Sunday, April 14, 2013

No Stinking Badges

I was riding on the bus to work one morning last week when a chill passed through me.

My hand shot up to my chest and a quick pat down confirmed what I already knew to be true: I had forgotten my work ID.

I shook my head in disbelief. How could I have been so stupid? I always check to see that I’ve got my ID card before I go out the door. Except for today.

I wasn’t in the best of moods to begin with and this only helped to bring me down a few notches lower. It didn’t mean the end of life as we know it, of course, but if you’re looking for reasons to be unhappy you’ll never be disappointed.

It’s a pain in the neck to get around my office without the ID badge. I have to show it to the security guards in the lobby in order to enter the building and then I need it to unlock the door on my floor so I can reach my desk. The card also comes in handy when I want to get to the men’s room.

I pictured myself standing in the elevator bank like a lost puppy relying upon the kindness of co-workers to zap me in.

I’ve done the same thing for these people when they were similarly jammed up, but I didn’t like having to ask them for help.

When I got to my building the security guard had me pose for one of those god-ugly ID stickers that make you look like you’re being held hostage by terrorists.

I winced when I saw the image that came beeping out of the camera. I was wearing a ski cap and a heavy coat and I looked so miserable, so lost; it was as if the guard had taken a picture of my mind rather than my face.

Pick A Card

Then I had to trudge up to the security office and hand over my driver’s license so I could get a temporary pass. I didn’t like the idea of leaving my license behind, but at least I could get to the john without circumnavigating my floor like a human sputnik.

I felt half-dressed without my ID card. Throughout the morning I kept reaching up to touch it only to find that it wasn’t there and it reminded me of my carelessness.

My ID card has a photo of me as well, only its in color and I’m wearing a suit. It had been taken five years ago by the security chief at our old building on Hudson Street.

He was a retired police officer who came from my neighborhood of Bay Ridge and when the photo was ready he took one look at it and said, “you look very stoic.” I assume that was a compliment.

And now that card was back in Bay Ridge sitting uselessly on my kitchen table while I snuck my office like a spy on a secret mission.

However, as the day wore on, I got used to not having my ID badge and then I started to feel liberated. There’s more to me than a plastic card with a picture on it. It was like I was somebody else in some strange way; I was me, but I kind of wasn't. And it felt all right.

The Stoics of Ancient Greece believed that “man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them.” I could see that my view was so negative that a simple mistake had turned into a catastrophe. Forgetting my ID card was actually a blessing because I was able to step outside of myself for a little while.

I was going to destroy that horrible day pass photo, but I decided to hold on to it to remind myself that my view of life has to change. I’ll keep it on the kitchen table right next to my ID card.


Ron said...

Oh Rob, I always love how you end your posts. With a lesson and humor to the story!

And I loved this line...

"...but at least I could get to the john without circumnavigating my floor like a human sputnik."


And it's true, we do feel totally lost and half-dressed without our ID on us. I have to carry a store ID (vendor pass), whenever I go to work. I use it for ID, but I also use to clock in. And there have been times when I forgot it; leaving it at home. Sometimes, I will walk ALL THE WAY BACK HOME to get it. But other times, I just sign in manually.

Great post, buddy! Have a great week!

P.S. and don't forget your ID tomorrow - HA!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron!

The workplace ID have become such a part of our lives; they're like dog tags for working people.

It's such a hassle if you forget them, especially if you have to walk all the way home!

I think I'll wear my ID to bed from now on!

Take care, buddy, thanks for stopping by, and have a great week.

Bijoux said...

I have been to my husband's office twice and it is just as you describe.....need the damn ID to be allowed in the building, then into your hallway, then into the main office, then into the restrooms. He keeps his in his briefcase so he doesn't forget it, but there have been times when he has left it on his clothing and it ended up in the hamper. Then a frantic call arrives at 6:30 am.....

I feel naked without my cell phone and panic when I've forgotten it. It's silly how much we've come to rely on these things, much like a pacifier!

Rob K said...

Hey, Bijoux! Our offices are starting to look more and more like correctional facilities.

I can vaguely remember being able to walk into office without any kind of hassle.

Cell phones have been an extenstion of our bodies--and yes, they're a lot like pacifiers.

Take care!

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Ooh, I think the Stoics were onto something!

It's so true. It's not so much what happens in life as how we look at it, and it's particularly true of objects. I'm terrible with 'things', far too sentimental and inclined to hang on to too much garbage because of its story and history. Must learn to be more Stoic.

Glad you learned something from your day as a sputnik!

Rob K said...

Oh, Jay, I can always count on you to put a smile on my face!

I hold to "stuff" myself. Old clothes, books, papers, it all comes down to stuff and I've got too damn much of it!

Those Stoics may have dressed funny, but they knew a thing or two. Take care!

CrystalChick said...

My husband is in the construction field and on a job that now requires i.d. badges because one of the workers was setting fires in the building. Well, no one was ever caught, but it was assumed it was someone on one of the work crews doing it. A forgotten badge will cost $20 for replacement. He keeps it in his wallet until it needs to be shown.

Rob K said...

Yikes! Twenty bucks to replace?! I'd tie the thing around my neck!