I sat in a chair this afternoon in my boss’s office. We were supposed to meet at 3:30 but she’d been pulled into a crisis. I had checked through the glass door of the executive director’s office at one point to see if that meeting was interruptable, but even I felt that I should stay away until they were really done.
Now it was 4:15 and I knew she had to leave at 4:30, and I didn't want to linger anyway and had been planning on slipping out the moment she was gone.
I have been getting more and more savvy about finding pockets of time in the work day that I can shoplift, no one noticing.
Yesterday I managed a 20-minute cat nap in the conference room at a busy time of day. I had to do it. There was nowhere else to go and I had to close my eyes and get even a few moments of unconsciousness. I managed it – actually sleeping for five minutes, then waking myself up in time for a meeting in the same room during which I had to keep pulling myself back from a magnetic brink of unconsciousness.
I am sitting now in my boss’s office. I have scheduled myself into her tomorrow to make up for the time lost today, but tomorrow’s appointment could be easily blown off at the last minute too so I have opted to make use of her first 15 minutes of free time today to get at least a couple of things done.
I have a folder in my hands in which I have stacked all the things I need her to see in order of their importance.
When I get my 15 minutes with her I don’t want to waste a moment of it.
It’s like when I worked for Gurumayi, so like it sometimes. You’re responsible for making sure they see stuff on time, their time is unpredictable and spare – you try to be ready at all times and on the look-out for when you can gently, elegantly spring. You have to be appealing because you are bearing stuff they would love to put off.
I haven’t mentioned to Erica, my good-natured boss, how I often bump into déjà vu as I do my best to serve her. She has read the book about my time with Gurumayi and liked it a lot, but I fear the parallel might make us both uncomfortable.
We began going through some easy but important matters, then someone knocked on the door. “Come in,” my boss called out, popping an almond into her mouth from a bag she held on her lap.
The person stuck her head in, then offered to come back later. “No, no,” said my boss, "what’s up?” And the person proceeded to step into the room and tell her what was up.
I kept my eyes down, not getting into the conversation, allowing myself to be mildly pissed off that Erica hadn’t asked them to come back later since she’d kept me waiting for 45 minutes. But I know that one of the things I like about Erica is that she doesn’t mind being interrupted. I like that you can almost always knock, enter, talk.
I could feel the sadness that I’d been feeling all afternoon plant itself on my face. Erica glanced over at me as she spoke to the other person and I noticed how her look paused, as if she were taking a closer look at me, as if she had seen something and almost asked what it was.
And as we resumed our small bits of business I thought about confiding in her. After all, we are close enough that she noticed some subtle shift in me. I wondered if I could tell her the story of the last day or two, wanted to, but then thought, no, I can’t. She doesn’t have the capacity to hold me in the complete way I would want if I were to tell this story. Though it’s almost there. I think she thought about asking in the same way as I thought about telling. But I kept it to myself, and she dashed off to her daughter’s first piano concert.