Friday, February 11, 2011

Work Life Balance

So Mubarak stepped down and my grandfather died. The two events are not connected, yet for me intertwined. At nearly the same moment Tahrir Square erupted in joy, Grandpa's funeral was starting. I wasn't present for either event. I was in the office.

It was very strange to be frantically clicking my way through websites, trying to find the most updated news stories to print and hand to an incoming official visitor, while simultaneously watching for my mother's texted updates about the funeral preparations. It is amazing, really, that I could 'see' both events in real time. I wonder if Grandpa would have known who Mubarak was. They were about the same age.

Frantic click-click-click. Moment of quietude. Print and collate and staple, then take a second to worry if the flowers you ordered arrived. They didn't have any cotton boles to put in the arrangement -- not the right time of year. Do we have any folders left? The ones with the Embassy Seal on the front? Watch the cheering crowds on the tv screen, then sit quietly at your desk -- just for a moment -- to read Mom's last text.

I couldn't bring myself to tell the florist something meaningful to write on the card, since I didn't want to start crying at work. But I did think to call her back and change the message to read "Love Katie" instead of "From Katie."

I suppose a lot of people are thinking about their messages for Mubarak, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Condolences on your loss. the worst part of our foreign service life is not being home when a sudden loss happens and grieving alone...