Pg 2Mature

increase inflammation and the risk of cancer. Stoic would be a way to describe the outfit. Or boring. Language has its merits.

"When you get those done, can you step inside my office?"

"Sure," I reply, glumly, understanding that the phrase "step inside my office" is office speak for something bad, very bad, or absolutely awful. Nobody ever had anything good come of it. At least not here.

Now I have a choice to make. I can draw out this work, slowly putting each stamp on each envelope, pacing myself to delay the inevitable. Or I can set them on my desk, stand up, and head into the war room. That's what I call her office. It's where she does battle with people like me, below her, and people like her, above her, trying to ascertain her skill level. I imagine her boss, who, from my limited communication with, is likely a total asshole and bigot, has a chart in his office. On the left it reads "too nice," in the middle, "just right," and the right "total bitch." He then places all the women he knows on either the left or right side, leans back in his chair, and revels in his supposed brilliant sense of humor and judgement. I imagine this because it is likely true.

I decided to compromise. Do my work, but do it as fast and efficient as possible. It's less time wasted that way, in some sense that I have yet to comprehend. I got up from my desk, casually brushing my hand along it as I walked by, and stepped into the hallway.

The hallway is the apocalypse of the office. There is nowhere to run if someone else is walking down it. You cannot randomly duck away, because doing so means you are ducking into someone else's office. It is a long, anxious journey. And it is setup in the most cruel fashion. At one end are the bathrooms. At the other end, the hallway branches off towards the kitchen, water cooler, boss' office, and main entrance, and more. If you eat lunch, and then have to go to the bathroom, you must traverse the entire length of this forsaken journey.

There are no landmarks if you get lost. If you watch the ceiling, you get lost in the fluorescent lighting. If you watch the carpet, you get lost in the repeated pattern of dirty red and blue diamonds. If you watch the walls, you lose count of the dirt stains and fingerprint cast onto a glossy, painfully white coat of paint.

Each step becomes a labor of anxiety. There's a tendency to peek inside each office as you walk by. Observe the desks; the point is to see if anyone's is more unkempt and disorganized than your own. If so, then you have a justification for not cleaning yours. If not, you better get your ass in shape. But you must be subtle, use only your eyes. If a co-worker sees you looking in, they might react and attempt to elicit and verbal greeting.

Today's journey was simple. It's Friday. Many of the offices are locked up. There are only about five of us working today. The few people who are here stare blankly at their laptops, likely playing a Facebook game and waiting for a client with a million dollars to call them and beg for their service.

The End

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