We have pictures of ourselves, here at work, posted near our respective doors – or, in my and my fellow cube mates’ cases, near the exercise wheel, over by the shredded paper we use now that our corporate overlords have done away with bathroom breaks.
I keed! I keed! Bathroom breaks are clearly scheduled. I can send you the memo if you’ve lost it.
The pictures we supplied HR have been laminated. Next to the photo are two columns: Work and Life.
What do you do here at Acme Grommets and Gravel? What kinds of questions can I answer for you?
What do you do when you’re not at work? What are your interests?
Can I help it that I found it funny?
“Ask me about my Amway business!” I wrote. “My interests include yoga, home trepanning, and long walks on the beach. My pet peeves include hypocrites and people who frown when they could be smiling!”
Needless to say, my little laminated autobiography did not stay affixed to my cubicle for long.
Still, following the acquisition of Acme Grommets and Gravel by Global Tentacles (a Worldwide Octopus Company), those little cards served a purpose: The straights learned what each other did for a living through walking the halls, reading the biographies.
And the smart-alecks used that same time to leave tiny, penciled comments on them.
But the acquisition is old now, and one by one, the “Who Are You?”s have come down.
All but a handful.
I pass one of these lonely little placards on a regular basis.
There is it, on my way to the bathroom.
There’s little to mock in the way of what she does, either at work or away. The photo, though –
Frankly, it took a while for me to recognize the woman in the photo as the woman who occupies the office.
It is clear that she likes this picture, and why wouldn’t she? In it, she is 15 years younger, a good 40 pounds lighter. She looks like her own niece, I imagine.
I keep walking, step into the bathroom where I take a look at myself in the mirror over the double sinks.
Do any of us see ourselves as we really are?