Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Flying Toasters

It is just another cruelty that there is no free coffee at work.

I have never worked in an office where coffee was not free. In the high-flying nineties, caffeine and high fructose corn syrup, believed to be the key ingredients of creativity and productivity, were in abundance. Today, austerity is the rule, cost-cutting the norm. I fear the future of the workplace. First they make you pay for coffee, what’s next? Personal phone calls? I shudder at the thought.

flying toasters by after darkIt was only 10am today and I was already getting sleepy. Too cheap to go get Starbucks at a buck sixty-five, I decided to tough it out. Eyelids heavy and drooping, I fought to keep my mind from shutting down, trying to stave off the mental flying toasters.

Realizing I was losing the battle, I instinctively positioned myself so that I wouldn’t look like I was sleeping from the passing, casual observer. With my back to the entrance of the cubicle, a pen in my right hand, and a stack of paper in front of me, I could pretend that I was intently reviewing documents. I leaned back into my chair to prevent my head from nodding.

For obvious reasons, this technique is only used for general short-term sleepiness. Eventually, somebody will notice that you have been in the same position for too long. Most people will be discreet and make noises to warn of their approach and even ignore the dried-up drool on the side of your mouth. Only the truly heinous will gloat in catching you.

Occasionally, the urge is so powerful that it requires a “power nap.” This will involve some absence from your desk. Once, I tried sleeping under my desk, but it was too cramped and uncomfortable, I had a kink in my neck for the rest of the day. It’s not worth it.

For most people, the only recourse is the bathroom. Sure, you’re not supposed to shit where you sleep, but nobody said anything about sleeping where you shit, as long as you’re not one of those people whose bowels move as soon as their ass touches a toilet seat. You don’t have to pull your pants down. But if you’re a stickler for “authenticity,” make sure your badge is not sticking out from under the stall. If nobody else moves into the next stall with Montezuma’s Revenge, you’ll emerge refreshed, ready to tackle the rest of the day.

A friendly note to alla you’s with your own offices, trust me, when your door’s closed, everybody knows you’re sleeping.

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For those who don't remember, "Flying Toasters" was the grandfather of the modern screensaver created by After Dark.