Monday, June 27, 2005

Desperately Seeking Diane

Joan was sitting at my desk when I arrived to work this morning. She said Susan had told her to cover my floor for the day and I was supposed to cover 19 for Mary Martha, who had called in sick. (Yes, it would have been easier to just have Joan cover Mary Martha. If Susan ever showed a flicker of intelligence I would think that she was moving us all around just for her own amusement, like the guy who came up with Daylight’s Savings just so he could watch the whole country change their clocks twice a year. But I’m pretty sure this was just a failure to figure out the simplest solution.)

As I got back in the elevator to head to the 19th floor I suddenly realized that today could be the day I meet Diane (My School, 2004). Any glimmer of hope for excitement will do on a Monday morning.

I settled into Mary Martha’s desk on 19 and discovered that she had hand-made her own floor directories. Every floor has a standard phone list and map of attorney offices, but Mary Martha had added photocopied pictures from the firm directory to hers. What was especially amusing is that she took the time to enlarge or reduce the size of each person’s photo based on their “status.” Partners were large, associates were medium, and secretaries (who appeared next to their bosses) were small. Diane’s picture was on there -- it was already familiar to me because I’d studied it so much in the firm directory.

Around 10:00 Diane-in-the-flesh came flying through the reception area from her office on the West side of the floor (I had looked her office up on the map so I’d know from which direction to watch for her). It’s always strange the first time you see someone in person after seeing only their picture -- it’s hard to know what they'll really look like. I was sure this was Diane because of the poofy blonde hair -- but it was in a ponytail! In her directory picture her shoulder-length hair was down, so naturally I had imagined that’s how it always was.

She seemed to be in a hurry as she passed the reception desk, so I didn’t try to get her attention. She approached the double doors that lead to the east side of the floor and I heard her punching the access code into the number pad. It wouldn’t let her in. She tried again but the door was still on lockdown from her previous miss. She looked at me and asked if there was some way to clear the number pad so that she could get in. I looked back with my “I’m just a temp, I don’t really know anything” look.

I started to pick up the phone (for what -- was I calling someone for help?) but Diane scurried past me, having decided to give up on the double doors and take the long route around to the east side. She was mumbling about being late and the damn door never working and I think I apologized and reached for the phone again.

I hope Mary Martha isn't sick again tomorrow.