it’s only been a little over a year since i last started a new job, but i’ve still forgotten what it’s like. i forgot the logistics of it, the “i don’t know where the printer is,” the “i can fix that file but i can’t find the network,” the “i’d write down what you said if i had any paper yet.” i forgot what it’s like to have a sea of people paraded in front of you, each one with a different name and title and department, to be forgotten as soon as they walk away. “i know you told me your name and what you do and where your office is, but, where’s your office again?”
i have an office, but until some things get ironed out i’m working on borrowed computers which rest on furniture borrowed from other rooms. sometimes people come into my office to introduce themselves, and i don’t know how to act. i’ve never had an office, and this one doesn’t feel like mine yet, so what do i do when people come in? do i stand up and shake their hands? do i stay seated at my table? i leave my door open all day so i don’t have to deal with the knocking thing. i know why people knock, but it feels weird when i’m just sitting there at a table.
i think a lot about what my sad little office might look like eventually. what stuff should i bring in from home? how should i decorate? at my other jobs i haven’t required much more than a computer, a cup, and some headphones. should i be looking into what types of plants are good for offices?
my office has a window, so i keep the blinds open and leave the fluorescent lights off. today someone who came in for introductions said, “well, nice to meet you! hopefully you won’t be sitting in the dark for too long.”
“oh, i’m in the dark on purpose,” i said.
i don’t really know how to talk to people in an office setting.
they’re not sure what to make of me, either. i meet people and they shake my hand and then they look at my arm warmers. they never ask, and i can see why they don’t (i wouldn’t), but i can tell they wonder. at my last job, the subject of arm warmers eventually came up during lunch.
“so how come you wear those all the time?” someone asked me.
“oh,” i said, glad to get the chance to explain it, “my hands get really cold when i type, especially with all the air conditioning in the summer, and the arm warmers keep my fingers from getting all stiff.”
“i thought they were casts at first,” they said.
“i thought they were just part of your outfit,” someone else said.
i find consolation in the fact that, while my new coworkers think i’m sort of strange now, they’ll all be making extra trips to my sad little office when i come to work with a chihuahua.