Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sweating the almost unbelievably small stuff

So when I got to this new job, I inherited a smallish, dirtyish white board from someone else. That's fine with me.
Here's how I immediately planned to use it:
I would get a bunch of different-colored dry-erase markers, and then color-code my to-do list. Each week would be a different color, and the colors would rotate, and I would always know what I had to do when. There have since been asterisk-based additions to the system, as well as a code of crossing out and erasing.
I asked for a bunch of dry-erase markers.
The woman who is supposed to obtain them assured me she would, soon. After a while, she brought me one brown dry-erase marker as a stopgap, and asked what else I needed. I needed four or five markers, in assorted colors.
After a while longer, she came through big-time, and presented me with a four-pack of the best dry-erase markers I've ever seen, in red, blue, green and black. They write well, and they have erasers right in the caps, and they look like microphones, although I am obviously not singing into my dry-erase markers at work, really, I'm not. So at this point I have five colors, although if I can avoid using the brown one, which is both ugly and just not as good a marker, I will do that.
And then, almost immediately, my blue marker disappeared. I looked everywhere for it. It was just gone. One of my coworkers said, "I blame [other coworker]. Of course, I blame [other coworker] for everything." This is chuckle-worthy because [other coworker] is just a basically good guy, who I don't interact with too much, but who clearly is not breaking into my office to steal my markers.
About a month and a half has gone by since the mysterious disappearance of the blue marker, and I have gotten used to not having it. It means my color-coded system is red, green, black and brown, which sometimes looks like Christmas but often just looks yucky. But that's OK. It's functional. The color-coding works. It doesn't fill my soul with joy at its pure aesthetics, but it is keeping me organized, which is a minor miracle.
And then.
And then I was in [other coworker]'s office last week, and there, plain as day, was my one blue marker.
And now I am obsessed. Not so much with how it got there, although that is a puzzle (Did [other coworker] actually break into my office to take it? Did [other coworker] assert to the person responsible for procuring markers that he needed one, and she decided since I had four others that I wouldn't miss the blue one?). No, I am obsessed because I want it back now, a lot, and cannot for the life of me figure out how to make that happen. I can't ask for it, because that seems is petty and weird. I obviously cannot steal it back. I truly do not believe that there was or would have been any malice involved. But — but I want it.
So, my friends, I think I am going to have to go out myself and buy another blue marker if I can find it, another four-pack if necessary. Because this is just completely out of hand.

4/10 update for my friends who are not [other coworker]: Tonight I was out at the local watering hole with some friends including but not limited to [other coworker], and the fact that I have a blog sort of came up, which it mostly hasn't at my current place of employment. Immediately, I worried about this post and one other that maybe no one will see or, if they do, be bothered by. It feels somehow unethical to take this post down, though. I mean, it's the Internet. I knew it was possible that anyone could see anything I wrote, including my irrational pen ravings, right? Plus, maybe if I make this post really, really long, no one will want to read it anymore and I won't be all embarrassed by it.

4/10 update for my friend who is [other coworker]: If you've read this far, you know that I am absolutely crazy and not to be trusted with any more markers than I already have. Who knows what I'm doing with them? But I think my friends are all a little curious. So, I'll make you a deal: You keep the marker, but please post a comment here to let me know how you came by it and if it is, in fact, the missing marker from my set or if she just bought us the same markers.


icanhasyarn said...

I would probably mention it to the person who has it in an offhand way, something like, "Hey, that's exactly like my blue marker that I can't find!" and see what s/he says. But it would partly depend on how well I knew the person...I'd only do that if it were someone I was comfortable with.


Anonymous said...

If it were me, I'd have just gone to Staples and bought myself a 36-pack of different colors or something completely obscene like that.

But then, I clearly have a problem. There are 4 or 5 new-ish Sharpie colors that I don't have, and I am beginning to twitch...

Amanda said...

Speaking for accidental writing utensil kleptomaniacs everywhere and as someone who still has, in her summertime backpack, the LuluLemon stock room merchandising pen (Size 2-4 Reverse Groove/pink), I'd just like to say that he may have picked it up on accident IF he had any occassion to be in your office. You tell some good stories, and I've been known to hang around your Staples-appointed desk to listen for obscene amounts of work time -- during which I'd fidgit and pick something up. Did blueman do the same? If that's a possiblity, then I'd just follow the advice yarn lady's thread --- but add a smidge of snark to the "that is exactly like my blue marker" part of the sentence and a little bit of self-mocking to the second half, and say : like the marker that I have been obsessing over to the point of calling John Walsh to get him on the hunt for it." But that's my recipe for everything -- a smidge of snark plus a generous helping of making fun of me.
p.s. I think I need to just call you instead of all this silly posting. But it's fun in that opposite-of-instant message way.

Kay Bailey said...

You can steal it back. That's what I did when Karen O. (former neighbor) used my ice scraper, put it in her car, and then went to Florida for two weeks. I saw it in her car and fumed. Then on a whim I tried opening the door. It wasn't locked. I took my marker, I mean my ice scraper, and went on about my life. No mention was ever made of it again. Until now.

bzzzzgrrrl said...

I am waiting for a phone call from another friend right now, so I am the last person at the office. The way our offices work, we can lock our doors, but each person's doors unlock all the others on this hallway.
It strikes me that I could, similar to Kay's suggestion, just go into his office, replace "his" blue marker with the brown one I don't like, and then he'd be all puzzled when he came in in the morning. Which would, obviously, be hilarious.
Sigh. I will probably not do that.

ToddP said...

I'm a marker klepto. I have a box that I put them all in. I don't know where they come from. It's not a conscious thing... Polkadotcreations— keep me away from your sharpies.

bzzzzgrrrl said...

Excellent! Do you happen to have a blue one of these? You can give it to me as eight-day rent.

Cousin Mouse said...

I'm reminded of a story I heard Douglas Adams tell in an interview. I heard it somewhere else later, so it may not be his.

But, Adams claimed he was in a railroad station and bought himself a newspaper and package of biscuits (what cookies are called in the UK, they come in packages of about 8-10) He sat down and started reading the newspaper.

A fellow came up and sat next to him, next to the unread sections of his newspaper. After a bit, the stranger reached over and OPENED HIS PACKET OF BISCUITS AND ATE ONE.

Adams was angered and perplexed. How rude! What to do?

So, he reached over and took one of the buscuits, to assert ownership. The other fellow hesitated, then he too reached over and took a biscuit. They alternated like this until the packet was empty.

Then the stranger hopped up to catch a train.

When Adam's train came, he too hopped up and collected his paper.

And there, under the paper, was HIS packet of biscuits.

Polka Dot Creations said...

Ooh, Lucy, that Staples link shows they come in 8-packs! If it were me, I would totally not be able to resist eight brand new delicious colors to play with. My heartbeat sped up just seeing them there ;-)

ToddP, are you taller than a second-grader? If not, then I can say with certainty my Sharpies are safe from your reach.