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May 14, 2017 / thackersam

Mr. Buzz Kill or Life Beyond the Rally

My boss, whom we will refer to as Buzz, for obvious reasons, is a real Debbie Downer, a Negative Nancy, a Doubting Thomas, and one big buzz kill, ergo, his new moniker (he’s also a bit of a Nosy Parker). I have long nicknamed him Mr. Curmudgeon and stuck a big yellow smiley face on his office door. It’s still there. He likes it.

But oh, how he loves to argue every point and you just want to bop him upside the head. And mind you he’s one of those guys who has to have his phone on at all times because god forbid he misses a call just because he’s in a pesky meeting in which we are reporting on our recent trip to New Orleans and what we learned at the conference. Bop. For some strange reason, on this day he had changed his usual ringtone, Van Halen’s “Jump” to that Hall and Oates ditty, “You Make My Dreams Come True.” It was just oddly optimistic of him, particularly since he spent the majority of two hours bursting every bubble I had brought back with me. I never know though which one he is going to present as his own idea.

The next day, when his ringtone had returned to the better suited “Jump,” as I sat across from him in his office while he fiddled with his hearing aid, the battery flew up and dropped on the floor, somewhere. It had done a bounce and roll. Buzz crawled on the floor as I suggested that maybe my slighter build and two working eyes would be more useful. “Have you thought about how you’re going to get up,” I mused, but I don’t know if he heard me. He was laying practically splat on the floor behind his big imposing desk, concentrating on an area under the side desk. I hovered over him then glanced at the door that I always close behind me when I’m in his office, because we often disagree, loudly. I laughed. “I hope no one comes in now, because they’ll think I’ve killed you,” I said. I think he may have heard that one.

I told my Associate Director about it. “Especially you,” I said. “You would think I’d finally done it.” She grinned and nodded. “And I know what you would do,” I said. With her still nodding I suggested she would turn, after shouting “my lord woman, what have you done,” go get our millennial, and together we would devise a plan to dispose of the body. Because that’s the kind of team we are!

And speaking of solidarity, on Wednesday night I attended a meeting by the organizers of the Women’s March on NYC, to make some decisions regarding life beyond the rally. I was feeling it, and my sense that others must be feeling it too was confirmed when I got the invitation to the meeting. What else besides assemble in protest could we do, and what areas should we concentrate on in addition to that big one. There was a lot of talking, story telling and the like, so the only firm plan of action is that we will meet again soon. They had pretzel rods.

I was flattered when organizer Kat recognized me from volunteer headquarters on the day of the march in January. I had mentioned that the night before the march on the conference call the number we were told of registered marchers had double from the week prior’s figure and was then 200,000, and that as I stood on the southeast corner of 47th and Lex directing the oncoming crowds the next morning, I could somehow tell that it was a lot more than that. She said that while the press was reporting 400,000, someone else in authority had indicated that it was closer to 700,000. Then she told me when she started organizing the March as an adjunct to the main Women’s March on DC, she had filed permits for 2,000. “And then I just posted it on Facebook,” she smiled.

The next night I had a facial.

BTW – I called my stepmother in Holland to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. We had a nice chat, though I didn’t understand much of what she was saying other than “nice plants” and something about how the new president of Indonesia has contacted her about paintings of her first husband who had been the country’s premier artist until he was murdered nearly 25 years ago. The last part of that is true. He was the premier artist for decades and he was murdered.

As she approaches 91, it has become more and more necessary to respond according to her tone of voice with either sympathetic or enthusiastic ohs and hmms, use “oh that’s nice,” very carefully, and gently glide over the question, “So when are you coming over.” Key words like “nice man” alert me, particularly the helpful kind, but this time I surmised she was speaking of someone in the past. When she was still living in her apartment, to where she is returning tomorrow or the next day as soon as they take the pictures off the walls of her room in the nursing home where they are trying to kill her because she knows too much, the nice boys she referred to who were in her home at 4:00 in the morning her time, were cops. But they were nice boys. I know I shouldn’t poke fun, but she’s been heading down her trail of delusion for a long time and she’s not turning back to the real world, so when we speak on the phone, I just join her in her world. I don’t know if it’s better or worse that she is now going home in a day or two, as opposed to next week, as she has been repeating for years. But as I’ve been saying, her voice sounds strong and once in a while she’s been right.

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