(The events described below occurred several weeks ago)
Let me ask you something. How many workplace office carpets did you completely destroy today?
At 7:15 a.m. I was at my desk, in my chair, ready for action. I began rifling through messages after warming up my dual computer monitors; ready to peruse my workload, man the phones, and batten down the Google Docs.
My delicious black coffee—imported from Vermont—floated patiently in my old lucky travel mug, at the ready, waiting its turn as I finished slurping down my delicious breakfast smoothie.
And then … before I even had the chance to slurp it down … the smoothie uncontained itself.
My Large Purple Smoothie: A beautiful compilation of red chard, organic banana (the non-douchey kind), frozen berries and mango, and maybe just a tiny-weeny too much flax seed, all mixed together; a cohesive textbook medley of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals—a perfect magical pooping potion.
Gone. Tragically wasted.
You see, there is no 5-second rule when it comes to uncontained smoothies sprawled across an 80’s inspired office carpet. At that point, it’s just plain unsanitary.
All it took was the mindless swoop of my clumsy right hand and the mason jar (yes I put smoothies into mason jars, and SOMETIMES also (sound the alarms!) post pictures of those smoothies on Instagram) that housed my nourishing elixir went sailing down … down … down ... onto the fashionable office carpet. SPLASH!
At first look (and in shock), my mind quickly assessed the situation and concluded that with my skills and background, I was severely underqualified to clean up a mess of this substantial enormousness all by myself.
Without too much dilly-dally, something inside my brain told me that my best option was to immediately flee the scene. It certainly felt like the right thing to do. And besides, could I really picture myself cleaning something up right now? At 7:18? In the morning? Before coffee?
But I didn’t. I stayed. I owned the spill. I have to live with myself after all.
There I was. A man alone on the 6th-floor of an empty office. Covered in purple goo. My tan khakis ruined. My favorite light blue summer polo shirt in dire need of immediate rehabilitation.
My once fashionable mason jar sat on its side at my feet—sad, and no longer representative of the hipness it once helped people identify me with.
As for the actual smoothie, it oozed along the carpet like a wandering alien organism seeking out a host body to consume; taking this unique opportunity to spread out and explore this vast new space, this brave new world where smoothies don’t typically get to go.
A sizable portion of the purple drink ran down my right side … gloop gloop gloop (that’s a sound, right?).
It dripped off the edge of the desk, downward, like a glorious, chunky waterfall landing in a large pit of pulverized fruit and vegetables. My trusty office chair (once known for its chic circular motif) now sat blemished with the purplish hue of blackberry and embarrassment.
What to do?
What to do?
My brain exploded with good news: I remember that I am (and have been for some time) one of the world’s foremost visionaries in the field of amateur napkin hoarding.
Indeed, the top right drawer of my cubicle is filled to the brim with what can only be described as a surprising, somewhat disturbing number of loose, cloth-like, 1-ply, paper napkins.
I’ve always wondered why I felt so inclined, so obsessed, with collecting them from the workplace cafeteria, or from the 6th-floor kitchen, knowing full well I had plenty to get by—certainly enough to survive a few meals spent in my cubicle.
Over time it became second nature; a ritual that drove my greed for more More MORE MORE napkins! Going for tea? Good, I can get some napkins! Oh, a group trip to fill up the water bottles? It’s good to stay hydrated, might as well grab some napkins! Is it buffalo chicken day already? That dish can get messy in a jiff, best play it safe and grab a thousand napkins!
I could never have enough. Never!
And now it all made perfect sense. This gargantuan smoothie flood was the reason for my insanity all along! I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t an odd duck. I just knew … somehow I knew that I would need all these napkins. Right here, right now.
I reached toward the cubicle drawer and started removing handfuls of gloriously available napkins one after another. First, I cleaned up my clothing and shoes. I knew that once this step was complete, I would be free to move around without making a larger mess.
I then addressed the waterfall still drip drip dripping down the edge of the desk. It took a dozen of the subpar razor thin napkins to complete the job.
Then to the crevices of the chair and the worse of it—the carpet.
As I scooped up the sludge the napkins folded and soaked through in seconds; breaking apart at just the touch of a smoothie clump. But when placed together in larger factions, one bracing its brothers and sisters before it, the napkins transformed into an unstoppable purple smoothie scooping machine.
For what felt like at least seventeen horrendously long minutes in a row I labored tirelessly and with the fervor of a man who knows full well the worth of a hard day's work.
Around and around I cleaned the carpet, clearing away the purple drudge little by little, clump by clump.
After much rigorous scooping, I started to pat down the entire area, making it dry but also possibly permanently stained with the blood of organic and once delicious fruits and vegetables. It looks like actual blood splatter, and I begin nervously to await the impending visit from the local CSI team.
I look over my work like a proud papa and know that I have done all a man of my qualifications can do. It’s time to notify the professionals.
I contact the maintenance department with a formal request:
I accidentally spilled a huge purple smoothie that I was drinking this morning. It's ALL OVER the carpet. We need some sort of stain remover and probably a vacuum (just in case!) to pick this up. I got what I could with some napkins and paper towels. Probably the sooner, the better, so the stain doesn’t set in. I'm wicked sorry!
A few hours later an operations crew arrives on the scene. I meet them at the perimeter of the spill with a firm handshake, and a slew of apologies only a grown-man who uncontained a giant purple smoothie onto an office carpet can come up with.
By now my pants and shirt are dry, and the stains that I thought would mark my outfit for the dumpster have subsided enough that there is still some hope.
Only four short hours later and I’ve told and retold the story to office mates time and time again. The size and ingredients of the smoothie have tripled and grown even more bizarre since the legendary tale was first told.
It turns out, purple is a very serious color and does not like to be wiped away once settling in. The stains still mark the carpet; evidence that a man who lived in a cubicle once tried to drink a smoothie and failed.
The only thing left to do now is to slowly replenish my obsessively curated stash of napkins. There are only a few left in my cubicle drawer. And as I learned all too well, you just never know when you’re going to need a good stash of napkins.