Monday, June 16, 2014

Honor, Yogurt, and Commitment

"Is CVS still open?"  He's looking for yogurt.  I don't talk about how weird it is that he was just at a meeting with the President, and now he's having to figure out late night convenience store dairy options like the rest of us chumps.  Shouldn't he have returned radiating light and carrying two stone tablets?

"I think it's closed, sir -- Walgreens is 24 hours, though."  A nod of acknowledgment as he takes a phone call, at which point my duties shift from convenience store expert to seeing eye dog, signaling when to pause at street corners so that he can focus on his phone conversation without having to worry about oncoming cars.  (Later he will gleefully tell me that CVS was open -- and that its yogurt selection is far superior to Walgreens.  A massive control officer fail from which I never fully recover.)

I personally consider myself to be a poor staffer -- too much introversion, too much fear of disturbing hierarchy, too little attention to detail...  Too much love of closure that makes each schedule change feel like a near moral crisis.  It's unlikely you'll be told what's needed, so you search around for ways to be helpful.  Keeping food and water on hand.  Having notebooks and pens ready.  Sending in clearances.  Tracking down room numbers.  Screening calls.  There's a lot of that last one.  He wants to talk to you (truly), but he doesn't have time.  You're stuck talking to me.  I'm dreadfully sorry.

Plus, at a certain point, staffing takes on an air of ridiculousness.  Is printing schedules and lamely offering the latest media roundups really helping in any way?  Compared to the mounting crisis, it seems small and obsequious.  I formatted a paper for him.  That was probably the pinnacle of my usefulness.  He seemed grateful.

Maybe the value you add is just being around and willing to serve.  Maybe that's all this line of work boils down to in any case.

And I'm developing a list of all the 24 hour convenience stores near State, in case anyone wants to know. 

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