Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Slow Descent

Tomorrow or the next day, I will addend this post with photographs, but for now I will try to say with words what corporate carnage mine eyes have beheld these last several days.

October 15, 2007 -- My first day of work.

October 15, 2008 -- I am now officially the senior ranking attorney on my floor. A law firm in dissolution may still be a law firm, but a law firm in dissolution without attorneys is something else altogether. Virtually everyone else has left for greener pastures -- all pastures are greener than the barren slate gray of capitalism's unvacuumed carpets. Some of us have no pastures to leave for.

On Monday, I returned from my trip back east to find that my neighbor no longer exists, at least, no longer exists in the form that I knew her to. We were friendly, but a post-it note attached to the boxes sitting outside her door and mine informs me that she has accepted a position at another law firm.

Today, the vendors in charge of coffee seized the coffee machines. They took with them the cups. The packets of sugar. Apparently, also the hand soap. The fridge remains stocked with unopen half-gallons of milk, but the expiration dates are marked for Friday. Perilously close, and I am lactose intolerant.

Yesterday, other vendors seized the printers. I sent documents to be printed, but the request dissipated into ether(net).

At noon today, our key cards stopped working, along with the elevators, and we were all seized with panic. When you've finally made peace with being locked out, it's a little funny to find yourself locked in. A few minutes later the cards started working again and so did the elevators. We noted the dark humor of all this.

I took a walk just now around the deserted landscape of the 32nd floor. Through the windows of the corner offices that were once everyone's envy the clouds burned amber over the Golden Gate Bridge, sailboats lolled in the Bay behind the TransAmerica Building. Things I thought to be immutable--furniture bolted to the walls, for instance--have been removed. In their wake are massive holes in the dry wall. Many offices are strewn with detritus. Many more are empty, save for an orphaned plant. Their leaves fulvous and forlorn. All were once occupied by people; in their place now are their identification cards, turned face up, beaming and full of hope, turned face up on curt letters of resignation, addressed to partners who also no longer work here.

I happened upon the office of one particulary malapert attorney. Her office decor, amusingly orientalist, replete with smiling Buddha, has given way to the hollow left behind by movers. On her desk, a resignation letter, her identification badge, and her business card, inverted with the following words inscribed in green, yes, but inscribed in a sad and unsteady hand:

"To whom much is given, much is expected." -- Luke, 12:48


E said...

i wish this post came with that feature on the nytimes website where you can click on words and it will provide you with a definition.


cold4thestreets said...

Come on. You too are a malapert attorney.