A cat by any other name

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Meow at me

I have to admit that - despite the fact that I am on the road one hell of a lot and I can never make long range plans because I never know when or where Iím going to be sent, and I quite often am required to give up what passes for any semblence of a life that there is a certain perk to being a consultant. Iím not talking about the frequent flier miles that accumulate to astonishing numbers in my mileage accounts so that if I really wanted to I could fly myself and several of my friends or family members to Europe first class (even though after all the travel I do, my vacations usually end up a backwards version wherein I take time off so I can guarentee that I can stay *home* and you have no idea how marvelous that can be. Trust me). Nor am I talking about the fact that I now know how to program most lower class clock radios that exist in hotels, or that I have learned the dozen different locations in different rental cars for the defroster, windshield wipers, and lights, as well as the fact that I can guess with remarkable accuracy which side of the car the gas cap will be located on as I drive up to the gas station without actually checking first. No, Iím talking about the fact that I get to find out just how weird places really are.

As I was heading through the cubicle maze on the third floor today, trying to find a conference room that was empty and had a phone, I saw something that made me do a doubletake.

You know how some places will have emergency things posted on the columns between the cubes? Fire extinguishers, or sometimes first aid kits? Thatís everyday, run-of-the-mill things. You never give them a second thought. This is the first time Iíve ever seen a temporary defibrillator on one of those columns. No, Iím not kidding. In fact, enroute to yet another of those oh-so-fun and lengthy conference calls I made it a point to find that column and check it out again. It is there, with a little picture of how to use it.

Surely there must be some reason why this is there. Iím not sure which disturbs me more. The fact that someone thought it was necessary, or the thought that someone might actually use it. Okay, bear in mind the fact that Iím tired and this week has been extremely long and draining and itís only Wednesday, but I can just imagine it. A man clutches his chest in the midst of doing copies and keels over. Someone notices, snatches the defibrillator from its handy wall pouch, first checking the picture and directions, and then proceeds to shock the hapless victim back to life, whereupon he (the shockee, that is, not the shocker) gets up and resumes his copying with a hearty "Thanks for the jolt, Joe!" And meanwhile as the lights flicker in the building, somewhere on the other side of the cube maze, someone looks up and murmurs "Oh, they must be jumpstarting Bob again". Then she resumes typing - back to business as usual.

Am I the only one who thinks this is just the teensiest bit strange?