Friday, August 16, 2013

the sign

There's 'temporary' sign at my work that I keep having to re-make because a variety of someones are a) too cheap to pay for a proper one and b) don't care to make it their problem.  It is made from paper, lamination, sticky tape and time, and it is strung to a fence with twine, double knots and sticky-back velcro. The sign is placed in a vulnerable spot - weathered by whatever the four seasons can deliver, so it doesn't tend to last beyond a few months.

The last time I made one of these signs, I declared inwardly that this would be the final sign I would make.  That I would let this new sign wither and die without care, and that before its final passing I would be gone, and this sign would no longer be my problem.  Every day I pass this sign, I watch the paper soak with rain, the sticky-tape begin to yellow (and I curse myself for using that new type of tape); the knots begin to lose their tightness and the velcro slips its hold. Today the sign looks particularly beaten. That sign is me. Some days, that sign knows more about me than anyone else in the whole world.

Let me tell you, it is possible to hate inanimate objects.

Some days I want to rip that sign off and tear it into a dozen pieces, I want to kick down the splintered wooden fence that it clings to, and then I want to scream - Tarzan style.  I want to do all of these things because no one cares that I have to spend a lot of my time making the fucking thing, because everyone just expects the sign to always be there, just like they expect me to always be there making it.  What I really want is for my boss to have to make it.  I want her to print out the eight sheets of A4 paper, stand idly by waiting for the laminator to heat up, align the paper into the laminating pouches 'just so' and then put them into the machine.  Then I'd like to see her trim the paper just right, line up the letters, and the arrows, creating two lines and sticking them together with long lengths of sticky tape. Then she'd have to brace the whole sign with strapping tape - but not let it overlap the edge of the sign so it looks messy.  Then she'll turn it over and find that despite her best intentions, some of the sheets won't have perfectly matched up, and dejected, she'll think it looks a bit shit and wish she wouldn't have to 'make do' with paper and tape. She'd punch holes in the corners, prepare the twine and cut lengths upon lengths of double sided velcro - just long enough to fit the fence pickets and no more.  Then she'd go out on her own, pull down the old sign and using every limb extended, would attempt to hold up the heavy new sign as she secures it with small bits of velcro. She'll get the splinters and scratches from the old wooden fence - she'll have to juggle the scissors and rubbish and trim the ties, and then she will step back, thinking it's not too bad but wishing we could just get a 'real sign' and hoping she'd never need to make another one ever again. Wondering, if she was gone, would anyone care to make a new one when this one finally decays?

The time is coming when a new sign will be needed, and I'm. Still. Here. 


No comments: