Shaving Olympia DukakisPosted: January 20, 2012
They say she was there when the building went up. She moved over to the new one when they knocked the old one down. When our division moved from that new building to a satellite office, she moved in to that building. I guess that means that I have first hand knowledge that she was there when the last two buildings went up. I’m going to take it on faith that she was there when they constructed the one that got knocked down.
Let’s call her Gail, since that’s not her name. She’s the secretary for our little slice of the big operation.
Form 518 Arrives On A Breeze
She’s been here forever. She could have retired years ago, but she didn’t. I’m pretty certain she’s not going to anytime soon. Most of the people who talk about what will happen around here after I retire are younger than me, they’re locked in to this place. Gail’s not locked in, but she talks about when I’m gone like she’s one of the new kids. She’s not planning to leave anytime soon.
Gail remembers a lot of the old timers that I do, and the ones from before my time as well. She remembers how they did things, how we did things and a good bit of how we do things today.
Not only does she remember how things were done, she still has the paper forms that were used back before the Microsoft invasion. Sometimes, when people who don’t know any better complain about the difficulty of completing a task on a slow computer, I’ll call on Gail. “Show him the old form 518 we used to use for that in the ‘80’s, Gail.” A few minutes later she comes back with a yellowed 518 and the complaining stops.
She’s as good as gold, she’ll do whatever needs doing. She’s got tasks, she gets more. Her disposition never changes. I wish she could go, she deserves that.
Gail Blows Up To A Category 3 Storm
Conversations with Gail can be a challenge for people who aren’t from her generation.
Once, I heard her go to someone else in the office about a problem at a nearby shopping center. They addressed the current problem, but the discussion didn’t end there. Soon, the conversation was swirling back toward the 1970’s to a story from when she was a clerk at the Woolco store that was in that same shopping center back then. Twenty minutes later, her nostalgic word storm blew over and she wandered back to her desk. Her conversation partner staggered by my desk a few minutes later. I looked up and she said “sir, what the hell is Woolco?”
She’s as good as gold. She means well. So many don’t know what she’s talking about when one of her conversations blows ashore. I wish she could go, she deserves that.
The Storm Increases In Strength. A Mandatory Evacuation Order Is In Place
This morning I was in the copier room when Gail came in. She seems to like the beard and has somehow equated it with me pursuing a career in acting. We’ve covered this ground several times since I grew the beard. I’m not sure how skills as an actor connect with my ability to grow a beard quickly. I just thought the fast growing beard thing meant that I was part Italian.
The conversation raged on. At that point it didn’t matter if I were a Thespian or an Italian, the only thing I could do was board up the windows and ride it out.
She pointed out that Olympia Dukakis didn’t find fame as an actress until later in life. The gust that followed that, the one about how my beard made me look like Ulysses S. Grant, blew me against a cabinet. I braced myself there until the confusing word storm blew by and she moved on up the coast to her work station.
Olympia Dukakis. Ulysses S. Grant. Me. Apparently Olympia needs a shave.
She’s as good as gold. She’s capable and does her job well. She could easily do this for many more years. But she deserves to be collecting her pension and doing a little part-time work just to stay busy.Gail has earned that.
Some people suffer when the alarm clock goes off and they realize it is time to go to work. Others find their happiness at the office. They would just as soon stay at the office and make me imagine Olympia Dukakis’ barber.
It takes all kinds.