Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Yesterday I had a meeting in an office.

I've worked in offices. I had a friend in high school whose parents ran a tiny hot dog company out of Deerfield, IL. I worked there for awhile. There were five full-time employess:

M: My friend's Dad. He started the company after his family's kosher sausage company got bought by Sara Lee. Passionate about hot dogs.

B: My friend's Mom. Sweet-tempered, supportive, office manager and cheerleader.

R: Saleswoman. Her brother is a famous TV and movie producer. I remember her telling me a story about how she met Meg Ryan and she is so much prettier in person. I have since met the woman, and I can't say I agree. It seems like she showed her plastic surgeon a picture of Mr. Potato Head:

T: He was one of those Asperger's guys that, according to workplace comedies, seem to be a common feature of office culture. I'm glad he was there because now I can watch portrayals of his type and laugh knowingly. ("Spot On!" I can shout, while wiping my eyelids of their mirthful moisture.)

B: Receptionist of sorts. She was forever ordering office supplies. She was also single and a cancer survivor. I know this because the first time I met her she said, "Hi. I'm B. I'm single and a cancer survivor."

I was sort of a shipping clerk. Mostly I would stand in the back, taping labels to vacuum sealed frozen hot dogs. Freezer tape, if you don't know, smells uncannily of girl parts.

Point is, I've worked in an office. But the meeting I had yesterday was in a serious office. A corporate culture kind of office. The kind where a receptionist sits at a desk by the elevators and says things into a phone like, "Mr. So-and-So, Ilana is here to see you now." I was there for a Brainstorming session. A group of us sat in a corner on bouncy, kindergarten-colored furniture, the kind of furniture that was undoubtedly designed after a brainstorming meeting on "creativity maximization" . As we talked, someone wrote on an oversized Post-it Pad, periodically ripping off pages and hanging them on the wall.

It's not that I'm rock and roll. I'm really not. I live in South Brooklyn, after all. Brownstone and baby Brooklyn. The Brooklyn for corporate types who like trees. But something about being in that environment, on that made me feel like this:


Jordana said...

so you're saying you're the tourist?

ilana manaster said...

Yes. Me tourist.