No one really knows how “The Cave” got its name. Evidence suggests the name was a byproduct of the Sudoku-soaked brain of She Who Shuffles Papers – the erstwhile middle manager, also known as The Big Mommy, also known as Bowl of Muesli, also known as The Old Bat.
The Cave is the section of the office where I work. It is comprised of two cubicles, mirror images of each other, which are conjoined to a double-wide rectang-licle located at the back end, where the laziest member in the firm sits and reads tabloids all day.
Her name is Sneaky-Paranoid-Hoarder. Her work area looks like a homeless encampment. The trial cart parked next to her desk, which resembles a shopping cart from The Home Depot, is where she hangs her coat.
In addition to holding her coat, the cart is a repository of lotion bottles, cans of soup, FedEx mailing envelopes, face-down faux documents (props to infer busyness), an old school Day Planner (never opened), paper plates lifted from the employee kitchen and an assortment of Sharpies that have been purloined from vacated desks of departed employees.
Obnoxious odors emanate from her desk in the morning. Campbell’s Chicken Soup nuked in the microwave is breakfast. Nothing worse than out-of-context food smells the first thing in the morning. No other odor reminds me of hospitals more than warmed up chicken soup.
Sneaky-Hoarder and The Cave are two peas in a pod. Every email that shows up in her inbox – even if it’s addressed to a group – she prints it. Perversely, she allows the emails to lie untouched in the bed of the printer, never to be retrieved. Googled recipes for barbecued chicken wings or coupons from Shop Rite are equally ignored.
There was a troubled time when six people worked in The Cave. A clown car! It has since dwindled in number to a barebones three. The PowerPoints-That-Be try to persuade us that we are a team. I choose to identify as a spelunker.
Who are the Barebones Three? They are me – Physically-Present-But-Never-Fully-Present; the Cackling-Devourer-Of-Potato-Chips; and the Sneaky-Paranoid-Hoarder.
Sneaky and Cackling spend most of their day stalking the Kardashians or Nipsey Hustle onlne or obsessively dialing one another’s telephone extensions to gossip in whisper-speak even though they sit three yardsticks apart.
Some may consider such behavior rude. I consider it a relief. The murmuring dissolves instantly as soon as I plug in the AirPods and cue Isolation Embrace.
The dynamics of The Cave never will change. Staff from other areas of the office rarely visit. It is forgotten in time. The Cave is where pneumatically-challenged swivel chairs, broken high heel shoes and obsolete desk caddies come to die.
Sneaky-Paranoid-Hoarder was relocated to this netherworld after going ballistic one afternoon and dropping F-bombs in the vicinity of the conference room. Why fire a lunatic and risk a lawsuit? Send her to The Cave!
Speaking of…The Cave almost made the firm’s Twitter feed! The excitement began when Sneaky-Hoarder wheeled the wobbly trial cart pictured above into The Cave. Because she found it docked next to a vacated desk, in her mind, the cart was up for grabs. Girl can’t help herself.
Steering the cart into the rear quarters of the rectang-licle, Sneaky-Hoarder completely lost control and banged the cart into a metal file cabinet. The cart then ricocheted off the file cabinet and rammed into the side of my cubicle, leaving behind a dark cryptic mark on the wall.
Our first petroglyph!
Papa File Doctor, in charge of nothing, whose greatest talent is watching videos on his laptop in the firm’s off-site facility, was frantically scouring the office today for trial carts. As I passed him in the hall, he was dragging a bookshelf on wheels because, where did all the trial carts go?!!
What ever happens in The Cave, stays in The Cave.
(This post is dedicated to Lisa, my comrade-in-arms)