(Non sequitur: Have an audition for a nonprofessional show in a neighboring town. Depending on the director's vision and style, I might actually have a shot at Lady MacBeth. Which is my way of saying I'm going to audition for the play in the hopes that I land the plum female role, rather than committing every weekend in August just to say, "The queen, my lord, is dead.")
Today at work I was binding eight books that had to go to an insurance broker. These books contain all kinds of information relative to the solicitation of insurance. Actually, they were due to the broker last Friday, but the person in charge dragged things out until the last minute. It's his first time putting one of these together, and he's fretted over it to the point where he can barely hand it off. And well, nobody ever meets a deadline at this place. It's insane. My new mantra is "PULL. THE. TRIGGER."
So this morning I took over the copier room, copying and inserting tabs and apologizing to everyone. After an hour I was ready, and began to punch the first book for binding. Book Dude came in. He stood by me. I had a bad feeling.
"So I have these," he said, holding up three documents. Three double-spread, staple-bound documents. "I was wondering whether we could fit these in."
He was wondering whether he could, oh, suddenly pull not one, but three, full brochures of over 90 double-sided pages each out of his ass and have me copy and insert them into eight books.
I have a crappy poker face, but I tried my best to appear neutral. I took one document and paged through. The paper was very thin - bad for copying. It would have to be done slowly, manually. There were a lot of pages. I cursed in my head. I debated going home sick. Faking an ulcer. Perhaps a seizure.
"Can you do it?" he asked.
"I can do whatever you want," I replied, trying to keep my voice neutral, suspecting I was failing. "What you need to decide is how important it is to get these to the broker soon."
Wait. These were annual reports.
"We're publicly traded," I said. "These should be on the website."
My cubicle neighbor overheard us searching online and mentioned that he had them on his machine. God love him.
I commandeered three machines and ran back and forth down the hall between copy machines, stacking and sorting. A coworker helped me fudge three tabs with labels to fit in with the pre-printed tabs for the document center. (We do our own production to save money. The department head is frugal.) At one point, we asked Book Dude if he wanted the inserts in ascending or descending chronological order.
"What do you mean?"
"Do you want it to go 2008, 2009 reports and 2010 notice, or 2010 notice, 2009 and 2008 reports?"
"2008, 2009, 2010."
Walking back to the copier room, the other woman and I reflected that this was perhaps the fastest decision made by anyone in the department's history.
A half-hour later, and I was again attempting to bind the first book, now with three extra sections and tabs.
The binder comb was too small. We had none larger. I called the document center. They didn't have any larger. I stood, head down, racing through strategies. Not for the first time, I wished I'd been a stuntwoman. Less stress.
A co-worker came up with a solution: Put the inserts on a CD and insert the CD in a pocket in the back. God love her. She started burning CDs while I bound the books.
So I threw about two reams of paper into the recycling bin.
Book Dude was very grateful, and I congratulated him on getting his first book done. I am proud that I remained calm and helpful, but he is buying me a bagel tomorrow.