The Cubby

The staff ushered me into a small, albeit not tiny, achromatic gray cubby. I was amused that my purposely conservative and low-key business casual outfit is a similar shade of gray. The HP monitor is large, but the keyboard is not ergonomic. I’ll have to get used to it or bring in my own. Keys dangle from the empty cabinets waiting for supplies, and a soft cushion tops my comfortable desk chair—inviting me to sit. Office supplies are lined up neatly on the desk: multiples of everything from Post-it Notes to shiny silver paperclips. The Kleenex box is full and the wastebasket empty. 

Boxes of copier paper are stacked in the corner, left over from when the office was uninhabited and available for storage. I don’t know whether part-timers should personalize their workstations. It’s only my first day, so who knows how it will all work out? I kind of like the uncluttered, anonymous vibe . . . so different from my overly curated home. 

I arrived at 8:20 a.m., on time for my HR interview, then had a short one-on-one with the program administrator followed by a shorter session with my immediate supervisor. I returned to my cubby to familiarize myself with a stack of forms, set up my e-mail and computer accounts, and tried to memorize the code to the employees’ restroom.  By eleven o’clock, I had nothing to do, but I had to stay for a 2:00 p.m. Zoom meeting to go over some routine HR handouts that I had already perused.

The break room is just across the way from my cubby. A Keurig coffee maker stands guard next to a large stainless steel refrigerator. Everything is spotlessly clean, efficient, and welcoming in a hygienic sort of way. I can hear the department’s operator in the cubby next to mine switching effortlessly from English to Spanish as the caller’s need dictates. She speaks softly and does not disturb me. I think I need to not disturb her.

The Zoom meeting was predictably boring. My video didn’t work, so I connected to it on both my computer and my iPhone, causing the volume to go all funky. It’s hard at my age to care about starting a 401K, and I doubt I’ll be on the job long enough to qualify for a pension. I left a “well done” message for the HR lady and signed off.

I found a route home that avoided the humongous trucks and reckless lane jumpers on the interstate, picked up some pre-made mashed potatoes at a convenience store for comfort, and arrived home hungry, tired, and looking forward to my next day at the office.

Published by Carole J. Garrison

I’m a conversationalist, an observer, a passionate participant in life. And now, in my later years, I’m a recorder of the lessons of my life through essays, stories, and novels. I live in the fourth moment of life, just outside the normal distribution of most people and it is from this place that I write.

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