Areas of Unrest
24 June 1999 - The Great Desk Chair Quest
I've spent quite a lot of time during the past few weeks attempting to get a new desk chair at work. This is much harder than it should be because our group's business office kept insisting that I should just find some unused chair in the building and use that. (Her cost cutting measures are somewhat legendary. I've been trying to get a nameplate for my office for over 2 years, for example, since the slots we have for them are incompatible with the one from the building I worked in before. She even resisted ordering business cards.) I'm not really fussy but a chair for which only three of the five legs touch the ground is a bit extreme. (I should note that I had a perfectly good chair. Somebody borrowed it and took the opportunity to dump their broken one on me. Or maybe they broke it. This happened while I was out of town so I can't pin down the culprit and return the favor.)
Fortunately for me, Mary Joan is fussy and was also suffering from the combined chair/thrill ride problem. She enlisted one of our secretaries in the furniture battle and we discovered the next obstacle. As a result of budget cutbacks some years back, the company no longer orders new furniture. The only way to actually get a new chair ordered is to have a doctor's note saying you have a bad back and use the Americans With Disabilities act to get them to buy an expensive chair from the ergonomics catalog.
Except that I don't have a bad back. And I don't really need a fancy chair that costs them umpty-ump dollars - I just need a chair that doesn't require me to contort my body into strange and unusual postures to keep from being catapulted across the office. Come to think of it, if I'm stuck with the old one for long enough, I may end up with a bad back.
I wasn't defeated yet, though. I remembered that we have a furniture and storage warehouse. I'd even sent a two drawer file cabinet there once, after getting a four drawer one. Surely they would have a chair or two? Secretarial reconnaissance turned up the information that, yes, they do have chairs but I'd have to go over in person to see if they might have an acceptable one. So I now have a signed official material request for one desk chair.
The next catch is that their hours are 7:15 to 11:15 a.m. only. I got the signed paperwork at 10 a.m. yesterday, but I couldn't go over then because someone else was coming to my office to get my feedback on a report he's writing. This morning I got in at about 8 and decided I would call before walking over to the warehouse, which is a ten to fifteen minute walk from my office. I tried calling seventeen times during the morning and never got an answer. Which pretty much wasted my entire morning. Oh, well, maybe tomorrow.
I spent the afternoon on real work. After work I did a few errands, then went off to Bards. I'm trying to fit the lost wallet bit together with a bunch of other fragments having to do with times I couldn't find something. But it doesn't work and I realized the problem is that the wallet really was lost, while most of the time I lose something because it isn't precisely where I expect it to be. There's a wonderful scene in the movie Vampire's Kiss in which an ad executive (played by Nicolas Cage) is terrorizing his secretary over something being misfiled. Actually, he has already terrorized her and is talking to his shrink about it. "How can you misfile something?" he says. "It's alphabetic. There's A, there's B, there's C." This is from memory, by the way, so may not be quite right. But I understand it completely. The problem with being as organized as I try to be is that if something is even slightly off, I have no idea where it might be and start to panic. Anyway, the consensus of the Bards was that I have a middle, but I need a beginning and an end. I've got steps towards one of those, but they disagree which side of the story it goes on.
There are also two bits of Bards news. Greg mentioned that he isn't going to San Diego because the conference is just before his birthday. Then he added, quite casually, that he's going to be 70. I suppose if I thought about it, I'd have realized how old he is, but it still surprised me.
And Barry (who wasn't there but left a phone message) is off to China on Sunday to pick up his daughter. She is 15 months old and apparently her name translates to "Little Party." We joked a bit about her being too young to be a party girl.
Copyright 1999 Miriam H. Nadel
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