Thursday, December 08, 2005

The mice have struck

No, this isn't about my new house. This is about work.

I started working for this company in January of '96. For most of those Christmases, I've decorated my cubicle. It started back in another location, with another team, an entirely different culture. We stood on cubicle walls to connect garland strands to the ceiling, and people could see our little "Christmas Village" from far off corners of the cubicle farm. We played Christmas music, bought each other cards and gifts, etc. We were a cozy little team.

Not so much, now. I could insert my rant about how "tolerance" often means the opposite -- becoming so bland out of fear of offending people that there's nothing left to tolerate -- but I won't.

Anyway, now I settle for being the only guy around who decorates. I put up one or two strands of lights and edge my cubicle wall with garland. I listen to Christmas music on my headphones. It's nothing grand, but it injects just a little holiday joy into my daily work and reminds me of the festivities coming up in a couple weeks.

Yesterday, around mid-morning, I decided it was time to crack open the hallowed drawer and start decorating. This is not a drawer I open often; it's in its own file cabinet, which contains some old sentimental notebooks (with pre-dot-com-crash dates on them), old calendars, and decorations. I got out the key and cracked it open for the first time since last January.

(Warning: If you're expecting pics, I apologize. I did not have a camera on me.)

Hmm. What's that on top of my light strand? It almost looks like furniture stuffing.

And shredded paper.

And mouse turds.

Oh, shit. I've just been sifting through this stuff with my bare hands to figure it out. My body employs a "protective step back and shiver around central spine axis" maneuver, and then I lean back in. Yup. Somebody's been sleeping in my drawer, and it ain't Goldilocks.

I take everything out of the drawer and deposit in trash. Eight years of wall calendars, notebooks from 1996 onward, HR stuff from when our company changed ownership, and all my Christmas stuff. All in the trash. Half of it was chewed to shit anyway by the mice in an effort to create a more hospitable bedding ground.

I then went into clean mode -- scrubbed out the inside of the drawer, scrubbed my own hands, and used sanitizer everywhere.

So, here it is, the next day. My office still has no Christmas joy, and now I have a completely empty, sparkling-clean filing cabinet ... that I'll probably never use again *shiver*.

Merry Christmas, rodents.

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