I got to my office this morning to discover a bottle of wine in a holiday gift bag from my boss. It was sitting on my desk.
My first thought: "How nice." I sat down and got the computer started doing its security stuff.
My second thought: "What does my boss think about me from looking at this desk?"
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing incriminating or unusual on my desk. But still, my boss rarely makes it to my office and even more rarely comes inside. What does my office look like through his eyes?
Here's what caught my eye: the first page of a short story I've been working on. The rest of the short story is on the small table by the door. What likely happened is that the first page fell to the floor as someone (me or my boss or the cleaning staff ) walked by it. That means that someone picked it up. My boss? Did he read it?
Happily, even if he did, it's not a bad first page. I'll paste it below in case you're curious.
What else would he see? A mug with James Joyce on it and a mug with Jane Austen on it (when you add hot liquid, she turns into a zombie!). A page with financial calculations, but it's unclear what I'm trying to figure out; I know it's my charitable giving, but I'm not sure anyone else could decipher my notes.
He'd have seen several stacks of poetry books that I haven't put away since finishing my academic-ish essay last week. There's about 20 sticky notes with all kinds of reminders. There's Tictacs and hair clips and a bag with beads from a bracelet that broke.
On the wall is my Simple Lifestyle calendar from the Appalachia Science group that I've been supporting since my undergraduate days. This month's picture is two older women making corn husk dolls.
My walls also have fabric art that I've done and a painting or two, plus some Christmas crafty things: a wreath, a plastic canvas picture of a tree done by my Grandmother, a counted cross stitch piece I did in grad school.
My office really reflects my personality: creative and pulled in many different directions. My boss knew my personality when he offered me a place in the reorganization.
Some might say my office is messy. I would concede that point. But I'm surrounded by things I love and things that remind me of who I am and things that remind me of what's really important.
Now, on to things that truly matter--and if this first page pulls you in and you want to read the rest, let me know. I'll be happy to make arrangements!
My short story first page:
“I’m sorry, Dad. You said you want to go where before you die?” Adam asked.
“You mean Elvis’ house?”
“I know you’d rather go to someplace ghastly, like that Heebiejeebies bar you always used to jabber on about. But I want to go to Graceland.” Adam could hear his father take a deep breath. Adam thought about leaping in but decided not to correct his father about the name and not to tell his father that CBGB’s had closed as a bar and reopened as some kind of clothing store. “And I want you to go with me. And I want it to be soon. I won’t live forever.”
Adam listened to his father’s plan, about how they’d go in early October and stop at an apple festival that his father hadn’t attended after his mother died, but they used to go every year without fail. They’d go to Graceland, and if Adam had time, maybe they could even go to Vicksburg.
“You’re into Civil War sites now?” Adam asked.
“I’ve been doing some reading. You’re not the only historian in the family, you know.”
“Well, I’m really a sociologist, not a historian.”
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