The Boss phones me at ten thirty this morning. "Julie and I are in Reno." Let's just say it's Reno. It doesn't have to be Reno. It could be anyplace other than where I thought he was, where they are supposed to be. The point is, I didn't even know until he called that he wasn't going to be in his office, at his desk. Reno? It might as well be Neptune.
Actually, it is Reno.
That's not really the point, though, as I might have mentioned. "We're going to Wesley's wedding tomorrow." (Actually, his name isn't Wesley, but that's not the point, either.) I didn't know they were close enough to Wesley (or whatever his name is) to be invited to his wedding. I wouldn't have believed they would go, even if I'd considered the possibility of an invitation.
Wesley is our metal fabricator. He runs a little shop in the hills above Sacramento. I've never met him. I've never even talked to him, except when he calls and asks where his check is. Funny, every time he calls, it turns out to be the day his check was put in the mail. Weird coincidence, that.
"I have a meeting with a client this afternoon, and I forgot to bring our résumé and our list of references." Ah, now we're on more familiar ground, although I had no idea about this meeting, either. I am the chief slack-picker-upper when it comes to the Boss's early-onset forgetfulness. (It's really probably called something else, but I can't remember what.)
For once, I know exactly what he's talking about. It's not like he's asking, "You remember that galvanizer we used on the job in Middle Centerville in 1998? I need their phone number." He remembers everything except the name of the company. I don't even remember 1998, and it takes me a while to reconstruct it.
"I'm going to put Julie on the phone. She'll give you the number to fax those papers to." She not only gives me the fax number, but she also dictates a lengthy memo, with big words and everything, to send under her name. I'm pretty sure I get most of it right, but if not they'll just laugh at my mistakes. I'm usually good for a laugh when somebody springs something like that on me at the last minute.
"Do you want to talk to the Boss again?" Julie wants to know if I want to talk to the Boss again. I really don't. We talk about the NBA playoffs instead. She's from Texas, and between Dallas and San Antonio, quite a few of the playoff games were played in Texas. I impress her by knowing the difference between Steve Nash and Steve Kerr. Not bad, considering basketball isn't my sport.
"We'll be in and out of cell phone range all day." If only I knew when they would be out of range, I could plan my own outages better. Instead, this news pretty much ties me to the phone, taking messages and hoping I can pass them along. Once the Boss is on the road, I never know how long it'll be before I hear from him. The only thing certain is that the more important the message, the less likely I'll be able to deliver it.
Late this afternoon I decide to try his voice mail. I leave two messages that might or might not be critical to the future of the company. Only he can tell, and now the ball is in his court. Ten minutes later he phones me. "Any messages?"
Yes, I tell him, I just put them on your voice mail. "Can you give them to Julie? I don't feel like punching in all those numbers." No problem. I give her the messages, and she tells me what she's wearing to the wedding. (All I remember is "red garters," for some reason.) We wish each other a good weekend. It'll be good for me, I'm pretty sure of that.