Monday, January 09, 2012

Klondike Solitaire as organizer ... .

Over the years I've developed a foolproof system that keeps me relatively well-organized and productive in the work place.  Only problem is that -- from the outside -- it may appear very strange, indeed.

Here's the way it works:  When my mind goes on overload and the bells and whistles begin to sound -- as though a collision of ideas, concerns, and just plain worries is about to occur, I go up to the menu bar and click on "Solitaire," and as soon as the virtual cards begin to form a game, serenity returns. It serves just as well as a good sip of white wine clears the palate for the next course, or, it's as though in some way I've pressed the reset button on the computer of my mind and everything defaults to "factory setting," and I have a neatly erased brain to work with.  Works like a charm.  Doesn't take more than a single game, actually, rarely two (2-3 minutes at most).  A form of meditation?  But -- whatever it is -- my co-workers must think I'm really a flake wasting the government's time and accomplishing little.  I suppose the natural conclusion might be that I haven't enough to do; au contraire -- it's that life is closing in and this is my defense against the inevitable collision.

That happened the other day when our superintendent walked up to my cubicle with a question and there I was -- playing!  Embarrassing.

What he didn't know was that I'd been editing the text for a pull-up display panel for the new Visitors Center which required re-visiting what I could recall of the labor unrest in the WWII wartime industries which (I claim) incubated the modern Civil Rights Movement ("no more than 350 words at 3rd grade reading level, please").  It was as I was wrestling with this that a call came in from our attorney about Dorian's ongoing Trust procedures; then moments later another from a young student wanting an interview for a paper she was writing on the Rosie Memorial; and the smashup was about to threaten my well-planned but slowly disintegrating morning.

Went up to Menu and selected Favorites where Klondike is stashed for just such an emergency, and had just begun to clear the palate, hit the reset button, and go back to factory settings when he popped up unexpectedly.

I wonder how others handle such times?  Maybe that's what water coolers were for, right?  At least that's what I suspect happened at some earlier time.  Maybe Klondike is what we graduate to as the years pile on -- and the water cooler has disappeared in favor of the small bottle of spring water forever on call beside my handy-dandy but obsolete hopelessly dried-out little bottle of White Out.  Maybe Solitaire is a form of "shelter in place" ... .

I suppose these are the differences the passage of time brings... and I doubt that it's unique to this late-blooming park ranger.

Maybe one day I'll suggest that Solitaire be included under best practices in the Interpretation Manual for all park rangers.

Maybe not ... .

Too weird!