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Zan Thompson

Setting the Corporate World on Its Axis

August 16, 1987|Zan Thompson

Last week, I had a glimpse into a different world. It was in the offices of a giant corporation with more circles in the designation of its corporate worth than a can of SpaghettiOs.

I ventured from my sheltering hillside where the coyotes romp and a soft afternoon breeze wafts across the hills because these people asked me to come in and help them with their paper clip inventory. At least, that is what I think I'm doing, as a paper clip is the most complicated piece of equipment I'm able to understand.

I even have an office and a phone. This is a temporary arrangement because the job I am doing is self-limiting, and it's a long way to Beverly Hills from Pasadena. The gentleman who tells me what to do told me about a good way to get to Beverly Hills from home, and it is. I don't intend to share it.

The corporation takes up an entire huge floor and people hurry around the halls all day long. A number of them stay in their offices and talk on the telephone. And they have meetings.

I walked by a large conference room the other day. A huge table was surrounded by attractive, well-groomed women. An hour later, I went by again and they were still there. Long meeting.

I was even asked to a meeting the other day. I think it was pure kindness that prompted them to include me. There is very little they discuss that I can understand, let alone make a contribution to.

At the end of our meeting, we adjourned to a dining room with an attractive buffet set forth. As you may remember, Peaches and I are still on our Fit and Trim diet. Peaches has achieved her goal, but I still am trying to lose all of the weight I gained last Christmas before a new holiday comes. Oh, I'm not that fat. But if I want to look like the sleek ladies who ply those corridors in Beverly Hills, I still have a distance to go.

When the gentlemen asked me to join them for lunch, do you think I told them I had a sad little piece of chicken and a stalk of celery in the refrigerator? No. It sounded too unbearably pitiful. So I had lunch with the important people and enjoyed it thoroughly.

All of the people who walk up and down the halls seem to be on important missions, although most of them give me those smiles that say, "Who in the world is that and how did she get past the guard?"

In order to get to this floor where the air is so rare your ears pop, you first go into an underground garage. One more story and they'd have hit oil or mastodon bones. My friend Gloria gave me a sticker for my windshield and a plastic card which I have learned to insert into a slot. Then a semaphore arm rises majestically and I drive through. The first morning, the arm did not raise and there was a man behind me who must have had a very important meeting. I got out of my car and went back and told him my card would not work. "Push the button and tell them," he said. I spoke into the air and the arm went up.

When I told Gloria, she said that my card had been on the inactive list and she would tell the machinery the card was again in good hands. Silly girl.

I have never been good with locks. I tried to open my office door and wasn't able to. I had to march around the halls and ask Gloria to help me. She is a beautiful, tall girl with a wedding-ring waist and gorgeous long legs. Most of all, she is kind and patient with me. She came around and showed me how to turn the key and went back to her office. Then I couldn't get the key out of the door and I had to go back and get her. Did she intimate that I didn't seem cut out for office work? Not a word. She just showed me how to turn the key to take it out of the lock.

I have had one mishap. I was trying to get out of the underground caverns. I approached the machine where the card goes but the card was still in my wallet. I glanced down to pull out the card and hit one of the pillars at the same instance. Not a huge crumpled fender--just a little too large to be called a ding. Fortunately, I did no harm to the pillar.

I cannot believe that this is the place where I grew up and went to Beverly Hills High School. I never dreamed I would be back in town using plastic cards to make gates open where there used to be fields of golden mustard.

I'll go back, though. Nice Gloria got me a clock. No battery but a nice clock. And as soon as she gets me a battery, I'll tell you what time it is.

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