Monday, December 10, 2007

Temp-er, Temp-er

The magical thing about temping is that it can be both incredibly boring and interesting at the same time. Today was one of those magical times, starting before I even walked through the door. The company, an investment banking firm, is on the
9th floor, so I confidently walked in the elevator and pressed the number nine button. Contrary to elevator button pressing logic, it did not light up. Of course, I took this as a sign that I've been eating way too many Christmas cookies and decided to get my fat ass off the elevator and take the stairs. When I got to the 9th floor, I pulled hard on the door handle: it did not budge. Panicked, I ran down to the next floor and tried the door. It too was locked.

Visions of explorers, hundreds of years from now, exploring this secret, dormant stairwell and coming upon the really cute bones of a girl clenching a venti caramel frappuccino Starbucks cup in her hand raced through my head. "What a pig," I could imagine them saying to the camera crew. Weirdly enough, the thought of anyone discovering my excessive sweet-coffee-drinking ways was more of an incentive for me to dash down the stairs in search of an open door than the thought of asphyxiation. Thank you, Starbucks! I owe you my life.

Ten minutes later, I had finally gotten settled in to my very important position answering phones at the front desk. I could breathe easy--even if incredibly dull, this job would be a piece of cake. I leaned back in my chair for a nap, only to be woken up seconds later by loud screams coming from the manager's office:
"Aah! I told you to let me know when a fax comes in!"

The door burst open and a very angry looking sales assistant stormed out. "All faxes go to Dave! There's no need to tell you about the faxes!"

"Don't give me that! Don't even start! Just do what I tell you to do!"

No sooner had I avoided almost certain death by stairwell then I was thrown right in the middle of a war zone.

Carl, the manager, not to be outdone, stomped out of his office. He was coming straight for me. I ducked under the desk.

"What are you doing down there?"

Damn. Busted. "Uh... just looking for a pen I'd dropped. Found it!"

"Amy, that's a piece of old gum. Listen, I'm sorry you had to be witness to that. Marlene's leaving tomorrow because of stuff she's pulled here, and apparently she thinks her responsibilities have already ended."

Huh? Was this guy really bitching about his (former) assistant in front of me? A sounding board for executive whining was not on my temp job responsibility list. What an ass.

Luckily, things quieted down enough for me to continue that nap for some time after that. Until Dave showed up to work. Dave was one of those loud, fast-talking financial advisors that had an answer and a (bad) wise-crack for everything. Dave apparently was also one of those guys who lives under rocks. He caught sight of a big gift basket on one of the other advisors' desks and it was all he could talk about for the next hour.

"Well would you look at this! Who sent this?" (Look at the card, Dave.) "Marlene, who sent this?" I was really hoping Marlene would tell him it was the office fairy, but unfortunately Marlene was one of those professional, non-smart-ass types.

Dave then called the person who had sent the basket. "Hey! We got this basket here and I wanted to know how I could order me some baskets to send to my clients." (Look at the label on the basket, Dave. It will tell you the name of the company.) I looked around for that damn non existent pen again so I could shove it up my ear.

Another two hours of silent bliss passed until the excitement of the basket wore off.

"Shit balls! I can't believe those sons of bitches! This is fucked up! Son of a bitch!"

Dave burst out of his office in a flurry of curses; at first I thought that someone had removed the gift basket from the office. Dave grabbed his coat from the closet, pulling the hanger with it. "I'm going home! This is fucked up!" And with that, he walked out the door. It was two o'clock.

Despite my desire to follow Dave out in a blaze of glory, I dutifully finished out the rest of the day. I have never been so refreshed. Of course, I realized as soon as I got home that I'd left my cell phone there. Sadly, I'll have to return tomorrow for the phone in the off-chance that someone should happen to call. I only hope that I make it out of there alive.