I always liked how Tom Petty described the self-destructive heroine of his song, "A Woman in Love": She used to be the kind of woman to have and to hold/ She could understand the problem/ She let the little things go. In short, the makings of the Zen Receptionist which I aspire to be. So, there I am, happily working on my NEW WEBSITE, when this woman, an applicant, calls for directions. She has missed a turn and gotten lost, easy enough to do in this neighborhood. After medium resistance, she agreed to listen to my directions and after five or ten minutes longer than it would have taken if she hadn't still been trying to apply logic to the road names and just done what I said, she arrived.

"I was told this was an easy place to get to, but it isn't," was her opening salvo.
"Well, it depends on where you're coming from," I said. "I came up the 101."
"Oh, then it's very easy. Just take 101 to Bell and turn left…"
"Don't you mean 'Frank Lloyd Wright'?" "No, they're two different roads. Bell is past Frank Lloyd Wright."
"But Bell turns into Scottsdale Road."

Bell does a lot of strange things and turning into Scottsdale Road may well be one of them, but not in this vicinity. Still, this is precisely the sort of argument I have decided I don't want to spend the rest of my life rehashing, so I just gave her an application and pointed to the far corner of the room. Overall, I thought I handled myself well and gave myself a pat on the back in honor of my restraint. "How mature," I thought. "How Zen."

As with most praise I lavish upon myself, I soon found this also was unwarranted and premature.

"Hello! I'm having a little trouble finding you all!" New caller with an unctuous salesman's voice.

"Where are you now?"
"I'm headed up on the 101!"
"Then it's very easy. Just exit at the Frank Lloyd Wright/Bell exit, pass through Frank Lloyd Wright and turn left on Bell…"
"Actually, I'm on Bell now!"
"Which direction did you turn on Bell?"
"Oh, let's just say…oh, west."
"Did you come to the TPC Golf Course?"
"Actually, I'm on Frank Lloyd Wright."
"Where are you on Frank Lloyd Wright?"
"Well, there are a bunch of shops."

This narrowed his location down to every major intersection on Frank Lloyd Wright.

"What are the shops?"
"There are restaurants, too."
"Which restaurants?"
"I was getting gas."
"Do you see a McDonalds?"
"From where you are, get on that 101 access road, take it to Bell…"
"Okay, I'm on the 101…and it looks like I'm crossing over Bell Road right now!"
"Please hold."

I took a moment to curse and try to find My Boss to handle this call. After all, she started it by inviting him here. No luck. I drew a few deep breaths and picked up the receiver.

"The 101 will exit onto Pima Road. As soon as you can, turn around and head directly back. Turn right on Bell, right again on Perimeter, take the very next left-that's Hartford. We'll be around the Bend on the left."
"Okay! I'm just turning around now…oospy daisy. And…now there's Bell…Okay! Super duper! See you in a few!"

"Super duper" is not the expression that came into my head, but I managed not to vocalize the one that did, and gave myself a pat on the back in honor of my restraint.

He arrived soon after our last exchange and I sent him to his corner to wait for My Boss. When she came to collect him, he was effusive in his praise for my directions, and for some reason, that set me off just as quickly as if he had knocked them. Very un-Zen, very un-Petty. But then, that "A Woman in Love" song doesn't have a happy ending either.

Written by Sharon C. McGovern

From Vol. 22
Get Back to Work!