Great Times.

When you have a blog, even a small, not-widely-read blog like mine, you have to be cognizant of privacy and common sense. I try not to exploit Miss L by smearing her face or stories all over the blog every day, for example, although it’s tough to keep her off altogether simply because she’s the biggest and most important part of my life. Most of my close personal friendships and relationships are similarly left unplumbed, because the relationships are more important to me than the writing material they might represent.

And, of course, work. No one at my workplace knows about my blog and I prefer to keep it that way, so I don’t blog much about my job or my colleagues. Of course, this leaves a LOT of my daily life unblogged, which is okay. I get by.

As usual, I point out my basic rules in order as preface to an exception post.

Widget Central* has employed me gainfully since 2002 and I really love it. It isn’t my passion, but my job and my coworkers have been the most consistent, stable part of my life for 12 years over 2 continents. Every bit of energy and joy I’ve put into my job has come back to me threefold in the form of financial independence and amazing, supportive friends, a second family. Not everyone can say this about the place where they make their living, and I am utterly, completely grateful.

Two of my great friends at Widget Central are currently interviewing candidates for an entry level position in their department and their stories are gratifyingly hilarious. MC Granola put the kaibosh on a football player from a major university because, as he said witheringly, “That dude is six foot seven. I’m going to tell him to do my data entry? MAYBE NO.”

The other day they pulled a resume out of the pile. At the bottom, the kid’s extracurriculars read as follows: “Football. Soccer. Sports. Family. Great Times.” For some reason, everyone except MC Granola thought this was the funniest thing they’d ever read and they just HAD to bring Great Times in for an interview, which MC Granola declined to attend. “I was right,” he told me. “That kid showed up in a polo shirt and the first question he asked was what his hours were going to be.” Someone, it seems, needs to school Great Times in the do’s and don’ts of interviewing.

I was reminded how much I love my job by today’s Thanksgiving potluck, sponsored by the Engineering Department. This potluck is hands down the absolute best work-sponsored event I’ve ever attended. The company provides the ham and the turkey and the engineers, once they are vigilantly discouraged from signing up to bring soda, cutlery, napkins, or rolls (we mark those easy categories off) do a thorough job of putting the remainder of the menu on a matrix and formulating grim assignments. There is nothing that makes me laugh harder than hearing them confer over the sign-up sheet when they think no one is listening. “Okay. We have two salads – a broccoli salad and a green salad. Clearly no one is going to eat THOSE. Who can do one of those sweet potato things? Dale? Okay. Now, it’s gotta have the little marshmallows cooked into it.” Dale: (offended) I KNOW! MY GOSH!! WHO WOULD BRING A SWEET POTATO THING WITHOUT THE LITTLE MARSHMALLOWS?!” “Okay, okay. Now. What else? Anyone up for something au gratin??”

We end up, perhaps not surprisingly, with an entire table of traditional American Thanksgiving items, and another table, which is inevitably the most popular, of gourmet Indian cuisine, from the other well-represented group amongst the engineers, and most people will say, as they are standing in line, confidingly, “Don’t waste your time on the turkey. You’ll get that next week. THE BUTTER CHICKEN IS WHERE IT’S AT, MAN.”

JD is a small, unassuming engineer who wears an Indiana Jones hat and drives a battered black van, which has earned him some suspicious glances from the other Widget Central employees who automatically associate ‘van’ with ‘creeper’. However, JD’s double life is not as a perp, it’s as a wedding singer, and the van is essential for hauling his musical gear. At our Thanksgiving potluck, he sets up his keyboard and regales us with tunes. It is one of the happiest days of the year, to sit and stuff oneself with samosas and pecan pie, and see a table loaded with the previously unforeseen talents of the Engineering Department. Who knew that T-Mac could whip up that Tupperware of homemade whipped cream? (“That’s not butter?” “No, Dale, not butter.”) Who knew that Dale himself could make a ciabatta that could make you cry? Who knew that JD could sing with an Irish lilt in a traditional ballad and then smoothly shift gears, with the appropriate snappy patter, into “Rambling Man”? I could sit there all day eating and listening, and looking around at my Widget Central colleagues and feeling like these really are Great Times.


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