Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Vociferous Effigy

Once, long ago it seems, I titled a post after the subject line of an email I'd received (it was "Unreliable Coffee", and it was back on the old site (somewhere in the archives). Tonight I'm doing it again, in part because it's a really funny subject line (sometimes spam at least makes you laugh), but also because I just happened to have occasion today to use both of those words, though not together. I rarely use either, so it's just a case of "Spam imitates Life" ... or something like that ... maybe.

On to the story I promised last night. There is a small group of us at work who tend to try to outdo each other (just for fun) with our stories on occasion. The main rule is that they all have to be true. They've all given up on trying to one-up me on the injury/surgery/scars categories, so it's often more mundane minutiae. Yesterday it was about office moves at work. I am currently in the process of moving from one building to another, and may be doing so again in the next few months as my group moves closer to the field work. I actually started working in my new building last week, but I sat at another guy's desk near mine to use his computer while he was on vacation. This week, however, he's back and my computer access is almost nil.

[ASIDE] It's strange to think back to 16 years ago when I started working for this company, that in my department of 20 people, we had maybe three computers - and they were rarely used. We worked by hand. Even our drafting department only had one CAD machine, and most of the drafters didn't like using it. Nowadays, you can't get much at all done without a computer. [/ASIDE ]

So, we were sitting at lunch and I mentioned that even though I'd put in a move order way back early last week, that my computer and my boxes were still over in my old office. Thus it began:
[NOTE: All names have been changed because I wanted to.]
Hugh: Aw that's nothing. When I moved out to the J area trailers it took them two weeks to move my computer and phone. I had to stay over each evening for an hour just to check email and do my daily reports.
Dewayne: Did you remember to put the new coversheets on those TPS reports?
Big Guy: Yeah, didn't you get the memo?
Hugh: Shut up.
Dewayne: When I moved from up on the hill to my new office, it took two weeks to get a phone, three to get my computer, and my boxes arrived at various times over a two week period.
Lewis: Ha! Lightweights [not the actual word he used, but you get the idea]. I moved from one office into an office in the next building, a move of all of 150 feet, and it took them a month to get my computer, another week to get the phone, and I eventually had to go to the central warehouse to point out which boxes were mine so they could spend another 3 days getting them to me. I don't think any of you pansies [again, not the actual word uttered] can beat me on that.
Big Guy: Um, well...
Lewis (with suspicious look): Okay, you'd better make this a good one.
Big Guy: I came out here in April of 2001 from the downtown office. They called me out here because they needed somebody quick, and I was just coming off of the Huntsville job. What they failed to consider was that I'd need a place to sit. There weren't any offices available, and most existing offices were already doubled up. I ended up sitting in a manager's office at a typing table that was all of 24" wide by 18" deep and already had a bunch of stuff piled on it that I couldn't move out of the way - giving me about the size of two pieces of paper to work in. There was no phone I could use - I didn't even have a cell phone at the time. I had no computer access except at a secretary's desk down the hall for about 10 minutes each day while she was getting her lunch. I had a bunch of boxes, but they stayed in my car and I compiled what I really needed into a small banker's box that I carried in and out each day, with a trip to the car if I needed something that wasn't in that box. I worked like that for three, count them, T-H-R-E-E months until they moved me down the hall into a small office with another guy, with limited storage room for either of our stuff, and we had to share a phone and computer for another five, yes, F-I-V-E months until I moved down to the trailer by the back site gate.
Hugh: I think I'm going to have to call bull**** on that one.
Big Guy: Dewayne...?
Dewayne: No, that's all true. I worked in that building back then. No BS. Well played, Big Guy.
Lewis: You make it sound like a game...
Big Guy: Oh, everybody plays the "one-upmanship game" ... [dramatic pause] ... I'm just better at it than you. [flashes devilish grin]


GeekCyclist said...

A guy in my group went on vacation for a week, and when he came back all of his stuff, computer, phone, everything, was in boxes on top of a filing cabinet. Someone else from a whole different division was sitting in his cube.

Big Guy on a Bicycle said...

Ouch. What do you read between the lines from that, I wonder?