Friday, March 16, 2007

The End of an Era

Today was my last day in Officeland. After twenty years of toiling away in the same dusty work space, with the same people, it all came to a rather unspectacular end.

What is that bit about a whimper, not a bang?

Not everyone was happy to go, this could be noted in sour faces and seditious postings on cork boards.

Some tears were shed; much laughter ensued as stories from the "old days" were told.

We've been through a lot, most of us, especially the old-timers (like myself). We've seen each other through births, deaths, ups and downs, and everything in between ... kind of like a family.

To keep people from going nuts, food was provided. There were all kinds of breakfast goodies, and one co-worker even made French toast on a portable grille . Ms. Merci, ever the goddess of fun, supplied moonpies for the masses.

I brought in a travel pack of Starbucks coffee, and treated my personal favorite folk to some liquid speed.

I kept thinking about the first time I walked into Officeland, way back in the spring of 1986 to be interviewed for a job that I was ill-prepared to take ... imagine my shock when they offered me the position a few weeks later... I also thought of the faces of the people who are now gone, those who shuffled off this mortal coil, and those who (less dramatically) shuffled off to Buffalo or somewhere else to find employment in some other venue.

One co-worker showed up today and brought her year-old-son. Little Bruno was the hit of the day, the little monkey was coddled and fussed over by a gaggle of social-workers. I kept hearing a sound, it might have been people's biological clock's signaling that "time's up!".

As I spent time talking with The Contessa, I became aware that someone was watching us. I turned to the bank of file cabinets behind me and spotted one of those pesky paparazzi types ... now I know how Madonna must feel!

As the day progressed, the weather grew more foul, rain turned to sleet, turned to snow.

We were told that all state offices were closing at 1:30.

I went back to my workspace for one last look around. My desk was now empty, my computer packed up and shipped off to Officeland II, my personal effects boxed up and in the trunk of my car ... and I felt an overwhelming wave of melancholy hit.

Still, I bucked up, put on my coat, grabbed my briefcase, said my final goodbyes, and, for the last time, drove down that long rural road from Officeland to Utopia, feeling as blue and gray as the stormy sky overhead.

I am sort of looking forward to the new office, but most of the familiar faces are being transfered down to Officeland II-B, so it's kind of like starting from scratch (which has its good points as well as its bad).

But all in all, I have got to say, "change sucks".

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