Photo courtesy of Witty nickname on Flickr
An interesting phenomenon has been occurring in my office over the past couple of years, though it took place so slowly I hardly noticed it.
I keep a desk drawer full of personal items at work. I presume most people, especially women, have at least one. All sorts of necessities reside in this drawer, including but not limited to a hairbrush, perfume, note cards, nail clippers, eye drops, oil absorbing sheets, lip balm, lip gloss, an old Valentine, business cards, emergency mascara, and (probably most importantly) my go-to drug: ibuprofen.
While the nail clippers have been borrowed quite a few times (though I tend to get skeeved out about over-lending them–nail beds are kind of intimate, in my mind), nothing compares to the number of times I have handed out ibuprofen as if it were the latest craze in candy.
Once one colleague figured out where I keep “the drugs,” as I generically refer to them, this knowledge spread through the inner sanctum of my office through some kind of telepathic osmosis; while no formal moniker exists, I imagine one could call me “the drug lady” or “Woman With Drugs.”
My actual hypothesis on how my drawer became a go-to for relief is that, as colleagues do, we converse about our days or, during a break where someone has come in to chat, we catch up about what’s going on in our lives. Personal injuries and aches and pains top the list of what’s happening in the now, second only to what’s happening outside with the weather. Aside: there’s just something that happens to you when you become an adult and the weather becomes your friend, always willing to be the subject of discussion, always doing something hideous or lovely, with forecasts predicting something completely different or more of the same by the weekend.
Seeing as I frequently hear about an ache here or a headache there during the course of conversation, I’ll ask the other person whether they have taken anything for it, which usually segues into their being empty-handed and then ultimately the question is posed: “Do you have anything?”
In lieu of a water cooler, and since we don’t have one anyway, the desk-drawer-with-the-drugs becomes the proverbial item around which we gather. And so it makes total sense that I ultimately became known for my Magic Drawer Full of Pain-Relieving Goodness.
While I don’t completely understand not always being prepared with one’s personal arsenal of necessities, I am a generous sharer of my soothing wares, even though NSAIDS aren’t the cheapest thing on the block.
(I think greeting cards are actually more expensive–no kidding, I paid $7 for a card once, which equates to two bottles of generic ibuprofen.)
I believe that no one should have to sit and work through a migraine or a pulled muscle. Or if you’re a woman, anything to do with “female troubles.” Sitting is already the apparent silent killer, after all, so sitting while also in pain from other issues is basically death in a chair.
I have come to silently relish my wee role as Giver of The Drugs as I distribute relief to those in pain. Generally speaking, I trade for warm conversation but if that is lacking, usually people are so grateful to not have to go buy medication in a pinch, that they’ll buy me a soda or a cup of coffee, or even return pills to me at a later date. And the circle of meds continues.
Bottom line: find This Person in your workplace who is the keeper of pain relief and make friends with him or her. It will come in handy, I promise.