There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done before the holiday. Case notes are overdue, someone wants help with a cover letter, and I have to find housing for an at-risk youth immediately. Stacks of paperwork to be filed, faxed or shredded are piling up and merging together, soon they will be united in one beautiful mess on the floor. Everything seems urgent and under a deadline to be finished yesterday or sooner.
Fortunately, my new co-worker isn’t plagued by silly deadlines or job duties. He is instead focused on a different type of work of which we were not hired to do, something perhaps more noble and beneficent, and certainly more worthy of his time: the perfection of his spaghetti alla carbonara recipe.
The cheap linoleum floor squeaked with each step as he moved between the counter, stove and sink. Slicing, dicing, chopping and stirring, he added a pinch of this and a shake of that. He pulled ingredients from a large, mysterious canvas bag with the speed and confidence of a magician, only he knew of the magic within the bag’s depths.
It was not long after he started cooking that a hazy smoke filled the office. The kitchen magician forgot to take a pan from the gas flame and the smoke detectors began to scream its warning. True fact: scorched bacon creates a special smell that clings to one’s hair and clothing for the duration of at least eight hours.
Once the smoke alarm was silenced, the chef was able to return to his life’s passion.
After no less than an hour, the chef was heard smacking his lips after presumable slurping down a noodle and shouted, “Voila!”
I crept out of my office to investigate my co-worker’s carbonara progress and slid into a chair at the lunch table with my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It wasn’t much compared with the still-steaming pile of saucy noodles that lay in a lovely heaped pile on a paper plate in front of the chef.
He forked up a mouthful of noodles, noisily slurping the spaghetti, and declared, “At last! Perfection.”
Satisfied that his efforts paid off, my co-worker finished off the pile of noodles and dropped the dirty pots and pans into the sink with a clatter. With a mighty stretch, he rubbed his belly and packed up for the day. He pulled on his coat, one sleeve at a time and glanced at the clock over my head.
“Well, I’m going to get out of here, gotta get to a doctor’s appointment across town. Have a good afternoon.”
With a wave, he left and time-warped forward to 5:00pm into an alternative universe in which people are paid to do the things they love and love the things they do.
How could I be mad?