Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Get Me Out of Here! I Am Not an Animal! Or a Felon! Or Dead! Yet!

(post copyright 2012, Dawn Weber)

They come from the Dark Side.

They kill the mind and steal the spirit. Metal box, fabric walls, suspicious smells, inches from the neighbor - just the place to spend eternity. And there is no escape from...

Pig pens? Prison cells? Caskets?

Hell to the no.

We're talking about All-American, life-blood-draining, soul-sucking cubicles.

That's right, folks. Tired of sunlight, warm air and plant life? Bored of basic human respect? Grown weary of visual stimulation? Feel like dying a little inside, every day?

Well, then. Your local place of employment has just the square for you. And you and you and you...

It's true. You've sat in the cube. Probably, you're sitting there now, doin' your time. Workin' for The Man. Checkin' the Facebook.

Because almost everyone works in the cubicle, The Box these days.

  • Customer service representative? Box with phone.
  • Architect? Box with slanty table.
  • Writer? Box with coffee and empty wallet.
  • Car salesman? Box with lies.

It doesn't matter what you do for a living. The Box experience is the same.

Watch as precious minutes, hours, days of your life tick slowly, slowly, SLOWLY away. Look longingly out the window at the beautiful day. You'll never see it.

Steal glances at photos of your children. Those little cash-mongers. They're the reason you're there, stuck in The Box.

Know way more than you ever wanted to about people you don't like, and spend far more time with these jokers than your own family.

Listen as your neighbor Richard loudly discusses his colonoscopy over the phone with his wife - in great detail. Listen again as Dick discusses it with his mom. In great detail.

Smell the lunch of your other neighbor, Mary McFishbreath. She's having  reheated cod and stuffed cabbage. Again. No need to pack your own food. Simply open your mouth to taste Mary's. It's Cubicle Cuisine!

Overhear Mary and Dick's loud conversation:

Mary: "Hey, can I borrow your crank?"
Dick: "Yeah. Are you sure mine is the right size?"
Mary: "Well, it looks too big for the hole, but it might work..."

Blush beet red. Then realize the only "tool" they're discussing is the one that adjusts desk height.

Sigh. Whatever happened to offices? I watched The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I thought that if I got an education, gained experience and worked hard, by now I'd have my own office like Lou Grant  - with real wooden walls and liquor in my desk drawer.

A nice, private room, where one could nap, check personal e-mails and Facebook in peace, without pesky bosses walking in unannounced. A room with an actual door that slammed loudly, in case of anger. Or termination for e-mailing, Facebooking and napping.

But here I am, with all the other dummies, stuffed into a Box like an egg in a carton, a pig in a pen, a corpse in a casket.

Please. If I'm going to spend my days in a Box, make mine a jail cell. Much roomier. And at least I'd get meals, a bed and some free time.

Not to mention that handy toilet.

(One from the archives. I am still over here, trying to think of something funny. Send help. Or boxed wine.)


  1. That's so funny. Such an illusion of privacy and private AIR. Laughed out loud at fishbreath reheating cabbage. I wanted an office like Lou Grant too--with a door. ;-)

  2. Hmmm..I have my own office, desk and drafting table but it doesn't change anything really, I still hear people who are too loud, listen to their messages on "speaker", which I want to shoot them for doing, have to smell the "feet" that they heat up in the microwave at lunch and smell any number of fragrances that they spray into the air that drifts into every corner of the building after a heafty dump in the bathroom. Yeah, pretty much the same. xo

  3. "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." Wait, wrong line Don't hate me bc I once had a real office with doors. Mmm hmm. Guess what? The hours stilllll ticked on!!!!

    This is a funny, funny post. I hope you break free some day, Dawn. I'll meetcha on the other side!! I''ll be revving the engine of the getaway car--so you can find me. Miller Lites will be on ice!

  4. I have always been able to avoid the cubicle.

    I'm ever so much more grateful for that now that I've read your story.

    Hear Dick talk! Hear about Dick's butthole! Don't be a Dick!

