The Poster at my Feet

So every year in our tiny town meeting there is a retired teacher who gets up and drones on about how the grammar school should not have abandoned its Canadian history curriculum in favor of a social studies curriculum that includes other countries in the world. This curriculum was abandoned about the same time as the school decided to stop showing students the home movie about how to butcher a pig.

Yes, even in this tiny town the internet eventually arrived and dish network too and suddenly the powers that be realized that few of the students were ever going to have to butcher their own pig and maybe it was time to stop making generations of young girls into lifelong vegetarians. As far as Canada went, CNN helped these same figureheads know that Canada was more than just the place underage NH kids went for drinks and lap dances but perhaps not such a dominant world power that half a year of seventh grade social studies should be dedicated to its study.

But my point is, I “get” where this retired teacher who LOVED teaching Canadian studies is coming from. I am him, sort of.

You see, when I recovered from breaking my arm, it was clear, even to me, that it would be better to have Miguel continue to run the office and have me do other stuff like these blogs and the gardens and the Flower Essence creation part of the operation versus re-enter the daily office fray to continue to try to do too much. It was a no brainer of a decision but this doesn’t mean that my brain didn’t try to hang on anyways.

Or to put it another way, it is not completely a surprise that I needed to break both my arms before I was able to “let go.”

After the cast came off, I would sometimes see that there was sooooooooooooo much going on in the office that I would try to just slip in and help, but I realized pretty fast that that didn’t feel like help to Miguel but more like backseat driving. Instead, I learned to share ideas at our weekly meetings and wait until he asked me for advice before giving it….well…… I learned to be appropriate most of the time but in my defense, it is hard to hand off a baby that you have been caring for night and day for twenty five years. It is hard not to yell out to the new caretakers, “Will you folks remember to burp the baby and change its diapers?”

But they did remember, and the baby is well and thriving in their care.

And I got to have a lovely, if damp, spring in which I was actually gardened in the daylight versus in the near dark after a day in the office.

As I weeded away, I sort of knew that inside the office Miguel was making changes to better use current technology but it was all a bit murky because I was, after all, thinking about things like slugs and bugs not la cie drives or filemaker updates. Once in awhile, I would make some nostalgia driven plea for some insanely out of date method of doing something- mostly because even though it was no longer me doing these jobs, I liked the idea of doing them “the TRADITIONAL old fashioned way.” But to give myself slight props, most of the time this last six months, I have felt a lot of awe for how well everyone was doing in the office and how cool it was that they were shaking things up with new systems.

This delight was genuine because even as I am a person who still thinks I might have to butcher a pig someday in some sort of dire emergency, I am actually someone who has fun with technology…… once it is explained to me…….

And today was a day in which there had to be a lot of explaining. A lot.

Miguel is on vacation as is Laura so I volunteered to step back in from the fields to be an extra pair of hands for the week. I realized I was in no position to step back in as some sort of returning leader in from the colonies, but instead I was a person that could maybe be helpful if given some instruction. I knew I didn’t understand any of the new systems but at least I thought I could catch on if given some guidance. “How different could email be?” I asked myself as I volunteered to do it for the day.

As I learned, email could be both very different and very the same. it was lovely to chat away with friends new and old and yes, I could still type…… But I had a lot of questions. A lot. And at lunchtime, it looked like maybe email was going to slay me and not visa versa.

I shouted out to anyone within earshot (and funny how fewer and fewer people were within earshot as the day went by), “How do I find the files to attach? What is this drop box thing? How do you invoice an Amazon order for Lizzy’s book? What is this new protocol for international orders? How do I track a postal order? What are these flags on all the emails? How do you make new customer numbers? How do you sort through this new spam filter?”

Well you get the picture.

I was annoying. Almost if not more annoying than Mr Canadian Studies at town meeting, but also kind of cute in that hopelessly outdated sort of way. I think they were all still laughing with me at days end (or maybe they all had earphones in and were listening to Game of Thrones on their iPod minis and just nodding to me no matter what I said).

Anyways at the end of the day, I believe they were appreciating my jokes as I rolled around in my office chair re-enacting my all day technology cluelessness. I may never know what they were really thinking, but I do know what the Angels thought. They told me in no uncertain words.

Underneath the wheels of my rolling office chair, there was some poster that kept getting in my way. It had fallen out from somewhere and was gumming up the works so finally I pulled it out from underfoot to take a look.