12.20.2004

9751

Get far enough away and everything makes sense.

Every day Jeannie Joy makes announcements over the phone network. Lacking a public address system, she calmly creeps up every phone line, crawls out the speaker, brushes herself off and states her piece before climbing gracefully back in and through to her position at the front desk.

Many times it's to summon the publisher or editor to take a call from our feudal lord, Rick. Rick Burroughs, despite being a handsome, rich and successful newspaper owner is never referred to by his full or last name. He is not William Randolph Hearst. He is merely Rick, his surname so rarely used as to atrophy into anew tense, a fifth person.

About once every other day, her pronouncement is not to encourage us to swear fealty, but instead to instruct us to tithe at a different altar.

"The meter-man is out front. The meter-man is out back. The meter-man cometh."

An orderly, cursing rush can then be heard over my basement cubical, as if a troupe of heavy-footed chorus girls is swearing their way back and forth across the floor.

For reasons only attributable to the stack of desks that is our municipal bureaucracy, we have been unable to get parking passes for our employees, forcing those who want the convenience of parking directly behind the offices to suffer the inconvenience of going outside four to five times a day to fill their meters, or, alternatively, paying a pink parking ticket left by one employed in the most thankless job in humanity.

I normally park in the free lot across the street and approximately 17 seconds farther away.

I do not know why, in an office where the use of Microsoft Outlook is required for checking in and out, for interoffice memos and organizational calendars, they have not yet scheduled in the meter-man. His schedule is predictable, according to my hastily scribbled notes over a two week period. Yet for two years he has tormented the office as a grumbling volcano to a primitive island tribe.

I could tell them. I could discreetly enter in his information to the frustratingly misspelled Employee calendar, directly under "Classified Dealine". But if I were to unmask this god, reveal the clock behind the curtain, would not soon Rick also fall, his phone summons unanswered, until he lay, trampled and beaten, a ladies heel embedded in his eye, a modern Mussolini?

From ocean currents to foreign politics, there is no chaos at a distance. But if you step into the order, enter the Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, it spreads to disarray around you. And points of light are never allowed to step back and see the image more distant eyes can see.

Also, they could just park in the free lot. I refuse to be one whoswabs rubbing alcohol on the arm of a lethal injection recipient.

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