The Thing Machine
My father's meadow

Yes, well...


Why? Why do I, personally, need all tens? I'm not leaving the rest of you out of the mix, don't worry; I'm sure some of you twitch at a nine or an eight.  Just like me.

I'm out of time. There will be no score of ten for phase one of the Send Heather North ASAP Project, which is why I came to a screeching halt just now. Instead of shoving CDs into boxes along with what appears to be a self-propagating nest of old photographs (thousands, I tell you, THOUSANDS!), I decided to cool my jets and triage. This is me, triaging at the keyboard, swear to dog. 

Sometimes I hear Donald Trump in my head and this, people, is a terrible, terrible thing. It's got nothing to do, OK, not much, with the last six years. It's just this one thing:

  • Nobody can do it like me, nobody
  • Nobody has better...
  • There's nobody bigger or better at the military than I am
  • Nobody knows the game better than I do

Nobody packs and gets out of a spotless apartment better than me! To be honest, that's not exactly what's going on. In my head, there is this instead:

I have to get this right. It's got to be absolutely perfect. No, I can NOT delegate to my kid because she won't do it right. There will be dust bunnies everywhere and I don't think she's laid eyes on the mop. Ever.  This place will be EFFING BEE-U-TEE-FUL when I walk out the door today. Never mind that I've got the place until the end of May, and I am coming back for another sweep. I gave the greenlight for Monday, May 10. On Monday, May 10, the realtor may start dragging people through the space. I said it would be free of chaos.

But, tell me, what does free of chaos actually mean?

It means nobody does it better than Heather. It means that when you walk in this place on Monday morning the place will look so damn good, your client will offer you twice the going price. 

This is where I backed the truck up and sat down. I've had half a good talking to myself, and here is the rest. You might have trouble making the connection, but work with me here.

In 1998 I flew to Kalamazoo, Michigan to teach a class of approximately 45 men from Latin America. They spoke not one word of English and my Spanish is limited to yes, no, than you, you're welcome, my house is your house, how are you, I'm great, I'm ok, I'm not good at all, and my name is... nope. I only say 'my name is...' in French. I also know the words for vagina and bladder, but we don't need to discuss the why of that. 

This was a three day class. I had a translator and I'd never worked with a translator. You have to pause periodically or they grab your sleeve and ask: can you repeat the first ten words again? We got that sorted out but ran into a terrible snag within the first hour of day one. 

I said: To open the report, double-click the icon.

The translator said: (not what I said).

The class, with perfectly straight faces, held their hands in the air and snapped their fingers. 

Did you know there's a thing called a Business Translator? Me neither. I do now. We continued, with great care, until after lunch. After lunch I resorted to drawing on the flip chart. Trainers are very, very good at this sort of thing. After a while, one of the students very politely asked the translator to shut the hell up. She was confusing things. The translator stepped off the stage and was removed from the building and we continued with my No-Spanish and their No-English. Oddly enough, this worked very well. Demo the expected on the big screen, draw more pictures on the flip chart, and every one of them completed their workshops. They were very happy.

We went out drinking that night. 

In the morning, it was terrible. I'd ordered room service the night before. You just put the tag on the door before midnight and in the morning your bacon, eggs, pancakes, super size jug of coffee, and 84 ounces of orange juice arrive exactly ten minutes prior to your specification. I was in the shower. They left it in the hall, which is normal. I got out of the shower, and because I was desperate,  I opened the door, looked both ways down the hall, squatted to pull in the tray, backed into a credenza, stood up too fast and dropped my towel. 

I don't know who they were. Exactly. I didn't dare put my contacts in before at least half the hangover food and drink. I didn't know who they were but I knew they were mine. I scooted the tray out of the way and slammed the door. 

I was exactly on time. All 45 of my students were early. And seated. And absolutely silent. I climbed the stairs and approached the podium. When I looked up I saw 45 men holding up the back of their manuals on which every one of them had written, in white board marker:




And then applause. The project sponsor, a woman (thank the dogs) asked, OK, who actually saw Heather naked this morning. All 45 hands went up. Liars.

And then I smiled and said good morning, and we began. See? I can keep going. I'd like to say that was the end of it, but there's a punchline, which is why we're here.

What is the best thing to do for a hangover besides hangover food? Water. Drink a shit ton of water. The project sponsor brought me a very large pitcher and a grin. She whispered, I swear to god, there was no table dancing last night, just tequila shots. I drank the pitcher and she brought more. We broke late, not until after 11 and I ran for the bathroom faster than I've run in heels since that time I almost missed my connecting flight at O'Hare. 

A racehorse notoriously pees enough and hard enough to dig up a puddle. I'm sure I'd have done the same if I wasn't hitting water. Either way, it was loud as hell. I washed and dried my hands and returned to the podium where 45 men were again, holding up numbers.

A wireless mic clipped to your lapel is a terrible, terrible thing. I cannot stress ENOUGH just how dangerous these things can be. Allow your imaginations to run wild. Go ahead. I'll wait.

That's not the part that got me. It should have been, BUT IT WAS NOT! Here's the part that nearly ruined my life:

Poor scores

There was, however, still plenty of applause.

I never did get over those not so perfect scores. And this is why I'm sitting here writing; so I can get up and run myself into another panicked frenzy.

It is good to reflect now and then.