Thursday, August 28, 2008


So here we are, out of town again after all these years. Back in the old days, I would have been in charge of the whole shebang for six months to a year, from conception to finish run; here I am, trying to pick up the pieces with six weeks of work spread out over the last four months, and I have already gotten to the point that used to depress the pants off me when I had a year invested: the last few weeks on any project like this is all about handing off responsibility, letting more and more control go to people who are intimately involved in the marketing and sales end, and weren’t even on the same planet when I came onboard, let alone when the project got underway.

It’s just weirdly compressed this time, that’s all. After only a few months of input, I am already reduced to a required presence: I have to be there in case there’s an emergency, but there is essentially nothing for me to do until there is. Everyone is very nice, but I am in everyone’s way, and the clean-up I am already to undertake is the last thing on their minds; their own priorities are clear, and clearly different. The worst of it is that I can’t just go home—even to the hotel—and get quietly soused, because if something hits the fan, no one can wait while I get to where the fire is to put it out. I have to live in the firehouse whether I want to or not.

All these years, and I am still just a dog with spots...

My mantra is “ten more days, ten more days,” but there is a chance that in actual fact the principals whom I am here to keep happy as much as I am to get the job itself done, can decide to extend my stay at any time. It’s like being on hold and not being able to hang up, only extended for days at a time…

Then there is the problem that the Goat is coming out to keep me company at the time when I have to be on tap most as the principals gather this weekend—he’s footloose and fancy-free, and I am nailed to the floor. Very soon after that, I will be free—in fact, the day after he leaves. But by then he will be back at work. It is, in its own quiet way, the worst of both worlds, if not the worst of all possible worlds. Having him here and having no time for him is a kind of horrible parallel to having to be here and not really having anything to do unless something goes badly awry, which of course I have to hope it does not do.


Oh, well. I am scheming to get the evening off the day he arrives so that we can have a long, leisurely “hello” at the hotel, but I have to say that the outlook is getting worse and worse. Once the principals arrive, I have to shift into High Hand-Holding Mode, and of course they arrive the same day he does. Back to the “worst of all possible worlds” question.

Hey, he has vacation. He’s driving all the way out to keep me company, and if he winds up hanging out with his forty-eleven best friends instead of me because my feet have been nailed to the floor, at least he made the effort to come. This is his first taste of what I have been living for some time: dancing attendance on someone whose schedule determines our time together—or lack of it.

It’s a short life, but a merry one, here in America’s Least Attractive Second-Tier City. Contrary nominations cheerfully accepted.

Hang in there, all.

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