Apr 2, 2007

My Life As A Desktop Blotter

One of the little perks, if you want to call it that, of working in a medical office is the constant flow of little freebie items. Pens, coffee mugs, food and candy, calendars, sticky-note pads, most anything you can put a business name on and hand out to a prospect. One of the only really useful bits of marketing fluff to me is the desktop calendar. I worked for years and years at Orrifice Depot, and have directly or indirectly sold about a thousand years worth of desktop calendars, and in all that time I never realised exactly how handy those things can be.

I'm not really a list-maker or a note-taker at home, but in the office I'm bombarded on a daily basis by infobits that are of some small measure of importance. Just important enough that they need to be remembered for more than seven seconds. Where various important people in the office are or will be, geographically speaking. Phone and fax numbers for patients and contractors and doctor's offices. The names and composers of various tasty pieces of music that I want to go home and look up on ClassicCat. The names of people I've put on Permahold, both of us impatiently waiting for their party to free their line.

And as each day passes from 7am Too Early Arrival My Gawd What Am I Doing Here to 5pm Getting The Flock Outta Here To The Joys Of My Garden, I mark off each little number with a black Sharpie marker, ticking off my progress from office to grave.

The month starts out clean and crisp, each day sharply defined by it's little box, each number bright and clear, black on white. The promise of a new month, the blank canvas of a new category of time. As the month proceeds in fits and starts, I leave a whole life of sigils and runes and scribbles. Cryptic remarks; "Lake 11pm ride," "P. out," "25137 Wand." Phone numbers without names; strings of digits that lead to...someone who might or might not be important anymore. Big green "G"s to indicate to myself when I cut the grass here as a contractor. Reminders to myself that the boss will be in Phoenix this week, Jackson the next, and Des Moines for vacation. When the local Volkswagon Fancier's Club will be meeting, and where. Doctor's appointments, and when Quarterly Inventory arrives, lasts, and finally departs.

By the time the month is over my pristine white calendar, that virgin snow-covered land is war-torn and hard-used, filled from edge to edge with things that at one point I thought were important. The careful lines and borders and blocks are all corrupted, territorial boundaries overrun by marauding hoardes of fountain pen scribbles and ball-point stabbings. Three word treaties made and broken daily.

And when the last day comes each month, I carefully tear that page off of the pad and dig through it, an archaeologist in past time, meticulously sifting the detritus of empty days for those few pottery shards that still tell tales, or the glittering golden scarab that is priceless jewelry and not just a dead bug.

When I've finished gleaning all that I need to keep from the page I fold it and toss it in the shred bin, to be rendered into further nonsense by the steel cutters, and I carry my small handfull of treasures into the new month, carefully leaving each important morsel in an appropriate box.

If only my life were so easy. If only I could go from year to year, month to month, throwing out the useless, tearing pages out of my life, examinging them, discharging the old and the moribund and the no longer necessary, bringing forward only the vital pieces, each to be placed reverentially in it's new home for a time.


Mickey Glitter said...

Yes! I totally know where you're coming from with the whole end-of-the-month archeological sifting through the calendar.

Hope all goes well tomorrow.


Lisa said...

Orson Scott Card. "Ender's Game".
You will not be disappointed.

So much useless but necessary clutter in our desks and in our lives, eh?

Irrelephant said...

Thanks, Mickey. And I hope your appointment is a walk in the park. I guess we both need to stop being leery of the freaks in the labcoats.

Lisa--I LOVE me some Orson Scott Card! I read Ender's Game back when it first came out and jonesed for years after, until he finally started trickling more in the series out. Is Hot Sleep: The Jason Worthing Chronicles still in print? That was the book that started me off on Card. Goofy name, great read.