Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Mornings II: Morning Turns to Day

My egg sandwich is nestled in its small paper bag, which has been placed in a larger plastic bag along with my cold drink. I cross 4th Ave and 9th (which is also Wanamaker. I neglected to mention that last time) and head west on 9th half a block to the only office building on the block, 770 Broadway.

I know...I know. It's not on Broadway. I hate this fact. It's *between* Broadway and 4th, but it's not actually *on* Broadway. Neither is any part of our building, that I know of. So the building needs a ginormous sign declaring its address, as pictured:

Or you can see it from an OMGSoArty perspective:

See those windows on either side of the doors in the first photo? They light up really crazy at night.  Like all pink or red or orange. I'm not sure what they're trying to go for.

Anyway. So I go in the revolving doors, because my hands are sometimes full and I just don't like to interact with any of the people I work with. I have extracted my ID badge at Tost, which I scan at the turnstile inside the huge lobby and wait a reallllly long time for the little arms to open and let me through. (I'm sure it's only a second or so, but when you see those elevator doors closing there's no way you can make it with the turnstile stop.) Then it's over to the left bank of elevators, which only go to the 12th and 13th floor, cramming in there with all the lemmings and their iced fat-free coffees and organic grass juice shit and nothing with any caloric content whatsoever. My egg sandwich feels conspicuous and sinful, but I'm sorry, I'm not ready to deal with a 1,000-calorie-a-day diet what with everything else.

Everyone is deathly quiet in the elevator. Even if they'd been chatting amongst themselves in the lobby. It's like a tomb. And it's hot and seems very slow. This is an extremely awkward two minutes.
Most everyone piles out at 12, except those who have to go to 13 who inevitably keep standing at the front of the elevator car while we stream around them.  STEP OUT. It is JUST LIKE the subway. Good grief.

We file into the 12th floor lobby, which is large and modern with very low and uncomfortable chairs, past the sweet, friendly receptionist (not being sarcastic, she really is) who always says hello. I veer to the right past her desk, and walk down a dark hallway lined haphazardly with dress forms of all sizes (the children's ones are at once adorable and creepy). I make another right, past the wall where the current catalog we're working on is pinned--each page gets its own square, so we can see the entire book at a glance. On my left is the Cage, a huge fenced-in area where looks are staged and prepped for dress shoots. It's usually filled with dozens of [adult] dress forms all outfitted and accessorized to the nines. Past this is my cluster of cubes, in Section A1, stencilled in orange paint on a large square column.

It's an open-office plan, which I detest. My cube is in the middle of everything, my back to most. I *really* hate that. I'm on edge all day, always on display, no walls except a dinky little half-wall behind my monitor that just mostly has work notes pinned to it. I really never thought I would miss those awful fabric cubicle walls. But I like to bring a little personality into my workspace, and here it can't be done unless you want everything to get really cluttery. Which I do not.

I lug my crap over to my white desk (everything is white, which, as you can imagine, is super good for keeping the dirt at bay...), shove my backpack underneath, and drop my butt into my chair. (It's okay. Fabric, wheeled, regular office chair.) I log onto my work Mac and wait for everything to start up. I undo the wrappings around my breakfast--soda out of the plastic bag, throw out the straw they always stick in there, sandwich out of the paper bag, napkins out of the bottom, unwrap foil off sandwich, unwrap waxed paper off sandwich, sprinkle salt and pepper onto the egg portion. If it's the one shorter guy who always talks to me, my sandwich is perfect: all the gooey cheese is sandwiched inside the egg like an omelet. But if it's the other guy, he puts the cheese on each inner side of the bread and it's really dry and not great. I mean, better than nothing though.

I start up Outlook and InDesign and Excel and Chrome, usually checking Facebook first thing. I use my phone and tablet to look at it when I'm not at work, but those apps never have the full stream of everyone's updates. (Just checked FB again for kicks. Someone posted a pic of me at Baccalaureate. Aw!)

After that, my duties depend on what part of the catalog process we're at for the month. We *always* have something to do, whether it's completing catalog spreads as a team or working on our own projects. I can honestly say I'm never bored at this job; never have moments where nothing really needs to get done. I love this pace and it's the first job I've had where each day goes by quickly--sometimes too quickly. Mornings ZOOM by. I rarely look at the clock until it's past one, and I usually take lunch at 2:00 or later. This is a habit from days of jobs with long, dull afternoons, where minutes ticked by like hours and everyone was dragging by 3:30.

I can take lunch when I want to, and it's not ever something I look forward to. When I first started working here, I was all "Wowie! Lunch every day in downtown Manhattan with all these yummy choices and the budget to eat out most days!" but I quickly got over it. What I want at lunch is a break from the people and the noise and the crowding. A comfortable chair to curl up in. A quiet place to read. Someplace where no one is looking at me.
But that DOES NOT happen here. Ever. There's not even a 2007 Corolla to escape to. Just blocks and blocks of rushing people and being hurried out of your seat at dining establishments and tiny uncomfortable chairs and honking and yelling and smoking and infinitesimal sandwiches for $9.50. There's a Barnes & Noble in Union Square, but a) it's the flagship location and always terrifyingly crowded, b) there is NO comfortable seating available and they'll bust you for sitting on the floor. They do offer a sterile, classroom-type area where they have book readings, with rows of plastic chairs, but it's as depressing as sitting in McDonald's to read, and c) it takes me twenty minutes to make my way to the store, leaving me a total of twenty minutes for "relaxation."

We have two kitchenettes at the office, neither of which is on our floor. I usually walk up to the 13th, taking a microwave lunch and a water bottle to mix some Crystal Light lemonade in. If I can get a table, I get one farthest away from everyone, setting my backpack down on one of the metal chairs. They are very modern and very cold. The nice part about this room is that it's large, and one wall is virtually entirely south-facing windows, affording a fantastic view of whichever bridge is below Wall Street (Manhattan, maybe?). The whole view is great, and does make me happy to be here. No one has ever bothered me during my lunch, and I hope they never do. I don't love eating up there, but it's the only place I've found that's satisfactory.
I generally take less than an hour, because I get paid hourly and get more money if I take a shorter lunch, and then it's back to my desk to finish up the day. No set schedule, just always a flurry to get everything done. More often then not, I'm slightly panicked as 5:30 grows closer because I fear I won't get done in time--not that it matters, because I can *always* stay late (and get paid extra) and it's not like anything will fall apart if I don't finish. I can honestly say I've never had that feeling about a job before. The end of the day had ALWAYS been a welcome relief from the tedium. I can't say I love it this new way, but I don't hate it either.

Lily just sent me a text message that said "During these hard stretches it's so important to greet every passing thought with gratitude and a smile." I don't make that a habit, and it's been terrible to deal with this downward swing of life lately given my negative approach. The more I hate it here, the more and MORE I hate every little detail. Long depressing line at Walgreen's: SEE HOW MUCH IT SUCKS HERE?! Someone with extreme B.O. shoves into the seat next to me on the subway: THIS IS WHY IT SUCKS. It is never-ending!

So. This post has been fairly negative. I'm not going to edit it to be more sunshiney, but I am going to stop here. Maybe my next installment, I'll vow to be more positive. I just figured out there's no way I can go home for Thanksgiving, so I'm ultra-depressed now anyway. :(

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