Anarchy in the Northwest Corner of the 16th Floor

I was getting off the train yesterday in my usual Monday morning fog when I paused to let a woman go ahead of me. I had seen her before. I see her whenever I catch this train, actually. Sometimes, I think she might be crazy – she has that look in her eyes. Vacant, yet focused at the same time. She also always seems to have a good 2-3” of grey roots at the base of her Crayola red hair.
When I gestured for her to go ahead, she smiled and thanked me. As she grabbed the hand rail to step down to the platform, I saw that she wore elaborate rings on all ten of her fingers.
“Yes,” I thought, “crazy.”
And then I caught a glimpse of the ring on her right index finger – it was a silver pentagram.
“A clarification,” I thought, “she’s a crazy satanist.”
I nodded my head, pleased with my decision to be polite to this woman, lest I end up on some sort of sacrificial altar or as an unwitting surrogate to the demon spawn.
The encounter was over as fast as it began, but it was too late. My brain, as it is known to do, had already translated the experience into song. That morning, it was Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols. So during my walk to the office, and for the rest of the entire day, I hummed this tune in my head.
I am an antichrist! And I am an anarchist!
It’s no Katrina and the Waves, but still seemed to keep me going throughout the day. The problem was that these were the only lyrics I knew from the song, so I kept repeating them over and over again in my head. Like a crazy person. At lunch, I caught a glimpse of my hair under the harsh fluorescent bathroom lights, and noticed my grey roots showing.
I am an antichrist… Christ – look at those roots! Remember to pick up some Clairol #30 tonight… and I am an anarchist!
Now, the irony of singing about being an anarchist as I sat in my dull blue cube, writing up business cases to justify investments in new product development was not at all lost on me. I know that I’m a conformist and a lifelong resident of the corporate sector. But that morning, as I sat down and fired up my laptop, I paused for a moment while bending down to slip off my clunky black motorcycle-esque winter boots.
“No,” I thought, “not today.”
This would be the day I would take a stand. I pulled my boot back on and straightened my pant leg around it. A pair of much more professional looking loafers sat quietly in the bag next to me, but not today. I wouldn’t wear them today. These boots were office-inappropriate – anyone could see that – but I didn’t care.
I don’t know how they do things in the UK, but here in corporate America, anarchy often takes the form of the subtle pushing of dress code limits. I made a point of walking around and popping into people’s offices, crossing my legs in a manner to more clearly display my civil disobedience. No one said a word, but it was clear. I looked everyone straight in the eyes as if to dare them to say something about my boots. Had she forgotten her normal shoes at home? Recently undergone bunion surgery? I can only imagine what was going through their minds.
Then, on my way out, I walked right past the sign that said “Sign out with security.” I didn’t even say goodnight to the guard, and it felt good. Real good. It’s a slippery slope, this rebellion thing.

16 Responses to “Anarchy in the Northwest Corner of the 16th Floor”

  1. Jessica Says:

    Jen…after a long day of work and then four hours of quality management and productivity class, I needed this laugh. Oh, and I think my husband may want to run off with you now ;)

  2. elle Says:

    You wild and crazy chick! When will your reign of terror end?!? Tomorrow, make sure to wear a safety pin in your earlobe… okay… maybe just on your lapel.

  3. claire Says:

    Right on, chica!
    At an old job of mine, I started with tasteful Hawaiian shirts and graduated to a short-sleeved black polyester shirt covered with the planets. I swear I can’t help but love that shirt. Enjoy the slippery slope! ;)

  4. sizzle Says:

    i’m taking a cue from you, you rebel. ;)

  5. RW Says:

    Yeah! I’m with sizzle! Inspired by your act of raw courage – I showed up to my office this morning in my pajama bottoms! Ha Ha! Yes I know I work from home! Hah! Don’t upset my mojo here! Heh…
    Where’s my coffee dammit!

  6. Jane Says:

    That’s it, I’m making my lunch today just so I can bring it to work in my Sex Pistols lunch box.

  7. jenny Says:

    jessica: quality mgmt and productivity? yeesh. and i thought business cases were bad… my sympathies!
    elle: in my earlobe? that… that would get all infected! i’d better stick with my lapel. but in an inconspicuous area. maybe underneath.
    claire: wow. i think you have outdone us all – a polyester planet shirt? that must be something.
    sizzle: you? you’re all talk. you’re way too fashionable to wear giant motorcycle boots to work – i saw those shoes you wore in the snow! ;)
    RW: anarchy is a state of mind, so you can still stick it to the man even if you are the man.

  8. sween Says:

    Yessssss… join us in the Office Wear Revolution… we have the coolest parties and are working on a really awesome handshake.
    Soon you’ll be pinning up subversive comic strips on your cubicle walls and placing ironic bric-a-brac around your desk.
    It’s like spitting in the eye of the Man!

  9. Tracy Lynn Says:

    Dude, my pirate shoes and I support you wholeheartedly.
    My pirate shoes are brown plaid Airwalks with skull and crossbones on them. Discreetly.

  10. Don Says:

    I bet your business cases now have a certain, oh, I dunno, that je ne sais quoi, zat flair, zat deep rebellious flair wid which you drive all ze boys cr-r-razy, non?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Jenny,
    You are a bad ass.

  12. jenny Says:

    sween: i MUST know the handshake – please!?!?
    tracy lynn: the only thing cooler than plaid shoes is plaid PIRATE shoes. so awesome!
    don: well, i must admit, i did end the business case with: “Look, do you want to fund this project, or do you want a giant motorcycle-esque winter boot up your @$$?”
    viv: in my head, i really am… :)

  13. Rhea Says:

    Rebellion is the way to go. Power to the workers! A revolution is in the offing!

  14. Karl Says:

    Walking that razor’s edge! Wow, your rebellious antics are like an aphrodisiac.

  15. Suebob Says:

    You nutty rebel, you.
    I know someone has to be annoying and point this out sooner or later, so I guess I will nominate myself: the pentagram is a symbol of the wiccan religion. Wiccans are generally gentle people who worship nature and have lots of interesting gods and goddesses. No cats are sacrificed, no blood is let. Lots of feasting, though.

  16. shari Says:

    I’m going to be just like you when you grow up.
    I mean, when I grow up. WHAT?!