Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cuppa Cuppa

I discovered this today scribbled in an old notebook; I think it's from my first or second month on the Desk.

Whoa whoa whoa -- Katie, what have you got there?

This?  It's a teapot.  The 7th Floor staffers wanted another one, and it's just sitting here, so I thought I'd send it to them.

Who else has seen it?

This teapot?  Well, it's been out in the common area -- I think we're all passing familiar with it.

But you haven't had anyone check it to make sure it's suitable?

Suitable for the 7th floor staffers?  It's a standard teapot -- handle, spout, lid... we sent them virtually the same one last week.

Does it have a tea cozy?  Does it come with cups?

What?  Well, no, I guess not.  But they didn't ask for those things.  And, like I said, we sent them one last week just like this, and they seemed perfectly happy.

You should run it through the Teapot Review Committee.  You'll need to knit a cozy first, obviously, and hand-throw and fire some cups and saucers.  It should all go as a set to the Committee before it goes up to the 7th Floor.  Don't forget to clear it laterally with the OHBRC, too.

OHBRC..?

Office of Hot Beverages and Related Condiments.  The OCBRC should probably see it as well.  The 7th Floor might make iced tea, and we want to be covered.

Uh, okay.  Sure.  Where do we keep our potters wheel and kiln?

You'll need to build them.  Call facilities if you need instructions.

And our knitting needles and yarn?

Facilities can give you wool carders and a spinning wheel.  I assume you have access to your own sheep?

Sure.  I mean, no, but I'll figure it out.

Great.  Try and have it ready before lunch.  Also, don't forget that you owe the Front Office a chaffing dish.  Have you read the crockery assembly manual?  It's in Section G, Tab 2, of the SOP that NEA/RMA sent out.

Hey, could we just call the 7th Floor staffers and check to see if they're okay with the teapot as is?

Ha ha ha!  "Call the 7th Floor staffers..."  You new desk officers crack me up.

[Intrepid Intern]  Katie, what's in that teapot anyway?

[Me]  Here, look for yourself.

[Intrepid Intern]  Is that... a tempest?

[Me]  Why, yes.  Yes, it is.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Benefit of the Doubt

"Be Charitable" is my motto for this tour.  It took me some time to settle on it -- nearly a year.  But I've decided it's the sanest way to operate in a system driven primarily by email where tone and intention are quickly lost in the flatness of forwarded Calibri font size 11.  Don't assume the worst; give other people the benefit of the doubt.  Probably the other person isn't out to get you or circumvent you or humiliate you.  Probably.

It's perplexing how hard it is to keep this in mind, despite all manner of post-it note reminders urging calm and circumspection.  "Stop it, stop it," I found myself chanting today, pressing my hands over my eyes in hopes that doing so would take the snarl off my lips.  In this weird, cubicle-bounded prisoner's dilemma, there's no need for more conspiratorial thinking.  I wish being my best self wasn't always so challenging.