Part 3: Identity Crisis
As I mentioned previously, even though our office is in New York, we are actually a regional, and not the main office; for which big favor from Above I thanked Heavens many, many times. Because being regional office means you are insulated, not completely, bus sufficiently enough not to deal with different degrees of idiocy that usually emanate from the main administration. So, not being in close proximity to the exalted top, the first time I heard the phrase "new identity" was last spring, which apparently was about ten months after the mother ship first initiated this beacon.
Naive I was at first stupefied: who is going into a witness protection in order to have a new identity? Clarification proved much less romantic and significantly less dramatic; all we were talking about was a new corporate logo. What a disappointment! Anyway, as weeks passed by, the magic phrase was repeated more and more often, and the excitement finally reached my station too in the form of a reminder not to over-order supplies with the "old identity". OK, no biggie, I can count (I think). The breaking point for me arrived around mid-July when I found out that the person responsible for organizing everything in our neck of woods was none other than my all time fave coworker fondly nicknamed by me Komsomolka. Oh, Mama!
It started with a cake. Yes, you heard right: apparently, there would be a whole interoffice party for the "unveiling of the new identity", and we should have a very specific menu, topped by carrot cake. And not only carrot cake, but it had to be rectangular, and have very precise decorations, a chart of which, completed with precise measurements and color palette (specifying the colors with numbers familiar only to the graphic designers). And all this brouhaha because "the new identity" would be orange on white.
So, yours truly was calling a whole bunch of local bakeries with the hope of ordering the blessed cake only to be informed, again and again, that nobody bakes carrot cake. Meanwhile, my dear friend Komsomolka was throwing mild hissy fits, while wondering what's holding the whole process (her problem is that she looks and acts like the weight of the world rests on her shoulders, and her projects are the most important ones, and have to be attended to right away). Finally, I somehow persuaded her to order "regular" cake with the specified (but modified) decorations on top.
Then mysterious packages from the mother ship began arriving; those were supposed to be opened in secret by Her Highness (at her convenience); in the interim they were supposed to be stored at my area. At this I had finally put my flip flop down and politely demonstrated to her my need to have access to my filing cabinets at all times.
About a week before "the unveiling" she got into another fit of the vapors because the menu for the party had to be just right (because everyone is very picky when eating free food during the work hours). I foolishly let her choose the menu and the caterer; of course, when the big boss saw the final spread, his head shook only about a hundred times.
Then, the day before, her student intern was closeted somewhere in order to assemble everyone's goody bags, and Komsomolka herself was busily huffing and puffing to and fro. Poor Goth girl of an intern; I do not think anyone wanted to be in her shoes that day.
Finally, the big day arrived. Another intern was dispatched to pick up the cake, and got lost only twice: once on the way there, and once on the way back. The food arrived, raising the brows and promoting the above-mentioned head shakes. Unfortunate interns, directed by Komsomolka, hauled the boxed with the mysterious goody bags back to the main conference room, which then was declared off limits to everyone. And since we only have one room that can be called conference room by any stretch of the imagination, that last order produced some more raised brows, head shakes, stomach acid and hypertension.
OK, drum roll!!!! Everyone was told to assemble and help themselves to food. I decided to at least have some fun and started snapping pictures. Everyone got really excited that we will immortalize this blessed event till I informed them that that was my personal camera. Then everyone just continued to load their plates, aside from one part-timer who was working on her masters in film. She kept screaming not to take her picture; that she is being paid to be on camera; and that she gets overwhelmed from the flash. So, I got great shots of her curls and her hand holding a paper plate in front of her face. While everyone was busy stuffing their faces with very carefully selected free food and thrice-damned carrot cake, some dudes and dudesses were warbling from the TV and applauding each other.
At the end of this important ceremony we were finally given our goody bags. Hear another drum roll!!!! The bags contained: one logo T-shirt (which immediately produced a lively exchange for needed sizes), one logo luggage tag, two logo pens (actually usable), two different logo coffee mugs, our new business cards, and little baggies with carefully counted out ten logo paper clips. After which the cake was again complimented, the bakery inquired about, and the usual round of flat jokes uttered. Then I had to clean up the effing conference room, and, aharon aharon haviv, Komsomolka came up with a brilliant idea which she immediately circulated via e-mail. Since the mail drones at the mother ship did not package the mugs properly, about half of them came broken. So, in respect to the mother earth, whose sustainability is sooooo important, she offered people to take those mugs in lieu of pencil cups. And when yours truly actually dared to suggest that that idea is dangerous, since anyone could easily cut him/herself on those broken mugs, she, with the suffering face, collected all the broken crockery and took it out. But not before one of the sustainers took one for his desk.
The sad PS for this silly episode? During the last staff meeting we finally found out the total coast of this wonderful venture, which partially explained our delayed and halved bonuses. But, hey, we got a new orange-on-white, carrot cake hued logo!