Today’s mission: I have an MS Word document in front of me. Length…oy. Eight thousand, sixty-three words. It consists of about two dozen e-mails sloppily aggregated. I have to hack, trim, polish and stitch them into something resembling a coherent piece of writing. And yes, some people wrote their e-mails with no capital letters whatsoever.
I expect this will take most of the day. So why not put it off another few minutes with some blogging?
(Note: Just had one of those work-at-home moments, where I add up the pluses and minuses of being one’s own boss and come up with a large plus. Not that people don’t criminally procrastinate in offices, as anyone who’s strolled through one with a view of the computer monitors can attest. In fact, I’m frequently amazed at the amount of in-bossman’s-face goldbricking that goes on; a friend’s husband works with a woman who eBays throughout her work day, and prints out reams of listings and just leaves them lying on the printer for all to see. What-evuh.)
I hope you had a good Presidents’ Day. Having spent most of my career in the “you call that a holiday?” world of newspapers — where I have worked Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day and most other days when others wouldn’t go near their offices — I scarcely think of it as one. We got six paid holidays, if I’m remembering correctly: New Year’s, Memorial, Independence, Labor, Thanksgiving and Christmas. When I hear of offices closing for MLK, Dead Presidents, Veterans and my personal favorite, Columbus Day, I wonder how any work gets done in the world. That’s not even considering Friday-after-Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Year’s, a black hole of dead time.
I once wrote a column about working Christmas, which I actually came to prefer, when I was single. It paid out double time, double brownie points and was so news-free, it usually consisted of spending a day at the office reading newspapers and eating stale Christmas cookies, waiting for the roof to fall in. Most years, the roof stayed up, but there were exceptions — a serious below-zero cold snap that fractured water mains all over town. (This was the year I learned the First Rule of Note-Taking in Sub-Zero Weather: Always carry a pencil.) There was a bank robber who was bailed out by an anonymous good Samaritan, so he wouldn’t have to spend Christmas in a warm jail cell, but in his cold, incredibly depressing furnished room that was only marginally roomier.
Anyway, if you had the day off, here’s hoping it was appropriately presidential. Hail to the chief of your choice.
Remember those heady days of earlier this month, when it seemed Detroit really could get its act together, stop the city-suburban squabbling, pull up its socks and be a city?
Yeah, it’s hard for me, too.
Earlier this week, the City Council voted to shut down the zoo. Yep. Sure, it’s in a fiscal crisis along with every other public institution around here, but unlike those, there was a plan proposed that would have allowed the city to retain ownership, give up management and keep the facility open. Win-win, you might say. Of course the council voted it down. Because they were in a really bad mood! They got the plan late! And besides, the zoo is in the suburbs, and you know what that means — another chance to stick it to the man.
Alan watched the late news last night, and reported a councilman — can’t say which one — was carping that she was getting angry calls from “north of Eight Mile” and someone needed to tell these people hey, Slavery is over, and we’re not on the plantation anymore. I’m amazed at how often public officials say that around here; it’s like, the default sound bite. When the (broke) city was caught spending $130,000 for bottled water for city workers, here’s what the mayor said: “Slavery is over. It is. We don’t need for massa to tell us to get some water.” Huh? The race card is played so often here you’d think it would have disintegrated from handling by now. But no.
On a more comical note, Councilwoman Martha Reeves (yeah, that one) was on TV saying, “It was a good vote. We agreed to disagree.” And close the zoo. Oh.
OK, I can’t put it off any longer — time to start hacking.