I’m getting a real kick out of my co-workers these days. I’m working with about a half dozen young women — young being the operative word.
They’re all so freaking competent it kills me. They can write like it’s nobody’s business, they all take great photos to go with their stories, and they almost always laugh at my jokes. I call them ‘the girls.’
They’re either about to go to university, just leaving university, or all done with it and on their way. They do yoga and eat a lot of avocados. We live on Martha’s Vineyard and none of them know who John Belushi is but they all know they should keep using the same plastic cup for take out iced coffee over and over and over again. If they see a bug, they think twice before killing it. Actually they leave it for me to kill because they couldn’t possibly… and they know I won’t hesitate.
We get along just fine the girls and me. Oh, there’s a little trouble when I insist on running the window air conditioner up in our second floor office —ramshackle is too nice a word for it. They probably aren’t a fan of artificial air circulating or something. I like to tell them they’d be just fine with the AC if they weren’t always dressed half-naked for summer.
I admire these young women though. They wear what they want, they say what they want (within reason, because I can tell when they’re being polite), they have strong opinions about their ideas, and most of all they are game for just about any hair-brained idea I come up with.
So far, they’ll write just about any story I deem as “Wow, that’d be great! You can paddle a kayak at 5 am on a pond full of shellfishermen and write a story about sunrises on the Vineyard and the shellfish industry and a bit about your biceps after having paddled so hard and we can fit this story in four sections of the newspaper if we want? Thanks ladies.”
It’s important to me that they come up with any idea to write about; if they like the idea, the writing is going to be just fine. The more they like the subject matter the less I edit has been my experience.
And best of all, every once in a while one of them notices our little dynamic and says, “It’s really cool that we have this room full of women we work with.”
I’m going to be sad when summer’s over and most of these girls say goodbye. Like the restaurant business on Martha’s Vineyard, the newspaper business needs summer help, and we’re really lucky to have such talented young women with us. I just wish they’d stay, but I know they’re on to China, London, Scotland and beyond. This old lady will stay right where she is until next summer, when I hope to see them all again.