Tuesday, March 07, 2006
A cubicle doesn’t seem like much office space, but it’s mine, however temporary and small. Compared to my half of the bedroom, it may be bigger. But it’s far removed from the world I’ve been living in.
This morning, having made coffee and shaven, I was only slightly prepared for the phone call from the staffing agency to get my butt downtown by 9:00am. Rushing to make the bus fully dressed, I skipped the shower having done so late last night. Dress shoes and shirt, tie that matches most things, throw on a coat and I’m as prepared as needed. Blowing off the trust-funded unfamiliar roommate’s complaints about turning the bedroom light on so early in the morning, running a mental check of possibly forgot items, I sprint to the bus stop.
Preparedness, although not necessary in the recovery program, can keep you from lapsing over little things, like being late your first day of work. Not a problem, or so I thought. I’d planned the route to the office, actually visiting the lobby. Checked the bus schedule to find a route that would place me downtown within fifteen minutes and yards from work. Had placed all needed paperwork in one manila envelope at my disposal.
First it helps to enter the correct building. Why I did this I’m still trying to discern. I knew something was up when none of the surroundings were familiar. Panic crept in. Thy will be done, Thy will be done. Where the hell is my 3rd Step prayer card when I can't recall it from memory? No big deal, I know I’m close. Just ask for directions. An attractive young lady I’d stopped pointed me in the right direction, towards the express elevators.
Still relatively calm and early, I’d stopped to ask more accurate directions from the security guard at his desk, and for the use of a lavatory. Having explained this is my first day on the job, and dressed so, he pointed me to a secured bathroom down the hall. Relying on my newly acquired ability to run fast I booked down the marble tiled hallways towards the tinny sound of his vocal directions coming from an intercom mounted outside a chrome door. The thought occurred to me that I was being watched by him since his directions could not have been more acute, yet he was out of eye-shot. It’s a nice feeling to be protected by closed-circuit video when working downtown. As fait would have it, a restroom stop helped me notice the tissue still hanging from my chin from this morning’s close shave.
Stepping onto the express elevator, I quickly realized how useless they were when going to a floor in the lower half of the building. I kept choosing wrong elevators and arriving on lobbies with two doors: the elevator and a secured entrance. My preplanned time buffer rapidly evaporating, I visually grabbed an elderly government employee with the blue eyes June said I should bat during interviews and pleaded with her for the sanctity of the first impression on my not-yet fully acquired new job. With the excitement of a young schoolgirl she quickly explained the needed for such a complicated elevator system and showed me the quickest way to my destination, shaving off the precious minutes I’d squandered in terror. I arrived one minute early.
My supervisor hasn’t yet arrived. Good! Time to take a deep breath, gather my thoughts, review employee handouts, and wipe the sweat from my brow. Sweat!?! Where’d that come from? I haven’t had a drink in 100+ days, I’m on time, I’ve no need to be nervous; I don’t understand? It wont stop! It’s because I think I’m nervous, that’s it. Stop thinking you’re nervous! It can’t be. There must be a reason. That’s it. I’m screwed. They’re probably thinking, not another hung over lush. I’ll be politely asked to leave after a half day’s work. As I wipe the last sweat from my forehead, it occurs to me that it may be from running. Right then I stop perspiring.
The door opens and I meeting my trainer. I’m handed a permanent security badge that I use to enter the office.
Upon crossing the threshold of entryway double doors, I am immediately embraced by the smell of civility; that sense that is only a culmination of your existing five other mortal ones: The sight of tightly clad, barely dress-code, well maintained female form, the sound of women discussing their politically correct weekend’s, the touch of state-of-the-art office equipment, the smell of over indulged cheap perfume, and the taste of a fine cup of java.
Respect is the first order of the day. You are here under contract to serve your employer, supervisor, and co-workers. They have a need you must fulfill. The ladies, although dressed very attractively, are not doing so to please your senses. They command respect in the way they dress and demand to be treated as co-workers. So when John Henry starts to think for you, put him in his place. Just be thankful you are surrounded by attractive co-workers and leave it at that. You have a job to do.
I amazed myself at the skills I used to complete these tasks, none of which appear on my résumé. I know I couldn’t have done them in the decrepit state my alcoholic mind and body was in six months ago, not with the hand tremors and forgetfulness. This, to me, is one of the most important promises the Big Book prophesized. I have a lot more work to do, but tonight I have a lot less to agonize over.