I am early. The client’s office is still closed. I’m supposed to clean up the mess left by the recently-ex-employee. It’s not the first time I am here for clean up. I don’t mind being early. It gives me the chance to get some coffee. Last time I was here, all they had was artificially flavored hazelnut coffee. That is without a doubt the foulest stuff on earth. Luckily there’s a Starbucks around the corner. There’s always a Starbucks around the corner, no matter where you are, isn’t there? I don’t really like Starbucks, but it’s the best I can get this morning.
The Starbucks isn’t busy, only one person in front of me. I open my purse to get my…Hey…Where’s my wallet? Where ever it is, it’s not in my purse. Thank God for my habit of throwing change loose in there. I pull up a hand full of coins and do a quick count. When I look at the price list hung over the counter, I cringe. Right. Forgot about the absurd prices here. I turn around to leave. Right before I go through the door I grab on of the free tourist oriented newspapers they got stacked on top of the trashcan.
There’s a Dunkin Donuts a bit further ahead. I like Dunkin Donuts coffee even less than Starbucks. But, they are a lot cheaper and this early pretty much guarantees the brew is fresh. It’s still going to be better than the hazelnut. I really need my shot of caffeine right now.
With my coffee and my paper I walk back to the client’s office. By now there’s an employee waiting for someone with a key. Someone whose job involves lifting things, judging by the support band strapped around his waist. I nod in greeting, and sit down on the short wall to drink my coffee and read my paper.
“Are you waiting for someone?”
What good mood I had for a Monday morning melts away with the question. This company isn’t that big. People talk. He should have known I was starting my work today. If he doesn’t, it means no one does. Just fantastic.
I explain I will be working here in the mornings, 4 days a week, for about a month. I don’t add hopefully by that time you will have found someone halfway competent to keep your asses up to date.
More employees have arrived. One of them has the key for the back door. As I feared, none of them knew I would be coming. They invite me in anyway and call their boss — my company’s client — to let him know I am here. At least the client is aware I am starting my work today. Turns out, one other employee knows about me too. Only she’s not here yet.
I sit down behind one of the computers. My username from a year ago is still on the network. I try the password I used back then. It doesn’t work. Of course, it shouldn’t. I let an employee call the client again. The IT-guy has recently changed the passwords. The client doesn’t know them. The Woman who is-supposed-to-be-here-but-isn’t does know the new passwords. I have nothing else to do but wait.
I’m still waiting. You bet your ass the client is getting billed for this time. The office is filling up with the sickly sweet aroma of artificial hazelnut. Seems the people here still have the same horrible taste. Or maybe they just didn’t finish the pallet of coffee they ordered last year. Surely this was a bulk-buy mistake. No one would willingly, knowingly keep buying this retched stuff. Right?
I’ve read my paper twice. They may or may not have found evidence of humans being sacrificed to Zeus. That’s pretty cool. Worshipers who ate the human meat were supposed to have turned into a wolf for nine years? This is something they hoped for? Ha. Must have sucked to be human back then. It’s an interesting story, but after reading it twice I know it. I begin studying the room I’m in.
This building is pretty old. They restored the original tiles that were in it. The floors are both beautiful and horrendous. I spend a good 5 minutes in awe of such ugliness.
There’s a large glass vase in the window. Instead of flowers there’s a single lonely goldfish in it. I try to imagine what life is like for that goldfish, swimming in that glass vase without so much a plant to keep it company, watching distorted cars drive by outside. I find myself wishing I had a notebook with me. Then I remember I am in an office. I steal a sheet of paper from the printer and find a pencil.
I am rolling a cigarette at the desk I’m sitting at. Neither the client, nor the women with the log in information have shown up yet. I’ve gotten used to the hazelnut smell. If the human sense of taste is largely dependent on smell, and I’ve stopped smelling hazelnut, does that mean I would taste less hazelnut if I were to get a cup? I really want more caffeine in my system. But hazelnut coffee? Blegh. I step out for a smoke.
They painted the outside of this building in a lovely light grey. I like grey. It’s very relaxing. I think I want this exact shade on my bedroom walls. It would go really nice with light blue and white. I’m redecorating my room in my mind, trying to stretch time.
I cave for the coffee. I need my caffeine, even if it comes with hazelnut. It’s actually not as bad as it smelled. At least it’s brewed strong and without sugar it’s bitter enough not to be bothered by the artificial flavor. The cleaning lady is in the office now, happily humming as she works. She can keep a tune. Usually I don’t like upbeat people on Monday mornings, but since I can’t get on YouTube to play some music, I’m happy for the distraction. I am considering trying to hack into the network. It’s just WindowsXP log in after all. I decide against it. You don’t mess with an other man’s network. Even if it’s a freelance IT-guy. Each network he sets up is his network. Someone with just enough knowledge to mess with their computers, is every IT-guy’s nightmare.
I swear that damned goldfish is staring at me. Aren’t they supposed to keep swimming to stay alive? Keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming. Ahhh. Now that song will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day. My coffee is almost finished. Should I go for a refill? I don’t have anything else to do. The second cup is better than the first. Oh no, now I’m going native.
The woman is finally here. Oh guess what, she doesn’t know the password. Of course she doesn’t. Why would she? The IT-guy told her to call him when she got here. But IT-guy is not picking up the phone. I’m regretting the decision not to hack his network. I get moved to a different desk. Log in still doesn’t work. The woman leaves a message on IT-guy voicemail. In the most annoying, sweet, singsong voice ever. Call him, huh? Yeah. I can hear why. I’m not judging your taste, lady, I’m fond of the IT-guys myself. I’m judging his taste.
I am bored to tears; I have to start doing something. The woman knows where the ring-binders with bills are being kept, so I can at least go through those to see if everything is there.
It’s not. I am consistently missing 2 months at the beginning of the year. Maybe they were filed in the previous year? I walk back to the closet.
One ring-binder January/February, and five ring-binders A through Z. That’s some brilliant filing. Were you trying to make your job harder than it is, or what? Okay, now everything is here. I go get some more coffee.
IT-guy called back. With passwords. I can start my work.