July 12, 2021

the great return

The day is finally at hand: I'm going back to the office. Twelve months ago, I would have been overjoyed at the prospect. Now that I've settled into home life, it mostly seems like a pain. That's just how it goes, I guess.

Catching the train in the morning was not quite as smooth as I would’ve liked for a couple reasons. First, it turns out that my usual 7:30 train doesn’t run any more. I gotta either take the early train (waking up earlier, ugh) or the late train (which gives me no time for moseying around before work). I discovered this too late to take the former, so the late train it was.

Second, my normal workday routine kicked in, and I was halfway to the train station when I realized I wasn’t wearing my mask. (Public transportation still requires masks, as does my workplace in common areas.) I had to run back and get it. I should keep a spare mask in my backpack just in case.

Due to taking the late train, I didn’t have time for a proper morning walk downtown, but I did swing by Starbucks to get my usual frappuccino. The Starbucks guy recognized me. He was like “Is this your first day back?” I was wildly impressed.

On to our swanky new office. Getting in was no problem; the security desk guy unlocked it for me. I was the only person on the entire floor. A real ghost town. Nat has moved his stuff into the window office and allocated me the front office (fair, since he's the senior employee), but he’s proposed we share occupancy of the window office as long as only one of us is present at a time. I’m cool with that. He’s hoping to change the boss’s mind about all of us coming back for good in September. “There’s really no reason for all of us to be there at once ever again,” he said. He’s right, but is the boss gonna go for it? Who knows.

Most of the morning was taken up by various moving-in issues: finding my work shoes, searching for triple-A batteries for my dead mouse, calling the tech desk to reset my hard drive password (this is different from my network password, and after a year and a half I had no clue what it was). At some point I should go through all these boxes. Nat did a great job of faithfully boxing up all my stuff, including vital office supplies such as my manta ray plushie, but also including (1) all the junk that prior occupants left in the desk drawers and I never bothered throwing out and (2) my own junk (why do I have a box full of pret bags? why was I keeping all of them??).

Going out for lunch, I discovered that my favorite sandwich shop is closed (both the corner shop and the mall location), as well as the bubble tea place. Oof. Not sure what I’m going to use as my go-to small lunch from now on. For today I got a small volcano pokebowl.

Settling-in aside, it turned out to be one of the most productive days I've had recently. I found myself more focused, less distractible. Maybe it was the change of scenery. Maybe it was sitting at a proper desk instead of my dining room table. Probably more the former than the latter—I've certainly had my share of intensely scatterbrained days at work—but regardless, it felt good.

Written by Achaius

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