On a cold February morning in 2010, I found myself at a tall office building near 50th St. and 3rd Avenue in New York City. I’d been there before, in a dream possibly. The main lobby had rows and rows of elevators with different destinations. I entered one. It was gold-plated and warmer than the morning. I pressed the floor number—7. In the elevator (gold-plated, warmer than the morning), there was a screen telling me of the numbers that ruled this blue rotating orb. When I arrived at floor number 7, I was placed in front of two monolithic doors through which I could see a white room with black couches and generic landscape paintings. The handles, as big as small cookie sheets, were calling my name. I knew I was supposed to enter. I pulled on the door and . . .


Really though, I couldn’t get in.

I was supposed to be at the desk right behind the black couches and the wall paintings. The desk covered in cat décor. I was filling in for a cat lady receptionist at a major communications company and at that moment, I was being paid to not enter.

It was not a dream but a moment out of a movie. Zooey Deschanel would play the girl who gets locked out of her own job. She’d be like, “Siri, am I locked out?”

I am in no way Zooey Deschanel. My skin is sickly pale not milky soft boob. I’d look like a T-Rex holding a ukulele. I want to see Zooey Deschanel hold things that are neither too small nor too big for her and then I want to see if the world crumbles in on itself.

Unlike Zooey Deschanel, if I whistle, tiny forest animals do not do my bidding. So I sort of just stood there, lost. It was weird.

There were a few things going on while I was in corporate purgatory. For starters, I was debating if I should leave and get a Sausage Egg McMuffin. When I first started working at new place this happened all the time. I never brought food my first day at a job because I didn’t know the company’s break policy. Instead, I’d want to go to McDonald’s for breakfast because I thought it was a “special treat.” It’s not a special treat when you want it every day. McDonald’s, you son of a b.

Second, I felt like an awkward child and that everyone there was conspiring to keep my almost adultness out of their establishment. I wasn’t supposed to be at a company to “work”—I wasn’t a grown-up. I knew it and their doors knew it too.

I was such a non-entity that they forgotten I was supposed to be there. My sheer purpose was to ensure their important calls got transferred to their important people but it turned out most calls were for Wal-Mart. Apparently, a Wal-Mart customer service line gets mixed with this giant communications office in New York. While I was there callers said one of two things: 1. “You’re in real New York?” or “You’re not Wal-mart?” This was my existence. It was both freeing and deprecating.

There were days I thought, “No one even notices I’m alive. Maybe I’m not alive!” (In that case I planned to live there for a hundred years and haunt the supply room like a good ghost should.) There were other days I thought, “No one knows who I am! I could be anyone! I could open up Cathy’s mail! I could steal!”

In middle school, a bunch of my camp friends stole rings that came with a nail polish at Sephora. They didn’t steal the nail polish—they just stole the plastic ring that was basically free. I didn’t want to be left out so I took one too. I left the store and had an immediate panic attack. I couldn’t even hold the ring. I wanted to go back in the store but my friends wouldn’t let me. So I gave the ring to my friend Adam, they dragged me away, and I spent the rest of the day waiting to tell my mom to make sure she’d still love me, a delinquent little shit.

I didn’t steal from the cat lady receptionist. I didn’t turn to a life of crime. I couldn’t even get into that boring office. I was nothing but a temp, a “who?”, a “what’s her name?”, standing behind two locked doors while the real adults wondered what I was doing there, unsure if I was in the right place.

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