I’m bad with goodbyes. I mean, absolutely awful. It’s all never-ending tears and my blotchy red face. Far from attractive. The truth of the matter is, I’m a big ol’ softie at heart, and an incorrigible romantic to boot. And I have fallen so desperately in love with this office. This also means I’ll probably have to rewrite this post four times before it gets down to a palatable level of sappiness.
I don’t feel I’m exaggerating when I say the Office of Letters and Light is the best place in the world to work. Everyone knows about the fancy-schmancy Google offices, with their beanbag chairs and special cafés. But do they have a hand-painted Tom Selleck? That’s what I thought. Mustachio aside, the OLL office overfloweth with people, objects, and moments chock-full of charm and delight. Let me enumerate them for you.
1. It’s a strangely simple pleasure, but one of the most exciting events ‘round these parts is lunchtime. (I would personally advocate that, as a culture, we habitually underrate lunchtime. It deserves much more credit than it receives.) A few of the local highlights include La Familia Taqueria for Mexican, Bakesale Betty for a deceptively simple sandwich with the tastiest jalapeño coleslaw around, Chris Thai for swoon-inducing green curry, and Shangri-La Vegan for the best home cooking I’ve ever had the pleasure of masticating. (I love that word.)
2. We have this binder, sporting a cover page emblazoned with “NaNoWriMo Thank-You Letters!” It contains, well, exactly what the cover indicates. It’s great for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up when you’re exhausted and need a little reminder that there are people all over the world who get so much from the program. I have thoroughly enjoyed flipping through the pages and reading over the heartfelt messages.
3. Chris Baty, on occassion, prints out reminders to himself, and tapes them to the wall across from his desk.
4. NaNoVideos are fun to watch—but they’re even more fun to make. (As long as I’m not the one in front of the camera.) At what other workplace would I get to throw stuffed animals at coworkers, or dress up like a wizard, or hide in closets with the lights off? You’ve all watched the outtakes video, correct? If you haven’t, then pause for a second and go do so. Back? Now imagine all that hilarity, times 42. It’s a nice little break from sitting at a desk, and we have great hopes that the videos brighten all of your days as much as they do ours.
5. Sometimes, we get presents! These are occasionally items from our Amazon wish list, and other times they are surprise gifts from MLs or other lovely Wrimos. It’s probably the most exciting thing in the world to see that UPS man coming through the door with a box, then throwing off your headphones to rush and hover while someone slices it open with a pair of scissors. (We should really add a box-cutter to that wish list.) A random sampling of the things we received this season: a kitten poster, countless cards and letters, pickled fish, tooth-shaped erasers, a coat rack, a bouquet of fruit, a moose doll, and more sweets than we could possibly eat (but somehow managed to anyway).
6. Anyone who has never been inside the OLL office invariably thinks we are either a print shop or a cult of some literary variety. (And, it should be noted, the latter may not be entirely untrue. In a good way, of course.) Not a day has gone by that I haven’t looked up to see someone peering intently through our windows. The subject of most interest is the Chris Baty doll (and now his pet llama, too). Sometimes they peer in the door, and that’s when they realize there are people inside, half of whom are staring back. It’s one of the high points of my day to watch the window-peeker spin around suddenly, and saunter nonchalantly off, trying oh so very hard to shake the embarrassment.
7. Dan will do anything short of murder for peanut-butter-filled chocolates.
8. Sometimes, you just need some nuts. Every so often, there’s that moment around 3:00 PM when everyone recognizes our simultaneous craving for peanuts, looks up at each other, and someone says “Stabbytown?” That’s the pseudo-affectionate name given to the ratty (and, as you might have gathered, sketchy) convenience store just down the block from the office. Stabbytown North also exists, up the block the other way. Trips to either of these establishments are not undertaken on one’s own.
9. Nuggets of wisdom drop around here like the pigeon poop does from the streetlights outside. That is to say, plentifully and with a tiny plopping noise. For example, from Chris Baty: “The wise man leads by not playing Black Eyed Peas songs.” And, from Lindsey Grant: “Bubble tea is a little like drinking somebody else’s cold.” I’ve learned more about the way the world works from conversing with these fine folks than from anything else I’ve done in the office.
10. This is the most encouraging, passionate, humorously sarcastic, and committed group of people I have ever had the joy of working with. Every last one of them is so dedicated to what they do, and actually wants to come to work. It has been such a pleasure to come in to their cheerful faces every morning.
11. Music plays a big role in life at the office. Most of the time, we live in Headphonelandia, but on Friday afternoons, things get rockin’. The Friday Jams playlist includes such jems as Queen, Toto, Cheap Trick, and Stevie Wonder. If Chris Baty is in charge of the jams, there is a higher chance (read: nearly 100%) that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will feature.
12. At the heart of every good office, there is coffee.
Goodbye, OLL. And goodbye, my dear Wrimos. It’s been a blast and I really hate to go, but I know we will meet again.