Thursday, March 13, 2008

People Telling Me Where Not to Sit: A Story in Two Parts.


Some months back, I took my brother to a job interview at Disney Interactive. We drove up to a building at the end of a cul de sac (really more of a dead end). In front were some picnic tables and a general patio area. We walked up to the building and there seemed to be no reception area. He peered in a glass door and said it looked like a break room, so we walked around to try to find the entrance. We found some doors propped open by a loading area, so we entered the building. We passed through an area with cubicles and asked someone where to go. They directed us to the break room. Oh. So there is no reception area.

My brother sat next to a couple other people who were filling out forms and started to fill one out himself. One of the other applicants asked me if I needed a form, or a pen or something, and I told them no. I sat there peacefully reading my magazines that I had brought in a bag.

Later, a woman came up to us and asked if we both had an appointment. My brother said no, just him. She asked about me, and my brother said I was with him. She then asked me if I drove, I nodded my head, and she asked me if I could go wait in my car, because this was a "secure building." You mean this warehouse full of computer game workers in cubicles with the doors propped open on the side is a secure building? And my sitting in the break room reading my own magazine while my brother does a scheduled interview makes the building no longer secure? And I should go out past the outdoor patio area and sit in my car? You think that's gonna make your world safer? Or is it just that you need to tell people what to do? It's gotta be one of those.


Today, I took my brother to do his driving test at the DMV. We got there early and parked in the driving test lane on the side of the building. This is where cars line up to do the test. There was nobody there to tell us what to do, so we turned off the car and stepped outside to wait for someone. After a bit, a guy walked by and started berating us. "What are you doing? You just gonna leave your car there? Wait inside the car. You gotta learn how we do things around here. See, those guys behind you got the right idea, but they're not done yet. Sir! Turn your car off! Turn it off! Save some gas." Then he went inside.

Learn how things are done around here? How many driving tests does he think I intend to take in the coming days? So my brother sat in the car and I, anticipating the arrival of the driving test evaluator, sat on one of the two benches they had there by the side of the building. While I was sitting there peacefully reading another piece from my bag of magazines, a woman told me I couldn't sit there, and to wait in the car with my brother. Why? She didn't explain. In the car, I was able to help in handing my brother all the necessary documentation he needed to show; driver's license, insurance, registration. Then I of course got out of the car so the evaluator could get in and they drove off. So I sat back down on the bench and continued reading my magazine. A man stood next to me, apparently waiting for his son, who was doing the test as well. The woman came around again and told us both that we could only wait either inside the building or in front of it, but not where we were.

Oh, so we can never sit on these benches. I just thought we were allowed to wait there, because our cars were being used for driving tests, and that's the exact spot where they would be coming back, and if my brother failed the test, it would actually be illegal for him to drive the car anywhere to find me. That was the only reason.

So I moved all my stuff to a bench in front of the building that was identical to the bench on which I wasn't allowed to sit. I read my magazine there, and eventually I got a phone call from my brother, asking me where I was. I told him, in front of the building. He was confused, but then, so was I.

There seems to be this unsettling thing going on where people go to work, and they don't run the company, and they don't own any of the property there, but they enjoy exercising meaningless authority. It doesn't make much of a difference either way, but I guess I understand why they do it. The weird thing is that the side of the building is only used for driving tests. So here's my question.

Why the fuck do they have benches there?


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