Monday, October 29, 2012

Paper, Red in Tooth and Claw

It is a great truism of good bureaucratic procedure that no one person should ever be indispensable; it is also a great truism of good bureaucratic jockeying that if anyone is indispensable, it had better be you.  Nothing perks up the soulless office worker like a late night phone call or request to come in during a hurricane.  Yes, faceless cog-in-the-wheel:  your contributions are special and valued.  Verily, this paper could not be pushed without your direct intervention.  You alone are singled out... for greatness.

I would love to tell you that I'm above this particular office pettiness, but that would be a gross lie.  An annotated meeting agenda due the day after the administrative closure has us turning on each other like sharks in utero, and it is only just after I hurry to point out how close I live to State (less than 20 minutes by foot!  really, I could be there at any time!) that I realize how pathetic these 'me me me' email offers of assistance are.  If any of us were actually needed, they'd be calling directly.  Take your extraordinary insights and your sacrifices back to your cubicles, boys and girls; they are cluttering up the altar.

Besides, the rain is still coming down vertically -- let's wait till we get some real gale force winds so we can truly prove our loyalty to the cause.  If only it were snowing!

Friday, October 19, 2012

"Family, religion, friendship... These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business."

A few weeks ago, I got a call from a colleague in a different office.

"So, a late night for both of us, eh?"  (It was, in fact, about 11:30pm.) "I'll be here till 1:30, then back at 4:30.  You?"  Ah, a challenge from one masochist to another.

"Well."  Whatever, punk -- I'm game.  "I would, but I'm limited by the metro times."  This was true, but also a lie.  For all I knew, the metro started running at 2am, and I'd been selfishly sleeping through 4 hours of potential work time.  He scoffed his sympathy.

Today as I was leaving the building (at 9:30 -- work life balance, you know), I saw him out walking with his family.  When I caught his eye, he looked a little guilty.


Monday, October 08, 2012

The Blessed and the Damned

If you're single and in your 30s, it's for a reason.  Not a bad reason necessarily, but there's always something.  It makes dating at this age an almost apologetic affair -- a lot happens between your early 20s and the point 10 years later where you're awkwardly, hopefully sitting with someone over coffee as the result of some computer arranged online pairing.  You've probably picked up a few bad habits and had time to gloss over more than one hard reality.  It seems rude to bring it up; in lieu of geological exploration, better to skim lightly over the surface and then tussle good-naturedly over who pays the check (he does).

If you make it to date three or four, however, the pickaxes come out and true excavation begins.  Just ended a long-term relationship because you were a bit of an ass, you say?  Well, that's to be expected.  Yeah, I move every two years and have a degenerative neurological disease, but I was kind of hoping you'd overlook that.  By this time, you've accordingly progressed from coffee to hard liquor and started to recall all the reasons you were single in the first place.  It's less "Are we destined for one another?" and more "Could I put up with your crap?"

Yet, no matter how often you see that hard-hatted, coal-mining third date in the distance, you still sit politely through date one, list of pet peeves and deal breakers folded neatly in your back pocket, limpid smile, careful phrasing of pre-planned questions based on his profile-declared love of his dog and skeet-shooting...  "Why, whatever are we still doing single at 30?  It's a mystery, to be sure."