A Return to the Productive Life

3 01 2007

I had a fairly ridiculous—and irritating—first day back at work. Right off, before I could even think about catching up with the email I missed during my vacation, I received a work assignment that could only mean one thing: The boss had decided to mess with me just because he knew he could. It went something* like this:

Boss: I know you’ve been gone for nearly two weeks, but I have something that needs to be done right away.

Me: Um, ok.

Boss: I need you to write a memo explaining why a lemon is not an orange.

Me: You’re kidding, right?

Boss: No, of course not. You know I have no sense of humor. And it’s not such a crazy assignment, anyway. Pretend your reader is an alien who might really think that a lemon is just some strange kind of orange.

Me (feeling dizzy): Errrrr.

Boss: And I have to have this by, say, 1 o’clock. Just a page or two, single-spaced. And thanks, man.

Me: No, thank you.

So having not written anything except holiday cards and blog posts for 10 days, I spent the morning finding precisely the right words to convey the, um, rich diversity of all things citrus-y. And let me tell you, the result was a stunning piece of work. That alien-reader of mine will not mistakenly put an orange slice in his next glass of iced tea. Or put limoncello, instead of orange curaçao, in his next mai tai. Or wonder which citrus product is traditionally used to season Atlantic cod.

Yes, my memo is going to satisfy a real need.

I spent the rest of the day wrapping my office valuables in bubble wrap—which I had to purchase myself on my lunch hour because no one thought to order any to prepare for the upcoming moving and painting. And after even several hours of, well, frantic bubble-wrapping, I still don’t know how I’m going to be ready by Friday evening for the paint crew. (Yes, there are apparently achingly sad painters who spend their nights putting institutional colors on institutional walls. Bless their hearts.)

I know I’m going to have to buy more bubble wrap tomorrow….

*This is an only slightly fictionalized account.




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