Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guilt ridden

I know I'm bad minded. Concerned about me, me, me. I'm sorry. But if you are going to know me, you might as well know all of me. Something happened this week that brought out the me in me. Something terrible. Horrid. Painful. Sad and just not fair.Not fair to my boss, anyway.

 The day started out  like every other day to him... Fast and furious. zoom zoom Monday. He levitated out of bed in the darkness that predawn  snuggles into before the birds awaken.  Like every other Monday,he drove to the gym and sweated out enough liquid to make room for his morning caffeine- then headed to the coffee shop. Even though the parking lot speed limit is 50 SPM (steps per minute), his legs were still in cycle spin mode, and he screeched in at a cool 75. The coffee shop doors, accustomed to his morning visits opened just in time and he irrked to a stop at the cash register where the clerk, who was familiar with his preferences in latte, held his grande like a gold ring on a carosel.  The fast exchange of payment for coffee went smoothly and the liquid nearly jumped into his gulp. His morning intravenous coffee began to kick in."Ahhhh. Now the day can begin." he jittered to himself.

The regulars were there, and the friends exchanged nods and laughter, funny eyebrows and head tilts.My boss walked by, crisp and clean after a hard workout and quick shower.  A wave of his cup and he was off. As he backed out, pushing against the double glass doors, someone said, "Have a great one, Pastor!"
and although my beloved boss had every intention of following through with that send off, well, it was just not to be.

While he was inside gearing up for the first fresh day of a new and wonderful week with coffee and friends, there was a viciously unhappy  horizontal parking space hurdle, disgruntled with his laid down hurdle life in the concrete jungle where he lived, a few feet outside the coffee shop doors. Un beknownst to speedy-start-the-day boss, the hurdle had just hit an emotional wall. Maybe he  held one too many pieces of chewed gum, or maybe he had been tinkled on by one too many peekaboos . We'll never know, but we do know this. Somehow, that hurdle had gone to the dark side and with evil in his hurdle heart, had discovered how to cloak himself.

When my boss backed out the doors and turned to walk, skip, leap- whatever mode he was in at the time, to his car, that hateful hurdle activated his cloak , then braced for the impact of the pedestrian trip. My boss never saw it coming. He fell so fast he didn't  see the pavement leap up to meet him.

One second changed the lives of so many (for 4-6 weeks).

 The slight of build bustling man fell hard and fast. His breakfast coffee leapt to the safety of his shirt and suit. The liquid clung to his clothes, not wanting to meet the 'crete or come near the invisible monster that had caused such a collision. The irritation of the wet beverage soak over-shadowed the reality of the fall and he picked himself up, got into his car and headed home for a shower.

He called me from the house to tell me he was running late and we discussed if staff meeting should start later, or if we should go ahead without him.
 I was curious who had died, gotten deathly ill, or cried for help. "So what's up?"
"My  coffee spilled and is all over me. I really just need to take a quick shower and oh, by the way, I can't move my right shoulder." echo echo echoooo can't move move move my right shoulder shoulder shoulder......

Being messy in most things by nature, it was the right shoulder comment that caught my attention. " Do you want me to come over and take a look at it?"
" No I need to get this coffee off of my clothes. I hit the sidewalk like a brick and nearly all of it spilled onto my tie and shirt." The additional information sent off a tiny alarm. Sidewalk like a brick.
" Or, How about I come over and take you to the ER?"
" No, thanks. I'll be over in a little while."
" Well, at least take your cell phone with you into the bathroom so you can call me when you have fallen and can't get up, okay?"
Twenty minutes later, I left my office,  walked two doors down, rounded the corner, and walked past the front desk. The phone rang."It's your boss, for you."
" My wife's on her way home and  we're going to see about having my shoulder x-rayed."
" Want one of us to stay with you til she gets home?"
" No, thanks. I'm just having a little trouble with my clothes. I'll wait til she gets here. It won't be long."

I imagined him realizing that sometimes clothes that come off, are harder to put back on again, especially when one limb is immobile and I hoped it wasn't the day for the cleaning lady to come and I hoped Fed Ex did not have any morning deliveries for him. I prayed that Girl Scouts didn't sell door to door anymore, and I especially hoped that the sweepstakes van would not pull into his driveway in the next 15 minutes or so.

The staff worried, but we forded on through our day. By mid afternoon, his loving wife called to give me an update. "His shoulder is broken. Surgery won't help, so he'll be in a tight, secure sling for 4-6 weeks."

" Oh, No!! I'm so sorry!" I heard the genuine concern in my voice, but at the same time something else was at work in me. It was the bad me. The me, me, me at work. I hung up. A Pacific coast wave of panic  began to rise up inside me. Someone walked by my door and said, "What is it? What's wrong, church chick?"
"Boss's wife called and he's broken his shoulder. He'll be wrapped up- his good arm, for 4-6 weeks."
"Oh, gosh. Oh, Man"
I stood up. Placed my hands slam down on my desk. "You know what this means?" "OMG DO you KNOW what this means?"
Several staff had gathered around my office door, the hub of the church, the place to find a moment's peace, the bubblegum factory office.
Someone said, "what?"
I never claimed to be that. Even when applying for the church secretary job years ago, I never signed anything that certified I was, in fact, a secretary. I said I would do my best. That's it. You can check the records.

"He can't use email, or write letters. I'll have to glue myself to his good side and type/write down his every word, I'll have to buy new running shoes and try to keep up with him and type at the same time. I'll have to turn my head the other way and cover my ears and sing LaLaLa while he's counseling  OH MY"

 I plunked down in my chair and put my thinking cap on. Then I picked up the phone.
" Mr. publication wizard, we have an emergency." I spoke to our magic man of the computers at work.
"Tell me where the fire is, and I'll be right down" he rolled out those words in his usual comfortable and pleasant voice.
I began to ramble. " Boss... broken... right shoulder.... computer use kaput.... email no go.... need voice recognition installed immediately."
I could feel him picture the near future and what it meant and he suddenly appeared before me , tights, cape and mask all in tact. "I won't return until i find what we need!!" and he was off. My hero.

He came back later with a microphone and we found a program that sounded reliable. THE SAVE YOUR SECRETARY'S SANITY SOFTWARE  by Worth a try, inc.

I went through the tutorial and started practicing the program that was about to save my career.
I watched the screen as  I spoke, " I am here talking into the computer."  The screen showed, " In any gear walking to the can opener."
I looked down at the reference card of cue words. "Delete phrase."
The computer spit out , "Deplete the race."
I held the sheet and looked again at my clear and simple directions. "De LETE phrase"
"De FEET brakes."

oh. so that's how it's going to be.

I took the directions to the program that  I was counting on to save me and carefully crushed the pages into a tight ball.

"Write what I say! Write what I say right now! Write it write it write it write it!"
"No. No I will not. The End."
Sigh again.

I closed out the useless program and pulled up his inbox. It only took 25 minutes for the Bizzy Hub copier to print out all 300 emails that had come in over the last day. Then, I picked up the phone and called the tech turned- super hero- turned human. "I think we're going to need a lot more paper for a while."
"Oh, okay, I'll place the order for more delivered weekly. How long do you think?"
I closed my eyes. " Probably 4-6 weeks."


Anonymous said...

And this is how everything is being kept quiet??????? I certainly feel your pain, and the pain of your boss. also. Loonygin

Gretchen Staebler said...

Laughing, laughing, laughing. And forwarding to sister Church Chick Santi who can relate. Boss lady pastor has been out for a month (so far) with herniated disk or some such.

My word verification is untraphe. Somehow sounds appropriate.