There are times when I miss having a nine-to-five job. Those moments are fleeting – like those rare occassions during summer vacation when you begin to long for school. They vanish almost as soon as they appear, as you tell yourself to enjoy the now, because this seemingly endless vacation of staying up late and eating microwave popcorn for dinner can’t last forever.

Probably.

More than anything, though, I miss the people I worked with. I still see a lot of them semi-regularly, but it will never be the way it was when were crammed into our offices at Cranium: deliriously trying to think up taglines, hacking chocolate Santas to bits with kitchen knives and eating the carnage, rearranging the magnetic letters on the fridge to prophesize our own company’s doom.

The other day, I missed it so acutely, it made my chest hurt.

When I found out I was going to be in Chicago, I asked Angela, my old boss, for some tips. She used to live there, and told me where to go and what to see. And before I left to see her old stomping ground, I decided on one more thing: I’d try to see Chicago the way Angela sees the world.

So I dressed up. I wore sweater dresses and boots (like Angela always did, even if it was frigid out) and walked through the frozen streets of Chicago confidently, feeling elegant. I smiled brightly to strangers and engaged them in conversations. I made friends. I cracked jokes. I cursed less. I tried not to get frustrated with people, because Angela’s reserve of patience seems bottomless.

It was awesome. It was also difficult. Being Angela is no easy task. But Istill highly recommend it, even if you can only manage it for a little while.

While in Chicago, I was lucky enough to have lunch with another former Craniac. Laura was our occasionally blonde, sometimes red-headed, and for while even brunette, capable-of-anything office manager. When Cranium shut its doors, Laura was sporting a sizeable baby bump. She moved to Chicago a year ago on account of her husband’s job, and she and her son, Stu, joined Rand and I at the Frontera Grill, which we all had been dying to try.

It’s funny, because I think that during our time at Cranium, Laura and I had only eaten lunch together a few times, and usually with a group. But here we were, she with her son, and I with my husband, at restaurant thousands of miles from where we met. Travel is a funny thing.

As for the Frontera Grill, the food was pretty damn good. If you choose to go, I recommend making a reservation, and shooting for lunch. We did, and were seating right away, but it took an hour to get our food. I will say Bayless’ mole is very, very good, but we had all, in our experiences, had better. For Rand and me, it was at La Carta de Oaxaca in Seattle, and for Laura it was at another spot in Chicago. Stu, I can only assume, agreed with his mother.

Rands chicken mole

Rand's chicken mole

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I got the Tuesday Special: Goat mole enchiladas, I think.

I got the Tuesday Special: Goat mole enchiladas, I think.

Stu didn’t seem too intrigued with his taquitos (though he did offer one of his goldfish to a pretty waitress, and took another’s hand), so Laura had the waiter box them up and put them in a bag. That really peaked Stu’s interest. Later, she sent me this …

This is awesome for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it meets Philips dont post photos of kids who arent yours on the internet criteria.

This is awesome for so many reasons, not the least of which is that its anonymity meets Philip's "don't post photos of kids who aren't yours on the internet" criteria.

Just another magical day, made possible in part by the folks at Cranium.

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Comments (10)

  1. 1

    I’ve been working at home now since 2000, and I still have days where I really miss the old office and my former co-workers. It never goes away. But would I go back to that grind? Nope. I love my life now and the freedom and flexibility I have, and the more casual dress. :)

    I love the last photo – reminds me of the way cats love paper bags. Maybe Stuart was pretending to be a cat.

  2. 2
    Candice says:

    Just think how awesome it is that you actually had such cool coworkers…I have similar relationships with mine, but I know very few others who do!

    • 2.1
      Geraldine says:

      Candice – you are soooo right. Better to have worked with and lost, than to have never worked with at all.

  3. 3
    Philip says:

    It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times … or something. I like the idea of trying to live your life like you are Angela. I think the world would be a better place if more people did that.

    Vive Hasbronium!

  4. 4
    Geraldine says:

    Philip – for a little while, I was nicer, kinder, smarter version of myself. It was utterly exhausting. But a worthwhile goal.

  5. 5
    Mike C says:

    I actually had an “oh my God I used to work for Cranium and I don’t now AAAAHHHHH!!!!” moment last week. My chest hurt as well. I feel both blessed and cursed to have witnessed such a work place: blessed with all the memories I have, cursed because all other places of employment will be compared to it with the kind of scrupulous tone in which a grandmother explains why her grandson is so much better than yours (don’t get me wrong, your Johnny is a very fine lad). There’s something about trading in the title “GLEEonardo DaVinci” for “Graphic Designer” that leaves me wanting. I miss signing my e-mails “m!ke c” and perusing the crazy crap on other people’s desks for inspiration. I am also bitter about my loss of celebrity status that I owned at Cranium. I don’t even think people at my new job know that I can draw! Anyway, I try not to get too sappy about it, but the truth is I will always be a Craniac at heart.

  6. 6
    Laura says:

    Geraldine, I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t even know you had written this blog post until today! I love it and just wanted to say thank you! =)

  7. 7
    Everywhereist says:

    Laura – that’s fair – I don’t think I told you about it. :) But Rand and I loved hanging out with you and Stu – we will have to do it again next time we’re in town. P.S. – the title of this post is a line from a Dead Milkmen song. I can’t hear it without thinking of Stu!

  8. 8
    Angela says:

    How did I not respond to this!? Needless to say, this post is a gift… unexpected and beautifully overstated, but a cherished gift nonetheless. Thank you, Geraldine. I adore you, and not just because you said such nice things about me.

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  1. The Everywhereist » Blog Archive » Say “I Do” to Destination Weddings - 12. Jul, 2010

    [...] of the best people I’ll ever work with. Ever.” (She was also inspiration for my be-nice-to-everyone day in Chicago last year.) Recently, Angela became a mom to an adorable little girl (like, really [...]

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