Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Repairing Acorns

My boss is sometimes a difficult man to work for.  I am sure this is true for any boss- there's a power imbalance, there's human interactions, there's expectations and reality and all manner of complicating factors.  He's not a bad guy, we just have certain personality differences that can cause friction.

I am reasonably sure that my boss finds me frustrating.  I am.  I am weird and often pessimistic and I take a long time to finish tasks and I am clutterblind and I say wildly inappropriate things.  It's why I stay away from donors as much as possible.  It's okay, these are just statements of facts.  I think I'm rad.

Today, my boss wanders into my little cubicle corner, looking a little lost and bewildered, holding two small objects in his hands.  

Yesssss?  Can I help you?

He makes a weird, sheepish face, and fiddles with the small objects.

"Umm.... well... I.."

He holds out the objects, which turn out to be a large black acorn and an acorn cap.

"My acorn... it.. the cap.... and... well... I've had it a long time... and..."

I am immediately struck with the mental image of what he must have looked like as a little boy, with a broken toy.

He's a weirdly sentimental guy.  I knew he had important rocks, but it would seem that he also has an important acorn.  Without a cap.

The sheepish stammering and fidgeting continue as I reach into my "repair" drawer in my desk.

Would you like me to fix your acorn?

He looks hopeful.  "Can you?"

I take this weird small broken treasure.  

Yes, I can fix your acorn.  It will take a while for the glue to dry.  I will bring it back when it's ready.

An hour later, I appear in his office doorway, acorn in hand.

The glue is dry, but not set.  You have to keep it upside down like this for another 3 hours.

He lit up and looked somewhat relieved to have it back, in one piece.

I do not know the Story of the Acorn, or what it represents to my boss, or even what species of oak it came from. 

All I know is that I am trusted enough to repair it.

My yearly performance review is next Tuesday.  My weaknesses and faults will be laid before me, and I will need to use every ounce of self-control not to curl into a little ball and roll away.  I am very hard on myself, and I don't like not living up to expectations.  I will feel very inadequate.

But I will remind myself-
I can repair acorns.

That's not nothing.


  1. Reviews-shmeviews. I don't think they're technically allowed to give anyone a perfect review... kinda like going to the dentist; your teeth will be perfect but it's obligatory for them to say at least one thing is wrong, like you need to floss more. Lulz.

    1. I know, I just hate letting people down. And everyone should floss more.

  2. Rather embarrassed to admit this, but my eyes are welling up here ...

    1. At the time, I didn't realize how vulnerable that sort of thing makes a person. I don't usually show anyone my treasures, let alone ask them to fix them.

  3. :) Think of it this way, you've repaired some part of his past ... perhaps a memory or an aching heart.

    1. I learned today that he doesn't remember where he got the acorn, but that he's had it long enough for it to accrue meaning. As an owner of tangible memory placeholders, I understand.