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October 6, 2020: Bright Lights Go On, Bright Lights Go Off

You returned to work today, having a plan, which was to continue to categorize the books on the shelves in the Catty-combs and to add additional books that have been gathering dust in the sorting and distribution area.

You have learned that while it’s good to have a plan, it’s also good to keep in mind that you might have to abandon it. This, you think, will both make you a more flexible person and also keep you from losing your mind. But you thought on the drive there, what could go awry? You left the boxes of books on pallets in the designated areas last Thursday and made sure that the six shopping carts full of books were in plain sight.

Alys checks out books that have been shredded

So you strode onto the floor, hard hat on head, reflective vest on shoulders, and stopped dead in dead in your tracks at the sight that befell your eyes. Six individuals, like you, also dressed for success, were happily shredding books, their source material being boxes upon which you had written “Don’t Shred: For Distribution,” and boxes that contained yet to be sorted material.

You asked one of the workers, a larger woman who apparently was in charge, what was going on, that these books were marked Don’t Shred. She said she was just acting upon orders. Oh oh. You attempted to find out who had dictated that this particular pallet of books be shredded and got nowhere. There was just considerable buck passing.

So rather than work in the catty comb, you instead spent the first few hours of your workday sorting these particular books and those on an adjacent pallet.

To add to your feeling, that you were again pushing a large rock up a larger slope, you got word that you had erred in your catty comb doings, because you left some shelves empty and others half full. Add to this you had also left piles of books on the shelves. You explained that you left the shelves partially empty because you had purged them, and that the books in piles were yet to be categorized.

The thought then crossed your mind, is this worth continuing to do? The answer turned out to be yes. First of all, Karla, who had previously worked in the catty combs, reappeared, and immediately resumed categorizing. And secondly, you had a lengthy conversation with one of the staff members who to whom you had recommended read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

An assist with categorizing and a substantial conversation – this bolstered your sagging spirits. And so, with renewed vigor, you continued to work on the floor, macro-sorting dozens of books, tossing paperbacks into the shredder’s shopping cart, and hardbacks into the Gaylord.

Rumor has it that you will not always be having to deal with untenable working conditions. The powers that be, that is those who work on the floor above you, are mulling over the idea of purchasing a large storage container, or what we here in Alaska refer to as a Conex. Then, and only then, you will be able to take your books elsewhere.

Nex: 277. 10/7/20: Dog Bites Human

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