Thursday, April 14, 2005


My Visit to Mailout

I work the nightshift, and tonight it was particularly difficult to stay awake. Sitting at my desk I could feel myself falling asleep every 5 minutes. And even up on my feet I felt like I was sleepwalking through my nightly tasks, even those that required human interaction. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you I nearly walked into walls more than a couple of times.

Eight hours is a long time when you are neither asleep nor awake. Was I doomed to spend the rest of the night in restless purgatory?

Finaly pulling me out of my stupor was...

My visit to Mailout.

It all started when the trainer (I don't know her name)--a woman with a pleasant voice when speaking normally but who has the worst Chicago accent ever when conducting her training sessions at an unnecessarily high volume in the room next to my desk--spoke directly to me for the first time ever by asking me to change the toner in the color printer. Changing the toner itself was as easy as usual, but with the old toner removed I had a new task and a new adventure to break my routine: shipping the old cartridge back to the manufacturer for recycling. This would mean a visit to the Mailout Department. And so my journey begins...

Now let me explain that my work normally confines me to the environs of the server room, the support terminals, the Verification Department, and my desk area. The Mailout Department was all the way on the other side of the production floor.

With my sealed box of used toner under my arm, I felt like Frodo Baggins on his journey to the Land of Mordor.

First I passed through the familiar territory of the Verification Department, where a silent sea of professional verifiers key checks, verify documents, and perform quality control to the accompaniment of rap music.

Beyond the frontier of the Conflict Resolution Unit I crossed the open expanse of the main hallway and its strange signs, bringing me close to the eerily quiet internal audit office (which I suspect is haunted at night).

Finaly bringing me out of my stupor halfway through my journey was an encounter with one the security guards.

Appearing as sleepy as I was, he looked at me with a knowing eye and said, "Sports fan?"

I replied, "No, not me."

He smiled and said, "Me, neither."

I don't know if it was the profoundness of that moment, or just a coincidence, but ever since that encounter I've felt wide awake and completely clear-headed.

But I still had a long way to go to complete my quest..

To my right, the scanning department: an unending sea of document preparation and operators magicly cursed with the complete inability to remember their system passwords.

To my left, the zombies of the Corrections Department.

Just as I felt myself succumb to dehydration, I saw the Mailout Department off in the distance, at the far southern end of the production floor.

I enquired of the nearest mailout clerk where I could leave the toner box to be shipped out.

She smiled and said, "Over there."

After leaving the box under the desk as instructed, I dreamily undertook the long trip back to my desk at the other end of the floor, reflecting on the journey that changed my shift forever (that night).

Your journey sounded absolutely magical...NOT!
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