For years, we’ve been doing this project at work that is what you might call detailed.
If you’re a proofreader or a copy editor, all three of you, it has everything that takes time. Names you need to check? Yes. Numbers? Yes. Details that’re listed in several places and they all must match? Yes. Fact-checking up the ying? Oui.
Is it really important, so you can’t mess up? Yes, yes, yes.
I hadn’t worked on this thing in years, but last month I did, and found all sorts of errors that would excite only another copy editor (a word was lowercase in a few places, then capped in a few others, then…ready, three copy editors?…BACK TO CAPS AGAIN!) and I was extremely in love with self. This is the shit that gives us life.
So, I found all these errors, and was excited, then I got the thing again at blueline and found an extra word (“to”) in a paragraph.
What’s a blueline, June? This is riveting, we promise.
It’s the final, final version of something before it goes to print. And lots of what we do at work anymore doesn’t even GET printed, but print is scary. You screw up with print, that mistake is there forever. Or worse, that mistake means you have to reprint, and that’s never good.
The point is, because this thing is so huge and detailed and so on, I worked with the manager of the project and we worked out a schedule to determine when I’d read this thing, and when I’d again reread it, because detailed.
That schedule started yesterday. I’d had it on my calendar for weeks: Big project starts today. I was supposed to take all day yesterday and all day today on it.
Then next weekend I take it home and read it again.
When I got to work yesterday, it wasn’t ready yet, as everyone working on it is on business trips. They’re working on it from said trips, so it’d be with me any second.
“Hey, June, here’s another project. Can you work on this today?”
The thing is, I was just sitting there waiting, unsure of when it’d get to me. So I hemmed and I hawed, and I finally took the project, which turned out to be (wait for it) a lot of stuff, and detailed, and so on.
Naturally, the second I began, I got an email. “You can start that other big project now!”
Then I got two other emails from two other accounts I work on. “Here’s some work. Can we also discuss it in detail?”
And, “Here’s a project. Can you not just edit it, but write this and this? Here’s what I was thinking and what I want and…”
I had to write both those poor folks back and say, I can’t even read this whole email right now.
So I worked. And worked. I hadn’t put on my Frida costume yet, because everything that could have gone wrong yesterday morning DID go wrong, including THE CITY SHUTTING DOWN MY FREEWAY EXIT to get to work, so the plan was I’d get dressed at lunch.
Naturally I worked through lunch, then when I did get away, I had to run errands, so okay. I wouldn’t dress up.
“The costume contest is starting on the dock,” I heard the front desk announce, at 2:00. For the first time in my seven Halloweens there, I did not watch the contest, much less participate, as I had planned. I don’t even know what people dressed up as.
At 4:00, kids were coming for candy, so around 3:00 I just took my computer and went home, so I could work in peace. I was that curmudgeon.
Kit was supposed to come over last night, help me hand out the candies, and I had to cancel on her.
And by the way, just like my morning, everything that COULD go wrong with me getting the work and doing the work, did go wrong.
And truth be told, by 6:00, I was done. I could not make myself think any more. I’d been thinking so intensely. So I shut off the computer and lay blankly for awhile, till
“Trick or treat!”
“Wooo! WOO WOO WOOO WO!” snarled Eds.
If Edsel were a normal dog, we could do things like I could dress up as Little Red Riding Hood (Medium-to-Large, Depending, Red Riding Hood) and he could dress as the big, bad wolf. He could sit next to me nicely, with his gummy fangs or whatever, and everyone who came to trick or treat could say “Oh, there’s that cute dog that we pet on his walks” and so on.
Instead, Edsel dressed as banished-to-the-back-room guy.
I did not photograph trick or treaters, even though you want me to be the weird woman who photographs every fucking thing, because how, exactly, was I going to ask, “Can I photograph your children and put them online?”
The best parts were the one kid who said, “Oh, please, not a Snickers.” I gave that child coal I had left over from my own Christmas stocking.
And then this very small person just started barreling in. “You have a doggie!” she said, and my reputation precedes me. “Yes, I–”
“I want to see the doggie!” Her parents were all Ebony, don’t go in that lady’s house. Ebony didn’t give a shit. She wanted to see the doggie.
And finally, I saw Ava’s family. Of course, I recognized Jane right away, with her June hair and her attitude. In years past, she’s been Katniss or whoever that is, and other popular costumes of the day, and I’m all, Why aren’t you dressed in a pumpkin head or a plastic mask from the grocery store the way I would have been at your age?
But this year, she was just barely dressed as anything, and was taking a smaller child around, so I guess she’s aging out of this process. Jane is, I’d estimate, between seven and 19 years old.
Her brother I met way, way back, when I just had Tallulah. He’s the kid I ran into on a walk once, when Talu had been rolling in the blackberries or boysenberries or whatever the fuck grows in my yard that she used to roll in and get purple spots.
“I wish I had a yellow and blue dog,” I remember him saying. He asked about Lu’s breed for awhile, and told me about his dog. “What kind of dog is he?” I asked. I hadn’t met his dog yet, who in fact is an enormous, calm, steel-gray 100% pit who is Ava’s best friend.
“Oh, he’s a pet bull and a beagle,” that kid said at the time. And that is when I knew he was full of the shit.
The point is, a group of teenaged boys came to the door, boys who really should not even be trying to trick or treat, and he had cool hair, but I didn’t register that was old pet-bull-and-a-beagle, there.
“Ava’s gotten really big,” he said to me, and right then I knew. Oh, it’s that kid!
He’s somewhere between 11 and 32.
So, in reality, I guess I had the kind of Halloween most adults have who don’t work at a creative agency. I mean, I worked all day and handed out candy at night and The End. BUT I’M USED TO COSTUMES AND PARTIES AT WORK.
I gotta go. I’m slap in the middle of that project, and when you think of June today, and you will, think of me bent unergonomically over details. Deets. June checks the deets.
I know that seems scary in general, but when it comes to copy editing, I am stellar at the deets. Copy editing and stalking boyfriends: June is the deets master at those.
You’re so already out, Eds.