My Office is My Kingdom

I’ve been restored to my full power. Like that part in all superhero movies when lost abilities are regained when the hero proves that they’re heroic for more than their superhuman abilities, my awesome power has been given back to me. And by that I mean my old office was returned to me now that the Summer is over. It’s nice to have my command center back. I dearly missed the keyboard with the weirdly grimy keys and the mouse that sticks to my desk and the desk itself which is actually more of a table because it hasn’t got any drawers. Nothing has been cleaned since I left. The hibiscus tea stain is still there so I can keep telling students it’s blood from a kid who thought they could plagiarize and get away with it with all their fingers. The empty package of staples is still on the floor. It’s right where I left it: under one of my officemates’ desks because I kicked it there when I didn’t want to pick it up. The fridge even reeks of the same food someone else left in the mini fridge, and it’s disgusting in a welcoming sort of away.

It smells of death, but it feels like home

But one thing has changed. There’s a new desk and computer. Or, not so much a new desk as it is a table we used to put backpacks on that has apparently been repurposed as a tiny desk next to our sink. This office was originally a dorm room meant for 2 people, and I’m sharing it with 4 other teachers. There’s going to be some space issues. So here I am reclaiming my desk before anyone else can take theirs, and I have one question on my mind, a question that has inspired kings to build walls and nations to battle and cats to swat at each other while yelling horribly: how to I keep my territory?

It’s not everyday you see a frog with a crown and think “yes, that is the image I’ll use to represent myself,” but that day has finally come

This is the start of my second year in this office, and it is the second year that I’ve gotten in before anyone else has claimed a desk. Last year, I used that to my advantage and stole the best chair, and I also did some clever maneuvering with the other desks to ensure I had just a little more room than everyone else. That sounds unfair because unfair is exactly what it is. However, my justification for such a petty move is that I’ve always been in the office more than anyone else, and I bring my students here the most. If you understand how time works, you may note that I could only have known those things long after my petty maneuvering happened. My response to this is that maybe I’m a bit of a petty person, or maybe I had a psychic premonition. Nobody can prove which one is true.

Now that I know how much time I spend in the office, and how often I entertain students, I’m am left with the issue of keeping the space I so unfairly won, but it’s ok. I have an idea.

I’m American, and lately that seems to mean that I have a fetish for a well-maintained border, so my country dictates that my first impulse to keep space I’ve stolen from other people is to wall it off. I don’t quite have the budget of the United States though–and I highly doubt my officemates would pay for it because that’s just a stupid thing to assume–so I’ll have to hit the DIY parts of the internet. I’m certain Pinterest must have a board for building your own wall out of office supplies. I can see it now: a single, unbroken facade of bulletin boards, a gateway of metal yard sticks, and ramparts of sharpened pencils. Beautiful.

I didn’t even mean to get political with this post, but here we are: you reading it, and me, way late to the train

I know it might seem unfair to sequester myself away in space I’ve unjustly taken, but it’s for the greater good which is like a catch-all excuse for doing terrible things. And yes, I know building a wall in my office will likely send a rather aggressive message to the people I share this room with, but if they want to think office diplomacy is over just because I’ve put a massive barrier between them and me, then that’s fine. It’s not my fault they’re perfectly interpreting the message I’m sending.


6 Replies to “My Office is My Kingdom”

  1. When I was an adjunct lecturer and then a grad student I did it all the opposite way. I allowed people to use my cubicle as they wanted when I wasn’t present. This gave me this fun card to play: I could also do whatever I felt like doing if you pissed me off, and you didn’t know if I did it because you pissed me off or because we’re just a group of free and easy wife swappers with a tendency to just throw shit on your desk when you’re not around. By the end of year one my colleagues were very antsy, like the movie Evil Dead antsy, when the protagonist isn’t quite sure if his girlfriend is a beast or his sweet girlfriend, meanwhile his possessed hand he chopped off with a chainsaw is trying to kill him.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I worked in a bullpen where I despised the fellow sitting next to me. I devised a collection of stacked horizontal file trays because I was so busy I had a lot of files! In addition, I had two large peace lilies. I know, the irony. These plants were not very close to the window so they needed to be elevated by large popcorn tins. Use of these things allowed me a portal to the dreaded one that was akin to the opening in a solitary confinement door. In summation, if you have lots of files (real or make-believe), like plants and eat popcorn, an office wall is not only attainable but functional and tasty, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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