Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Grandfather Could Fix the Clothes Pins That His Wife Used in the Warmer Months.

My Grandfather Could Fix the Clothes Pins That His Wife Used in the Warmer Months.

I have never read the book, "The God of Small Things". The title is evocative enough. I save on literature by reading book spines and creating novels in my imagination to fit them.

I don't think any person who has to work in secret could own an iPhone and set an alarm. The iPhone alarm has a bias towards snoozing. It is easy to snooze with a tap on center screen. Turning off the alarm requires a swipe across bottom. So minutes later, the alarm goes off and a secret person has his location given away. The Blackberry is even worse, at least the Torch and all the models before it. It will turn itself on, even with battery close to dead, and ring an alarm. Take out the battery if silent running is required. Worse, the alarm will keep screaming until the battery runs out. I left a Blackberry in the office, right on the desk, and I arrived to find my door shut and the early arrivers up in arms. On the desk, the Blackberry was singing its evil good morning song to no one. After the apocalypse, Blackberries will sing the requiem chorus. A solar power Blackberry would be around singing when evolution restocked the earth with intelligent life again. Even if re-evolution requires plenty of rain.

My grandmother lived frugally, even to the point of hanging clothes to dry in the summer instead of running a dryer. She could see a few saved dollars on the electric bill and feel she was making progress. So I learned to love clothes pins, and she had wooden clothes pins that had turned silver from years of use. One of my Christmas presents this year had a clothes pin included in the wrapping, part of the ornament. I played with it, snapping it open and shut until the wood fell away from the wire spring. I can be sure my grandmother rarely unsprung a clothes pin. I can be sure that my grandfather knew how to fix a clothes pin, using pliers and vises and maybe cleverness accumulated over the years. I have kept the clothes pin sticks of wood and the wire spring around, and last night I made another futile attempt to make whole a clothes pin. I also forgot to clean the lint out of the lint catcher before I ran a late night load of clothes to dry.

One of my erstwhile bosses probably could kill with small advantages easily usurped. He would check every coin that came into his possession, every stamp that arrived on a letter. As he would say as he showed off his finds, "I love to get richer by taking a coin from one pocket and placing it in my other pocket". After a few rounds of golf, he would search in the rough for shag balls. He printed off his own Christmas Cards. He gave me his used Blackberry, my
first office issued cell phone.

A woman who had immigrated from Minsk landed a job as an accounting assistant in that office right around the time I scored my first Blackberry. She invited me out for smoke breaks and asked after the Morel, a tasty Michigan mushroom. I found a book in a second hand bookstore that cost fifty cents and I left it on her desk. She came to my office and exclaimed, book in hand, "I am the happiest girl in the world". She wrote, in consolation, when she married a man with a farm in Ohio to thank me for my friendship. I even convinced her to buy a house on a FHA loan, which even emigrants could land in the early 2000s.

I was away in Miami when she left her husband's house with a black eye and found an upper flat in Mount Clemens for her one son and her.

A few men from my department have moved on beyond this office by retirement or by request or by requiem. From one, a man who practiced bagpipe on his chanter during lunch, I have nabbed the Sanford Pink Pearl eraser from his now empty cubicle. He still comes to the beer-thrities, so maybe I should ask him if he wants it back. From another, I have borrowed permanently his Seltzer seven year pen, with six years remaining, from the pen basket he didn't take with him after human resources gave him a Paige Miracle Box for his belongings. That's the miracle. Set one of those boxes outside a man's cubicle, and the man goes away. He dropped me on LinkedIn. From the fellow I said farewell to at the funeral home south of town, I have taken into custody his Boston electric pencil sharpener, which had a bale clean as a whistle when I went to dump out pencil shavings. He would sharpen up ten pencils in the morning and make notes with them through out the day, never reusing a pencil and probably taking the used ones home with him.

I made coffee this morning when I poured the last cup out of the urn. My desk calender is open to the right date. There's hope for me yet.

A team member just came in the office, politely asking me to close a shared spreadsheet log. Bogarting a spreadsheet. This way madness lies.

No comments: