When someone asks me, ‘How’s work?’ providing a response needs its own choreography. Our department had changed before Covid and during the lockdown, things accelerated as we shifted to online services. In short, we are stressed and what keeps me from going over the edge as everyone else was on that same edge. I ignored the fissures and sniping and kept out of people’s political maneuvering to their side. I missed it all because I didn’t want to be an asshole. Stress makes us tired, but it’s never a justification for a-holeness. We are all exhausted, the students need us, and we are moving towards reopening services. Now that you got that picture, here’s another one:
A co-worker walked out last week without letting anyone know.
I saw the person pack up, mumble something, and walk out. This person also turned on their out-of-office for this week. My manager knew nothing (he was working from home), and I had to be the one to tell him then cover this person’s shifts with the staff on hand. (It’s not much, let me tell you.) I came home on Friday hollowed out, too tired to feel angry, and felt nothing. In a face-slapping irony, this person put up Christmas decorations around our office, triggering my grief, but I made allowances since people needed some Christmas cheer.
I retreated home and didn’t leave, not even the grocery shop. During my training session, I smashed a medicine ball at the gym, but I went to my personal hobbit hole. I had no wine around my house, but thankfully, and had enough food to put together meals. Monday rolled around, and I braced myself for the week ahead, down by one person, getting ready to open our downtown location with each of us going to the other campus to prepare.
I had my lunch delayed by a student needing help on their laptop WiFi, one of the many things I do, and another co-worker not knowing what to do. I sat down and dipped into Twitter to read about the Winnipeg Blue Bombers winning their second consecutive Grey Cup (our Super Bowl), delayed by a year because, well, you know.
The screencaps grabbed my attention, my mind working its way through its own algorithm of new or people brightening up Twitter with a few pictures of Richard Armitage. I remembered glasses, a red sweater, but have I seen them simultaneously or recently? It turned out it was a brand-new interview.
Reader, believe me when I say a spark of fuzzy feeling kindled within me.
It was an interview for Hello Magazine, a publication I usually wouldn’t read or view online, about Stay Close. The upcoming limited series sealed my New Years’ plans, and there was the man himself, Richard Armitage, clad in a red sweater and wearing his glasses. I had to laugh as I touched my computer glasses on my face, my regular frames in a holder on my desk. He needs glasses for the computer; welcome to middle-aged eyes, middle-earth citizen. I hope they have that coating to minimize blue screen glare.
His hair remained short and grey around the temples. I forget how pale he can get in a particular light because, hello, English. Richard Armitage answered questions about Stay Close, the latest Harlen Coben adaption and one, I learned, allows actors to bring their ideas to the table. The tattoos were his idea, a way to give Ray visual information about his life, and as far from Adam Price as you can get.
Sometimes I forget his Englishness. I admit, leaving Santa milk and cookies was something we adopted. (I know my dad ate them, but it was fun.) Sherry? My mouth reminded me if I thought Port was sweet, Sherry would coat my mouth in fermented sugars. The interview was fun and I thought that was Martine McCutcheon from ‘Love Actually,’ but wasn’t sure. (Video chats look weird depending on how you angle your laptop.)
As for his Christmas movie choice, it doesn’t surprise me. Showcase, a Canadian cable channel, has marathons of various franchises starting on December 17. The Indiana Jones series is one while all the Star Wars chapters will run through the days the come, starting with the prequels and ending with the broadcast premiere (I think) of ‘Rise of Skywalker.’ Somebody remarked about the 80’s kid in him with his other choice, ‘Watership Down.’ I remember it and ‘Plague Dogs’ and felt amazed at watching two intense movies at a young age. I really want to ask him, “Did you read the books?” He must have read them and I wonder if he read another of Richard Adams’ titles, one called ‘Maia.’ Let’s just say anyone expected a fantasy for young people will be in for a surprise. (It’s delightfully smutty and I read it in grade 9, from my local library. What I wouldn’t give to have a conversation with him about the books read as kids/teens.)
The point of this rather long and winding post, the interview hit the spot. Do I wish for the beard to come back? Yes. Do I hope he has a good time in Park City. Definitely yes! I will have a sleepover at a friend’s place, drinking wine, munching snacks, and tuning into ‘Stay Close.’
Who needs a cliche New Year’s Eve party? I want to take a breather from my work before I take another deep breath and dive back in come January.
That’s a whole other story.