Last Build Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2002 07:39:04 GMTCopyright: Copyright 2002 Claudia McCue
A local design firm is being asked to use Adobe's InDesign for a project. That doesn't sound scary, does it? It does if you're experienced QuarkXPress users and you're being asked to put aside a very familiar tool and pick up a new, very different one -- and finish a big job by next Monday. My assignment: to help them over the initial hump.
At first, they were open, but reserved. I answered their list of questions, "translating" from Quark to InDesign. Their body language relaxed. Joking began. Then I found myself channeling for . . . someone, creating shapes and linking text frames, navigating menus, all accompanied with a stream-of-consciousness narration. Perhaps the combination of sciatica, pain remedies and the previous night's food poisoning [oh, it's been a *great* week!] contributed to it, but I was on a roll.
I forgot the muscle spasms, forgot how foreign this new program ought to be to them, and just sort of led them into a dance of enjoyment. By the end, it was like a revival: "oh, YEAH! Oh, that's GREAT! SWEET!" It was a great afternoon.
When I got up to leave, I was stunned at how stiff I was. I had completely forgotten how stove up I was, focusing on making these designers love the program as much as I do.
Is that so wrong?
It seems that a 62-year-old airline passenger, infuriated by security requests to manipulate his belt buckle (to prove that it was not a weapon, I suppose), rather over-complied. He unbuckled the fastener in question and dropped his pants, no doubt in a sincere effort to facilitate searchability. Whoever you are, I will help you with your bail. Yes, I agree that he overreacted. But I'm sure I'm not the only one who sympathizes with him. Honorable citizens are now on the receiving end of the sort of purposeful and mindless aggravation one tends to associate with borders between banana republics. Soon the job descriptions will read "Security Engineer, no experience necessary. Must look good in mirrored sunglasses and have own epaulets."
I'm a business traveler. A frumpy middle-aged female business traveler. Not for me the obsequious service of First Class. No, I nod, drooling, to the lulling roar of the engine, wedged in the middle seat in the last row of the plane. I don't expect luxury. By God, I expect delay, inconvenience and discomfort, and I'm rarely disappointed. I endure skreeching babies and brainless wimmenfolk yammering on their miniscule cell phones about some imagined slight at the office. My guess is that *these* are the people who read -- and relate to -- the execrable comic strip "Cathy."
But I digress (actually, that's my primary form of motion). Sunday, my number finally comes up in Atlanta: I draw the short straw in the Security Lottery. I willingly trudge to the bag-search arena, only to be escorted back to the counter to have my bag tagged. "No, Mr. Williams says we ain't sposed to tag the bags." Okey-dokey. I trudge back to the searching zone and stand in line. I find myself in front of a hulking, overweight man who looks like he has slept in his soiled clothes after a long day digging graves. His latex gloves are stained, and the thumb and 2 fingers of his right glove are torn out. I insist that he put on fresh gloves before he starts plowing through my underwear. When he's finished, he makes what might have been a stab at decorum: he shoves one hand down his pants and enthusiastically anchors one errant shirttail. I shudder to think of the next victim. I resolve to launder my clothes when I get to New Orleans. Later I rethink that, and burn them instead. And stand upwind.
I get to the gate, where I again endure search: as I am being wanded by the female guard, the "blOOoOOO" shriek of the device prompts her to loudly query "Are you wearin' an underwire bra?" No, Luann, I have steel tits. Thanks for asking.
On the return trip, I am again singled out. At least the guards there are polite and kempt (that *is* the antonym for unkempt, isn't it?), but if they were wired in series, they couldn't light an appliance bulb. While I appreciated the small man's seeming respect for my underthings, his search was so perfunctory it would have failed to uncover a live armadillo in my bag. Which gives me an idea for next week's trip...