Monday, April 16, 2007

Work notes

A couple of salient facts about this cafeteria at work. Being the hub of much social activity and butt-kicking at the pool table, naturally it features prominently in many work days. But what about the process of getting yourself a fresh juice? It may or may not be fraught with difficulties. Mostly, it is fraught. For instance, if you say “no ice” you can be sure your glass will be crackling with crushed ice. If you say “no sugar”, chances are the drink will be sugary enough to make you reel. And heaven help you if you go so far as to say, “lots of ice, no sugar.” Then you’ll get the wrong flavor.
But this is all offset by a bunch of rather sheepishly good-natured boys behind the counter who have their own peculiar charm. Their hideous orange outfits apart, they’re a pleasant lot. They specialize in stocking strange varieties of gum and candy that no-one has ever heard of (and for good reason.) The fine print on these is always in a different language each week. Once I was confounded and kept turning the gum around until I finally figured it was from Turkey. Turkey??
Then there’s the boy at the coffee machine, who doesn’t make eye-contact. Usually he takes extended breaks with a placard left propped up on the machine: “BRACK.” This leaves you standing there, very deflated, looking at the machine; just when you think you can simply get your own coffee by pushing the right buttons, you realize Brack-man has cleverly switched off the thing from the mains, and neither man nor beast can figure out how to switch it back on. This way, he ensures his clientele is properly humble every time they want a shot of caffeine.
On the subject of corporate network security, it appears that no firewalls are required on Mondays. This means you can blog and listen to online radio, if you so desire. But come Tuesday, and the firewalls are back up. You cannot access certain sites. Online radio is allowed. But then again, maybe not. So it is best to come to work everyday and gingerly check the situation before you get your hopes up. Remember, you may not even get that cup of coffee if you are depressed because you can’t listen to the World Beat station.

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