intruders, of the less serious variety

December 7, 2007

I belong to a privileged minority of folks who enjoy what they do. I love my job [most of the time, that is ☺]. More importantly, however, my job is good for me. Hopefully I am good for it as well . . .
But what I find myself enjoying lately about it is the way in which it forces me out of my routine. I have a tendency to create structured routines no matter what my phase of life my be: this routine can change drastically from one phase to the next [i.e. American librarian to teacher in the Zambian bush], but upon transitioning, I rapidly develop a new routine. This is a good thing, and I do it because I need to . . . but it can become a bit neurotic at times.
So I love the fact that my job involves “surprise” encounters. It certainly holds its fair share of regular, scheduled tasks [writing/producing the newsletter, getting new residents settled, updating files, etc]. But the most interesting/challenging tasks—and definitely the most amusing ones—often come from the unexpected events . . .
As I often do, I made a house call instead of simply making a phone call, to see if Ms. Emily wanted to sign up for the next holiday event. When I knocked she opened the door more promptly than I am accustomed to, making me step back a bit, pausing as I tried to remember how I had planned to address her [I generally compose questions before actually asking them].
Before I had a chance to say anything, however, she ushered me in the door with a comment as to how “relieved she was to see me.” My emergency-radar jumped in here, as she was one of the residents I had not yet met—I assumed, then, that she must have some urgent need for assistance.
Once the door was closed behind me, and I was safely insider her apartment, Ms. Emily lowered her voice and leaned towards me, wide-eyed, as she explained that she had been just about to come to the office. She paused, lowered her voice slightly more, and hushedly exclaimed, “Gophers!”
“What,” I queried, thinking I must have heard her wrong.
But I had not. It turns out that Ms. Emily was terrified of the “gophers” she had seen in her apartment. Translated, thanks to some further questioning and investigation, this means that Ms. Emily had seen a rat. Ahhh, of course, I thought, once I had solved the mystery and duly reported the infestation . . . and I smiled to myself at my private joke. Considering the way I have been replaying the image in my mind of her “Gophers!” revelation, I think this will be just one of the many mental files this job offers that serve as reminders that sometimes real life is just too darn funny to take too seriously. A good reminder for all of us who are prone towards the stressing/worrying tendencies!

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