July 25, 2005

Anything goes?

We've been having trouble at work with one of our older laser printers. It doesn't like to take its paper nicely from the paper tray, and insists on being hand-fed from the top tray instead. The top tray is finicky and sloppy and will take five sheets to print one page, so the alert printer user should really be standing over the machine at all times and carefully feeding one sheet at a time into the tray. Since this is a ridiculous way to use a modern laser printer, particularly when it's across the room from one's desk, I failed to do it this morning while printing out a receipt.

When it inevitably jammed, I went over and started pulling out the extra sheets. At one point this required grabbing paper that was halfway through being printed, and when I touched it it left black marks on my fingers. I rubbed them off and tried again. This time when I touched the paper, I got perfect, clear mirror images of the words on the page. "latotbuS," my fingertips said, "gnippihS."

I wandered over into the boss's office to show him. He laughed and told me it looked like I'd been tattooed. It did, I agreed, although not necessarily the design I would have chosen. He suddenly got a thoughtful look on his face. "You know, I heard about this art project someone's doing," he told me. I grinned. "There's this author," he continued -- I grinned some more -- "who's taking an entire story" -- grin -- "and" --

There are times when manners fail me, even at work. I interrupted excitedly to say that I'm signed up to be part of it. The boss was curious to know how it works and how much I know about the story, so we talked for a couple of minutes. I couldn't help but notice that while he was intrigued by the project, and maybe amazed that someone had actually done it, he wasn't the slightest bit surprised to find me involved in it.

Generally speaking, I'm delighted by this. I've been trying reasonably assiduously for the past year to cover my personal interests with a facade of workplace blandness, and it's clearly been a total failure as I'm still recognizeable as myself. I suspect the boss of the same thing: he designs reassuringly beige hotels for a living but proudly displays his awards from the AIA House of Cards competition for "Most Outrageous Design". I suppose, then, I shouldn't be surprised either?

Posted by dianna at July 25, 2005 07:06 PM

"PC load letter? What the fuck does 'PC load letter' mean?!?"

Posted by: Chris at July 25, 2005 09:50 PM

Huh? Mister, you're talking crazy talk.

Posted by: Dianna at July 25, 2005 10:01 PM

An HP 5L perchance? I can't believe there hasn't been a class-action lawsuit regarding those things...

Posted by: Chester at July 26, 2005 11:11 AM

No, although I think the laser printer that I used to have, which I wound up freepiling in disgust when it developed an incurable case of this, was an HP 5L. This one's a 2100, or, as I've taken to calling it, an albatross.

Posted by: Dianna at July 26, 2005 01:49 PM

Wait, wait, Chris (in addition to making me smork coffee all over my desk - it was the timing) is subtly making an excellent suggestion. The printer in an empty field, and you in slow-mo with a baseball bat, no?

Posted by: katie at July 26, 2005 02:57 PM

{{cues up the gangsta rap track}}

Posted by: julie at July 27, 2005 04:32 PM

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

Wait, wrong scene.

Posted by: katie at July 27, 2005 05:24 PM