Office Deja Vu: A Shoeless Tuesday Ago

 

A flash of memory pops into my head, illuminating a moment I try to forget.

Sounds of summer in the office: copiers chirping, papers flapping in the breeze and the intoxicating scent of Wite-Out — always helps me through the day. I need my Wite-Out fix to escape V.P. sales hysteria, the cause of office chaos.

Six sales people, each with their own personality quirks, try to burst into my office every day of the week. They try, because I keep the door locked.

On the other side of my door, the sales staff wanders in a fog. I am the traffic controller, the manager of the office. On most days, they can’t function without direction from me.

While their heads bobble on their shoulders outside my door, I work on an excuse for locking my door today. Luckily, my silence is interpreted as hyperfocus. I know this because they yell when they talk.

SALES GUY 1
What’s Lauren doing in there?

SALES GUY 2
Hyper-focusing. She’s swamped.

I laugh. I’m playing FreeCell. But the jokes on me because I’m stuck. I study the screen, eyes glazed like a donut.

My problem-solving process ends abruptly at the shrill ring of the phone. I awaken from my FreeCell coma, hand shaking as I answer the phone.

ME
Hello.

MOIRA
Lauren, is that you?

ME
Who else would it be? This is my extension.

MOIRA
Oh, good.

ME
Why are you whispering? This is Moira, right?

MOIRA
Yes. I don’t want anyone to hear me. I’m in my car.

ME
Are the windows open?

MOIRA
No.

ME
Then how can anyone hear you?

MOIRA
No, no…It’s more of…if anyone can hear YOU talking to me.

ME
They’re yelling out there. I’m in my office with the door locked.

MOIRA
What are they yelling about?

ME
The usual — holes in pages in the magazine. Lou’s yelling about the lack of ads. It’s hell out there.

MOIRA
I’ve got problems, too.

ME
Where are you calling from?

MOIRA
The garage. I’m downstairs in the garage.

Scratching head.

ME
Why don’t you park and come upstairs?

MOIRA
I can’t!

ME
Why?

MOIRA
It’s embarrassing.

ME
Moira, please tell me. I think ten calls just went into voice mail.

MOIRA
Uh, well…The thing is…I drove to work without my shoes.

ME
I think we have a bad connection. Did you say you drove to work without your shoes?

MOIRA
Yes.

ME
How is that possible?

MOIRA
I always drive barefoot and keep a spare pair of shoes in the car. I must have left the spare at home.

ME
Jesus. It’s not like keeping a pair of bowling shoes in your car, though it would have solved your problem.

MOIRA
Christ, Lauren. I don’t bowl. It’s also why I don’t type — fingernail polish. Let’s move on. Do you have an extra pair of shoes?

ME
WTF? No. I don’t even have a pair of rain boots. We’re in the middle of a drought. I’ll check the shoe vending machine.

MOIRA
Thank God, there’s a shoe vending machine.

ME
Moira, I’m kidding. Though I’d be happy to get you a bag of chips. Hey, maybe you can eat the chips and use the empty bags as shoes.

Momentary silence. Moira likely deep in thought.

MOIRA
Sounds too messy.

ME
Maybe I can get two garbage bags from the cafe upstairs.

MOIRA
I’m not walking around with garbage bags on my feet. That’s too weird.

ME
And not having shoes isn’t?

MOIRA
Please don’t judge me. I’m having an anxiety attack.

ME
Do you have a paper bag? Put it over your head and breathe slowly. If you have two, you can use them as shoes.

MOIRA
You know how I feel about bags. I’m calming down. You obviously can’t help me. Thanks for trying. I’ll just go to the drug store and get a pair of flip-flops. No one will recognize me if I’m wearing sunglasses and a hat.

ME
Good luck! Are you coming back?

MOIRA
No, I can’t attend a meeting in flip-flops. I’ll call Lou from home.

Click

Back to FreeCell.