Baby, It's Mold Outside
that looks like fun!" says Scott The General Manager, smirking in the
doorway of the Dirt Company production room. "I guess it's really
helping to MOLD your character, isn't it?"
smile at him -- my twinkliest, dimpliest, most insincere smile (Hahahaha!
You're so funny!) -- and I slide another thick sheaf of paper
into the creaky
been like this all week, as I've struggled to singlehandedly reproduce,
collate and manually bind 43,897,621 booklets for next week's Mold
Remediation Luncheon Seminar. Originally scheduled to run for three
days -- in which case, I would have only been required to bind
33,897,621 booklets -- the response to the seminar invitations has been
so overwhelming that we've had to schedule a fourth date. (I figure we
have Ed McMahon and his dead dog to thank for this.) Every co-worker
who wanders into the production room and sees me hunched over the
antique binding machine, like a peasant artisan hunched over her loom,
has felt compelled to crack wise about it.
Marketing Guy: "Wow! They really broke the MOLD
when they made you, didn't they?")
course none of these funny, funny people has felt compelled to sit down
and help me bind some booklets. But that's OK. I
understand. It's a Shidt Job. I'm getting ALL of
the Mold Seminar-related Shidt Jobs handed to me: stuffing envelopes,
mailing form letters, printing name tags, binding booklets. I'll
probably wind up parking cars and serving fruit cups before the seminar
is over. (Of course, the secret to dealing with Shidt Jobs is to
volunteer for them before they're assigned to you.
That way it looks like it was *your* idea, AND you earn extra
brownie points with the boss.)
truth is that I wouldn't welcome 'help' from anybody right now, anyway.
It would feel like an intrusion. This may be a Shidt Job, but it's my Shidt Job. As tedious and time-consuming and paper-cut-intensive as it
may be -- I'm sporting four Band-Aids on my right hand alone -- I must
confess that I'm deriving a certain weird comfort from the sheer
mindlessness of the task. Sort. Collate. Align. Insert paper
into feeder: not too many pages or the machine will jam, not too few or
you'll be here until Christmas. Pull lever forward. Punch pages.
The rhythm and the repetitiveness are very soothing, especially
after the past few non-stop/hurry up/go-go-go weeks. Place
plastic comb onto spindles. Pull lever forward to splay comb tines.
Thread punched paper through tines. Push lever back to seal.
I'm enjoying the feeling I get, pulling the lever forward and hearing
that satisfying *crunch* sound ... putting a lot of
loose pages together into one cohesive whole ... stacking the finished
booklets into neat tidy little piles. The false sense of accomplishment
it provides has been like tonic on my frazzled nerves.
also, god help me, learning more about MOLD than I ever dreamed
possible. It isn't just about bedroom closets and week-old bread
the thing I'm enjoying the most about this particular Shidt Job is the
sanctioned opportunity to escape into my own head for a few hours every
day. When you're sitting in front of an ancient GBC Binder, punching
43,897,621 Mold Seminar booklets, there isn't a whole lot else to do but to sit here and think.
think some more.
I'm binding, I make To-Do Lists and Wish Lists in my
head. I plan dinner menus. I recall dreams from the night before. (My
ex-husband broke into our apartment and threw away all of my new
underwear; Son #Only was magically turned into a baby again; I
accidentally went to work wearing the blue pajamas my mother-in-law
gave me for Christmas.) I write bad country-western songs. I compose
future *FootNotes* entries. (Right now, for instance, I'm searching for
a metaphor to describe the way I've been feeling these past few days,
since the Tots went home to TicTac. Limp as a day-old Prom
corsage? Flat as a freeway racoon? Sad as a positive stachybotrys
chartarum culture swab?)
I've enjoyed countless imaginary conversations:
Cretinous Asshole Who Stole My Bike: Here's your bike back.
I'm so sorry. What was I thinking?
That's OK. Bind these 43,897,621 Mold Seminar Booklets for me and
we'll call it even.
like being paid to daydream, basically.
it makes a long afternoon disappear in the blink of an eye. Before I
know it, it's almost 4:30 on Friday afternoon and I am surrounded by
towering stacks of finished Mold Remediation Seminar booklets. I've
managed to bind 43,897,521 of them so far: I'll save the last hundred
of them for Monday morning. It will be a good, no-brainer way to slide
into the work week.
so wrapped up in counting and stacking and patting myself on the back
for a job well done that I don't even hear the Main Geotechnical
Scientist Nerd come into the production room.
he says, interrupting my train of thought. "You must be MOLDLY
going where no woman has gone before!" He gives me a big, goofy,
Geotechnical Science Nerd grin.
I reply, without even missing a beat. "Just call me Moldilocks." And I
grin right back at him.
god the weekend is here.