  5. LOL! (Um, not to laugh at your cubicle pain. But, really, it's your fault for making it funny.)

  6. Here I am all moody and sulky because it's been a hell of a month. But then you make me laugh. You make me realize that hurtling through the air in a tin can is pretty darn good. (Yes I still want to escape.) I get to leave management on the ground and my co-workers change from month to month or often, trip to trip.
    Ssh, don't tell anyone, but you're my fav. Hugs -Kelly

  7. You really nailed that whole cubicle experience! Sadly funny!

  8. I had an office and then I got laid off! They abandoned the building and put everyone in a cube. I don't miss that but I do miss the paycheck!

  9. This is both funny and frightening. You captured the experience wonderfully. I recently read where many companies are going to joint office space instead of these punishing cubicles. They're finding it not only cheaper, but people are more productive. I'm just glad I get to work at home -- in my pj's.

  10. I spend my work hours surrounded by alcohol and/or coffee and the men who would purchase them for me. I don't envy you.

  11. Okay. Let me get this straight, not only do you have to wear a bra to work, you have to sit in a box and smell recycled cabbage and burnt popcorn all day? Yeah, no. Never mind on the whole getting a job thing. I'll stay at home with the dogs, thankyouverymuch.

  12. At first I thought you worked in a coal mine from the description, all dark and desolate. Or in retail!

  13. "No need to pack your own food. Simply open your mouth to taste Mary's." Still laughing!. . .

  14. And try posting an inspiring piece of writing, or a photo, on one of those boxed walls. It'd take to a prison wall, no problem (so I imagine). But a cubicle wall? Forget it.

    Dawn, you are always funny. No worries about retrieving archived posts. I've been defaulting to that too. Plus, your writing's just as funny on second (or third...) read.


  15. Heidi - yes, a door! A door that slams.
    Trav - An office, and still all those sounds and smells? Is your door non-functional?
    MTM - Start the car, ice the beer - I'm ready.
    Ami - "Don't be a Dick, Dick!" too funny.
    Linda - Please, please - feel free to laugh. I do. Otherwise I'd cry.
    Diva - Gosh, you made my day. oooxooo. Your stuff blows my mind. Seriously.
    Eva - "Sadly" is the right word for it.
    Joanne - I had a whole 'nother cube experience where I was laid off. So I supposed I shouldn't complain about my current cube...nah...gonna complain anyway. ;)
    Jayne - I have to say as much as I dislike the cubes, I would HATE, LOATHE and detest if there were no cubes and everyone could see/hear everyone else at their desks. We need MORE privacy for checkin' Facebook. Not less. haha
    NY - A job where men want to buy me coffee or drinks? Sounds fantastic. I'll be slogging away in my Box, nobody buyin' me nothin'.
    Dawn - I can tell you're having a dilemma with this whole going back to work thing. Don't do it, Dawn, DON'T DO IT! You'll be stuck in the box!
    RJ - I've worked retail, too. It's worse. The cashier stand is just a micro-sized cubicle, complete with mean-ass customers.
    Lisa - You want a bite? Mary still has re-heated cabbage...
    Robyn - You're always so kind - know exactly what to say to me. oooxooo

  16. I love this post! So true, the smells, the food, the conversation, lack of sunlight. Perfect description of cube life. I loved Mary and Murray together. Always wanted her apartment though.

  17. Ohhhhh.....

    You have no idea how sad this post made me.
    But in a good way. You know. When sad posts are good.


  18. Car salesman with box of lies. I used to sell Chevys when the interest rate was 21%. You needed steel ....But we didn't have cubicles then. Worked other office jobs - Wall street mid-town Manhattan; but it was all before cubicles were invented.
    Funniest thing though. I got my college degree late, was in my 50's. and happened to be un-employed, was working for a temp agency. Guess what? One job was assembling cubicles - in the damn university I graduated from a couple weeks previous.

  19. I restarted my blog and of course you are linked. :)

  20. Sad, but true; I sit even now within the Cube Continuum, the oneness that is all cubicles everywhere. Because uniformity is only one of the perks of the cubicle! You'd think a funnel would be more specifically tasked to the draining of the human spirit, but apprently it was the cube after all. Who would have thought?