Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Yesterday morning early someone had completely opened the blinds between my cubicle and the rising sun. I stepped out of the server room into the glare and threw a hand up, hissing loudly.
I ducked behind my cube wall and hunched over my coffee in the relative shade.
A co-worker saw my display and walked through the light to my desk as though it did not burn him.
"You know," he started, "You are the most stereotypical geek I've ever actually met. People joke about caffeine addiction all the time but you seem physically addicted in an un-funny way. You acted like the sun really hurt you. It isn't even that bright."
"Trying to kill me," I muttered, more to my good friend the coffee than to my co-worker. I hadn't decided whether or not I'd be offended by his analysis.
Normally, the blinds along the east wall are lowered to the point where the 28th floor can't see the sky over the horizon without going over and crouching down. These little aluminum slats stand between me and the hateful glare of the sun. I love those little aluminum slats.
Someone had disabled them, crammed them up into the top of the window and flooded the area of my cube with the searing golden light of dawn.
Of course, my thoughts turned to violence.
I sipped at my coffee to soothe the urge. Coffee stops the hurting.
I checked the time. 7:06AM.
I crawled out into the cubicle hallway, keeping my eye on the orange line cast on the carpet by the flaming orb outside the window. I avoided that area as though it were on fire.
Carefully, I crouched and later crawled over to the cubicle block that had invited this pain into my life.
It was empty. Someone had left the blinds opened all the way the day before while the sun was on the west side of the building and then inconsiderately left them open in an obvious attempt to reduce my efficiency and make certain that my Monday morning would begin with a crawl on hands and knees across the stain-hiding industrial carpeting. Crawling across the carpet is more of a Thursday thing!
Spinning the empty high-backed office chair before me, I used it as a vinyl shield.
I needed to get to the far corner of the cubicle to reach the control cords for the blinds, so I rolled the chair alongside me.
Suddenly, the full glare of the sun bounced off the flat screen monitor on the desk, searing my retinas and evoking another hiss.
I slammed my eyes closed and reached blindly for the cord, yanking and trying to get the angle right to release the mechanism.
At last they fell with a metallic slap and, relieved, I opened my eyes.
And screamed.
The blinds were not only up, they were up in the open position. The sun was sending little daggers of light into my eyes as I rolled onto the filing cabinet and worked the ridiculously slow clear plastic rod to close them again.
I rested for a moment, my breathing labored from the long crawl, dive and stress.
I walked back to my cubicle, comforted in the cool shadows of morning, ready to accomplish something. Or at least ready for another cup of coffee.

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