Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Movin' Right Along. . .

This day took a bit of an unexpected turn as my personal belongings arrived on the front porch. It was rather a large box (if you’ve been paying attention at all, you know that I don’t do things by halves, and inhabiting a workspace is a specialty. I know that there are people out there who don’t have anything personal in their offices, and whose desks look like golf courses or runways or the Gobi desert, but I’m not one of them). After going through the house and doing a head count to make sure that I’d not lost any Quats during the incursion, I hauled it into the kitchen and sliced it open with a pair of scissors.

They didn’t even give me a new box, I thought. Customers always get a new box. That’s how petty I can be. Recycling doesn’t count, or it counts a little less I should say, when one is getting a slight kick in the teeth. I suppose that I was smarting at this last formality, and one of the more ridiculous ones, in the process of getting canned.

And it was ridiculous because the moment I opened the top I saw that they’d saved, packed and shipped a bunch of useless crap that I’d have simply tossed: promotional mousepads, crumpled notes to myself on work-related themes, printed adverts that I’d thought were cute enough to put on my wall (but certainly not cute enough to take home with me), a soda bottle cap, crap that immediately got scaled into the trash. Time, effort, and yes, their money wasted, just because they could not allow me to do the job myself. I wouldn’t even have minded if they’d insisted on having a security officer standing there scrutinizing my every move just to make sure that I didn’t commit some diabolical act of collegiate sabotage.

Like – oh, I won’t even go down that path in my imagination. There are any number of things I could do to make their lives more difficult if I wanted to try. The problem is, at whom is the first person that the Finger of Suspicion would point? Uhm-Hmmm! Some things just aren’t worth it for the tiny amount of pleasure they would give.

Moving down through the box: adding insult to injury, they broke my Unity College soup mug. I have to assume that they did it deliberately, because a) nothing else breakable was broken and b) the body of the mug was neatly wrapped in paper while the handle was carelessly tossed into the box beside it where I would inevitably cut my fingers on its sharp edges. Which I did – twice. Do you know how hard it is to bandage your index fingers when both of them are spurting blood?

There were things that I was happy to see again, but there were two things in particular that it would have grieved me to lose: first, the hand-painted wooden sign reading LT. (JG) and my father’s name, USNR, from my father’s days in the Nany, spent on the east coast in the earliest years of his marriage to my mother. It was actually his second tour of duty; his first, in the Merchant Marine, having been declared as Not Counting.

Second, a small (3 1/4 x 3 3/4) creation of my mother’s, moved to my cubicle only after her death. It’s a predominantly orange papier mache sun with a blue-eyed, smiling face on a thick block of wood. Many were the bad days and bad moments that I looked at her sun and was both cheered and saddened. I don’t know that things would have been any different if I had looked at it on the afternoon of the 21st. Or the afternoon of the 19th, for that matter.

At any rate, both of them have joined me at home now, I am whole and completely contained between four walls once again. My mother’s sun will smile at me every time I enter my study; my father’s sign will declare our shared name over the library. All is well.

-- Freder.

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