I Have Never Worked in a Tall Building.

the building

The tallest building was the one in Sherman Oaks, I think we were on the 2nd floor of a 5 story building. After an earthquake the building was deemed to be unsafe but the boss made us come to work anyway. The morning of the quake I helped my neighbor sweep glass and tried to get things put back together and the boss called me and wanted to know why I was late. (He also once called me on day #3 of a killer ass flu and complained that I needed to get back to work.)

Before that job moved to the earthquake hazard, our previous building had been severely damaged in a fire of a suspicious nature. He made us come to work then, too. We had to sign a release and then climb stairs through charred walls and breathe burned plastic smell that probably took 10 years off my life.

I was long gone by the time the Northridge quake came along but I understand the building he was in at that time was wrecked as well. You have to wonder if it was him or just an amazing coincidence.

This post wasn’t intended to be about the world’s worst boss, it’s about working in a tall building.

One new thing is elevator culture. We’re on the 18th floor which means that if I get on with a bunch of other people, it takes forever to get to my floor. I know. Nothing to whine about since at least I don’t have to use a ladder or climb a knotted rope to get to the office. But probably for “safety reasons” the stairs aren’t open. (Anyone besides me who sees a hole in this logic, raise your hand.) And sometimes you are the only one in the elevator and you still have to stop at 4, then 5, then 7, then 8, for people who need to go up one floor. WIth a plate of cookies.

But mostly people are polite and hold the elevator for you and let the ladies in and out first and say good morning, or, your lunch smells good.

The other comment was that I’d always imagined it would be quiet up there. You’d be amazed at how much street noise I can hear at my desk. Not just sirens. There’s a document shredding truck that comes once a week that announces its arrival with the hydraulic whine and then thump of the giant bin filled with secret papers that are about to be ground up with loud churning and grinding. In the summer I can hear the kids squealing at the Salmon Street fountain. And one afternoon some guy played “Somewhere over the Rainbow” on the trumpet for hours until I was ready to go find him and offer him $20 to move to the other side of town.

Now that the cool weather is coming in, we’ll see how much cold seeps through those giant windows. If so, maybe I can get a brick to heat in the microwave and then put under my desk by my feet like Laura Ingalls when Almonzo took her home from her teaching job in the sled in the middle of a blizzard.

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