The Green Door #14

November 1998

Daily Mysteries (or at least Twice a Week Mysteries)

My part-time Systems Analyst job seems to provide a lot of grist for The Green Door mill, but this will not be another El Observation. I usually try to get into my job early in the morning, around 7am, so I can leave early at around 3:45

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Mystery No. 1 - The Lone Chocolate Danish

The Cigna cafeteria also caters meetings in the various conference rooms. Part of what I consider success at Cigna is my ability to go many months without participating in a time and productivity draining meeting. It was at one of those, for me at least, rare catered breakfast meeting that I encountered the elusive Chocolate Danish. With its dark chocolate icing, chocolate chunks, nuts and whatever they put in Danishes, this pastry is definitely something that makes life worth living and a great way to begin your day.


Most of the daily Chocolate Danish supply is used to cater executive meetings. A Lone Chocolate Danish is offered for cash sale in the cafeteria daily. The Danish tray is frequently restocked during the morning but always with non-life-reaffirming fruit Danish.

You may ask why not ask the cafeteria to stock more Chocolate Danish? This has been tried the past with other items and has never been successful. One would think that after 7 years they would look at the pastries left over at the end of the day and realize there are never any chocolate donuts or Danish left over and provide a higher ratio of chocolate to non-chocolate items. These are the same people who can provide a wide array of muffins but often are unable to provide Chocolate Chip. When asked why, they say they are out of the mix. Duh, take regular muffin mix, add a bag of chocolate chips and bake. It's not rocket science or even French cooking. The market two blocks south sells chips.

On days that I am running a little late, I have to do directly to the cafeteria from the lobby to snare the Lone Chocolate Danish. Today I was running late because I couldn't find my ID/Access card.


Mystery No. 2 - The Security Sign-In

If you forget your access card, you have to sign in at the security desk, where a rent-a-guard writes your last name and floor on a sticker. They give you the sticker and buzz you through. Occasionally they will quiz you and ask you your office phone number. Like that would thwart even the stupidest robber, murderer or rapist.

I always leave the sticker unpeeled and place it in my pocket. You can always tell visitors because they walk around dorky looking stickers on their lapels.

Today a guard I never saw before wrote down my last name and floor and gave me the sticker with no quiz. Confident in the building security I proceeded to the escalator that leads directly to the cafeteria.


Mystery No. 3 - Escalators

On days that I am running late and have to use the escalator to go directly to the cafeteria, I always climb past several slugs who are just standing there slowly, slowly traveling to the third floor. I know these are probably people who live in ranch houses and then spend 30 minutes, three times a week on a stair master. It is a mysterious world.


Mystery No. 4 - Winter Holiday Decorations

When Cigna P&C moved to this building seven years ago, they bought bland new Winter Holiday decorations. I don't call them Xmas decorations, because Christmas is the only holiday these decorations don't expressly celebrate.

The decorations consist of pine wreaths, poinsettias, a decorated tree, playful polar bears and penguins, snow and snowy icicle things. On the first day of Hanukah, a lovely menorah appears; on the first day of Kwanzaa, a seven candles of Kwanzaa thing appears. Not that I care, I just find it fascinating that the decorations try to be inclusive, but exclude addressing the major holiday. They don't even have a Santa.

The other thing that fascinates me is the voluminous snow, polar bear, pine bush, leafless tree, penguin display that goes up the wall beside the two-story escalator. For seven years I have been wondering who thought to put North Pole dwelling polar bears together with South Pole dwelling penguins. These are two species that never meet outside of a zoo. If they did, it would be a bloodbath with the polar bears feasting on penguin stew. In the Northern Hemisphere the North Pole is above the timberline, hence no trees, ditto but upside down for the South Pole.

As well as a geographic conundrum, one wonders what these particular animals have to do with the American December holiday experience. If they are meant as Winter Celebration decorations why do they disappear on January 2nd, usually before the first snowflake even appears here in Philadelphia.


Mystery No. 5 - The Elevator

Most days, when I am running on time, I take the elevator up the 32nd floor and later back down the third floor for the Lone Chocolate Danish. My elevator bank runs from the 21st to the 40th floors. When I get on the elevator I attempt to get to the side or back since I am usually one of the last people off. I am often thwarted by people on the lower floors who insist on getting on first and going to the back of the elevator and not allowing others to get behind them. This means every time one of these idiots want to get off I have to get off the elevator on their floor, hold the door, let them out and get back in. Years of this pointless twice-daily dance have wearied me.

Yes it's a world of mystery.


The Green Door is a mostly monthly zine published by Scoats. E-mail: scoats at greylodge dot com. (c) Scoats 1998. All rights reserved. Most wrongs unintentional. Reproduction permitted as long as it accompanied by this entire paragraph.

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