It’s been a very noisy several days in the Mission, what with Critical Mass on Friday, Halloween on Sunday, and a tremendous hullaballoo last night that Tom informed me was due to the Giants’ winning the World Series. We had hours of honking car horns, yelling and gunshots.
And it’s been a very busy several days at work, with all but two of my group out on vacation. Something rather shocking happened last Friday afternoon, when N., who normally works at home that day, rushed into the office and started cleaning out his cube—after 30 years at our company, he’d found out the day before that his job had been eliminated.
Longtime readers may recall N. as the slurping guy. He had quite a number of distracting habits, and it was entirely on his account that I kept Ajahn Sumedho’s book Teachings of a Buddhist Monk on my desk so I could snatch it up when needed and read this: “No matter how much we want things to be otherwise, they are as they are,” the beginning of a long section on how irritating it is to be around other people.
So I wasn’t always crazy about N.’s behavior, but he was also energetic and charming and was the person in the office I talked to the most. Generally speaking, I found him endearing and enjoyed our chats. (He was also the cutest guy in the vicinity, not to be shallow or anything.)
He finished packing up his stuff, asked for and received a kiss on the cheek, indicated I should tuck my email address into the chest pocket of his jacket, and was gone, just like that. It was awful.
Friday night I had to labor until midnight on a project for work which continued into the next day, when I got up at 8:45 a.m., leaving Hammett under the covers. He remained there until 2:29 p.m and then walked into the kitchen to see if what he’d been served for breakfast was something he liked—it wasn’t; it was cat food—and walked straight back out.
My project took until 8 p.m. Saturday, so it was just as well it was gloomy and rainy out. It was also quite cold inside, but when I called Tom to complain—he can’t do anything about the heat, but I’m scared to call the person who can—he said that the heat is never on during the day, which I had not noticed in 12 years of residency, and which I’m not sure is actually the case. In any event, since calling the building manager was out of the question, I followed Tom’s excellent example and put on a sweater.
Sunday was beautiful. In the morning I had a very nice chat on the phone with Sally in Ann Arbor, and went to see my hospice lady, E., who had declined noticeably since the prior weekend. Then I rode my bike to Rainbow for groceries, and in the evening went out to dinner at Herbivore with Tom and his girlfriend and her son, who proved to be a smart and alert young man. It was nice of them to include me.
To show my gratitude, I forwarded Tom an email that had scared the crap out of me, but I forgot to tell him to turn his sound on, so it didn’t scare him. I tried again with my mother, albeit with slight trepidation that it might cause her to have a heart attack and die and then the rest of the family would be disgruntled. However, she took it in stride, so then I sent it to my friend Frank, lately and mostly of Dublin, Ireland, but currently of Southern California, and got this extremely gratifying response the next morning:
“Well well well. Aren’t you a funny little friend. There I was with my dinner neatly tucked away in my belly, getting ready for a nice game of basketball on telly, when I decided to view that email sent to me by my good friend LWA. And what happened next? I innocently opened it up, and then pooped myself on the couch. Nice. I’ll have my revenge!!!!”
Yes! A happy ending there, except for my co-workers having to listen to me laugh convulsively every time I reread Frank’s note.
It’s been sad to walk past N.’s empty cube. I’d worked in the same building with him for five or six years, and had sat right near him for two and a half years. Yesterday afternoon I sat in his empty seat and, as an homage, sang the first two notes of “Hey, Jude,” which made the unseen person in the cube beyond chuckle, since N. sang the first two notes of “Hey, Jude” about six times a day.