I am a trend-setter.
You know how there are people these days who have standing desks at work? So they can stand while they’re working? Apparently some of them even have treadmills, so they can walk while they’re working. That’s pretty cool, right? I’d totally do that. Except the company I work for spends no money on anything and line-item vetoed a supply request for $0.26 worth of staples (no kidding), so I’m pretty sure we’re not getting treadmills and whatnot. I dont’ know where the hell those other people work. Google, probably.
Still, I’ve managed to reconfigure my desk so that I can stand while I work. No, it’s not because I’m anxiously trying to fend off Sitting Disease or Desk Butt. I’m not some obnoxiously progressive, fitness-minded employee. Rather, it’s due to an epic battle with lower back pain. My back decided it no longer wanted to be part of the larger functioning body on Thursday, and since then it’s been a long, slow slog to get it back in line. It’s doing better, and I think that’s due in large part to all the stuff I’m doing to keep it from getting worse. Like standing at work.
A number of coworkers have said they think it’s a great idea to stand while they work.
They’re not doing it yet, though.
I’m all alone up here.
A total spectacle.
I hate being a spectacle at work.
The problem is, somewhere in my upbringing or whatever, I learned never to stand out. Or maybe it’s just that I desperately wanted to blend in. Or something. The point is, I’m over here standing at my desk with a back brace on, until I sit for 15 minutes with a gel ice pack I shuffle back and forth to the breakroom to put in the freezer between therapies, and everybody and their guests keep asking me why I’m standing, is my back bothering me, what did I do to it, blah blah blah.
Someone just asked me if I’m simply tired of sitting.
And they’re lovely people for asking, and it turns out everybody loves to talk about their low back issues and swap stretches and exercises and treatment suggestions. It’s like a cult of personal injury. The breakroom became a yoga studio for a few minutes earlier today. But I feel so obvious, as though I’m asking for attention, as though I’m begging for sympathy.
As one coworker told me, “You’re supposed to stay down. Stay in the foxhole.” I’m out of the foxhole. A clear head shot. Towering above all my coworkers as I type on a keyboard propped on a stack of books, while manipulating a mouse propped on a smaller stack of books, and staring at a monitor whose cords are stretched to the max so I can put it on a shelf. Yesterday, on a return trip from the bathroom where I had gone to take off the back brace for a bit, I caught two coworkers with huge stacks of phone books heading toward my desk. They both froze when they saw me, crouched and loaded down with hundreds of thousands of pages. It was like a live-action caption contest. A cartoon caper.
“We were definitely not trying to put your keyboard up so high that you wouldn’t be able to reach it…” one of them said.
You know what else is awkward? Standing when I’ve run out of stuff to type. There’s typically a lull in my day, for about an hour, hour and a half, at which time I usually tweak other things I’ve been working on or look ahead to what I have to work on later. During that lull, if I’m sitting, I can find stuff on the computer to look busy. Or I can peruse apps on my phone. If I’m standing? Nope. Monitor’s on a shelf. I can’t block it with my body. Everybody can see what I’m doing. Therefore, I cannot just busy myself playing old-school PacMan on the internet or something.
However… this position does afford me some interesting observations. Like right now I can see that the guy everyone thinks is a lazy jerk is practically laying in his chair with his feet up on his desk, watching some sort of guitar-player on the internet. This is likely similar to what he’ll be doing for the remainder of our shift. This man wastes more time on the internet than anyone I know, and that includes teenagers.
I can also see that the coworker across from him is shopping online.
Perhaps not surprisingly, they are the highest-paid people in the office. As in, they make at least four times what I and my associates make.
Nevermind that I’m writing a blog post right now. I’m on break.
Good thing nobody else is standing.
Update: my credit score, miraculously, did rebound back to where it was before the asshole pathologist’s office sent my bill to collections without notifying me while it was on appeal to my insurance and after I’d made a good-faith payment of 20%. I got an email from the loan officer today. Neither of us expected the 100% recovery. Now we just wait to see when the loan comes through. Also known as Sh*t Gettin’ Real: Stage Four.