During my visit to the California State University, Sacramento — it was actually my two year tenure as student — I learned a couple things beyond the confines of the classroom. Mature trees dotting the campus were a beautiful park-like assembly, and furry, fluffy-tailed rodents, the active squirrels who called the campus their home, were fun. Squirrels took advantage of the free meals available all over campus. Outdoor areas of the various eateries offered up a buffet of food discarded on the grounds. Perfectly sized bits of chips, bread, salad pieces and an occasional sweet all of which were too insignificant to whomever originally held the meal. One afternoon as I spent time pouring over my statistics notes while sitting at an outdoor table, a very daring squirrel approached my cart. I have the kind of cart that elicits comments like, “…that’s one serious cart…” from a professor of mine. It is top-of-the-line academic quality cart. All kinds of pockets and compartments give it that “I mean business” exterior. A mesh pocket on one side must have held complete welcome to my furry friend because this fearless squirrel climbed right in! I had nothing edible to offer. A quick look around and he was off for better outcome under another table. Flora and fauna did abound on that college campus I called home for two years. What a joy it was to sit in the shade provided by those trees and be entertained by the collegiate squirrels who showed just how clever and courageous they could be in their efforts to find a gold mine scrap of food.
Clerical. I do expect to step on a few toes out there. Clerical work is commonplace. Even I, in a moment of weakness, have been known to take on a job that includes drawers full of files with the express purpose of my using the files in my daily grind, er, work. And work, it is. No, more like drudgery. Grim. Unceasing. Work befitting a highly tuned and accurately programmed robot. In other words, don’t give that work to me, pass it to the robot. Robots are not known to complain. Well, unless the robot is akin to HAL from 2001 A Space Odyssey. While on staff at two schools I was inundated with the paperwork that came my way by virtue of my job description. Yep. Right down there in the fine print of my job expectations the directive could be found. “Any and all tasks assigned”. Ugh. This meant that I did not get to pick and choose how I spent my day on campus. It had been determined for me. Really? Fifteen years and reams of paper later my mind-numbing experience working for the schools provided just the right dose of robot-like behavior. Monotonous, tedious work more befitting an emotion-less piece of machinery. Like HAL.
Pool noodles. The foam type used for combating your arch-nemesis water foe. They come in a multitude of summer colors. Over the 15 years we’ve enjoyed our pool these noodles served as a mainstay to our hot weather play time. They come in handy even for those with limited swimming skills as a single noodle makes for a nifty floating device. In our most recent purging of forgotten items stored in our backyard shed we found four faded noodles. They had begun to disintegrate and we tossed them in the garbage. Noodles yield pretty much to your command. They work for you. The same can not be said about clerical work. When you are ensconced in files and piles of paperwork, you become robot-like. You are at the mercy of the paper-pushing regimen that dictates your work-day. I will address this in the piece that follows. Robots.