Last night I had to stay late and participate in a work function. This work activity was filled with a lot of down time and mundane paperwork. So, to pass the time I started making comic strips on the bottom of the pages. I am no artist, but sometimes I fancy myself witty--I poked fun, in a gentle manner, at myself and work colleagues in the little narrative I created on the bottom of each page.
These papers were handed in at intervals to The Boss and some of her minions; apparently, these little stick figure drawings caught her attention because she and the previously mentioned minions tracked me down at the end of the activity.
With those soft tones often heard when crazy people are spoken to in the movies, she looked down at me as I was heading out to my car: "My, those little drawings of yours were so fun. So, so creative. I just don't know how you do it." And then she shook her head and smiled that smile reserved for small children who show their parents a piece of crappy finger-paint art--"Yes, dear, it's lovely..let's put it on the fridge..."
I felt small.
Another time, same place, different boss--this one a mouse of a man-boss turned to me during a meeting and said, "Oh, we are thinking of getting new cabinets and painting this room in the next couple weeks. You should come down and pick out some paint colors--I bet you'd be good at that.."
Huh? Why would I be good at that? I don't even wear matching socks.
Despite all those wonderful studies done on the importance of creativity in the work place, it obviously is falling on deaf ears here in the rural midwest. Granted, I don't even consider myself a creative type person--unless being a passive agressive smart-aleck qualifies, and if that's the case, then perhaps I truly am the next Van Gogh.
Whatever the case may be, it is that small feeling I cannot shake. The Boss's tone, almost like a sacchrine sing-song voice; the minions tossing me a forced glance of recognition with a smile mixed with, dare I say, pity?--and those little comments, those posionously sweet barbs they toss my way every once in awhile--sure, I smile and accept whatever it is they may say, but I know the subtext: "We see you as a bizarre little man, and that makes us uncomfortable, so we say these things to let you know we are watching--and we can easily squash you like a bug if you push the envelope too far, so watch your back....."
The same work activity is scheduled for tomorrow night; already, this morning, one of the minions mentioned it to me: "Oh, we cannot wait to see what you come up with to entertain us tomorrow night. Those little comics were so quaint..."
I'm not sure when I lost my voice and morphed into the workplace jester, and granted I never really have felt a great deal of respect, but I've already decided what I'm going to do on tomorrow night's paperwork: absolutely nothing.
Blank white pages filled with numbers, just as they require, nothing more--perhaps that will give them something to think about. I will keep my doodles to myself.