Creeping through the Crypt: August 14, 2004

This is one of those magical door-to-the-past portals.  A rare literary wormhole, really.  What was happening in my life on this very day in 2004?  Let's find out!

A Day in the Life of an Office

The giant plumbed-in self-heating coffee machine with stay-hot transportable thermos pot is derided for not being self-emptying as someone is forced to drain the remains of yesterday's coffee in order to start fresh today. Options ranging from impractical to utterly ridiculous on how to remove the human variable in the coffee equation are discussed while the coffee brews.

An email sent to Canada - All Users arrives with a high importance flag. Moncton's fax line is down due to severe weather.

A secondary email sent to Canada - All Users arrives with a high importance flag. Moncton's phone lines are also down due to severe weather.

Several random emails concerning cell phone reception and temporary phone routing to secondary offices follow. Anybody not in Moncton sets their inbox to filter incoming messages concerning Moncton directly to the recycle bin. An email marked urgent from the CEO addressed to Canada - All Users scolds everybody not in Moncton for ignoring the dire situation in Moncton and asks that all email be received sans filter to ensure maximum communication flow.

The photocopier runs out of paper prompting the four horsemen of the apocalypse to begin their ride early as everything grinds to a halt and everyone not already gathered in horror around the photocopier is quizzed relentlessly on whether or not they were aware the paper was low prior to the paper tray actually running dry. Any member of the company with breasts is immediately set to the task of locating and loading a new paper supply into the tray. Coffee consumption rises dramatically.

A fax requesting cost changes for Client X arrives marked urgent and with all monetary amount columns left inexplicably blank. Two minutes later an email requesting confirmation that said faxed cost changes were accurately entered into the system arrives. One minute later a phone call is placed to ensure that the email was received without error.

A fax war between the sales rep for Client X and the costing department erupts as both sides write escalating incendiary sidebar comments on the costing sheet and transmit back and forth. A third party is brought in to mediate. Both sides request a cooling-down period and radio silence for the duration of the day.

The giant plumbed-in self-heating coffee machine with stay-hot transportable thermos pot is derided for not being self-filling as someone is forced to change the filter and grounds in order to start a fresh thermos. Every employee within shouting distance asserts that they have already made a fresh thermos twice today thus bringing the informal coffee tally to an improbable fourteen pots. Options ranging from impractical to utterly ridiculous on how to remove the human variable in the coffee equation are discussed while the coffee brews.

Dirty emails are circulated amongst upper management and the sounds of riotous laughter can be heard in the corridor. An email addressed to Canada - All Users on the necessity of maintaining professionalism in email communication arrives from upper management shortly thereafter.

An email sent to Canada - All Users arrives with a high importance flag. Moncton phone and fax lines have been restored so regular communication to the office may resume.

An impromptu board meeting of management-level employees convenes to discuss the stairwell issue. A proposal to replace the stairwell with an escalator is brought to the table and the pros and cons of installing an escalator to take employees from the top (or second) floor to the main (or first) floor are briefly debated. All agree that facilitating rapid movement between the upper offices and the outdoor smoke pit is the key factor at hand and the motion to replace the stairwell is summarily passed.

The network crashes and all users are inelegantly tossed from the data entry system without warning. A barrage of email complaints to the Help Desk backlogs the crashed system and hinders reboot efforts, prompting the head office techies to send an email to Canada - All Users advising that they are aware of the system failure and that emailing complaints will backlog in the system as undeliverable mail and hinder repair efforts. The network comes back online and the backlog advisory email is received by all users five minutes after the email announcing that the network is back online prompting a barrage of email queries to the Help Desk asking when the system crashed for the second time and why was nobody informed?

A discussion on the relative merits of smorgasbord versus buffet dining leads to a near brawl at the front desk as sales reps excise their aggravation by turning on each other in a display of predatory prowess. The debate continues via cell phone with scathing personal attacks exchanged through voice mail options as employees exit the office and head for home.

 

- Corinne Simpson