Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Reminders of Africa


I've complained a bit about my new temp-to-permanent job I started on Jan. 8. I work for IKON Document Services, and our office handles printing for the Metro Government of Nashville and Davidson County (my former coworkers are giggling to read this; yes, I handle secret government files. Sort of. I did have to be fingerprinted). But despite the complaints, it's not bad, all things considered.

I'm definitely thankful to have a job at all these days, especially having been without work for a while. I'm downtown, so I feel like I'm in the middle of civic life, though it can have its disadvantages, such as the 5-10 minutes waiting outside for the short (often yellow) bus that transports Metro employees and vendors such as myself back to the parking lot across the river in the afternoons. I am in a basement with blue carpet...but I'm indoors (an important point given the freezing weather) working in graphics, and learning a few new things along the way (in the relational areas as well as technical). My art/design associates and former co-workers would probably either laugh or wince at the fact that I work on a pc, dealing mostly with Microsoft files, including Word and Publisher. A predecessor did pretty much everything in PhotoShop, including typesetting forms. "When your only tool is a hammer...." Thank God for the pdf file; kudos to Acrobat. And to Illustrator. Those Adobe folks rule.

I like making graphic documents look right, though I'm no genius at it. And one perk is the occasional personal high-quality print; filling my home with framed pictures of my life is one of those things that I can envision but have a hard time getting around to doing.

But I finally came up with something to put in this frame, handmade from wire by a South African (you knew I'd make the connection eventually). I didn't take the picture, but I was on the flight, and it does a lot to enhance my decorative nod to my South African experience (see the column full of info on the lower right of this page). This is the top of my CD shelf in my living room, next to my TV, so it's never far from my view at home. Along with the carved animals, also bought in Africa, it reminds me of the friends I've made through my experience with Living Hope in Cape Town. And maybe I'll even go back.

I was teasing a friend recently that her beloved collection of rubber duckies just might constitute a mild form of idolatry, as might another friend's collection of Star Wars figurines (not dolls--figurines. That's important), and many other cases where people own things to have them instead of to use them for their intended purpose (Toy Story 2, anyone?). This photo may not help my case; but of course the difference here is these things are intended to be decoration. And the CD's are to listen to, which I do. So take your best shot, Jennifer. (And yes, I see the irony, or whatever you'd call it, of the fact I'm offering idolatry topic when I'm a Baptist and work for a company called IKON).

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P.S.: Even as I was writing this post, there was a Living Hope Partners Conference going on at my church, and several of my friends from South Africa were in town...I had forgotten about it! I couldn't have gone during the day, but I at least meant to drop by for the evening sessions, post-session coffee, etc. But it wasn't in my Outlook calendar, therefore it wasn't happening in my world. To quote the eloquent Homer Simpson...DOH!

2 comments:

Sylvia Evans said...

Mark, I'm glad you have a steady job and I did wince when I read the part about working on a PC and dealing with Word and Publisher. Yuck!

Did you have to stand out in the freezing cold this morning and wait for the short bus? That would have been truly a miserable experience.

We do miss you being here with us.
Sylvia

Amanda Vilendrer said...

and here's the one part I'll comment on: a former coworker of mine had superman and batman dolls (yes, dolls- that's what I called them) on his desk. I got great joy out of teasing him! He still maintained they were figurines, for the record. PS- glad you landed a new day gig.