bunt sign

Wednesday, May 23, 2001

I can take the petty annoyances that go with my job a lot more easily than I can the failure of the equipment I use. The printer kept jamming today, while I was trying to print about thirty outgoing faxes. (I have to print them to prove to the state that I'm soliciting bids from disabled veterans.)

Then an actual fax came in, as I was in the midst of all this turmoil, and I started getting flashing red lights on the printer and error boxes on the monitor. That's when I lost it.

I could have lost it when the Boss told me he wanted to modify a contract that he wanted me to sign (that's going to go over well at the other end!). I could have lost it when I was typing his personal financial statement, leaning over the aged Selectric in the loft and making mistakes that forced me to start over a couple of times. I could have lost it when I discovered, after printing about fifteen fax sheets, that I'd been using the wrong date (it's not 2000 any more, is it?) and had to start that over, too.

But I waited to lose it until it was something completely beyond my control. This supposedly sophisticated device (we're talking about the printer again) balks at doing two things at the same time. It would never last as a lowly office drone. It would be putting its fist through the wall or knocking over furniture. Some day I'll kick a hole in the water heater, and you'll never hear from me again.

I'm not sure what I need more: to keep working until I get it all done, or to take a break and try to get myself under control. (Okay, I think I do know, but I don't know if I can pull it off.) I have this Tony Hillerman novel (The Fallen Man) that's been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years and I've been trying to find time to read.

Incredibly, in the midst of all the work I'm doing trying to contact disabled veteran contractors to give the Company a bid on an upcoming project, I got a call from a phone solicitor, trying to get me to donate to a disabled veterans group. He started at $49 and worked his way down, $10 at a time.

At first, I politely said no. I give generous donations, considering my meager salary, to organizations of my choice. I have nothing against disabled veterans, but I don't pledge money over the phone. I was very polite at $49, $39 and $29. When it got to $19, I was a little more insistent.

Then he threw me a curve. He asked for a $14 donation. I wasn't expecting a figure that didn't end in a 9, and I almost said yes. But he didn't seem to understand my subtlety. "I'm sorry, I just can't do anything at this time." That's a clear invitation for him to keep asking me for money, apparently.

Once he started saying things like, "The disabled veterans said yes when your country needed them, and I'm sure they can count on you to say yes to them," I was determined that I was never going to say yes to this guy. I got louder and a bit strident. And clearer. "No" is pretty clear, I thought.

"I'm sure your disabled veterans can count on you to donate ten dollars."

What the --? "No!"

"For your disabled veterans?"


"Well, God bless you…" Click! I think I might have even said a bad word, before I found the disconnect button on the cordless handset. I never hang up on anyone, but I guess even my good breeding and compassion have a breaking point. That doesn't mean he won't call back and try again, though.

Obviously, anyone can grow roses...

rose parade

Either that, or roses will grow no matter what idiot is in charge of them.

Apparently we're having an election. The first I heard of it was when I got my ballot in the mail. Not sample ballot, real (absentee) ballot, because I live in a sparely populated area of the county where polling places do not exist. Two issues are being decided: a school bond and a special hospital tax. I have two weeks to come up with a reason to vote yes on both.

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