October 1, 2001
Last Monday


I attended the Totem Pole Company staff meeting this morning ... just like I do every Monday morning.

I sat in my customary seat on the left-hand side of the conference table, next to the door ... squeezed between Bob The Engineer Guy and Bob The Other Engineer Guy. As usual, I carried a box of Kleenex and half a cup of coffee into the conference room with me. 

Before the meeting started, I took attendance, handed out the meeting agenda to everybody, and made sure that the electronic overhead had a fresh roll of paper, as I do every week. When Jim couldn't find his notes, I ran down the hallway to his office and fished them out of his golf bag, just like always.

But I didn't take notes today. I didn't report my 'billability goal' for the week ahead. And when The Human Resources Director Person asked for volunteers for this year's Christmas party, I didn't raise my hand.

I'm not going to BE there, after all.

Later in the day, I sent out the Bay Area Business Transportation Committee Meeting Notice to all 43,897,621 super-critical V.I.P. committee members, just like I do every second Monday. I composed the meeting notice and the agenda, as usual, and forwarded them to the VP of BFD for his blessing. I double- and triple- and quadruple-checked the names and fax numbers on the member list. I added a handful of new incoming members. I deleted another handful of outgoing members. Eventually, I stood at the fax machine for twenty minutes, punching in all 43,897,621 fax numbers into the elderly Canon, one at a time, just like always. When the fax machine ran out of toner in mid-transmission, like it always does, I managed to change the cartridge without getting a single *toner molecule* on my best interview suit.

When I was done faxing, I saved the new meeting notice and the updated fax list to a floppy disk and gave it to Cathlene The Receptionst Person (soon to be Cathlene The New Executive Ass Person).

I won't need them, after all. I won't be sending any more meeting notices.

In the afternoon, I cleaned up the Totem Pole kitchen. Unlike the other stuff I did today, this isn't something I do every Monday. Technically, it hasn't been part of my job description since February 1998.  But I'm feeling guilty about walking away and leaving Cathlene alone to fend for herself in a sea of angry Totem Pole Testosterone, and I know I'm going to be walking around backwards for the next couple of days, trying to make her life easier before I abandon her. (Would you like me to take care of the mail today? Can I get you a Calistoga? When was the last time someone gave you a neck-rub, hon?) So while Cathlene took an unscheduled midafternoon bagel break, I tackled the kitchen for her. I dumped out the stale late-afternoon coffee, and scrubbed the crusty black stuff from the bottom of the carafe. I rinsed all of the dirty coffee cups that had been left piled in the sink, and then loaded them carefully into the dishwasher. I wiped off the counters, I disinfected the sink, I refilled the salt shakers and the artificial sweetener containers. And then, since some thoughtless moron had left a can of soda in the ice cube compartment again (oh wait: that was me), I spent several minutes scraping exploded Coca-Cola from the sides of the freezer.

When I was done, I removed all of my leftover emergency food from the Frigidaire and packed it all into a shopping bag, to bring home with me after work ... leaving behind two 'lunch apples' and two 'lunch cans' of SlimFast.

That's all I'm going to need, after all.

throw a rock