Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Little Corporation on the Prairie

My  first day at Epic,  I wondered if I'd have difficulty finding my classroom, as the training center is enormous and there are hundreds of trainees.  Inside the door was a row of electronic notice boards, arranged by first name.  I didn't see my name on the A-B board, but a little sign at the bottom said, "More names loading in 12 seconds....more names loading in 8 seconds....more names loading in 3 seconds...."  Then:  Patience Crabstick--Parallel Universe.  I read this several times, wondering what it could mean, and eventually realized that my class was in the Parallel Universe room.

Parallel Universe is an apt name because I seemed to have fallen down a rabbit hole into a sort of corporate fantasyland.  Most of my work experience up to this point has been in health care.  My current office used to be a Sears.  I've never known a workplace decor not dominated by thrift, so the Epic headquarters was a bit of a shock.  Consisting of  about eight buildings on a treeless hilltop with views that stretch for miles, it's like someone took Disneyland and put it in a blender with the Vatican Museums.

Epic is orchestrated for whimsy down to the last detail.  My computer in class was named "Faramir."  Squat fiestaware salt and pepper shakers graced every table in the trainees dining area, where we were served free breakfasts and lunches which were delicious and plentiful--with recipes posted near each dish for the benefit of people with allergies, or for cooks, although you'd have to do quite a bit of dividing because each recipe ended with "serves 800."  I swear the beef tasted grass fed and the coffee was labeled as fair trade and organic. At the end of each class, we were given little boxes of candy from an artisan chocolatier in Verona.  Every classroom had a different theme and was decorated accordingly.  Outside my "parallel universe" room was a timeline of the future which, among other things, predicted the invention of Smart Cheese 1,000 years hence.  I've often wondered how to make cheese work for me.  Trust Epic to make it happen.   Not only was it a beautiful place, everyone who works there is young and gorgeous and the trainers say "golly" and "holy smokes" without irony.  I lost three pounds and I think I'm cured of seasonal allergies.

But why use words when you have pictures?  I took many pictures, and if you want to see them all, the whole album is at my Patience Crabstick facebook page.

Epic Art

This building had a Dungeons and Dragons theme.


Landscape--I prefer these open spaces to the woodsiness of Virginia


The inside of an elevator in the western-themed building

Stairway in the "Heaven" building

Common area in "Heaven"

Tunnel to the "Andromeda" building

Another tunnel made to look like the NYC subway

Swings for trainees

A final adventure:  in an airplane in Chicago, taxiing to the runway, one of a long line of planes.  It was about 10:00pm, i.e. dark.  I've already told you about my geeky fascination with airline art.  Out of my window I  saw a jet tail painted with a grinning, fanged death's head.  At first I thought that the darkness was playing tricks on me, but after peering intently, there was no mistaking the image.  What the hell was this?  Axis of Evil Air?  Was I hallucinating? A quick mental review of my systems couldn't find a reason why I should be.  The plane taxied in front of us and the heads of all the people near me craned to look out our starboard windows as it passed.  At least I knew I wasn't hallucinating.  I had to see what airline this was and just about put my head in the lap of the guy across the aisle, and was rewarded with:  Iron Maiden.  Iron-freaking-Maiden's jet?  How awesome is that?  It's not like I actually caught site of the band (what would they be doing in the cracker concourse with the likes of me?) but I still thought it was awesome.

Close up of the tail

Lucky me, I get to return to Epic tomorrow for another class.


  1. Amazing!

    Part of me thinks you made this whole thing up.

  2. I was being facetious when I said my seasonal allergies have been cured, but everything else is true. :)