Friday, November 02, 2007


On occasion, my boss will ask me to help him with his computer. I am no computer geek, I am slightly computer -phobic when things don't work. When we both get stumped, we call upon the master on site- Doug. His name deserves to be real. If it wasn't for Doug and his largely invisible presence, your newsletter would look like a first grader authored the pages, and they would arrive out of order and in sections. The bulletins would be folded off center. Actually, i believe it is entirely possible that the bulletins may very well end up origami cranes and the type would more than likely be reversed. Next time you see Doug, give him a pat on the back. He doesn't accept verbal accolades readily, but pats seem to carry well with him.

So, my boss calls me on the true phone intercom. "Can you come help me? Do you mind?" I stood up and grabbed my pen. My speech began before I ever left the office. "Okay, listen," I said as I crossed the hallway into his office. " YOU are the boss, and I am the secretary and that means YOU get to say, 'I need your help with this ', and I get to say,'Yessir, I'll be right there." "Got it?" He ignored me as he usually does when I remind him of how things work according to the Strunk and White of Church Secretaryisms. ( Strunk and White is a writer's how-to best friend).

I entered the office, and approached his desk, where he was sitting hunched over paying homage and praying over his laptop. By habit, he scooted his chair over, and by habit, I held onto his chair back while I creakingly folded my body down and kneeled beside him so I could meet his monitor eye to eye. I looked at the screen and reminded myself that this was just a machine. It needs help communicating, much like a two year old does, much like a teenager does,as well. My boss waited patiently while I had this mental exchange with myself, and we resolved the issue.

I reached up, pulled myself to standing, creaking and cracking all the way up, then I went back to my office. Mission accomplished.

We do this dance often. If the problem seems like it is going to take me more than a few seconds, I don't even have to ask him to go to the bathroom anymore, he automatically gets up and gives me the space and time to think at my aged and older- than -dirt pace. He is very respectful that way. So,it is a system that works for us well, and one we don't give a second thought to.

Apparently, someone noticed us working together and later in the day, they commented on the sight. It went something like this: " You and your boss seem to work well together. You were both concentrating so hard. Gosh, it was touching to see that bonding."

I tried to figure out what she was talking about. My recollection of the day appeared a little different than that. I recall giving him a hallway holler, I remember opening the men's bathroom door and saying, "Are you in here?"... I recalled interrupting his Bible Study that was running over (in an effort to get him to his next meeting on time), and closing the electric wall on the group, hoping they'd finish up. How working together is that? Those recalls sound crude now that I think about it. Ah, well, I live in the moment- thank gosh those moments have now passed.

Finally, I remembered working on his computer; and I realized that if one had not seen the call for help, or heard the banter, seen the loud kneeling or rising, one might have considered the vision of two heads working together as a special moment.

Truth is, I like being asked to help, (as if I can), and it is always a relief when I've made the round trip- across the hall, down and back up again. One day, we may install a zipline. I'll ask Trustees to consider it.

I love my job and the people in it.

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