Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good Old Desk

Oowah Oowah ah ah ah-ah Oowah Oowah ah

My old desk doesn’t arabesque, in the morning when I first arrive.
It’s a pleasure to see it’s waiting there for me to keep my hopes alive.
Such a comfort to know it’s got no place to go, it’s always there.
It’s the one thing I’ve got, a huge success,
my Good Old Desk.

We are moving and changing offices at work. I’m still not sure why. I’ve been told it’s to foster collaboration. I’ve about decided it’s to get people to clean up their spaces.

Not enough room

When I say office, I say it as a loose term for the place I spend most of my life. The structure is much like a long hallway with six rooms off of it. The rooms have three walls but there is no wall off the hallway. The hallway is called a pod. The places we stay are called cubes. We call them offices, just out of habit.

Getting ready to move

There is not enough room for the things we have to store in our cubes. You’ll look around and see how people have improvised by buying crates or stacking shelves or hoarding the much coveted blue cart. There are stacks on desks, on tables and even on the floor.

Crates, crates and more crates!

Each office has a built in cabinet, bolted to the wall so it can’t be moved. There is one tall bookshelf and one short bookshelf, unless you get lucky and can get someone to agree to you having two tall bookshelves. The desks are leftovers; a hodgepodge of furniture in veritable stages of disrepair. There are two chairs, one for the desk and one in case a visitor stops by. Most people have also secured a table and some sort of hutch like device to increase storage space and make a kind of work surface.

Wall cabinet looking down the pod.

There’s no privacy. With the missing ‘wall’ and no door, any conversation may be overheard. People whisper quietly, stand in corners or even meet elsewhere when there’s something private to discuss. If there is a phone call, depending on how your voice carries, the whole pod may know your business. Some people are extremely loud. It’s almost like they want you to know that the insurance is due next week, it’s time for the annual checkup, the dentist appointment is Tuesday, the oil needs changing in the car and anything else going on in their life. That’s just the personal side. If you want to know business details, just listen.

A hutch on a table for storage.

I’ve been in my ‘office’ for eleven years. I’m in the same space I started in. I’ve never had to move. When you first come to work you inherit whatever is left in the desk from the person before you. They kindly leave you all sorts of treasure in the tall cabinet. Often times the bookshelves are left filled and any file cabinet you inherit is generally packed.

Workspace...filled up!

When you first come you have no idea what can be tossed in the garbage or donated to another unsuspecting consultant. If you ask the wrong person you’ll get the answer that it’s still important information. Yes, it’s from the 1980’s, but it’s good stuff. And you might need it or use it someday. After you’ve been there a few years you become brave and toss without asking.

The big move came as sort of a surprise. There had been rumors for several weeks, but the most vocal rumor mongers vacillated as to whether we would really be moved and how we would be grouped to we wouldn’t be moved at all. When the official email announcement finally arrived almost every person had to move out of their cube and into another one. Some moves were drastic, across the building moves. Some were close. I moved one cube down. This time we had to leave the old furniture and move just our belongings to the new space. The only furniture that you could take with you was the file cabinets.

There were some old ‘new’ desks in a store room. They were offered to the staff. They are sort of big, for our cube space anyway, but have lots of cubby holes. I asked if I could have one of the desks. There were more requests than desks so names were drawn and lo and behold, I became the owner of a new desk. I was also in the right place at the right time and was able to trade the short shelf for another tall shelf. I decided then I would build a wall.

Two tall shelves...soon to be filled!

The move created a domino effect. When the extra office was cleaned out Frank could move. Then John could move to his spot and I could move to John’s spot so that Elizabeth could move to my spot and Angie could move to her spot and so on. When it was your turn to move there wasn’t much warning. Okay, it’s ready, you’re moving. Of course it happened during everyone’s busiest week. And there was pressure. So instead of the weeding out, cleaning up and paring down, things were tossed into boxes and moved to the new space. When it was my turn to move I had two workshops to prepare for and present.

The new desk moved in.

The furniture was set up when I arrived. I had my great new desk and the two shelves with the backs to the outside, creating a makeshift wall. With some help I moved most of the books from the old shelves to the new shelves. I only had the desk and the wall cabinet to empty. The pressure was on to move another desk into my old space because the current desk wasn’t all that great. So while I was gone all of the drawers were dumped into labeled boxes for me. When I came back I hurriedly emptied the cabinet into boxes. As I was taking things out new things were being placed in the cabinet. I just wanted to hurry to get out of the way.

The fake 'doorway'.

I’m in the new office. I like my new desk. I’m still deciding where to put things because there are lots of new cubby holes. But there’s a lot of change from my old desk too. The drawers aren’t in the same places. They aren’t the same size. I’m adjusting well. I’m in the office, just not completely put away. I think I’ve found a new friend in my desk. It’s comforting to be behind my shelves at my desk.

Oowah Oowah ah ah ah-ah Oowah Oowah ah

My old desk never needs a rest, and I’ve never once heard it cry.
I’ve never seen it tease, it’s always there to please me from nine to five.
Such a comfort to know, its dependable and slow, but it’s always there.
It’s the friend I’ve got, a giant of all times,
my Good Old Desk.

After all of the turmoil, pressure and stress, I think the move is a good one for me. I’m not excited about the other people in my pod, but I can deal with it. And I’ll go in behind my shelves, my makeshift wall, and sit at my old desk. I’ll work. I’ll play. I’ll reminisce at my new old desk.

My Old Desk!

I’m keeping up with knitayear, surprisingly enough! There are days when I can’t add to it right away because I don’t have the yarn or I’m out of pocket. But I keep track of how I feel and choose the yarn accordingly and add when I can. Currently I’m caught up! Day 74 is Sunday, a day of rest. I shouldn’t have, because there’s always a lot to be done here, but I did rest. I chose an aqua boucle that seemed peaceful and nice to me. Day 75 I got to work with the doctors at TTUHSC. I always feel useful and welcome when I go there. They are so smart but I have something to offer them in a different capacity. I always feel I have helped. If a doctor takes his time to attend another workshop it must have been of some benefit to him. I chose yellow, with a touch of green and white. It’s a bamboo yarn it’s soft and welcoming, like I feel when I go there. Day 76 was a busy day. Getting ready for workshops, tomorrow and next week. I chose a turquoise fun fur, loosely knit but strong enough to hold things together. I felt exhausted today with all I’ve got going. The turquoise is probably my favorite color. The yarn is strong and decorative but thin and surprising. It reminds me I can do what it takes and hold things together. June 16 was day 77. I worked in the town I live, at the school I left. I did substitute teacher training. I was skeptical but it went extremely well. It’s sometimes hard to work where you live. But this time it was great. I chose a bright ribbon yarn. I felt fulfilled that I had been successful. The bright colors reminded me of being happy and the strength of the ribbon reminded me I am strong. June 17, day 78, is a steel blue homespun yarn. I’m just tired, but the week went well. I did okay. The blue is strong, steady. I have to be reminded, and I’m sad to say it’s frequently, that I am okay and I can do good. I think I’ll print a sign and put it on my new old desk.

Oowah Oowah ah ah ah-ah Oowah Oowah ah

My old desk isn’t picturesque, but it’s happy as a desk can be.
We never say a word, but it’s perfectly alright with me.
For when my hearts on the blow, I just open the drawer of my favorite desk.
And what do I see? But a picture of me working at my Good Old Desk.

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