Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Lunch Break From Hell

So guess what everybody? I'm employed.

 Did you hear me? I'm EMPLOYED. All of my insane malaise has come to an end!

Wait, this is me - no it hasn't. But it's certainly lessening, or at least changing. So what is my job? Well, I'm not really going to talk about it specifically, because upon being hired I signed roughly one million agreements that I would not be blogging, tweeting, or otherwise talking about the company. And I feel that getting fired after two days is sort of tacky, so I'm going to follow the rule. All you need to know is that it's an office job, I'm doing a lot of typing and filing, work certainly beneath someone of such incredible creative genius as I.

I'm joking of course, but I actually did have a moment, immediately after being hired, where I looked around and thought something to the effect of, "What am I doing here? I'm a creative, funny, person who should be doing something grand... not wasting my uniquely original voice typing away in some office", and then I felt like Hannah Horvath and promptly kicked myself for being such an asshole.* So, maybe I'm not being fulfilled creatively at this point, but was I really being creatively fulfilled toiling away into madness alone in my apartment? Methinks not. And also - it's just a job for now. I know it's not my career, it's not a permanent-life-forever decision... despite every choice I've ever made feeling permanent and life-altering, they usually aren't. I mean, if in ten years I'm still working in the office AND I don't have any new Twitter followers, then we can all collectively agree I turned out to be a failure. So, until then... I'm just a good little worker bee, and I'm genuinely grateful and relieved to be employed.

*I will say that the longer I'm out of college, the more "Girls" goes from being hilarious to way-too-real and very chilling.

But it's still just Alex dressed up as a worker bee, which means I'm still going to have ridiculous, embarrassing things happen, because that's my life story. The things range from small to colossal. I was hired on the spot on Thursday, and sat around for a good hour or so because no one had anything for me to do. A guy who I'll name "Tom" was in charge of babysitting me. Essentially, I sat next to him while he worked at his station. Finally, after a solid forty-five minutes of doing nothing, he asked me to put a stack of papers somewhere. He was youngish (under 30?) so, trying to bond with my brand-new co-worker and eager to do any sort of task, I said, "You got it, Macgruber." He turned to me, and dead serious, said, "That's not even close to my name." Um. Um. He'd never even heard of Macgruber. He thought I was just guessing at his name... and that I decided to take a shot in the dark and go with Macgruber? Anyway, I sputtered, "oh, no - it's an SNL sketch". "Saturday Night Live?" he asked, as if SNL could stand for anything else. I said yes, and he said, "Oh, I don't do that". Uh oh. If the people in the office don't know or enjoy pop culture, how are we ever going to get along? I suddenly remembered that I do not belong in an office by any stretch of the imagination.

So Friday, my first full day of work, was when the incident happened. Something very embarrassing that only happened two days ago, which means it's VERY BIG OF ME THAT I'M ALREADY FINDING THE HUMOR IN IT, DON'T YOU AGREE?!

Where was I? So my first day was plodding along, the hours ticking away, and I was starting to get really hungry. But, being the pushover people-pleaser that I am, I didn't want to ask for my lunch break on the first day because somehow that felt rude to me? Welcome to my brain. Anyway, it was nearly two, and after finishing a spreadsheet, I handed it to my supervisor and said, "Would it be okay if I took lunch now?" She said sure, and I went down the elevator to the ground floor of the building where I sat in the commissary with a banana, yogurt, and juice box that I had pulled from the office kitchen (I didn't steal them, they're for the employees) and checked the last several hours of news and updates from Twitter. This was odd for me, since usually I check Twitter all day long - but now I had hours worth of backlog, and trying to get through it all and open and read all the articles I wanted to in a half hour was more difficult than I'd imagined. As my break was ending, I was still reading stuff on my phone. I got in the elevator, hit floor 35, waited until the elevator stopped, and exited all without looking up from my phone. When I peeled my eyes from the screen, I realized I was actually at floor 33. Whoops. I turned right back around and hit the button for the elevator and waited. And waited. This is silly, I thought, waiting around to go up two floors, how lazy am I? I can use the stairs. So I wandered around until I found door a stairwell, which I entered. I walked up two flights to floor 35 and tried the door. It was locked. Well, that's just annoying, I thought, and went back down to 33 and tried the door. It wouldn't open.

It wouldn't open. Now my nerves started to kick in... trying not to freak out, I went down another floor and tried the door. No dice. I was trying like hell to keep full-on panic at bay... and I was semi-succeeding. What am I going to do? Oh my god, I'm going to have to call my office on my FIRST DAY of work and tell them that I'm LOCKED IN THE STAIRWELL? I felt full-body embarrassment seize me at just the thought. No, no, no - that should be my last resort ONLY. Not wanting to go there, I realized my other, equally unpleasant option: I was going to have to walk down all the stairs. Maybe the doors on the upper floors with offices wouldn't open, but there's no way the ground floor would be locked. So, resigning myself, I began making my way down the stairs. LOTS of stairs. Keep in mind that I was dressed in a button-up shirt with a sweater over it AND wearing my coat, which I had brought with me on break. Down and down and down the stairs I went, getting sweaty and gross fast.* Finally I got to the bottom... and saw, "EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY, ALARM WILL SOUND".

*This is a reference probably nobody will get, but I felt like I was in a real-life version of that part in Final Fantasy VII where you go up all those flights of stairs in the Shin-Ra building. #nerdalert

Now was the time. The time for me to begin FULL-ON PANICKING. My heart was racing, and not because I had just been forced to actually exercise. No no no no no.... serious panic set in, not just because of the ridiculous embarrassment of the situation and the thought of having to call the office to send someone to get me out, but actually more so because of the sudden intense wave of claustrophobia that hit me like a ton of bricks.* I felt trapped, stuck in this endless, gray, concrete stairwell with NO WAY OUT. No way out, no way out... "WHY IS THIS HERE?" I screamed inside my head, "WHAT'S THE POINT OF HAVING STAIRS YOU CAN ONLY ENTER BUT NEVER LEAVE? IT MAKES NO SENSE!" Shirking logical thinking in lieu of full hysteria, I began running up the stairs, pounding on the doors at every floor. No answer, no answer... AHHHHHHHHHHHH. Finally, at the 16th floor, I heard movement. I waited, hoping against hope that this was my salvation. The door slowly opened, and a completely nonplussed forty-something man was looking at me. I'm sure I looked like a sweaty, lunatic child; I was suddenly very acutely aware of the fact that I was in no way, shape, or form a grown-up of any kind. I walked through, and realized the door had opened DIRECTLY INTO AN OFFICE. Not a hallway - an office. Others were at their cubicles working. "Thank you so much", I whispered quieter than I think I've ever spoken, both because people were working and but also because my embarrassment was genuinely affecting my body, and I found that my vocal chords could just barely produce actual speech. "I got locked in the stairwell." "Well that's not good." He said bemusedly.

*I'm not overly claustrophobic - I'm fine in elevators, but if the elevator got stuck, then I'd probably start to get nervous. 

And with that, I briskly walked through the office to the exit, and took the elevator back up to the proper floor, where I entered my actual place of work. Maybe no one noticed, but as is often the case, I felt like shame was radiating so strongly from me that everyone noticed... not to mention the fact that I was a SWEATY MESS, both due to the panic and the running up and down stairs; only after I had sat at my station for a little bit, calmed down and resumed working, did I notice my thighs were burning. Exercise, man.

You guys, I'm pretty sure I'm fifteen. I'm fifteen, right?

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