A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Casual Friday

Working at Channing Bete is as pleasant as can be. I'm in Proofreading and Translation, in the wing of the building which contains the Wintergarden. Three stories high, skylit, full of palms, ivy, peace lilies, etc., etc., plus a fountain and little tables and chairs scattered about. Especially on casual Fridays, with employees in shorts, jeans, and capris, sneakers and sandals, I can't shake the feeling that I'm in the food court at the mall. I'm sure there's some level of stress for a permanent employee in a position of responsibility, but for a temp assigned to find spots, specks, and misaligned type, cozily ensconced in a corner with a pile of work and a cup of tea, there's not much.

I've been looking at CB's booklets in doctor's offices and at school for probably fifty years, so it's a trip for me to be helping in some small way to produce them. With their trademarked font (which looks something like comic sans), their little cartoon illustrations, and simple, clear explanations of thousands of topics you find yourself needing to know about, they're as familiar to me as the pledge of allegiance.

Located on a picturesque state highway in upstate Massachusetts, almost to Vermont, between Yankee Candle Company and the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory, surrounded by green hills, cow pastures, and farmstands, Channing Bete seems to exist in a kind of storybook New England pastoral landscape. I know it's work I'm doing, because I just got my first paycheck. But it's not exactly the coal mines.


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