Wednesday, May 31, 2006

That's "Dr. Temp" to You!

Please make a note: this is my 70th post. What began as a way to make sure I was writing every day has grown to be... a way to make sure I'm writing... almost every day.

Today is also the 40th birthday of my first love, now an ex-Mormon who's still totally attacking life and living in New York City. I am commemorating by watching endless reels of VH1 Classic Alternative. I tried to talk Sandra Bullock into making out on the couch by the light of videos by the Red Rockers, the Polecats, and OMD, but she went to sleep early tonight.

Finally, today was also my first day at a part-time summer job. Yes, I am 41 years old. And a realtor. But real estate slows down during summers, and besides, my real estate career seems to be a bit dormant at present, so Sandra Bullock and I decided that 10 weeks of data entry at -- where else, the very biotech company that employs her -- would be a good idea.

So today I showed up in my realtor clothes, having spent the morning driving around, looking at houses with a very slim super marathoner who started his career around the same time as me. Normally, I tour with a saucy Frenchwoman, but she hasn't spoken to me since the New Israel Fund dinner. Was it something I said?

There I sat, in an empty office, in my realtor clothes, reading thick packets of SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) guidelines. How strange it was to be here in this role, already known to most everyone as S. Bullock's fun and low maintenance husband, always good for a laugh at the Holiday Party, able to carry on conversations even as my wife cuts a rug out on the dance floor with any number of enthusiastic gay dance partners.

Many people came by my office to say "hello," and inquire gravely about the state of the residential home market. "It's not a burst bubble," I'd say, mustering up as much authority as a 10-week temp can manage, "But the market has definitely softened. I like it that way, because I normally work with buyers."

Some of whom occasionally turn out to be as crazy as everyone else told me they'd be. And some of whom lose interest and stop returning my calls and emails, leaving me in an office, reading SOP manuals.

Late in the day, S. Bullock came by and cheerfully offered up a very small Milky Way Midnight, which was thoughtful and yet reminded me once again that, while the makers of soft drinks and salty snacks have been deviously increasing the size we think of as a "normal" portion, the makers of candy bars have been just as deviously trying to convince us that a much smaller size is in fact "fun." And as if that weren't enough insult, now they have shrunk the "fun size" even more, so that a bag of Milky Way Midnights seems now to contain individually wrapped molecules.

S. Bullock and I had been emailing back and forth about the Jawa's summer camp agenda, which we would have been doing regardless of my location, though it did seem a bit odd to be emailing as if we were in normal configuration when in fact she was sitting in an office less than 50 feet away.

Walking to the bathroom was a challenge as well. To get there, I had to pass not only S. Bullock's office, but also the cubes of at least a half-dozen people I had been drinking with a week ago at a Giants game. They all seemed to take it well, generally making great light of the idea that I was now a peer, or at least a sub-peer in the manner that all temps must admit to. For once, I aspire to no more.

I'm done with wondering what people must be thinking about the elderly temp in their midst. Money is money, and we could use some of it right now, no matter the source. Last month, I put in about a hundred hours in service of a client who eventually backed out of a deal and then accused me of trying to push her into something against her best interests. Once you've had that email in your inbox, sitting in a room and reading SOP manuals is child's play.

7 Comments:

Anonymous flush puppy said...

why the heck aren't you on IM then?!

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Khennessey76 said...

Yeah, don't tell me temps can't IM. We both know better ...

11:06 AM  
Anonymous ZinGal said...

Care to share your pt summer gig?

11:13 AM  
Anonymous flush puppy said...

um, have you read bud lately? why have i never heard of these "man-crushes"?

3:34 PM  
Blogger Ken Dunque said...

You're not undermining S. Bullocks's worksite efficiency, are you?

8:42 PM  
Blogger moosh said...

temps get away with murder, make the most of the facilities!

6:37 AM  
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5:50 PM  

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