Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

second to last day

working at the library. 

It was bittersweet.  So many people stopping me to say goodbye, when I arrived at work, that I was nearly late getting everything ready for the day's clients.  No rush was needed, because the first two clients never showed, nor did they call.  Both of them begged for one last appointment before I was gone.  My hope is that they missed today because they have found jobs or some other wonderful thing occupied them.

Third client arrived on time.  He is a challenging person.  Despite not knowing much about computers and nothing about employment documents, he is certain that he knows exactly what he wants.  His first appointment last month was interesting.  His second, a few weeks ago was, well, it was amusing.  He apologized for becoming angry with me when I tried to answer his questions and unfortunately stuck with a good process instead of agreeing with his notions.

He mentioned all of that this afternoon, and was able to share with him that he is my favorite kind of client, after young people who are applying for their first jobs.

I like having someone come in with ideas that have nothing to do with seeking a job.  Today he told me that one of the reasons he has trouble keeping a job is that he sees "problems" with how things are done, goes off to fix/change them on his own and then gets into trouble with his superiors when he implements his own ideas and processes, which often do not work and always much to the annoyance of his bosses.  I just smiled at him, no need to comment and he went on to assure me that doing all of that is on his list of things to stop doing.  It is impossible to not smile at that, yes?

He and my last client of the day...the fourth was also a no show/no call...shared how upset they are that I am leaving, which is kind of nice, but distressing to think that they share that they are unwilling or uninterested in working with anyone else.  Sort of crash-test-dummy version of the work we have been doing.  My goal (if I actually had goals) is that I help people move on with their lives so that they can do whatever they need to do, using the resources they happen to already have around them.  It is my hope that these two men are simply expressing their fondness for the work we have done and the time we have spent together. 

My experience is that men struggle with gratitude, especially if it is directed to a woman with whom they have only a casual or platonic relationship.

I have had several men thank me, not know where to go with it and then pat me on the head.  My inner puppy appreciates the effort.  It must be something about hair, because there was one man, during the second year of my gig there who asked if he could touch my hair.  I declined, but even in that moment I knew that he was feeling weird about saying thanks.

Women will just throw their arms around me, give a nice hug and share their thanks.  They never ask to touch my hair.  Good girls.  Who's a good girl?  Oh, you.  You're the good girl.  Oh, yes you are...

Some of my friends there asked me if they could throw a little going away party for me and I asked just for cake.  So, there was an amazing marble cake, with insanely good butter cream icing and vanilla ice cream with chocolate and butterscotch toppings. 

I received a beautiful scarf from my closest friends there, the reference librarians, with a matching pen (man, those had to be pricey) and a red tiara, which I promptly fastened to my head and wore all day.  I got looks of bewildered amazement, old babe in a child's, glittery crown, but I had a lot of fun with the couple of little girls I encountered in the lobby on my way back from lunch/cake/ice cream.

Besides, if someone gives you a tiara, it would be inexcusably rude to not wear it.  I am tossing out all kinds of cool and groovy but non-essential stuff, but I will be holding on to that crown forever.  I think I know exactly where I am going to poster-putty it on a wall in my new place.

Friday is my very last day of work there.  I have made certain that whomever follows me in this job can find any client, any information, any forms or tutorials or document formats as easily as I have been able to do.  Sometimes our process of organization works for us, although it can be less than useful or user friendly for someone else,  So, I went through every document, every file and every employment document for 5 3/4 years of clients.  And, they are all cool and groovy and anyone could use that computer to do any of the work I created there.  I also backed-up every bit of everything on a memory drive, will have that copied and give a copy to my boss for safe-keeping. 

I am especially concerned for the client documents, because you just never know when your dog is going to eat your homework, or your hard drive goes south or you can no longer gain access to your e-mail account, wherein a fresh copy of your resume, references and all the rest reside.

The cake was huge and I nearly grabbed a slice to bring home with me and then realized that eating it alone would make me too sad. 

I slept only three hours last night and so I am off to bed so that I will be fresh when I go do battle with the social security people.  If you mistype your password they lock you out and you have to visit your town's local office.  Is town with local redundant?  Probably.  Who cares.

Anyway, I am tired all the time and the least busy list of things to do exhausts me.  I am looking forward to six weeks of no jobs and hoping that it restarts my engines.


  1. All the best with your move, J! Sounds like it is all falling into place for you. Your grandsons will be thrilled to have you living nearby.

  2. I am so far behind where I should and want to be. I used to joke that moving was such a pain that my best scenario would be to put a big sign on the front lawn stating that people should enter and take whatever they liked. You know, just abandoning everything.

    Today that feels more like a possible reality.