March 13, 2009

A Chair By Any Other Name...

Events have ratcheted beyond my control. Chairgate '09 has assumed a gnarled, twisting course I'd not anticipated.

For one thing, my bete noir turned out to be a composite character! My initial foe who confronted me that fateful morning in late January, the one labeled "a very strong woman" by our secretary in a fine example of understatement, is said to have been outside-the-loop for quite some time. All the emails that have been sent to bosses and secretaries and nurses - which I hadn't been cc'd on - apparently involved a different lady, but one no less determined. My reaction is akin to learning that the real Shakespeare might've been Edward de Vere. My mouth stands ajar.

My co-workers have not been disinterested in the outcome and so for their sake I must no longer feign indifference. My chair has become their chair too, my plight their plight! It would be the very height of selfishness for me to try to protect my reputation and discard my chair and allow their morale to suffer for it. So though I regret I have but one chair to give to my company it seems I must keep my chair for the sake of my unit, er, my fellow countrymen.

Longtime followers of As the Chair Swivels know that we left on cliffhanger: our sweet nurse had made an appointment to "assess" my chair. Ideally I would've cleaned and polished the chair, spruced him up a bit for the big date. But work intervened. Queries to be run, a new study to be done, and so I was distracted by the very purpose that the chair serves. Or so goes my convenient excuse.

Nurse Nightingale arrived at the appointed time, looking like no nurse I'd ever seen. She'd left her white coat purposely behind for this mission of mercy, of which I was glad because my boss is petrified of white coats and I'd planned to bring her over for a quick meeting with him.

She mentioned at the outset how she'd gotten off the elevators on our floor and assumed "the Chair" would guide her to my cube as a sort of reverse star of Bethlehem. Warned she was by this "eyesore", she'd assumed there were bright lights shining on it and that the ugliness was plainly visible to passersby. She was amazed to find it so far off the beaten track, and to see with her own eyes how un-eyesore-like the chair was. "We have many chairs like this," she said, adding only that it could use some cleaning. She also made mention that never to her knowledge have any floor moves engendered this sort of chair dispute.

We left it that the nurse would say that she'd now seen the chair and that my boss is supporting the keeping of said chair and that even though the purchase of a new chair would not come out of his budget it would come out of the company's budget but that since we work for the company perhaps that ought to enter into the equation.

My boss said he'd wanted to fight it from the beginning and said he was only holding off as long as he did because of my reluctance to have it rise as an issue above his level. That's sadly too late, as everybody and their brother on the org chart short of CEO have been notified by the hysterics of my composite bete noir. So fight on, I say! Fetch the mede and mount the horses and announce to the troops: "Forward, the Light Brigade!":
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.
Thanks go out to Tennyson, who really understands.

UPDATE: A fellow colleague also understands, offering:
'Tis but thy style of design that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not an approved office chair.
What's an approved office chair? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a chair. O, be some other style of office chair!
What's in a name? that which we call a chair
By any other name would fit my butt just as well;
So the old chair would, were he not the old chair call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Old chair, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.


mrsdarwin said...

I'm sitting in front of the computer, with my hair in curlers, puffing on a Virginia Slim, eating chocolates, waiting for the next episode of "As The Chair Swivels". Hush, kids, go play somewhere else.

TS said...

Thanks for the support Mrs. D! I'd like to remind any who may not be as supportive: "Ask not for whom the chair swivels - it swivels for thee!"

I'm relieved that it appears my chair has passed its assessment. Received this email from my nurse:

"I assessed TSO's chair and it is in stable working condition and the upholstry is intact. It does need cleaned. I have met with him and his director to discuss regarding the chair. I have also staffed this with my manager. It is the position of the management and myself that the chair is for medical reasons and the cost of a new chair is not justified. Please don't hesitate to contact me for any additional questions or concerns.
Thank you!"

TS said...

Oh and mmmm...chocolates....mmmm. (say like Homer Simpson)

mrsdarwin said...

I love the layers of bureaucracy in place in order to save the company money. But tell me, will they pay for cleaning the chair, or is that on your nickel?

TS said...

My boss says that it would be far cheaper to clean it and that the company would pay, though I'm planning on doing it myself even. Do you think rug/carpet cleaner would work?