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A Day in the Life of a Personal Assistant

Wake up. Drive to Boss’s House. Think to myself “way way to early” . Make tea. Get ready to wake Boss for an early morning conference call with editor. Attempt to wake Boss. Find what looks like a corpse. Remember Boss promised to have an ” Early Night” and wake upon the dawn like a lark, refreshed and ready for the day . Realize Boss has only been asleep for an hour or so.

Shake corpse. Corpse attempts speech. Corpse fails. Tea, I say, over and over, in conversational tones. Boss makes it to tea, which is bedside the bed, not a far leap for many, but a large one for Boss. Asks me to find the Last Big Contract for the Last Big Project but I am to smart for that trick. Wait until Boss is actually working thru morning e-mail until I leave the room.

Make more tea. Start to go thru the mail, which comes in a bucket sort of thing every morning. Throw away the junk. Bucket thing still full. Start to open the Mail and sort into piles. Important,  Black and Whites of Comics in Progress, Galleys of Books in Progress,  Case of Mangos ( look, if you want something from me, case of mangos gets that request right to the top ) contracts, requests for quotes , fan mail, gifts from fans and friends, Things From Editors, Publishers, and Studios, cd’s people have sent, and really odd things. ( see essay on Top 10 Things Never To Send Your Favorite Writer ) Notice one of the cd’s. Stop. Impressed. Love her work. Pop cd into the player. Ah, yes….

Time for more tea for Boss. Remind him about the conference call in ten minutes. He asks, any chance of breakfast? Make breakfast. Fast. Get Boss on call, with more tea and go downstairs with tiara for the portion of the day known as ” Princess of No”

E-mail. Lots of E-mail. I promise myself I will, today, get it down under 500 today. I will be patient. I will be kind, as I dash peoples hopes and dreams. You have 130 new e-mails, my computer helpfully tells me. Well, it’s early I think, not to worry, can’t really sink my teeth into it until I get at least 200.

Dear Assistant, we would like to invite your Boss to our Con next month, next year, in ten years time, many of them start out. Can’t be done, sorry, he is booked thru the year  2069. When he will be 100. Sorry, says the Princess of No.

Dear Assistant, can we interview your Boss for our web-page, fanzine, newspaper, major paper, television show, documentary. Maybe I tell the Washington Post, David Letterman and the guy doing a documentary on Seriously Weird Un-dead Things who Like Mangos ( hey, I like Seriously Weird Un-dead Things and Mangos, rule number one, get the Assistant behind you )…….  The rest, the ones that come thru publishers, I say, you get one major interview, pick it wisely, that’s it for you. Boss is published in over 40 different countries. I wonder how we are going to do 40 interviews for his current bestselling book, the one coming out in a month, and the two movies he is working on. Everyone else gets to meet the Princess of No. ( no one likes her. UN-popular )

Dear Assistant, I wrote you almost a week ago and have received no reply to my questions, what’s the problem. I have my first good laugh of the day.

Dear Assistant, I am an aspiring writer-publisher-editor-illustrator and desire greatly to get into the field and am inquiring about an internship with Mr Gaiman, I don’t need to be paid, just a couch to sleep on and I feel I could be of great help working with him and his publishers and could learn a lot from an internship. ( hmmm…we DO need someone for the garden )

Receive a letter from my best friend asking what I am up to today. Ruining peoples hopes and dreams I say. Oh, she writes back, the usual. Another letter friend asks can we go out sometime. I wonder idly what that means.

( during the E-mail phase I should point out the phone has not once stopped ringing. )

Boss is off the conference call and I give him a list of calls to return. He lets me know the Cats have been peeing in inappropriate  places. I apologize and take responsibility for the cats bladders, and go have a talk with the cats. Look says I, you gots these nice litter boxes, whyfore you peeing around all the doors? Cats say because you close the doors. I say, Because if we don’t you pee in the rooms.  Stand off.  Never argue with a cat.

Arrange with Movie People for Boss to go out for Meetings the following week. Arrange car to airport, air, car to hotel ,hotel car service to meetings and airport again.  . Arrange Meetings. Breakfast, Coffee, Lunch, Coffee, Drinks, Dinner, Drinks in order of importance. Wonder that Boss isn’t fat and floating away.

In one of the ebs and flows we find ourselves, Boss and I , able to flee the house and have a walk round the garden.  Nice garden, Nice walk.Take notebook, always. Now I have things to do if I get bored. Not to complain, I like the garden. Threaten plants with pruning shears if they don’t start growing better and making me look  bad.

I go to the grocery store, the post office, the bank, the garden center and out for some really weird electronics whose purpose I will never understand.

Back home again I hear  Boss on the phone with  Friend with Family in Town. I overhear Boss say Sure, come on out tonight for dinner and spend the night, I have to leave for the UK  in the morning, but that’s ok. Wait, I say, leaving out the fact I am completely unaware of this UK trip, first things first, How Many and What do they Eat??????? Go back to grocery store, find beds and bedding.. NOW….

What do you mean, Boss you leave tomorrow? Oh. Right. Says he. Director needs me on the set.. Just found out. Oh, I need to go via Tasmania. Right.

Set up airfare from Midwest to Tasmania, find hotel with shuttle, and arrange flights to UK and hotel  and back home four days later.

Have short talk with Boss about tomorrows flight. I tell him again that flights will not wait upon him, they are fixed and firm and WILL leave with out him. Boss finds this funny. Again. Remind Boss that he is leaving for LA the day after he gets back from the UK.

Boss brings home Tasmanian Devil. Research Tasmanian Devil care. Boss tells me Tas has shredded the couch. Take responsibility for Tas’s claws. Shoot Tas. Know that if Boss asks where’s Tas , the phone will ring, and he might forget for days.

Phone rings. Oh, says I, he’s here. Oh, uh, loved your last movie. Lovely about the Oscar.

Check e-mail. Ah, that’s more like it. Numbers I can really sink my teeth into. Letter from Godlike Writer asking is Boss free to be Grand Master of Everything on April 30th he says he will if he’s free. Sure, says I, he has nothing except Easter Weekend when he is Godlike Master of Everything at the Most important Thing in the World. Easter Weekend , I recall from last year, is in early April. Copy Boss. Get mail back from Boss. Find out Easter Weekend  Moves. Damm. Write letters throwing myself on my sword.

Being a Personal Assistant is like shooting from the hip. You have to be fast , you have to be ready. If it goes wrong, oh, and it will, you will take the blame. If it goes right , that’s good because that’s how it should be. I, however, know that I am appreciated. Very very appreciated. . My Boss has the sweetest temper going, and is one of the kindest people I have ever met. I know everything I do is really really important. He has told me so. Many times.

I lay in my bed , wishing I had got everything I wanted to done , and run over my various affirmations for the day tomorrow. I will get my e-mail under 500. I will get tomatoes staked. I will be friendly , funny, and try and get to the gym.

Then two very very truthful, simple and profound things occur to me and I smile.

I  so love my job. And….

Thank  the Gods that I am not as busy as my Boss.