At the library, we’re accustomed to folks looking less confused after we provide an answer. Last Wednesday, however, our response seemed to generate more questions.
We’d publicized our annual City employees’ lunch in the usual ways, but a number of customers were still caught off guard. “You’re closing in the middle of the day why?” was heard several times as we made the rounds of internet stations and study rooms. Assuring everyone that we’d resume operations at 1:30, we explained that we had a lunch date with all the other City employees.
Called Spirit Lunch, this once-a-year mass meal has happened for, I’m told, over thirty years, dating back to a simpler time when all the City employees could fit under a park pavilion. Well, the spirit of camaraderie lives on; it’s just more organized. Choosing the venue is simple, as Clay Madsen Recreation Center is the only affordable location that can shelter hundreds of City workers.
The buffet meal is catered now (imagine organizing, heating, and serving hundreds of random pot luck offerings). The Spirit Lunch committee always manages to come through with a tasty meal on their budget. Granted, it’s not as fancy as dinners I recall from my days in for-profit employ.
But Spirit Lunch is only nominally about the food, anyway. Just one time every 365 days, workers from Parks and Recreation, Administration, Communications, and all the other City divisions can associate faces with the names they’ve seen on emails and work orders.
As a Round Rock taxpayer and employee, I have two opportunities to take my co-workers for granted. When customer service is a priority, as it is for the City, usually things get done smoothly and without much fuss. At least, that’s what we hope for. But when we’re sitting across from each other having barbecue, we’re reminded that real individuals doing hundreds of tasks keep the water flowing and the streets navigable and the website timely. In terms of motivation and example, Spirit Lunch proves a worthy use of our time.
And speaking of proof: I have concrete evidence that I’ll always need a day job. For my first week of participation in National Novel Writing Month, I have achieved the goal so far–11,965 words.
The quality of the plot–pedestrian at best (with no discernible “arc” yet)–is what I expected. Here’s the surprise: characters actually do, as many professional authors have claimed, sort of materialize as you write. More than one noted writer has asserted that they simply “walk onto the page”.
In my case, they are more apt to stumble over the threshold or perhaps be dragged in by another character, but I’m still awfully glad they showed up.