When I got to work this morning, I was the only one here. This isn’t unusual, because I work alone most of the time, but we have a regular staff meeting every other Monday morning, when we’re on deadline, and I was pretty late, myself, so I really expected somebody to be here.
It isn’t really much of a meeting; we don’t follow Robert’s Rules of Order, for instance. We usually just shoot the shit, but it is in these “bull sessions” that we come up with the content for this column. Unfortunately, even though we have work to do, everybody else seems to have decided to observe spring break, and I’m sitting here all by myself trying to think of some engaging way to fill the page.
It makes me think about how people often get my attention when I am at the grocery store or something, and they say, “Hey, I liked what you wrote!”
I used to think they were trying to start a conversation, and I would say, “Oh, yeah? What was it that you liked?” I figured anybody who would take the time to share such a compliment would probably be interested in bolstering their comment with some context, and, since I like to be somewhat responsive, I figure that I might address the interests of an enthusiastic reader in a subsequent column, but it turns out, more often than not, your recollections of my stories and ideas aren’t as persistent as the memory of simply enjoying the experience of reading something. I can’t fault you for that. My memory has become somewhat chaotic lately, too.
On the other hand, a lot of times, when someone tells me about something they liked, it turns out they describe something that somebody else wrote. That’s a pretty awkward moment, for sure. I think I tried to straighten it out once or twice, in order to give credit to the actual writer of whatever piece the reader was referring to, but that ended up making things weirder or worse, so now I don’t ask anymore. I just say, “Thanks.” Smile and wave.
Hmph. I was hoping the guys were just running late, but it’s passed noon, and nobody else has shown up. I guess I’m on my own. It’s not like they’re really all that helpful, anyway. The one guy only ever wants to talk about how hard he parties every night. Then there’s the one who watches television all day. He tells me about a good show now and then, but lately he’s been binging on “Batman” reruns. I swear. I don’t care if Ida Lupino was the guest villain in the second to last episode. He’ll be more useful when he gets tired of that one and moves on to something more, um, relevant.
Then there’s the Kid. He’s pretty funny sometimes, uses voices and acts like a goofball. His limited understanding of the things he talks about is enormously entertaining. Oh, hell. I know I really shouldn’t expect much from these guys. It’s like they’re always on vacation.
I’m not supposed to tell anybody about the rest of them. The one has warrants in several states, and anything I say about her is likely to get her pinched; she says most of the charges are based on being in the wrong place at the wrong time or misidentification or identity theft or whatever, but she has great stories. The other one is a ghost, clinging to the mortal plane by the power of denial, but he tends to have the most gravity in his various perspectives, so I don’t want to, you know, cure his dysfunction, but, really, where the hell has he gone? Dead people don’t go to spring break.
Hell. I don’t know why I put up with this. I mean, they’re fun when they’re around, but I never know when they’re gonna let me down. I guess that’s what I get for expecting others to do the hard work of existential research for me. Maybe next year, I’ll take a vacation, myself, and let those boneheads try to string five words together. I don’t think they know what a paragraph is.
Ut! Five o’clock. Time to head home. You all have a nice night.
For further consideration: My friend Dennis who works at ValuMarket wants to borrow my copy of Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison documentary. I’ll have to drop that off on the way home.