Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Desperately Seeking Office Furniture



Well people are nothing if not challenging I guess. The lovely SjuSju over at this fine place left a lovely comment and politely asked that I start writing about Office Furniture...OK...I'll certainly be keen to try...

Desperately Seeking Office Furniture

Jewel, when challenged to tell the world just one thing, declared she'd tell it that it's all OK, and not to worry, since worry is wasted, and useless in times like these. Me, I'd tell the world that if you are doing Grade 10 Work Experience, have a very clear and passionate goal (even if you don't - fake it) to work in art or media - or at the VERY least, something cushy. Luckily, I've always loved painting so it came naturally to me, but so many of my friends didn't know what they wanted to do with their lives, and so were sent off to factories and chemists, to slave away for a week. Me, I got sent to work in an art gallery, thus continuing my lives ambition to never do a proper days work in my life.

I should say, I work and earn a living painting surfboards and skateboards. I'm fascinated by the office culture, without ever desiring to work in one. The clockwatching, the Christmas party, the chain mail e-mails, and of course, having your own desk, with pictures and toys and wacky little office in jokes. I've never had any of that. I was going to take up work for a brief period of time, just to try and see if I could do it. But then I remembered I really can't make a good cup of coffee and I get drunk within 2 drinks, and it would eat into my surfing time. It's not likely to do a lot for my career prospect if I show up pissed with a surfboard.

Our career councillor was a homely, bespectacled possibly lesbian lady called Ms Eaves. She had many books on war, and an entire shelf of motivational tapes that she would lend to students and probably never see again. She was always running late for things too - an appointment with her set aside for an hour would run about ten minutes because she had to be somewhere. It was Ms Eaves who organised for to work at the art gallery though. She was very, very excited about this, and I was very excited back. I think she also liked the fact that I was happy to have a chat to her (as I do to anyone) and that I returned her tapes on time. She lent me one once which was the speeches of Winston Churchill set to ambient mood music. I think she made it herself while tripping out to be honest.

The art gallery people had never had a work experience person before, and pretty much let me either wander about with tourist groups, or use their pens and papers to draw designs on. In fact, the curator told me after I went to a sandwich shop for an hour that "I shouldn't skimp on my lunch break". For some reason, I began talking to the security guard, Liam, who guarded the pricless art armed with wit, cunning and the ability to say things like "nah mate, none of that round here". He was a pretty cool guy though, but he was most proud of one thing. Out the back, round the corner, down the corridor and past that Aboriginal display everyone said they liked but never visited, was an antique, but abandoned, old desk, in the middle of a cold, dark, abandoned gallery that once housed Belgian art or something.

"This is me office kid," he said proudly. He motioned to me to look over this desk, his treasure. and pulled back the top. When he did, there was a hollowed out drawer, like a big plastic tray. He was clearly very proud of this desk, but even more proud of the hollowed out plastic tub inside that held his stash. Proudly, he took out a packet of jelly snakes and eat one longingly. He picked up his paper and sat down on the chair.

"This is the good life, bastards don't know about it!" he said.

"Very impressive - tres chic," I said, nodding in approval.

And that would have been that, except for a dishevelled American man, who was suddenly amongst us. He had wandered out the back, round the corner, down the corridor and past the Aboriginal display everyone said they liked but no one ever visited. He had golf clothes on, and looked stereotypically Jewish, although that might just have been a stereotype.

"Excuse me, is this modern art?" he said, bemused.

"Nah mate, just me fucking desk," said Liam, eating a snake, and getting up and leading our Jewish friend back to the Aboriginal art display.

I don't know much about office furniture, I've never had to order a pen on stationery, but I know one thing - they might not be art, but you can at least hide shit in them, and sometimes, that's really you want out of life - functionality, not beauty, black and white over colour - a packet of jelly snakes instead of caviar...

2 Comments:

Blogger sjusju said...

*thomps the office furniture loudly*

thank you!! you see, it takes the decontextualisation of your writing and the art gallery setting to realise what amazing creatures we (office mites) reside amongst. the smoothness of wood veneer, the mystery of identical drawers holding who-knows-what, swivel chairs, secrets unknown and stationary unbounded.

the Y-fronts tale was lovely also! what a prolific you are!

this is kind of like the "ten minutes writing" we used to do in grade five. my much beloved mrs watson would flick a topic at us and then nonchantly wander up and down that tiny stage at the front of the class room while we scurried out strange tales of "aliens" or "breakfast" or "heroes".

it was the best ten minutes of the day in fact.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Alyson with a Y said...

Aliens, breakfast, heroes! That's the next 3 entries sorted then!

As for office furniture, it is amazing, even the most mundane desk tells you a lot - messy or tidy, photos or toys...I find them fascinating!

Thanks for all your kind words! It's totally appreciated! I'm happy to carry on the 10 minute writing legacy!

Alyson

1:22 AM  

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