Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Office Chic Part One

In 1992 I took a work-study program for my fall semester at Gordon College, which meant that I lived on campus, but worked at a job 40 hours a week instead of going to classes. This was supposed to be a position that related to my educational goals, but a lack of proper guidance from my advisers in the face of my career indecision, I wound up working the phones at Christian Book Distributors, a mail-order book warehouse. This was pre-Internet, young ones.

My mother and sister had just relocated to Massachusetts that summer and in a Herculean effort to bring money into the household and motivate her wonky daughter (that would be me) my mother contacted local theaters to see what work th
ey might have available. Wondrously, I received a call from the Gloucester Stage Company in Gloucester, MA who were looking for an assistant to the stage manager for the run of it's final show of the season NORTH SHORE FISH. GSC is a regional theatre company whose original artistic director was the playwright Israel Horovitz, so it had/has cachet. So for Tuesday through Friday, I worked 8:30 to 5:30 at CBD and then drove 30 minutes north to Gloucester and worked 6:30 to 11:30 at the theater and then again at the theater from 12:30 pm to 12:30/1:00 am on Saturday and Sunday. Monday the theater was dark.

Oy. Vey.

The theater wound up being a particularly illuminating experience for me in a number of ways - almost all of them good - and I still carry remnants from those days; a plastic, breadcrumb-covered fishstick, the plastic fish earrings that were given to me, and a wind chime made out of shells that was made for me by my stage manager.

One of the life lessons I learned was from one of the young actresses with whom I had a rapport. She told me to always make the space that you're in your own. She backed up this philosophy by gifting me with a wooden trinket box at the end of the show's run - and yes, I still have that as well. For a stage actress, this space may only be a tiny portion of the counter in front of a overlarge mirror highlighted by glaring, uncomplimentary florescent lights. For a medical editor (moi again) it's a double-sized cube at the apex of four co
rridors in a large, trendy advertising office.

I've been in my little cave here for four and a half years now and though my cleaning urges may be rare (I've just defrosted my mini-fridge for the first time in the three years since I bought it) my style has entrenched itself firmly into the space. My philosophy is that since I spend more time in my office than I do in my home, it might as well be comfy. And since I've had "oh, your office is so comfortable and homey" compliments, I figure I'm doing something right. Some of the stuff I've inherited from departing colleagues, some have been gifts, and some are favorite things that stir fond memories.

I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my more unique chotchkes. I share a half wall each with the cubes on either side of me, but as the one to my right is immediately next to our promenade and ergo, oh so noisy, it's been empty more often than not. I've taken advantage of that by unearthing some of my keepsakes and lining the wall with them. Some are more precious than others, but they're all fun.
Here is my perp walk line up. You'll see the black and white kitten calendar and print-out photos of the twins (did I mention that I like cats?) beneath the line up. Deal with the bad picture people. You don't know what I had to go through with my little Cannon digital camera to get even this poorly focused photo. Ansel Adams I am not.
Working right to left, we meet our first lucky contestant. She likes to accessorize with bullet-deflecting bracelets, has a nifty golden belt and tiara, and when she opens her mouth, candy comes out! Come on down Wonder Woman Pez Dispenser!!!! Don't let that sexy red sheath fool you, folks. Underneath, she's all sweetness and light and just filled with sugary goodness.

I was a total freak about Wonder Woman in my childhood - and beyond. I had the Wonder Woman Underoos and they were a treasured thing. I think I had the dress up armor too - but that may have been something I commandeered from Kim Snyder. I once had my Wonder Woman T.V. show-watching privileges revoked because after the episodes ended, I could inevitably be found bouncing on my sister's canopy bed, which was a few feet off the ground to accommodate the trundle bed beneath it. Excellent for imitating those Wonder Woman leaps. Princess Leia and Wonder Woman were the women I aspired to be. Although Han Solo had a lot to do with the Leia thing.

When you think about it, Wonder Woman is the archetype for some of our modern iconic, cult figures. Would we ever have a Xena or a Buffy or a Sydney Bristow without Wonder Woman paving the way? I think not.

I'm pretty sure that my Pez Wonder Woman was courtesy of my mother. So awesome. It sat on my kitchen table - where unwanted mail goes to die - for a long time, mostly because I just didn't know what to do with it. And then I had the positively inspired idea to add it to my to my perp wall, claiming that small space for my own. Plus, on bad days, she's been know to deflect pesky traffic coordinators like silver bullets gone awry.

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