Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Invisible Absurdities

A co-worker and I were laughing today about the amount of paper clips in this tray:



We have to clock in and check our mailboxes every day; this tray BRIMMING with paper clips sits on the counter along with the time clock and giant mailbox slot thing. I think I first noticed this when I started working for this company. My first day on the job I was learning how to clock in and looked over and saw the tray in the picture above. I thought "boy, they must use a lot of paper clips here!" After I settled in at work I learned there's many small containers and boxes of paper clips scattered throughout the facility.

While we were laughing we never noticed or addressed that orange brown block. I think it's an eraser; I'll have to investigate further tomorrow.

Funny thing though, over the years this paper clip tray kind of blended into the rest of the environment and subsequently became invisible. I wonder who originally put that there? I'd love to play a prank for a day and hide it to see if anyone notices. I've never seen anyone grab a handful and haven't even heard anyone comment about it before. Why is every compartment filled with paper clips? Is someone using the paper clips from here? If so, who's replenishing them when they run low?

I think pens maybe would be a more sensible item to leave out and available; I'm always looking for a pen that writes. I usually have my own "special pen" but it ran out of ink and I have to get another one.

I'm sure there's other examples of this weirdness all over my work place in different forms, and it's probably in yours too--all these strange nuances and informal customs...my gosh, what do the aliens think about all this?

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