I used to work for a study abroad company in San Francisco; I was a program manager for several of the long-term high school programs, sending teenagers to Spain and France and South Africa and a few other countries for a semester or an academic year. It’s where I met Jessica, in fact, back when she had really long hair and wore miniskirts occasionally and was the prettiest girl in the whole wide company and she chose me! HA!
I mean um… where was I? Oh right. It was a stressful job, dealing with frantic parents and nervous high schoolers, and conducting business in three different languages, not to mention the 24-hour emergency phone line that also happened to be my cell phone. Also, working in a big office just has a wearying effect on me and probably others; it’s draining and can be life-sucking. It was a job that, oftentimes, I enjoyed; but staying centered and collected was a consistent challenge.
Near my cube was a desk with the credit card machine and our fax machine, both of which I used with some frequency. The fax machine had a little screen on it that would display various messages, and one of them was ‘TONER LOW” when it needed to be fed. Below that, unless it was sending or receiving, it would say “SLEEP.”
The effect of seeing TONER LOW SLEEP had an immediate effect on me: it reminded me how tired I was. I’d think, “right on, Faximilian.” (I called the fax machine Faximilian, btw). “I’m tired too.” I’d imagine Faximilian saying the phrase in a robotic, monotone way, a sad little robot who just wants to sleep and be fed. I may even have patted the machine once or twice when I was alone in the office at 8pm.
My life is much less stressful now; I have a hot babe at my side, a much more relaxed job, and things are pretty swell. But of course, I have have my TONER LOW SLEEP moments. Jessica has more of them than me, given that she works and goes to school at the same time. But today has been a TONER LOW SLEEP day for me – and it’s pretty excellent that I get to go home to Jessica. It soon will be time to Shut It Down, work on Greg’s song, and kick back.
And I hope that Faximilian is doing well.