Today was the last day on the job, after eleven years, of my dear friend and co-worker T. She has always been more like a cousin than a co-worker... When we first me, I took one look at her, with her brassy rock-and-roll attitude, and thought "we two are going to get along just fine." I have lost count of the number of events we've worked together, some a bit stressful, most an absolute joy. She's been a fine mentor to the young folks who make up about twenty-five percent of our seasonal staff (the other seventy-five percent being retirees), again more like an aunt or older cousin than a manager. She has always worn her heart on her sleeve, and her generosity is second-to-none.
She was also the kind of person who one could, after a few beers, confide in, even if it did earn you a smack:
"You know who I think is really attractive?"
"Oh, no, do I want to hear this?"
"[NICKNAME REDACTED]? She has really big dreams!"
"Yeah, that's one of the first things I noticed."
The bruise graced my upper arm for a week...
Our birthdays are only a few days apart, so it was our tradition to celebrate with a couple of other friends who are also June babies. This year, of course, we put this plan on hold. Hopefully, we can get a bunch of people together for a farewell party. She actually runs a weekly D&D session for a bunch of our young co-workers (yeah, she's the cool nerdy rock aunt, which is not a contradiction in terms these days), so putting out a Zoom memo shouldn't be difficult. The site where she principally worked will probably be open for outdoor activities by the end of the month, so maybe a picnic is the way to go.
I think it was burnout that got to her... inconclusive Zoom meetings in a time of uncertainty, a feeling of not being appreciated (I suspect that upper management wanted an NPR girl rather than an SOU girl), a general feeling of rudderlessness in this awful year. There's also her desire for wanting more freedom to write, to pursue other creative endeavors. I'm going to miss having her around on the job, she's one of those people who can make even a hectic day fun, but she's not really going anywhere, unless it's a side trip to Rivendell. Siri, play "The Greatest Adventure." And, no Siri, I'm not crying.