This is the building I work in. The Bureau Office is on the second floor. Under ordinary circumstances, digital cameras and cellphones are not permitted in the office- it's a confidential data area- but tomorrow is a special day: it's our Grand Opening Ceremony! The Mayor and the Governor are scheduled to appear and the Big Boss of the Whole National Bureau will be attending; there will also be several network TV crews and a number of other journalists in the house. The school-house.
I have been designated as Official Photographer. I think my boss chose me as photog in order to keep me busy and away from the media; she has a valid fear that I might say something inappropriate to the wrong person. I don't mind, I like cameras and I'm told I'll be using a nice one. The pics I take will be used on the official Bureau website, which is pretty cool. As an extra bonus, I'll be allowed to bring my own camera. I'm actually looking forward to it.
This has been a great work week so far. I've been administering the Supervisor's Exam in one of the classrooms downstairs and it's quickly become my New Favorite Thing. Once the examinees are signed in and seated, I read to them a five-minute verbatim script and answer any questions they might have. Then they begin their written test.
My job is to sit quietly for one hour as the applicants take the exam, I replace broken pencils and provide scratch paper as needed, but otherwise I do nothing. The classroom is completely silent , save for the scratching of pencils on papers and the occasional sneeze or muffled cough.
It's an odd but comfortable feeling, giving these tests. I can't help but think that for 60+ years the room I'm using was an actual children's classroom. How many teachers used this room? What was taught? More importantly, what was learned? The room has a happy fee to it, quite unlike the agitation upstairs.
It might sound dreary, sitting still for an entire hour, but in reality It's my favorite part of the workday. The office upstairs is hectic, loud, complex and demanding; the testing room is isolated, silent, simple and serene. Once the test begins, no one (not even the biggest boss) is allowed in or out of the room...I just sit and think.
I love it.
Any longer than an hour would be too long, but sixty minutes is just about the perfect amount of daylight "quiet time". I feel refreshed and clear-headed after the sessions.
Tomorrow I will be putting on my bestest suit and playing Federal paparazzi with Virginia's political elite. "Smile!", I will say, and then I will take their picture. Bands are a lot more fun to photograph than politicians, but this is a job and I gotta say it's not a bad one.
There have been some very hard days-weeks- but we are pulling it together. I'm proud of my crew and if anyone asks me, I'm giving glowing props to them. Like most offices, it's the lowest-paid workers who actually do the bulk of the work. I organize it and delegate it, but they do it and they do it well. It broke my heart when one of my favorite clerks failed her exam today. I'd like to see her get promoted, but unless you pass the test...ah, well.
Man, do I even remember how to iron a pair of slacks? Is there a way to microwave the wrinkles out? That sure would save a lot of time and trouble.
And where is my "power tie"?
See ya soon- with pics.