There is a bathroom on the second floor I like to use because it features minimal crackage and a one stall buffer in between the last stall and the urinals [see: Rushin’ and Stallin’]. Since I work on the third floor in a different building, this might be what you’d call and “excretorial detour.” However, I feel it is well worth it.
Naturally, given the impetus for said detour, it is unsurprising that my powers of observation tend diminish into a sort of tunnel vision during the journey, occluding all sorts of potentially fascinating but nonetheless extraneous details from my line of ocular consideration. And yet, even accepting that, I still cannot understand how it took me almost four months to notice the following attraction. You see, located smack dab1 in between the row of cubicles starting after the stairwell and the bathrooms situated at the end of the hallway is a door with a placard next to it that reads, simply, “Balloon Room.”
Mind you, one year ago this would not have phased me in the least. However, I do not work in a magic shop any longer, nor have I taken up employment at a party supply store, nor a greeting card emporium, nor any other environment where you might conceivably have the need to dedicate an entire room to balloons. But there she is, plain as Morris Day, neat white text embedded on a small, slate gray marquee. Mocking me. Taunting me. Mounting me.2 I swear, the damn plaque started a running monologue in my head the moment I laid eyes on it.
Hey Buster, guess what? Just beyond this wall is a land of low-cholesterol frivolity and high-fructose make-believe, a land where your wildest dreams aren’t wild enough but we’ll make them come true anyway. A land where mermaids and unicorns dance happy, age-appropriate jigs all day long while Prince plays the entire Purple Rain soundtrack on his ukulele in an infinite loop. A land where “business casual,” “conference calls,” and “merit pay raises” are but frothy figments of your candy cane-addled imagination. Yesiree Bilbo, that is the centrally located land—the “middle earth,” if you will—behind this door, a land of elfin delights and dwarfish pleasures, ready to accede to your every whim, if only you can find the one power tie to rule them all. So bolster that brow-beaten brio Buckaroo, and Banzai your way across the 8th dimension and into an adventure of unparalleled3 proportions. We’re waiting for you my corporate compadre. All you need is a heart full of sunshine and cheer…plus the key to this bloody door, of course.
Son of a bitch. Well, so much for that bit of intra-office escapism. Rest assured though, faithful readers, that I will not rest, I will not dilly, I will not even DALLY until the mystery of the “Balloon Room” is exposed, indecently or otherwise.
Oh yes, she will be mine. She will be mine. Or not. Who gives a crap, right?
1. What the hell is a “smack dab” anyway?
2. Eww, dirty.
3. And, potentially, uninflated.
Wow, so apparently the tunnel vision referenced above extends a little further than I thought. If you didn’t notice it before — and chances are you did, because you’re not an assumptive ass like I am — take a closer look at that low-res camera phone photo above. See anything untoward? You should, because it doesn’t say “Balloon Room”; it says “Ballon Room.” This lends a whole new bizarro-world perspective to its existence, for now I have to ask myself, is this merely a case of a simple spelling error gone unchecked and/or uncorrected for Ganesha knows how long? Or is this legitimately a “ballon” room? And if it is the latter, what the hell is a “ballon”?!?
Well, according to Dictionary.com, a “ballon” is a ballet term for “the lightness and grace of movement that make a dancer appear buoyant.” Hmmm… I tell you one thing, if that’s really what’s in that room, I’m stayin’ the hell away from it. That’s some freaky Neverland shit right there. Slightly more helpful is the populist info-hub, Wikipedia, which tells us that, in addition to being the name for various places in France and Ireland, a ballon can also be one of three things:
- The French word for “balloon” and, by analogy, for different spherical objects.
- A short-necked flask used in alchemy to receive what is distilled or drawn off by fire.
- In architecture, a round globe placed a-top a pillar.
Now, as it turns out, the real name of my company is taken from a French word, so the idea that somebody was just being cute in using the French spelling for “balloon” is not entirely out of the question. It is, however, entirely repulsive, so let’s move on.
If the second definition holds, that would actually be pretty damn cool, because it would imply that my employer is engaged in alchemical experiments on a heretofore unheard of scale, to the extent that they require entire rooms devoted to the storage of one highly specific piece of laboratory paraphernalia. I’m keeping this possibility in the back of my mind just in case there’s a sudden request for urine specimens from the employee population.1
The third option, though perhaps not as “cool” as the former, is also intriguing, given its rather esoteric nature. Unfortunately, the distinct dearth of pillars around the Pompous facilities make it a rather unlikely focus for the ballon room. Also, nothing good has ever come from a whole bunch of balls slapping together. (That’s not a gay joke either; it’s just fact.)
So, like rice pudding left out on the counter overnight, the mystery of the “Ballon Room” has only thickened. Who knows what life-changing revelations are waiting behind door number one? Gold balloons? Old dubloons? Cold baboons? The world may never know. (I’ll know, but I’ll be damned if I’m telling that selfish jerk.)
1. According to Wiki, the yellow color of urine was previously thought to come from gold. Alchemists apparently spent much time trying to extract gold from urine, which did not make them rich, but did lead to discoveries such as white phosphorus and the organic compound urea. (Incidentally, some also found out the hard way that mixing urine with chlorine creates a deadly ammoniac gas that will certainly push thoughts of future enrichment to the back of your mind, at least temporarily, though perhaps forever.)