Wednesday, April 9, 2003

As My Nails Dry

I look very much like a stereotypical bad secretary right now... sitting quietly behind my desk, my phone headset settled artfully into my coiffure, sipping coffee and blogging while studiously shaping and polishing my long and lovely fingernails (except for the one I broke a couple of weeks ago, which has at least grown back past the quick and doesn't look so much like an open wound).

I'm only half-way through the minutes project that I was hoping to have finished yesterday afternoon before I left. The project is more difficult than usual due to the fact that it always requires a lot of concentration and quiet-time, but yesterday the phone didn't stop ringing. Most distracting. Plus I'm avoiding it because I don't enjoy it. Between the distracting and the avoiding, it's pretty slow-going. But my nails look delicious.

That reminds me: What are duck's bills (and other birds' beaks) made of? Last Friday at my dentist's office, I was sitting back tripping out on the nitrous and studying the picture of the sinister ducklings over the window, when I suddenly wondered about their bills. Are they bone? Are they cartilage? Are they modified skin? Modified feather? Some sort of tooth-like substance? Fingernail-like substance? Some sort of avian-specific substance that has no corollary in other taxonomic classes?

And since I was stoned out of my gourd and didn't have anybody's fists in my mouth for a moment, I posited the query out loud, much to the amusement of my dentist and his lovely assistant. They didn't know the answer, though. And I haven't yet been able to find out. I haven't tried terribly hard, of course, having other things to think about than ducks' bills, but I still wonder. Does anyone know?

I just now got trained on how to use my new photocopier (between writing the last sentence and sitting down to write this sentence, an hour has elapsed). A very nice lady showed me all the features and buttons and knobs, most of which I had already figured out by myself and many that I doubt I'll ever have any use for, but informative and entertaining (dare I say infotaining?) nonetheless.

There are all these features on there that I never even dreamt of wanting before... the ability to attach covers of different-colored paper, to copy collated sets of different-sized papers, to erase the crap around the edges of the originals, to imprint an image or watermark on all the copies in a job, to combine reduced versions of several full-size pages onto one page, and so on and so forth ad infinitum. And to make it all the more impressive, there is no time when one is exposed to loose toner, so I can wear white with impunity at all times, if I so choose.

Unfortunately, the thing that I hoped to be told how to do — to produce my folded 11x17 newsletter at a higher speed than three per minute — is not possible. Either my higher-ups misunderstood the salesman, or else the boy lied to them, in regard to the speed and folding capabilities of the "finishing module." Three finished pieces a minute and twenty-three copies in the tray at a time is the best I can do. And so for our newsletter, which is done in 1600 copies, I have to set aside about nine hours to complete the printing process. Considering, though, that I used to have to allow two days for the off-site printers to do it, this is still an improvement.

So this is what I think about while my nails are drying. And it's taken me forever just to get my nails quite finished, as I keep getting interrupted by the telephone and various and sundry other stimuli all over the office. But now my nails are done, and it's lunchtime, and I really ought to get those minutes finished before much longer. And with dry nails, I have no excuse to continue putting it off.

I bid you a heartfelt adieu, and sincerely hope your day is one long orgy of euphoric joy.

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