Saturday, February 5, 2011

Office Space

I work at a small office in Portland. Realtors pay their brokerages in order to work. It’s kind of backwards. I pay to have a desk. Despite this obvious defect, I have a pretty good gig.

WRG is a family run business. My broker’s husband and two sons work for her. Cindy got me to walk the Portland Marathon. I’ve worked for her for over 10 years. I’m almost family.

As long as I’ve worked for them the office has been in a small brick building in SE Portland. We used to occupy a small space on the second floor. Even though I paid a “desk fee” I didn’t have my own desk until we moved downstairs a year and a half ago. Now I pay a little more and have my own desk. We occupy almost the whole first floor. There’s a therapeutic mattress company that occupies the other office on the first floor.

On the second floor occupying the space WRG vacated is a puzzling group of businessmen. They’re Russian, and they park nice vehicles in our small parking lot. Always nice but not always the same vehicles, and often vehicles without license plates. Often they leave cars in the parking lot overnight. They stay late. We gossip a lot about what it is they might be doing up there. Across the hall from them is the Psychologist. His patients slip in and out throughout the day.

I used to resent the doctor. My broker provides computers and printers to the non-desked Realtors. As a courtesy they’ve allowed the doctor to check his emails on our computers. He claims he can’t have a computer because he’s been addicted to computer use. I always thought he was lonely. And cheap. I don’t resent him anymore because I have my own desk now and I feel sorry for him because he’s lonely. And cheap.

Having a desk I spend a lot more time in the office. There are twenty five agents with WRG but I don’t know at least half of them. Some of those I’ve never even met. Five agents work out the Pearl office. Portland has a downtown condo-based neighborhood nicknamed “The Pearl”. I’ve never met two of the agents down there. My office lists 20 agents, but really there are only about ten agents that count. By counting I mean you come into the office enough to be known by someone who has a desk (me).

There are two co-ed restrooms in the hall. The mattress company uses them, and we use them, and occasionally the clients and agents of the upstairs offices use them. And probably people off the street come in too occasionally.

I’ve introduced these individuals and groups to present my pool of suspects.

Someone is using the restrooms and not flushing the toilet. This individual not only does not flush but does not put the seat back down. This individual has foamy pee. And pees often. I assume this individual is a man since there’s just pee and foam, no TP and even if a woman decides to hover instead of sit she certainly wouldn’t touch the toilet seat. I hope it’s only one guy but there are a lot of guys to choose from: the doctor, half a dozen Realtors, the Mattress guy or the Russians.

One afternoon it was really quiet in the office. Only Realtor A and I were in the office. He went to the restroom. About half an hour later I went to the restroom. I found pee. But was it the restroom he had used? I didn’t know. It was disconcerting to suspect him. He is such a proper looking fellow and so organized. But it was enough to broach the subject with my Broker, the only other regularly present female.

Oh yeah, she’d noticed someone was peeing without flushing. Turns out she and her husband had discussed at length the problem trying to figure out who it could be. They’d fingered another decent fellow who didn’t seem the type (whatever that might be). When she discovered I was upset by it too she decided to write a note and post it in the restroom that the standup pee-er seemed to prefer. It asked everyone to flush after using the toilet. Within an hour the note was gone and the pee was back.