There is one woman who has her name taped to every pen on her desk.
On a tour of the office, we walked through an unmarked door that opened up into the cavernous file storage warehouse. Cardboard boxes overstuffed with papers and falling off the shelves, spilling out across the floor. We passed a set of shelves where the office supplies were kept. “Do you need a finger?” she asked. I stared blankly until she pointed to a box of rubber finger sheaths, to aid in shuffling papers. “I don’t think so,” I said. “I would die without my finger. I lost my favorite one in a box somewhere back here…” she dragged her eyes across the room. I looked at the box of fingers, they all looked the same.
One woman has her name taped to her trashcan.
I had spent two hours sorting hospital bills waiting to be sent out. Emergency room visits cost this much. Sutures cost this much. X-rays. Things ending in -oscopy. Red blood cells. Sexual assault examinationss (for a teenager, I noted, looking at the date of birth).
“Don’t you ever get depressed looking at all these every day,” I asked. She nodded (Yes, I thought: my first human interaction here.) “The insurance companies never want to pay, these just pile up and pile up and I wonder if I’ll ever get through ’em all.”
One woman has written her name in pencil on a post-it note and put it up on a wall in her cubicle. It’s not a nametag to ease cubicle maze confusion; you can’t see it when you pass by. You have to actually stand in her cubicle and turn around in order to see that she has posted her name there.