Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Wednesday, August 06, 2003 Lockout
I can’t honestly say that I’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on. But recent weeks have demonstrated that I am prone to forget things that don’t have my head on them.
Lemme ‘splain. The doors in our office are controlled by magnetic card key readers. Each employee is issued a card key. If you forget your card key one day, you don’t get into the office. Unless you tap on the glass doors, or time your arrival so you can piggyback your entrance with someone else’s, both options which involve special humiliations of their own.
I used to leave my pass at home every couple of months or so, but it wasn’t a big deal because the receptionist had a stash of extra ones for the convenience of visitors and employees who forgot their badges at home. With the recent buyout of the company, she doesn’t have those any more.
Even that wouldn’t normally be a problem, except that when the company changed hands, we swapped out old security badges for new ones. The old one wasn’t ideal; the photo on it was taken when I still had my goatee, and that combined with some unfortunate shadows made me look like a terrorist. But in its favor was the fact that it was hard to miss when I was going out the door in the morning.
See, at night I empty out my pants pockets in the same spot in our bedroom. Wallet, change, keys, pens, cell phone, pager, computer disks, handcuffs, mace, lint, live frogs, and security badge all get dropped off in a spot where I can quickly scoop it all up again in the morning. It’s a system that’s worked pretty well for years.
But the new security badge turns out to constitute a pretty serious glitch. The problem is it’s completely white and blank on one side, and the other side is completely white and blank except for the magnetic strip. As a result, it blends in far too well with the random notes and credit card receipts and other random scraps of paper that clutter my pants staging area.
(No, I didn’t choose today’s topic just as an excuse to coin the phrase “pants staging area,” but I would have if I’d known.)
So in the last month, I’ve shown up at work five or six times with no security badge. Twice this week, in fact, and I invite you to take another look at the day at the top of this entry. Even this wouldn’t be a big issue, because I can go the a long way around the hallway instead of across it without ever having to use a security door. That gets me to the break room. But there are two other factors which render this solution problematic. The first is that our office occupies two floors, and going from one to the other requires a card key. The other is that the bathrooms are in the hallway, outside the security door. So you can go out and hit the restroom, but you won’t get back in. No matter how much time you just spent on the throne. And having your bathroom visits limited in such a way makes unfettered access to the break room a decidedly mixed blessing.
Pretty much the only thing I can do is borrow a coworker’s badge, but then that person is stuck inside the doors while I dash around the office doing all the stuff that’s been building up. And even that solution is less than ideal, because the glass walls in our office allow whomever I borrowed the pass from to watch me disappear behind the non-glass walls of the men’s’ room for forty minutes with the newspaper. I can’t help feeling self-conscious about that.
I’ve noticed that the coworkers whose passes I’ve borrowed have pasted colorful stickers onto their badges. Perhaps I should try that. But then I have to buy stickers. I guess I could just steal their stickers and attach them to my badge, but they might catch on when they inevitably forget their passes at home and have to borrow mine. Especially if they also forget the newspaper and don’t have anything else to look at while they’re sitting in the stall. posted by M. Giant 3:39 PM 0 comments