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.