Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Out of the office

Back in June or July, an online company that I do business with set up a strange and unintentional group of fantasies for me.

I order from them regularly every month or so and without divulging their identity, I can say that it has to do with my knitting patterns.... I have to request certain things, and they have to bill me and then acknowledge my payment, so there is a double set of emails between us for each transaction.

One day in early summer there was a response to an inquiry of mine with an email that stated:

"I am out of the office, my beloved pet has passed on, and I will be taking some personal time off. Hopefully, someone else will read these emails and deal with your issues."


For some reason, when I see these old and empty shells, I think of that. They are 2006 model shells, and they were hollow to start with, either larvae eaten from the inside out, or containing only the mummified or aborted walnuts that never got their share of water or nutrients. This year, with no nuts at all produced, the critters are so desperate that they are resorting to digging up the old duds from last year, cracking them, maybe even gnawing on the mummified or moldy remains of what wasn't fit to eat the first year around. They crack it open to find that, nope, everyone is out of the office.

But in my case, business went on as usual, I received my product and they received their money, even though  all of my correspondence was met with this same email for month after month....then finally a week or so ago, the email was replaced with a standard business email. And I was surprised to find that kind of made me feel a little disappointed.

I preferred to think that there was real live woman on the other end of that email, one who was taking long walks on the beach without her beloved lab coming to grips with her grief, her skirt billowing in the ocean breezes. Or an elderly woman, walking along some forested river bank, accustoming herself to the new loneliness without her elderly scottie. Or, well, any number of all sorts of real people, dealing with their grief by being out of the office.


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