“We have a good time, but we work really hard. And have a good time, too.”
This was what I heard, over and over, as I went through the interview process and early days at my new job. I thought to myself, Okay, this is What People Say. It’s code for “We will work you into an early grave, but don’t worry because we also provide snacks!”
I’ve been there for a month, now. My work has covered a little of this and a little of that, and this week I cut my teeth for real: a big project, not enough time, and stress like I’d had yet to see. My boss and I buckled down to make deadline, passing file revisions back and forth between our workstations. Finally, around lunch today, I’d handed back my version and was nervously awaiting the next round of edits.
I poked my head into my boss’ office when I couldn’t stand it any more, and he was still glued to the screen, making changes. I paused to rub Mountain Dog’s head and his tail flopped fast and furious (the dog, not my boss).
“Have you had him out, yet?” I asked. At the word “out,” Mountain Dog’s ears leapt four inches into the air.
“Not yet,” my boss answered as he squinted at the files in front of him. “No time.”
“I’ll take him, if you want,” I offered. “I can’t do anything else til you’re done, anyway.”
It was a selfish offer; after five hours of being hunched over my computer, a walk around the building sounded good. And I am a sucker for Mountain Dog. It’d be hard not to like a dog your size who will trail you into your office and lay his head on your keyboard tray with a sad look that says, “If you loved me at all, you’d give me some of that Chex Mix because no one ever feeds me.”
Anyway, my boss was relieved, Mountain Dog was prancing with joy, and I was getting my jacket on and looking for his leash. I was looking forward to some cold, fresh air and a chance to unkink my muscles. I filled my jacket pocket with treats and we set out towards the door, Mountain Dog snapping at the leash in an effort to walk himself.
Our offices are on the second floor. We headed out the main door and down the stairwell to street level.
I’ve never walked Mountain Dog before. I knew he was excited, yes. I’ve heard of gravity, sure. And still–somehow–I was unprepared for what happened next.
Let’s just say that if you’re trying to get outside with a dog that very nearly outweighs you, it’s probably not a good idea to wrap the leash around your wrist, particularly on a downhill descent such as a staircase. There was a critical moment when I clearly visualized myself being dragged down the last few stairs. I was sure it was precognition. But through a combination of digging in my heels, pulling on the leash, contorting my body into a near-horizontal position, and leaping to clear the last 3 stairs, I arrived at the bottom of the stairs in one piece.
That was fortunate, because it allowed me to enjoy Mountain Dog’s triumphant “All the better to drag you around the parking lot, my dear!” all the more.
We circled the building and he peed about twelve gallons and pulled me into two different snow banks and tried to eat a couple of non-food items we encountered, and then headed back inside.
It was great.