. I went back to the lady who had given me the original with my ridiculous story and asked for a replacement. She didn’t say a word, just looked at me and shook her head, “no.” Obviously, I had stashed the original rubber finger and intended to sell it on the black market for a tidy profit. What did I think she was, an idiot?

That night, I told my husband about the sad state of affairs with regard to office supplies at my new job. I was despondent. I’d never worked anywhere that had managed to make office supplies not fun. 

“They have all that stuff at Staples, right?” he asked. “Yeah,” I answered. He picked up his keys and started for the door, “Well, come on,” he said. “Where?” I asked. “We’re going to Staples to buy you a tape dispenser and whatever the hell else you need,” he answered. 

We bought rubber fingers in every size they make. I could have worn one on each finger if I wanted to, including my thumbs. I still have the red stapler and black tape dispenser we bought. I brought them home with me after my last day at work, because they were mine goddammit.