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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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this is why i'm scared to leave
My mother once asked me, why does it freak you out so much to take off work?

There are a lot of reasons. It's not that I don't like endless vistas of sheer, mind-numbing pleasurable slacking, because trust me, it's my life's calling, and I'm still peeved that somehow, this isn't happening. But okay. And right, I have this horrible feeling that if I leave, the entire place will fall to pieces without me to sit there and watch. Because it totally could.

It's when I leave, something *happens*. And not something like, I come back and see chocolate on my desk or something. Though I'd find that equally disturbing, but well, I'm the girl who gets freaked if her pens move, which they DO btw, and who hides her stapler because it's the one that works when jimmied with the letter opener best. And tha'ts gone, too, but we're not discussing the stapler sitch.

Let's discuss, say, my file cabinet. The one that has my reorganized, relabeled, cleaned-out, spotless, filled with extras and back-ups, and it's *so* well organized and useful. Forms and files and all carefully placed in a particular way, and it's perfect. It's the best file cabinet in the world.

I come into work, sit at my desk, note that a.) I have no pens and b.) I have no stapler (oh shock) and then, after I find my green pen of thankfulness, I scooch back in my chair and pull open my file cabinet to get something....

Except, shockingly, it does NOT open.

Ask me why it's locked.

That's the thing--no one knows.

It's not like it has state secrets in it. It's a two drawer, low little cabinet that has all my forms and okay, you read the above, right? It's MINE. And there's no earthly reason for it to be locked, except, well, it is, and the mystery continues throughout the office on the Locked File Cabinet.

YOu may think, ah, office joke, and right, I'd have gone with that one, except for the entire fact that the key?

There *isn't* one.

You see why I'm scared not to be at work now? These things *happen*. It's this weird ass mystery of the world, that staplers *do* get up and walk away, pens migrate to parts unknown, there's a *reason* I hide my extra staples, and why I have a massive supply of post-it notes laid back for a rainy day. I honestly think that office has it in for us when we aren't there.

Look at the evidence.

1.) My stapler--it's a bad stapler. I'm the only one that can make it work, because me, it, and the letter opener have an understanding. Everyone knows this. Yet when I got back to work, gone it was, and no one knew where.

2.) Okay, the pens *could* be having assistance in flight. But still.

3.) The Mystery of the Missing Shredder -- it doesn't even *work*, but last time the office closed, it vanished into thin air.

4.) The file cabinet has never been locked in history. Frankly, no one knows where the keys are because these suckers are older than many a Greek monument. No one locks the cabinets because we *can't* lock the cabinets, even the ones that just maybe should be locked. There is a locked file cabinet, and it's like the Sphinx in the office, and once in awhile, we all gather around to wonder what's in it, supervisors included, but it's locked and we're not going to find out until Judgement Day. Because remember what i said about the keys?

There are no keys.

So we all puzzle over this. Many people come to study my cabinet, it being the New Tenth Wonder of the World, or maybe eleventh if we count that other file cabinet mentioned above.

I unbent some paper clips (another carefully hoarded item--hey, you try working for the state and see how obsessive you get about office supplies, kay?) and sat there on teh floor, trying to open it.

Keep in mind that were there a major fire and my only hope of survival was to pick a lock to escape, I couldn't manage it with a how-to guide and a skeleton key, so you get the level of obsession I was at. And I ruined two paper clips and became the Twelfth Wonder of the World, freaking out because I couldn't get to my extra paper.

The thing we cna't figure out is HOW it got locked--it needs a key to be locked. And if you've read this far, there IS no key. Think of the spoon in Matrix. I swear, I expected Neo to appear for a minute or so there before I reasserted my independence from the entertainment industrial complex and thought, okay, this is weird.

To sidenote on teh stapler--I have a new one. It, too, is a mystery, appearing out of nowhere beside the printer. It's about ten years old, which means of course, that it actually works without having to have a meaningful relationship with the letter opener, which trust me, the opener isnt' too happy about. It's also solid metal and heavy and printed with the state logo from those halycon days of yore when the state was under the impression that it was easier to do office work with actual office supplies. They've gotten over that attitude big time, in case you're curious. In the near future, we're going to be using quills dipped in our own veins, I swear.

Wow, I have surpassed myself in boring LJ entries. Wednesday, apparently, someone who has actual skill is going to be opening it--hell if I know how, blowtorch is good, and at thsi point, I haven't even dismissed a small thermonuclear device, and frankly, this level of obsession is disturbing.

But dammit, my FILING CABINET. WHY?

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Wonderfully funny post!

I worked for the state AG's office for a while and we had the exact same sort of things. It was insane. Add to that the insane things you are forced to do with office supplies due to bizarre budgetary rules, and public service seems more like an institution for the bizarre-but-not-generally-violent-just-confused.

Your LJ post made my night.

One day, I'll tell the story of the Governor's Proclamation That All Printing Must Be Two Sided. It's even framed on the wall and stuff.

*marvels* With a printer that won't do that without a degree in computer engineering of some kind. Mindboggling.

So sorry, so sorry to laugh, but your posts could make the dead rise up and cackle.

I feel i've done my duty by society then. *g* And also, warn people off working for gov't.

Well, I can't speculate about the letter opener's sordid affair with the substitute stapler, but I wanted to thank you for posting this. Your office isn't the only place that things like this happen.

Have you thought about calling in a locksmith? It's very difficult to pick a lock without a tool to rake across the pins, and a second tool to provide turning pressure. While you might be able to do both with paper clips, it's tricky, waaaay tricky.

A locksmith sounds disturbingly logical, like something humans might do in such a crisis. At this point, the blowtorch may be as close ot logical as we come. Or hell, a lighter and some free time.

Though I've yet to give up on the idea that if I just *will* hard enough, I can *make* that lock unlock.

A blowtorch? Guess they don't mind if you cook the paperwork inside the cabinet, eh?

Without exception, every damn time I've stayed home from work, the sky has fallen. My desk spontaneously combusts, my voice mail explodes, files leap out of cabinets and hurl themselves into corners. People I've never heard of call to complain about stuff I've forgotten.

It just doesn't pay to stay home.

*nod* Yep. Oh yep. It's like it's bitter if you aren't there.

Stupid jealous offices.....

It is occasionally possible to pry open a locked filing cabinet with something like a letter opener or butter knife. Not that I know from doing it myself or anything. Nope.


*blinks again*

*writes down*

*huge smile*

You are SO my hero!


Aha! It's the letter opener! It was looking for a rebound from that mean ole nasty stapler that left it in the lurch. Mystery solved. ;)

I realize this is completely random, but I heard someone talking about buying hermit crab food today and though of you.

Come by some time and I'll give you lessons in intimidating your coworkers. One of the honest-to-goodness first things new people in my office are told is "don't take Cat's pens". And they don't. {eg}

If your letter opener is missing your stapler, try introducing it to your file cabinet. Those locks tend to be flimsy.

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