I don’t think I’ve ever told you about my first day at Apparent Progress Inc, but I guess that’s as good a place as any to start.
After a lengthy interview process that involved seven managers and twelve applications, I received the call on a Friday that I had been hired and was to report to work in the mailroom first thing Monday morning. As luck would have it, Monday morning was a depressing gray drizzle – the kind that seems to soak into your bones and fog your head. I didn’t care much though. I was excited. But given some distance and knowing what I know now, this was ominous foreshadowing for things to come.
So there I stood at the bus stop, watching drops gather and fall off the end of my nose and avoiding sprays of puddle water flying off passing cars. I stood there for an hour like that, until a sweet old lady reminded me that the buses didn’t run anymore. I looked up at the sign and noted with some amusement the words “No Standing”. Of course, this is a company town and the public transportation had been shut down in the budget rollbacks of ’08.
I walked the remaining nineteen blocks to the Corporate Headquarters Tower and slipped my way across the lobby floor to the reception desk. The disinterested hag of a girl behind the counter wrinkled her nose at my rain-soaked appearance when I told her my name and she pointed at the elevators without saying a word. I walked past a sign on the wall that said the mailroom was in sub-basement M (short for Mail, I guess) and took the elevator down.
Upon exiting the elevator, my first thought was that the mailroom had been relocated. There were lines of desks running down each side of the corridor as far as the eye could see, every one covered in stacks of envelopes nearly to the ceiling. The lights were mostly off, save for the handful that flickered annoyingly here and there. I wandered the stacks for several minutes, looking for signs that someone had been there in the past decade. I didn’t find any. Finally, there was a ding from the elevator and a man with a handlebar mustache and small round spectacles stepped into the room.
“I’m Garvin D. Busslepot, Mail Manager. You must be Jeremy.” He said, extending his hand. His voice was like an announcer from a 1940s radio broadcast.
“Yes, I am. Sorry I’m late.”
He didn’t reply. He just walked over to a small rusty basket on wheels and pointed to a stack of envelopes on the desk nearest us.
“Load those up and start delivering.”
I looked at the first piece, while he stood nearby watching me like a creep, and noticed the date stamp was 1976. I showed it to him.
“We haven’t had a Mailboy in a while.” He said, almost as though he were apologizing to me.
I shrugged, loaded the cart and began to deliver the envelopes.
A lot has changed since then. There’s now twenty other people in the mailroom with me. But, delivering 2.3 million envelopes around the Apparent Progress Complex was probably the best way to really get a feel for what this place is like.
So stick with us and we’ll try to give you some sense of what it’s like around here, too.