I worked for a family foundation first thing out of college.
When I applied, it seemed something of a dream job: working toward a better world, with lovely people, in a spectacular setting.
That last part, truly. The building boasted floor to ceiling windows that looked out over the greenbelt. Light and roomy cubes lined the sides; an immense rock pond and fountains graced the center, with boulders and greenery interspersed throughout. It was like being out of doors, in.
Even now it seems a miracle I landed the job. After all, as I left the interview, listening ever so attentively to the woman who would become my boss, I managed to run into a rather substantial pillar. The sound reverberated throughout the floor; and there I leaned, arms wrapped, cheek to cement against the pillar.
Ever the graceful one.
Still, I got the job. And from my first day there, of all the people I met, one person stood out. Josephine, or “Jo” as we called her, was an older, heavyset Polish lady with hair as black as night and lips the color of chili peppers.
She was fiery, too. She did not abide by tomfoolery of any sort—including sickness. You always knew when someone had the nerve to come into the office sick, because you’d walk up to the reception area in a dense fog. The poor sick sot would barely make his way out the door before she would break out the Lysol can and spray for all she was worth.
She claimed her strict adherence to Lysol fumigation was the reason she had not been sick for forty years. We were dubious.
Funny thing, I managed to pick up that rather spectacular virus going around. At the beginning of week two—shortly after being thrown into the coughing/gagging fit that propelled our executive assistant to check and make sure I was going to live, thus granting me the green light to work from home—I made a pit stop, for Lysol spray. Not only that, but I purchased the two-for-one pack. Then I went home and proceeded to spray the house and everything in it as if my life depended on it, because, well, you just never know.
Isn’t it interesting how the very thing that seems so ridiculous when we’re younger, mysteriously wises up when we’re older.
Granted, my spraying technique does not have quite the substance as Jo’s.
But perhaps that too will come with time.