Monday, November 14, 2011

NaBloWriMo #14: Birthdays

One of the things that I've taken on at the office over the decade-plus that I've worked there is organizing monthly birthday celebrations for the people in the department. Looking back on it now, I don't really recall what motivated me to start it, though I do remember the origins of a few elements.
As I think I mentioned on this site before, the department's birthday ambassador is Senor Picante, a 18-in tall stuffed chili pepper with a bristly mustache that is itself five inches long. El Senor wears a wide-brimmed sombrero and generally presents a spicy, sassy attitude. How he came to be in my charge, my brain cells can no longer recall. When he is not acting as birthday ambassador, spending the day hanging out at a celebrant's cubicle, he sleeps off tequila binges (which are frequent) in an old, empty Hershey's chocolate bar tin underneath my desk. (He likes the darkness and the constant humming of the computers helps him fall asleep easier.

For a while, he was a solo act . . . until I was presented with the Birthday Helmet one year on my own birthday. It is a cast-iron, flat-brimmed, World War I style helmet that has a prominent dent in the rounded top (from when its previous owner went after the Kaiser?). But the most striking aspect of the Birthday Helmet, aside from its weight, is the many layers of paint that have been graffiti-ed on top of it, giving it a celebratory style that is quite different from its original intent. (Let's just say that I wouldn't try to sneak through no-man's land wearing it.)

For the past many years, El Senor and the helmet have traveled to and from my cubicle. In addition to that duty, I've helped coordinate the gathering of eats and treats during the middle of the month. And I write a brief email celebrating the people who want to publicly acknowledge their birthdays for that month. (I try NOT to make any birthday presentations coercive. It should be fun, not a challenge.)

And so, things have been thus . . . but things have seemed more challenging in the last year or so. A large part of this has been the never-ending project that has made things harder to focus on. And my monthly reminders are less reliable than they have been in the past. (But I haven't taken the time to go back and reprogram my calendar to get things on a more accurate footing. See problem number 1 for the reason why this is so.) And so . . . I've missed a few days and Picante has slept when he should have been on the job.

And people are busy and trying to eat more healthy and styles and personnel have changed . . . and so I sometimes wonder if I should just drop it all and forget about it. But I really don't want to do that. I just want to do a better job of it. And I guess I want to recapture the imagination of it that has been lost over time. Sometimes it feels pretty routine and I don't feel that my heart is in it. So, much as I'm trying with the NaBloWriMo to revitalize my blogging interest, I need to find a way to make this work role more powerful to me.

1 comment:

emily said...

This Eeyore-esque cloud that has been hanging over the department was on my mind yesterday as well. Know that your efforts and those of Sr. Picante are not in vain though. Traditions and celebrations are needed more than ever. Maybe a new "skin" is all it needs?