The image is stark and glaring.
Turn the corner and you see the end of the brickwork come to a halt halfway down a hallway lit by garish lights from above. The end of the brickwork transforms into pasty flesh colored industrial wallpaper.
Opposite the bricks, on the opposing wall, is a lone drinking fountain, clean and shiny, inviting anyone who wishes to drink of its cool, clear water. You simply need push the button and it will produce. (Of Note: Fill a water bottle from this fountain and leave it on your desk for 20 minutes or so and it becomes undrinkable by some sort of chemical reaction that turns it toxic tasting. Seriously. I know.)
Standing sentinel over the drinking fountain are restroom doors: "Men" on the left, "Women" on the right. Both swing open away from the drinking fountain.
You take all this in when you turn into the corridor. Nothing special; just your average building hallway, offices on either side emblazoned with numbers and names of management businesses, film casting and voice over production offices.
It's when you walk down the corridor you notice something a little strange. It's what I noticed weeks before.
As you pass the bricks' end on the right side, there, at eye-level, you finally notice it. You can't see it if you're at one end of the hallway or the other; it's when you're right there, within feet of it, that it stares out at you.
Sometimes you don't even really notice it. I can't tell you how many times I've walked the length of this corridor and failed to notice it at all. You probably can't even see it in the photo above, can you?
But as you come closer, there it sits. Wadded up in a misshapen ball of chewery. Noticing it, you take a bit of a mental step backward, realizing what it is. Realizing that someone actually put it there on purpose.
You come upon it and you look a bit closer. It's pomegranate in color. You have no idea how long it's been there, but you assume it has to have been there for weeks by the look of it. The interesting thing is the fact there doesn't seem to be any dust covering it. If it's truly been there that long, you'd think it would look a little more "worn" that it does, right? I mean, with age comes the signs of age ... and this little guy doesn't seem too worse for wear. For Pete's sake: The thing even glistens!
Yup. It's a piece of gum. A wad of throw-away chew someone didn't have the common courtesy to toss in a waste bin. It was funnier, better, more unique, lazier to just pop it right there between the bricks and forget about it.
And there it is, still sitting contentedly on its brick ledge, watching all who pass by. It's probably been languishing there not for weeks on end, but months and months.
And it's all those weeks (or months) that began to disturb me.
Because it just sat there and sat there and sat there and sat there. Aging. Waiting. Solidifying.
You'd think the maintenance crew would do something about it, but no .... it has no problem resting comfortably on its little brick shelf, content as could be to harden and harden and harden some more.
It's "The Gumming". And it's at a locale near you.
........................................ Ruprecht ( STOP )
P.S. Yes. I extracted a paper towel out of the men's restroom, encased the little bugger and tossed it in the trash. *yeesh*