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Thursday, 8 July 2004
the sweatbox chronicles
Now Playing: Ultramarine - Every Man and Woman Is A Star

Here at my office, the air conditioner has once again proved itself to be a non-issue. It?s the third day that we?ve been working without it. Regardless of the fact that it?s one of those typical NYC summer days full of haze and humidity, it still feels better outside compared to in here. You could sit and do absolutely nothing and you?d still end up sweating. There is an air conditioner that?s working right now, but it?s placed in the middle of our main hallway blowing in one direction while spitting water from its grates. It may as well be an overgrown fan. Furthermore, it?s currently rigged in front of one of the bathrooms, which leaves only one accessible for employee use. It is also partially blocking the pathway to our printer, so every time I print something, I?m penalized with a face full of A/C spittle.

We currently have fans situated over our cubicles, but it doesn?t do much good unless you stand up. I entered the office today and was hit by a blast of cool air, which made me think that either the A/C was fixed or we had some kick ass fans. This only applies to the front desk area, however. The further back you travel in our office, the hotter the climate becomes. When we do remember to take a break (if the heat hasn?t already made us fall asleep), we make an immediate beeline towards the water cooler. Unfortunately, we?ve exhausted the ice cream supply. And all I can think about are the ice pops in my freezer at home. Meanwhile, I try to answer and return calls while not falling asleep in the process. It?s not oppressive, but it?s not good for working conditions, either. Still, I can only complain so much when I know that there are far worse situations that I could be in. All I have to do is take a walk outside and witness those sitting on the streets with their last few possessions and a sign explaining their plight.

I once saw a couple that needed money for a hotel room stay. I had passed them on the street at least three times in one week. One day, I decided I had to do something. I went to the ATM, took out a $20 bill, and placed it in their collection cup. I figured they needed it far more than I did. The next day, I?m on my lunch break, and I see the same couple?on the same street?hustling for the same reason as the day before. It broke my heart. Their problem was far bigger than my temporary solution. And it?s not like I didn?t know that at the time, but the reality of the situation isn?t easy to deal with, especially when you see several other individuals in that same situation. Maybe they really need that money for food, clothing, and shelter; maybe they?re asking to fulfill an ulterior motive. That?s not for me to judge, though ? that?s between them and God. If I have it to give, then I ought to. Such a principle is not always easy to keep in mind when you?re thinking about your own jacked-up situation, when in the struggle to make ends meet you find that they rarely introduce themselves.

Within the last year and a half, I was kicked out of a good paying job that I didn?t really enjoy, went through six and a half months of unemployment trying to find a gig that suited me better, walked through the one door of opportunity that actually opened, and have spent the last eight months in an entry-level position doing the one thing that I despise most: answering phones all day long as a customer service rep. But I know everything happens for a reason, and when the Lord decides that I should move on and move up, He will supply me with what I need to make the transition. Until such time, I?m stuck here with a motley crew of co-workers, slightly insane and sometimes rude customers on the other end of the phone line, and an army of oscillating fans. And right now, I think I?m okay with that. I?ve got music, I?ve got dreams, and I?m equipped with the insight that my present situation is not how it will always be. While it may not be the most desirable scenario, it?s still better than so many other places I could?ve ended up.

Perhaps I?ve gotten used to the stuffy climate of the office ? it doesn?t feel as bad as it did yesterday. I shake the drowsiness off of me as the fan above my head tilts from left to right, right to left. It?s not easy to overcome, however. I suspect this wrestling match will continue until it?s time for me to go home.

Think anybody would mind if I brought a Slip ?n? Slide in here?

Posted by macedonia at 11:59 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 9 July 2004 10:13 AM EDT
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