Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thievery Corporation

I'm getting the lay of the land at my new workplace. Finding the mail room was the biggest piece of the puzzle, because that's where everything important is located. The printer, the pads of paper, the pens. I found some binders, but only those huge oversized binders that are so massive that you can't really put the thing anyplace without it seriously tanking the feng shui of any room.

But the best part was finding the shredder. Not only the shredder, but the locked garbage bin where you can just throw a bunch of documents in a slot to be shredded without actually dealing with the shredding part. I haven't had a shredder handy since my last full-time job. And those live checks I get every week from my credit card companies were piling up. Goodbye scary checks. Say hi to Mr. Shredder.

I felt pretty stocked as far as having pens and pads of paper around the edit suite to write down whatever the director had to say about the cut. Except that she kept stealing my pens. She has a tendency to watch the edit, then she'll have a flash of brilliance as to what the graphic should act like or look like, so she'll grab the nearest pen (mine) and sketch something out real quick. Which leads to her having to talk to the graphics guy, so she bolts out of the room. With my pen.

The pen theft was fine for the first time or two. Then, when I ran out of the company pens I had stocked my room with, I had to resort to grabbing a pen out of my backpack. Not that this pen was special or had any sentimental value, but it symbolized my personal property, and I wasn't going to allow my personal property to be stolen at work.

So the next time Ms. Director did the graphics-sketch-to-bolt-out-the-door hustle, she did so with my pen. I quickly spun around in my seat and said "could I have my pen back?" Apparently she had never been diagnosed with kleptomania, so she was taken by surprise that she would try to steal from me. She said sorry and gave me back my pen, then bolted out the door for a meeting with the graphics guy.

It dawned on me that the pen from my backpack wasn't going to last long unless I made some tactical maneuvers. So I quickly made my way down to the mail room. I grabbed as many pens as I could carry back to the edit suite and set them down in a place where the director couldn't see any of them. I took one of the pens and set it next to the pad of paper that she had scribbled her most recent graphic mockup. The next time she came by, it worked like a charm. After she left the room, I looked over at the pad. No more pen. I took another pen from my pile and placed it next to her scribble pad. The pen from my backpack was safe.

The pen disappearing act was working well through several director visits when the editor next door came by to talk about his most recent visit with the director. Apparently she was giving rapid-fire comments about his edit, but he couldn't take any notes because he didn't have a pen. He complained that she was walking out with his pens, just like she did with me. We laughed as we contemplated where all the pens go. Does she have a mountain of stolen pens on her desk? They have to wind up somewhere.

I told him about my little pen stockpiling routine, and he was convinced that was the way to go. He left, and soon after, the director walked in. We talked about the cut, she scribbled some graphic ideas, and I looked over and noticed that she was holding the pen from my backpack instead of the one I had positioned for her next thievery.

She told me she was going home for the day. She would have to put her dog to sleep that night, and she was gonna have to explain the whole thing to her kids, so she was leaving early. As she stood at the door saying "see you in the morning", I shot down the idea of asking for my pen back. A pen is a little insignificant compared to putting your dog down. I grabbed one of the stockpiled pens and got back to work.