Fay J's CAMPOUT: Like MTM said, "Its suddenly all worthwhile!!!"
|by Fay Jacobs|
After a hectic week of packing and shlepping, I arrived in Rehoboth more convinced than ever that I got out of DC just in time.
Between the government agonizing over ground troops no, not for Kosovo, for the Tidal Basin to catch the bucky beaver chomping down the historic cherry trees, and the Washington Post carrying front page coverage of Fabio getting whacked in the schnozz by a low flying goose, its been too weird to believe.
Did you catch the Fabio thing? The infamous romantic coverboy was dressed like Adonis and riding the lead car to inaugurate a new rollercoaster. Everything was ducky until the Fab must have closed his eyes in terror, because he never saw this humongous kamikaze goose heading for his face. The cover photo of Fabios bloody beak was not Mr. "I Cant Believe Its Not Butters" finest moment.
But if that wasnt disgusting enough, during my office farewell party, in the midst of wine and cheese, a pre-pubescent roller blader sidled up to the party rooms plate glass window and, while executing a triple salchow, mooned the entire crowd.
We howled. When we announced what wed just seen to folks whose upended wine glasses obscured the view, they didnt believe us. Fortunately our credibility was saved by the great big tush print on the window. The FBI could have dusted it for, if youll excuse the expression, a perfect ahole..
As vivid a farewell as the moonie was, the sign outside the office was even better. My colleagues thoughtfully installed the letters "Farewell, FayThanks for the Memories" on one side of the sign, but blushed when they were reminded that the backside said "Get rid of bulk trash this Saturday." Yup. I was outta there.
So I arrived in Rehoboth on Sunday, April 11, no longer just a weekender, and a mere nights sleep away from my first new job in 17 years. As I tried to relax, channel surfing to keep myself company, it was no small irony that I stumbled upon the very first episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I fell asleep watching Mary greet her new boss ("But Mr. Grant."), new neighbors Rhoda and Phyllis, and totally new surroundings. I empathized.
Let me tell you, from the instant my alarm clock went off, things were gloriously different. In the hour I used to spend commutingpouring coffee down my suit jacket, enduring public radio fundraising, and fighting road rageI went to the gym, got a paper at Browseabout and had coffee with my buds at Dream Caf. Life was wonderful.
In fact, my new job seems to be wonderful, too. One of the things that attracted me to the position was the prospect of a one-person office. No more football pools, office politics, or staggered lunch hours. If I want to gossip around the water cooler I just grab the Britta jug and talk to myself.
Of course, being seriously hardware-challenged (I know, it hardly seems fair, considering my lesbian credentials), the downside of office solohood is having nobody to call when machinery goes berserk.
Lest my new employers pale, let me assure them that Im quite competent in the skills they sought at the interview. Im just an office equipment klutz.
Like it took me three days to figure out that the printer wouldnt print because somebody had helped themselves to the printer cable. Once I leapt that hurdle, we had Nightmare on Lake Avenue IIthe paper jam. The machine is beeping and some cartoon geek on the computer screen is hollering commands. When I manage to liberate the shards of crinkled vellum, half a ream of paper shoots over the room. Suddenly Im Lucille Ball at the chocolate factory, running around the desk and screaming for Ethel Mertz.
Meanwhile the phone rings. "Hello? Hello????" Nobody there. Im thinking I got dissed by a heavy breather when I realize it wasnt the phone, it was the fax. Great. Another machine I flunked. Which is probably good. Otherwise, I might have been tempted, as Murphy Brown once did, to fax my chest to the West Coast. Luckily, it was an incoming.
But the crowning glory of my first week came when I almost locked myself in the bathroom. Actually, I did lock myself in the bathroom, but only for a minute. While the office is in a cute little house, its an old little house. One day I went into the bathroom closed the door and the door handle fell off. Oh good. Trapped. Now heres a serious downside to the single-person office.
First I panicked, eyed the window and wondered if Id be able to shinny out without either killing myself or landing onto page one of the Coast Press. By this time I started to laugh and then, fortunately for me and local newspaper readers, I figured out that I could jiggle the lock open by sticking my pinky finger into where the door handle used to be.
When my friend Mr. Film Fest heard the tale, he said it was too bad I wasnt trapped longer as he would have loved to read that column. Thanks a lot.
Ive been flying solo almost three weeks now and Ive started to leave little notes around the office"Put letterhead in printer upside down, stupid!" and " Fax originals face down, moron!!!!" Luckily, we dont have a shredder or my clothes would look like costumes from Les Miserables.
Having negotiated this uneasy truce with my mechanical staff, Im really settling into my new job and new hometown. Ive checked out the Super G, experienced $2 taco night at Arenas, did the half-price pasta thing last Monday at Cloud 9, studied the new natural wood boardwalk benches vs. the original white ones (I vote for white), got in on "free cone day" at Ben & Jerrys, and generally enjoyed the heck out of myself. I think Ill take my rainbow embroidered baseball cap up to the boardwalk, stand on Rehoboth Avenue , toss the hat up into the air and listen for Mary Tyler Moores "Youre gonna make it after all!" theme song.
And Mary didnt even have free ice cream cone day at Ben & Jerrys.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 9, No. 4, May 7, 1999