It was Monday morning, and it wasn't going well.
They must have only just restocked the Diet Mountain Dew in the vending machines, because the one I got was warm. I didn't realize this until I was back at my desk, so I had to make my way back through the cubicle farm to a break station to get ice.
I tried not to look into each cubicle as I passed, even though I had that creepy feeling that something was waiting to pounce as I walked by each entrance.
"Just my coworkers," I thought, "Nothing to see here. Engineers aren't scary, Leauxra, no more than normal people." I make an effort to keep my mouth closed when I think. No one wants to be that coworker who talks to herself.
I managed not to flinch as an office opened to my left, and I smiled pleasantly as I squeezed by a full-sized coworker at an intersection a few cubes away.
Right, Left, Right. I knew the way. The last little bit is the worst. There are two conference rooms that are often empty. They are dark, doors gaping open, and they are too still. Is there a zombie? No, no, I would see it. I would hear it. I would smell it. They smell worse than engineers. Probably.
The flickering flourescents overhead play tricks, though, and it was Monday morning before caffeine. From the corner of my eye, I saw movement.
I forced myself to keep my head from whipping around as I continued to walk. Best not to let anyone see me start. No one wants to be the "twitchy coworker". I could hear nothing but the drone of recirculated air, the pale squeal of the light bulbs, and the distant clicking of typing hands. No one schedules meetings this early on a Monday, so the corridoor had no murmur of people on the phone.
It was nothing. Trick of the eyes.
I made it to the main hallway, passing by the empty "fishbowl" conference room with glass on three sides. It was dark and reflective. Something could be inside watching me, and I would never know. I checked my silouette as I passed to make sure my new button-down shirt didn't make me look fat. I looked fine, it's OK. No spider aliens leap from the darkness and stick to the windows from the inside while trying to eat me.
I reached the break station where the ice maker lives.
I stood in front of it and stared.
Looked at my hands, looked at the ice machine.
Something was missing.
A cup of some sort would be useful.
I sighed, bracing myself for the walk back through the gauntlet to get a cup, and then back out again for the ice, then back again to my desk.
Mondays start slow around here, folks.