Of Work and Horror

June 12, 2016 at 1:40 am (Uncategorized)

Abstract: I briefly discuss some observations I made this past week while working at my ongoing internship. Naturally, the presentation isn’t all alliterative, but an attempt will be made to toe the line between employing fun literary devices and being pretentious. Subsequently, I provide some tips for watching a horror movie at the cinema theater. The scope of this article does not include a discussion of horrors in the workplace, or of methods for working up a sense of horror. Discussions of this nature are earmarked for future investigation.

I have worked for companies in the past. I did a couple of internships in my undergraduate years – the first with a small tech firm and the second with a large FMCG company. I worked as a consultant for two years. I am now doing a research internship with a revenue management company, so my work is naturally quite different from my work in any of the jobs I’ve held in the past. It is the unexpected experiences related to non-work aspects that are the subject of the first part of this discussion.

Since my consulting days are now behind me, I will discuss not 3, not 5, but 4 of these experiences:

  1. Technological revolution in the restroom – Designers of restroom technology are the unsung heroes of modern engineering. The cardinal rule of designing toilet technology seems to be to put a sensor-motor pair in everything. Cases in point – the automatic flush, the automatic hand dryer, the automatic paper towel dispenser, and the automatic basin faucet. The latest to join the bathroom party is the automatic soap dispenser – place your hand under it for a measured mound of freshly frothed hand soap (note: food employees must wash hands before returning to their stations). The first day I used the facilities at work, I was bothered by a new sound that I couldn’t locate the source of. I looked around, excited at the prospect of stumbling upon a new marvel of sanitary science. It turned out that the elevator shaft shared a wall with the restroom and the sound I was hearing was of an elevator whizzing past. I took a moment to allow myself to feel the full force of my disappointment, but before I was allowed to, something else caught my attention: the motor that drove the soap dispenser was not placed in the vicinity of the sink, but somewhere behind me, near the urinals. Every time I washed my hands, I heard a motor spinning behind me – how strange is that!? My efforts to locate the motors were in vain. My work-plan for the next two months is to locate these motors.
  2. Kettle Cooked Jalapeño Chips – Complimentary snack trays are strategically placed at various locations in the office. While the places I worked at before also had some free food, the placement was never this well thought out. The snack trays at my current workplace are stacked in a way that different foodstuffs present themselves to you at different heights. Right at the bottom are the fruits – apples and oranges. At around eye level are the chewy granola bars (with chocolate chips), and flavored crackers. Right at the top are the Kettle Cooked Jalapeño Chips – glowing in their matte packaging as they sit in their place of pride! I can’t help but reach for them.
  3. Confusing stairwells – Walking around in malls, I expect to have trouble finding my way around what with the escalators landing at different spots on each floor. I did not expect this of an office building, but things rarely go according to expectation. At work, the stairwells are in different locations on each floor, and there are no re-entry rules on some floors. I now understand the real reason behind people preferring to use elevators!
  4. Multiple monitors – I’ve never worked a job where I sat in one place for extended periods of time before, so I wasn’t aware of how big a deal having multiple monitors is. People apparently really prize the ability to see two maximized screens at the same time. I spend about 10 minutes every morning repetitively dragging windows from one screen to the next and back. Multiple screens make me giggly.

What doesn’t make me giggly though, is a horror film. Horror films terrorize the living daylight out of me. This brings me to the second part of the discussion – my methods for coping with horror movies. These methods were successfully tested at a screening of The Conjuring 2, so they’re legit. I’m a sucker for jump-scares, so these methods are specifically designed for people of similar dispositions. Please consult your family physician to determine whether these methods apply to you.

  1. Combat recoil by sinking into your chair – I have found this tactic to be very handy in preventing injury from a jump-scare instigated recoil. Sink into your chair. Then sink some more. And then some more for good measure, until your head and neck are completely in contact with the cushioning. Your head can’t jerk backwards if it has nowhere to go. Since this position can get rather uncomfortable, remember to reset to standard seating posture when the scene shifts from night to day, and shift back when darkness falls again.
  2. Hug something – This one should be pretty obvious, I think. My go-to object is a well padded backpack.
  3. Keep a drink with you, and activate “cheapo” mode – Make sure to have a drink with you, and make sure it has no lid on. Make sure you are feeling particularly cheap. Your mind will want to avoid the guilt you will face from spilling your overpriced drink, and prevent your body from jumping when a frightening image comes up.
  4. Carry something translucent – Put a translucent object between your eyes and the screen – this is a well-established shield against the supernatural. A clear bottle does wonders for this.

It is hoped that the information presented in this article will be of use, or at least of feigned interest to some subset of its readers. Happy second weekend of June!

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