My mom’s good friend owns a business and she called me a few weeks ago to ask if I knew anything about bulk mailings because she needed to send something to all of her customers. And I wasn’t a manager of a nonprofit once upon a time for nothing: among many other things, I know bulk mailings. So I said that when she had things ready to go, I’d be glad to help her out, and on Monday this week, I went in to get things started. Her son was supposed to help out, but he didn’t make it on Monday, so I spent the day alone at a table, sticking labels on things. It’s boring, mindless work, the kind you can do while thinking about anything else in the world. It’s kind of like filing or weeding a flower bed or folding laundry in that regard. I don’t mind that kind of thing in small doses; I kind of move along with my thoughts, not having to worry too much about the work my hands are doing. By the end of the day Monday, I had 725 pieces taped, labeled, counted and sorted. That seems like a lot, and it is, it surely is, but when the entire mailing is 3,000+ pieces, it doesn’t seem like much at all. On Tuesday morning I showed up again and set to work. I’d been at it for about a half an hour when a tall man walked through the door. We immediately smiled at each other; it had been a long time, but you never forget your childhood friends.
When we were growing up, his mom and my mom hung out a lot, so we spent a lot of time together. His brother (older than me by two years) tended to be more quiet and serious, and he tended to be, as my mom put it, “a bit of a scoundrel” and because it was never hard to convince me to find some trouble to get into, we were in trouble a lot (and would’ve been in trouble a lot more had we gotten caught). So we worked and caught up on each other’s lives since we’d seen each other last, and reminisced about the things we did when we were little jerks. My favorite? “Remember that time Melissa was babysitting us and we told her we wanted to play hide and seek, so we made her be it and while she was counting we ran in the house and locked the doors and didn’t let her inside until right before our parents were supposed to come back?” Ah, good times. While our babysitter was locked out, I’m pretty sure the most adventurous thing we could come up with doing was eating food and playing Atari (children of the 80s, represent!) but the point was that we had no supervision. The babysitter never did tell on us. I finally came clean a few years ago, while I was going through a phase of confessing the things I shouldn’t have done during my childhood and adolescence, because it’s too late now to get into trouble for any of them and I’m so clever. Though in the grand scheme of my transgressions, this one is relatively small, every time I think about it, I can still hear the babysitter knocking on the door and saying “Please you guys, it’s not funny. Let me in,” while we laughed and thought we were the smartest, awesomest people ever. And you wonder why, when my mom says that someday I’ll have kids just like me, my heart fills with fear.
Anyway, there’s really no point to that story, other than it was nice to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in probably a decade, well, that and man, I used to be awful. And it was SO MUCH FUN.
After all of that, I went home and checked my machine, and there was a message from someone I didn’t know. That in itself isn’t really a big deal, but he was calling some people, and I’m not either of them (meaning he had a wrong number) to inform them about a death. Yeah. “Hi, ________. This is _______. I’m calling to let you know that ________ passed away over the weekend, and I can let you know about funeral arrangements if you give me a call.” He left his number and I knew I was going to have to call him, but in my head it turned into one of the most awkward conversations ever. So I procrastinated and procrastinated and finally called him this afternoon to let him know that he’d gotten the wrong number. He was nice and appreciative so it wasn’t as awkward as I thought it might be, though there was one long pause before he said “Thank you so much,” and I said “You’re welcome,” and another long pause before he said “Okay, see ya,” and I said “Um. Bye?” Because, you know, he doesn’t know me, so he’s not going to see me. I didn’t even recognize his area code. (And I recognize a lot, because just like Ludacris, I got hos in different area codes. Or something.) It was just a little odd, but I’m willing to forgive the oddness of bereaved strangers. And that was, as they say, that.
So that’s what I’ve been up to this week: putting labels on things, remembering what a pain in the ass I was when I was a kid (shut up, I said when I was a kid) and having an awkward conversation on the phone. Oh, and I was not selected to have an in-person interview for that job. Which is fine, you know, because whatever, but I still think that if people are going to interview me over the phone, they should at least have the decency not to ask me the same questions in different words, because that’s just annoying.