daily preciousness

Thursday, January 18, 2001

final days

My final days in the city were a blur. Quick cuts. Jumps and starts. Flashes of light. Events and images careened by me and I had no time to react. My head was spinning. And it wasn’t the alcohol this time, either.

Maybe it was the conference and the days leading up to it. Or was it simply my feverish efforts to establish a meaningful contact in the Dupont Circle area? Either way, I can’t really recall everything that happened after my New Year’s activities.

Here is an attempt to piece together some of the moments I can remember:

The freaky girl at work who constantly talks to herself gets even freakier. When I first arrived, she spoke to herself in hushed, clipped tones. I did my best to ignore it. But familiarity breeds – well – familiarity ... and she decided that she’s completely comfy with thinking out loud in my presence. So I get plenty of atmospheric mental static from her. She just busts out with non sequitor gems like, "Time to sit down now," "Let’s see, where was I?" "I need some new stamps!" But with the new year and the fact that she’s more comfortable around me, her occasional trickle of comments has increased to a more steady shower. I suppose the added stress of her family’s poor health and her military HMO troubles didn’t help matters.

... When she wasn’t talking to me, she was busy ripping to shreds the harmony quotient in our little cubicle neighborhood. She did this by calling every health care provider available in a five-block radius of the office to complain about her service. And she’s not a very good complainer. She’s the sort that leads to irate postal workers. I sometimes wondered if she complained as a means to an end or simply as a means to be mean. It’s her brand of course, unrefined bitchiness that gives intelligent bitchiness a bad name. And I got an earful of it almost all day at the office.

... My letter to Laura Bush goes through the process of revision in good shape. The letter is mostly a pat on the back about her literacy and education advocacy efforts. Here’s the recipe for the missive:

1 pound of misty-eyed sentiment about "working for our children,"

1/2 cup of informed speculation about her plans to continue her campaign,

3 tablespoons of "coalition building is essential to agenda setting and policy enactment,"

2 teaspoons of schmoozing for good measure.

My supervisor, his supervisor and the powers that be all approve. So the president of the organization signs it and I get a new piece of writing for my portfolio.

And the First lady gets a letter from Jeffrey. Smiles all around. End of story.


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