I am writing this post at the risk of sounding spoiled and snobbish to those of you who do not have secretaries or who may in fact be secretaries. Please note first that I have worked as a receptionist, secretary, stenographer, legal assistant, warehouse worker and briefly as a Cinnabon person (whatever you want to call it). I do not look down on secretaries because I am a lawyer. Besides, I think this should bother any co-worker because who gets this many days off anyway?
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This morning I arrived in my office to a blinking light on my phone. I left the office close to 11 pm last night and it was just after 9 am so no one could be too upset for having missed me. Then I glanced out the window and realized the message must be from my secretary - a very light snow was falling. Sure enough the message was left at 4 something am - the ungodly hour that my secretary leaves her home somewhere in rural Pennsylvania to board some bus to NYC so that she can arrive by 8 am. Today's message said something to the effect that "there is already a sheet of ice in my driveway so I won't be in today." Like it is just understood that a sheet of ice makes it impossible to leave one's home.
Over the last couple of months of a fairly mild winter I get these types of messages on a near weekly basis with a seemingly increased frequency as of late. Here are some of my favorites - always in a tired, put upon, slightly groggy voice with a "If you need me, you can reach me at home" thrown in at the end:
"I tried to drive to the bus stop this morning and the car slid into the ditch, I twisted my knee climbing out and won't be in today."
"Last night coming home from the Christmas party my car ended up in a ditch and I didn't get home until 3 am, I won't make it into the office."
"I had a rough night last night and won't make it in."
"I had another episode last night and can't make it into the office."
"blah blah blah menopause, can't make it in today." [really, she said menopause!]
"my back is acting up again and I won't be in today."
and the list goes on - these are just some of the hightlights. I honestly get one just about once a week. Today was unusual because it is on a Thursday rather than a Friday or Monday where she gets to take advantage of a longer weekend. I haven't figured out what her "episodes" are and I don't think I want to know. When she returns from one of these days she will often be limping - never quite sure if it is her back, knee or some other ailment. But the limp is either gone by the end of the day or the next day at the latest. Today's message may be the second this week because I think Monday was the menopause message.