When I was sixteen, my father got me my first summer job. I worked at my county’s Transportation division. It was a relatively cushy job where I sat around playing Neopets and getting moved around from office to office because they’d never had a summer help person that wasn’t a bus washer. Needless to say they didn’t hire me back the next year.
The next year, though, I was moved to the Roads and Bridges department. I loved it there. I worked alongside a bunch of crass 45-year-old plus dudes (and one lady) who had rough senses of humor and were generally awesome, and two other female secretaries who were a bit milder but still pretty great. The rotation of secretaries changed frequently, some insanely awesome, some much worse.
Either way, there weren’t enough computers in the main office so they had me sitting at a computer that was intended for the generic use of the bridge crew, but who never used it. I sat there, isolated, for most of the work day. I’d get an hour for lunch and occasionally some of the guys felt bad for me and came over to talk to me for a while. One summer they hired another awesome girl to work with me (hi Nikki!), but she was only around one year. It kind of sucked at times, but it paid nicely so I dealt with it.
I would do ANYTHING to pass the time. I often took to doodling. One summer I made a comic about me as a ninja. I read a lot of blogs (I remember going through the entire site archive of BoingBoing one year, along with Collector’s Quest, and the sleeveface Flickr pool, among others), played Neopets until the filter came back up, and was generally bored. The work they gave me was easily accomplished so I attempted to stretch it as much as humanly possible.
One day, I was so bored I decided to go sit in the bathroom for a little while and play Bejeweled on my phone, because it was the only thing I had keeping me entertained at that point in time. It was so early in the day that nobody else had gone in to use the restrooms yet, and when I walked in, the seat on the toilet was still up. This wasn’t unusual, as the cleaning crew left the seat up after they’d cleaned on a daily basis. I thought nothing of it.
The next day, I went to use the restroom. Same thing – seat was up. This went on for a couple days, and I felt a little victorious that I would be the first one to use the clean bathroom that day. I turned this into a game in and of itself. If the seat was up, I would win Bathroom Survivor. If it was down, it meant that someone else had used it already, and therefore I lost automatically.
This went on for MONTHS. Months turned into years. I worked at Roads and Bridges for five years, playing Bathroom Survivor the whole time I was there.
Today, I walked into the bathroom at my current job to find the toilet sparkly clean with the lid up. I smiled and knew that I was, in fact, the winner.