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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Back to the office

BY Sonny Orr Jan 27, 2023

Okay, the holiday season is over and it’s time to get back to work. The number of people anxious about jumping out of bed and heading to the workplace was probably zero – the empty streets of our sleepy communities can attest to that. Unless it just before 9 am and the roads were finally active for about 10 minutes. Then the quiet sets back in and the community falls into the early work morning slumber. Finally, the first break arrives and lineups to get that weak but fresh cup of java at your local coffee-and-doughnut shop brings you out of your stupor and Monday morning blahs.

Yes, it’s that time of the year when the bear hibernates, and the sky is a darker from snowstorms and the mind is just as foggy. Perhaps a little sunlight would do the trick, but sadly my office is tucked away in the back and nary a movement, unless from a stray dog or hungry raven, breaks the bleak outdoor view from my window. I sip my coffee to shake off the morning grey spells and clear my misty eyes and mind.

Aaahhh! The coffee kicks in and so does my need to figure out what to do while at work. Tackle the usual emails, phone calls and confirmations for the first hour. Then on to the next coffee. Aaahhh… the edge is off, and the fogginess gives way to bright lights and a clearer mind. The emails are luckily few and undemanding, so the next phase of the morning is to check the top three most urgent things that need to get done. Relax, it’s only this column’s deadline, which can wait until lunch hour.

The next urgent item is related to travel, always an issue for those of us in the North-With-No-Roads. Travelling is a mix of science and extreme time management. First, call to see if there are any vacancies in nearby hotels, then see if the travel date you planned for eight months has a seat on a plane, then check the weather forecast to see whether to pack light or heavy. After that the contingency planning for the plans you just made in case something goes wrong. In the North-With-No-Roads, things going wrong is a regular occurrence and nothing to throw your toupee away for.

The third urgent matter I discover can’t be done today so it’s tossed back into the organizer app. The next objective I realize is not due for another week. So, I go to phase three earlier than planned and start calling the supervisors to see if my work has a go/no-go status, then it’s off to lunch. 

Some days the travel part takes longer than planned and even the simple matter of greeting your guest at the airport has its own little issues that need my attention. Thankfully, another app beeps out the aircraft’s position just prior to landing, and it’s off to the airport. This doesn’t happen every day, so it’s exciting to see your guests and prepare them for the worst blizzard possible before bringing them to my office. 

This could be a doozie of a storm, I warn my unsuspecting guests. There are times when the runway is lost in the most dangerous form of fog. Yes, the deadly ice fog, known to trap passengers for days, cutting them off from the world as we knew it. But prepared or not, the weather was good and sunny. I could be wrong but is that what you call a nice day? I haven’t seen one for so long.

Eventually, my guests helped dispel my top three to-do items and I retire for the day, ready to tackle tomorrow’s top three urgent matters.

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.