Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Meditations in the bored room

I work as a typist. The company I work for spends its time working for other companies by sending them information about how still other companies view them. Or something. Really, I have no idea what the company I work for does. My job has a point, I just don't know what it is. But the company is very big, and very important, and lots of people pay us money to do whatever it is that we do, so that's all right. And being very big, they occasionally feel the need to make us do very stupid, random things.

So, we had a meeting today. Power point demonstrations were involved. Words were spoken, and questions were asked. Several of the departments at work were mentioned, and it was all very well organised. What was it all about? Let's just say I spent the whole meeting staring at the painting on the wall.

In addition to staring at the painting on the wall, I did the following:

- Thought 'I'm so fucking bored!' in the first five minutes, and then vaguely worried about what would happen if I said it aloud;

- Worked out the verses for a corporate anthem to the tune of Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered by Richard Rodgers;

- Thought about the awesomeness of the film The History Boys;

- Stared at the bottom of my can of Vanilla Coke and used it to scratch my chin;

- Went up and down on my chair several times;

- Almost fell asleep;

- Thought up a witty response to an email that was doing the rounds of the office at the moment from some dude who was going on a walk for charity, or something;

- And went back to staring at the painting.

My thoughts about the painting were pretty much as follows. I thought at first that it was a typically ugly and boring example of corporate art. But then a few minutes later I concluded that it was a typically ugly and boring example of corporate art, no buts about it. It was just stupid, a square canvas with coloured dots arranged in it in diagonal rows. The dots looked dirty. That was pretty much all there was to it, although it has to be said there was something mesmerising in the ugliness of the dots that made you keep on looking back at it, just to confirm again if it really was that ugly.

I also wondered, in a pained way, why every company in Australia seems to feel the need to decorate their walls with this sort of crap. Though I had to agree, after a minute of speculation, that the painting in its own way was a good metaphor for this sort of company: ugly, boring, random, and showy in a stupid sort of way.

Really, if it wasn't for the money they paid me, I'd... go and work for another company that did pay me money. Hmmm. Not much point to this story, actually.

It was a fucking ugly painting, though.


nailpolishblues said...

I wish I had an ugly painting to stare at. All I have are the walls of my cubicle in a nice shade of mental hospital green.

Steve said...

Tim, it seems to me you are rather wasted on any job that doesn't involve creativity of some type. I can actually imagine you as coming up with some very off the wall advertising, but I suspect most people in that industry are there because of pretentiousness and an ability to suck up to clients really well, and your writing doesn't suggest you have that in you.

Maybe a feature journalist?

sajinsa said...

Gosh, your post bought back an old memory...

Centuries ago, I worked briefly as a night-time batch processor. This job required me to enter in some commands and monitor the servers as they processed financial transactions - it wasn't particularly exciting.

I invited a friend to keep me company one evening, and we had a bit of a heart-to-heart conversation during which I rambled on about what I could possibly "be", presumably after I'd "grown up".

Staring at the ugly painting hanging on the wall opposite my desk (of something bucolic, I think), I had an epiphany: if all else failed, I could set myself up as an entrepreneur flogging bad art work to the large companies. I realised, as you did, that companies all seem to feel the need to hang some awful, depressingly ugly art work on their walls (most likely because they're too cheap to buy anything decent - or could it be part of some devious psychological experiment on increasing employee depression?).

I couldn't paint but therein in lay the brilliance of the plan - I didn't have to have any talent at all! Talentless or not, I was sure I could churn out "corporate art pieces", no problems at all.

Quite excited, I did rough calculations in my head of the average number of paintings hanging on the walls of an average office floor, the number of floors in an average city office building, the number of such buildings in Sydney etc. and was very pleased at the estimate that I came up with of the number of bad art works in Sydney hanging on office walls.

After some further cogitation however, I was devastated to realise that there was a very big flaw in the logic of my brilliant plan... There wouldn't be a big market for new bad corporate art pieces because companies could always buy on the second-hand market or recycle the ones they'd already acquired whenever they hankered after ugly wall decoration.

Plain and ugly are timeless and, provided that the paintings were not damaged during office relocations or destroyed by an overly sensitive corporate worker bee with an aesthetic sensibility, ugly corporate artworks could potentially hang around for decades, or even centuries.

I was a very unprincipled young thing, centuries ago. I was all prepared to become a cog in the "hang ugly art on office walls" system, just for the lucre.

TimT said...

Your unprinciples are indeed admirable.

I quite like your blog, and would comment, but it won't let me!

sajinsa said...

Commenting enabled. :-)

Email: timhtrain - at -

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