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Cubicle - Beige Hell - Resonator

Les Bidrawn
May 6, 2010

I'm pretty sure I'm sitting in it. This must be for sins of my past. european car recently moved offices and I've been blessed with a 3' x 3' cube dressed in a color I can only describe as "suicide taupe." The greenish cast of the overhead fluorescents coat everything in sickly pallor; everyone looks like they're battling hepatitis. And losing.

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I've seen enough of corporate America to know this style of workspace has become the standard for blue-collar folk. How the hell do you do it? You guys are either super tough or super medicated. Maybe both.

I've been told this is only temporary. We will be moved to proper editorial offices as soon as they are completed. No more than a month they say.

The difference between pain and suffering is time. Pain is transitory. Suffering endures. This cubist period will eventually end and the mind-numbing pain will be over. No more than a month they say. I can hack it. But what if this pain turns to suffering? What if this is the way it's going to be from now on? What if I need to endure every inane phone call of the mini-truck guy next to me? Smell the licorice Good-n-Plenty he keeps stuffing in his face. What if I'll need to whisper every phone call, subvert every bodily noise, hide every questionable Internet video from now on? Worst of all, I can't curse anymore. It's a shame because I'm real good at it, an artist of sorts.

I guess my predicament isn't all that bad. I'm simply not acclimated to such sterile surroundings, like the 2002 Honda Accord my daughter Carly just purchased. Like my temporary cube, the Honda's interior is an image of beige. It's everywhere: the seats, dash, headliner and floor. I break into a cold sweat simply sitting in it.

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It's also very quiet, almost whisper-like. I cannot hear the engine nor feel any vibration. This car does a splendid job of isolating the driver from the road. It's not uncomfortable but more disconnected, like floating in a cream-colored isolation tank. I leapt out of it like I was on fire, trying to wipe the beige from my clothes.

And like the life-sucking fluorescent lights above me, this Honda is very efficient. On her last trip back to school she netted nearly 35 mpg. Not bad for a proper four-door sedan.

Anyone with a daughter can attest to the cold fear that comes from late night/early morning phone calls. We can reduce that panic by ensuring their transportation is solid. I know this Honda is a sound piece of engineering. It's as boring as the cube I'm sitting in but I know it's going to last. Honda makes damn fine cars. I've heard stories from fleet managers who have seen them run with little to no oil for thousands of miles. Pulling 300k miles from a Honda product is totally do-able. Boring, but more than a few people are willing to make sacrifices for reliability. That Carly chose an Accord rather than a GTI hurt. But I understood her reasoning.

And then it hits me like a surprise nut-trample. Is this the future of transportation? Are we destined to become cogs in a big beige machine, driving around in our transport cubes? The automotive patina is becoming homogenized. What remains is a sort of beigey goodness, the automotive equivalent of tofu.

I'm not a tofu kind of guy. And life is too short to work in a cube or drive a beige-mobile.

Les Bidrawn

By Les Bidrawn
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