Monday, July 21, 2008

A lovely white-haired fellow -- jcarolek

I drove to Long Island, NY with one of my coworkers yesterday. We rented a car and shared the driving....I took the easy, open roads during the daylight hours, and he took the gridlocked, noisy roads after dark....seemed fair to me! We arrived at our hotel at 10:15 PM, after a nine hour drive...I was ready to relax!

But, of COURSE, I got sidetracked into things of interest, and it was 5:00 AM before I lay my head to the pillow to get a couple of hours rest. I arose at 7:00 AM, sure the day would be a long one, since I had, once again, cheated sleep.... but I was in for a lovely surprise.

My work brings me into contact with a variety of interesting folks. Today was no exception. When I arrived at the site, accompanied by one of my new hires and my summer intern, I was greeted by a cheery elderly gentleman, with a head full of snow-white hair that defied his attempts to tame it with a comb. He was a little stooped, walking as if he had spent a lifetime carrying a backpack over one shoulder.... I thought to myself.... hmmm.... that could be me at 70..... note to self, "consider using BOTH backpack straps and giving both shoulders equal burden.)

Our white-haired charmer led us to the room where we would perform our work for the next two days, and introduced us to the others with whom we would be working. And everyone was cheerful. I had to pinch myself to be certain this WAS real... for Mondays are not typically the "all smiles" days at the office... any office!

We worked solidly for several hours, the work being made more enjoyable by interesting little anecdotes from our host. He made me laugh and it seemed my laugh made HIM more cheery! So, as we approached the lunch hour, he, with the excitement of a young child on show and tell day, invited us to take a tour of the facility with him. Of course, we did. That is one of the most interesting features of my work...getting to see the "guts" of the operations.

As we walked the corridors, he shared with me some of his little songs he had written. They were take-offs on popular songs of his era, and related to his work here. They were very clever, and I laughed again. As we parted to get lunch, he assured me that when we returned, he'd share with me another of his songs.

Sure enough, an hour later, he once again met us in the lobby and we started down the corridor to our work place....and he sang me his little song. Again, I was taken with his wit and his talent in taking these songs and twisting them. He told me of his youth -- how he preferred rhyme to pros and submitted English assignments in the form of poetry, rather than essays...

Throughout the day I was dealing with a laptop failing from the recent hotel flooding incident in San Diego, and my team members shared my "story" with the others in the room. They all had a good chuckle. As the day progressed they made funny responses to some of my questions... responses that incorporated my leaky laptop and such... we just had FUN.

At the end of the day, as our host was escorting us back down the corridors to the exit, he shared with me another he had composed just minutes earlier...he combined his recently acquired knowledge of me, my leaky laptop, and my geographically challenged self (I turned right out of the room instead of left...and I remarked I could not find my way out of a paper bag) and made a version of the MTA song... except his words had Judy never returning from the corridors of the building...lost forever and with ceilings leaking..... etc, etc....

As we climbed into the car to drive back to our hotel, my team and I all agreed, this was a lovely fellow, and his demeanor clearly set the tone for the others. It was one of the easiest days I have had in a LONG time.... and I owe it all to a little old white-haired fellow...

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