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5 Minute Read

Sleep mode

In the morning around 5:30am, she rolls over to the laborious grinding of the litter maid in the kitchen down the hall. Like clockwork, her tortoise shell tabby pads back to the warm nest it has formed out of a discarded bathrobe in the corner of her room, half a pound lighter for its recent trip to the box. She lifts an eyelash to check the time, and then rolls over to relish in the final two hours of sleep.

At 7:15am, really 7:05am but the clock is always fast, this month’s song-on-rotation (Welcome to the Jungle) comes blaring out. Her hand lashes out, and like a cobra strikes the green button on the alarm clock. She has had the same alarm clock since 1985, and it still has “I love Jeremy” etched in the side of it (with the sharp end of an earring post in 1987.)

At 7:30 she sits up, rubs her eyes, and shivers. She stares blankly at the empty space beside her, but instead of growing sad, instead anticipates the next time it will be filled with the gently grumbling form of a large warm body. She itches her head, and rises.

Toothpaste, facesoap, hairbrush, frown faces, cold tile, the congestion never ending, allergy pill, lymph pill, pain killer, her black and white cat chatters from its priviledged position upon the toilet seat waiting patiently to be fed (more). She puts little thought into dressing, and more into her chapstick flavor.

At 7:50am she pulls on her coat, mittens, and hat, and leaves out the back door, whispering a list of points to conquer later. She climbs into her car, and squeezes her eyes shut against the salty film covering the windshield, knowing the washer fluid will only freeze into a pink mockery of clear. She pulls out of the driveway and embarks on her daily journey into the city in which she will get cut off at least once, get behind a school bus at least twice, and nearly run over a pedestrian who walks when it says don’t.

8:10am. Coffee always sounds good but never feels good. She hates drinking tea from styrofoam cups, the post-it note plethora an already disturbing indication of environmental terrorism in her workplace. She evaluates her cubicle and squints, believing strongly that the walls are growing shorter every day. Another can of diet dr.pepper is added to the pyramid. Keys clicking, a fingerprint on the monitor glass obscuring facts and a doodle on the notepad becoming visibly ironic as a dolphin leaps from the arms of a fishbowl.

She thinks about a boy and how good he smells, rubbing a dime between her fingers and making wishes that sometimes come true. She vows to remember to water the plant and call her mother, but later will always forget.

She opens her email while closing her mouth on a yawn.

At 12:38pm she takes an elevator down two floors of the big shiny glass building in which she works. She then takes an escalator up one floor to the corporate cafeteria, within which she eats a $3.49 meal containing a cheese and tomato sandwich complete with carrots and pickle. She checks between the bread each time for mind control agents, and says a short prayer to keep the aspartame in her soda from giving her cancer.

At 12:54 she contemplates why the pickles are always limp.

And then is given the answer.

To: All employees
Fr: {name censored to protect the stupid}, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer
Re: Feel the Brand on Feb. 1

I invite you to mark your calendar for Tues., Feb. 1, when your senses will begin to Feel the Brand from the moment you get into work with sights, sounds and tastes that showcase what our brand is all about.

You’ll see:
How we’re Feeling the Brand through many brand elements — including a new brand architecture and logo system, a new look and feel for client and prospect materials and recently released new retirement ads.

At noon in {cafeteria} during our special lunchtime event, you’ll hear:
From {CEO} and me about how we are positioning ourselves to serve the retirement needs of the mass affluent market through various brand elements.
Live music in a 20-minute concert exclusively for employees by local great a cappella quartet Tonic Sol-Fa, whom the New York Times describes as “a vocal kaleidoscope of sound…unique to the human voice.”
You may even hear your name called out as a winner of a “feel good” prize like an iPod mini or Juut Salonspa certificate.

Play this flash file to get a taste of what Feb. 1 holds and stay tuned for more — you won’t want to miss it!

She picked up the phone and called Josh:

“I wish I could show you this flash file. It is a 1 minute commercial someone spent at least 40 working hours to do, which serves to do nothing more than advertise this lunch event to its own employees.” 

She used to think living in a Japanese corporate park sounded OK. The kind you live in if you get a job working for a large conglomerate who in turn pays for your apartment and health care in exchange for your soul. The apartment has large windows, and a functional kitchen…the mall and movie theater and market and park and bar are all on the same grounds as your condo, and work is simply a stroll through the glass tunnel into the other building reflecting mount fuji off its north face.

“You guys still use Flash?” he replied.

– 2004 –