If we've learned anything from old reruns of conniving 1960s cartoon mice, it's the importance of being everywhere a la Savoir-Faire (the pesky yet brilliant rodent named for the French term for "know-how"), who frequently foiled the well-meaning Klondike Kat (the animated feline Canadian Mountie of Fort Frazzle, not the Houston rap artist).
This truism -- the part about being everywhere -- was never more, well, true than in this age of company mergers, acquisitions, downsizing and 24-hour news cycles. And in the next few weeks, members of the Bay Area News Group's features department (where I work) will be more here, there and everywhere than ever before -- scattered around the region like beads that burst
You see, our department has been based in the Walnut Creek office for many years, but that massive building is up for sale. Some in our section will still work in San Jose (that building's up for sale, too). Some of us will move to offices in Hayward, while our copy desk will go to Pleasanton. Of course, we're all ever present in our cozy online accommodations.
L'eggo that Lego
It will all work out, thanks to our considerable savoir-faire (the know-how, not the mouse). But it's understandably unsettling for many colleagues who have worked in this office for ages, have tons of stuff and are barely visible at their desks behind Great Walls of review-copy books, plants, newspaper piles, inflatable space aliens and the Lego version of Hogwarts.
This is not such a big a deal for me. For one, I have long split my time in features between the Oakland Tribune offices and Walnut Creek. Plus, I am a pro at moving. Not in the sense of working for Bekins, but because during my tenure at the Tribune alone, that office has gone through more moves than Psy's pelvis. My poor collection of 124 Pez dispensers has been uprooted so often that their little flip-top heads are still spinning, having moved from Jack London Square, back to the Tribune Tower, out to a building by the Coliseum and now back Uptown across from Sears. (At least the Trib has remained in Oakland, a town simultaneously dubbed last week as the "most exciting city" in the country and the "robbery capitol" of the nation.)
Round 'em up, move 'em out
Moving has been a theme in my home life, too. Before I graduated from high school, we lived in 12 different houses. We were not a military family, but rather a transformer family. But not the cool kind of transformers that turn into giant robots, but electrical ones that my dad's company built to power, oh I dunno, giant robots.
My father was always trying to move us up (sometimes it ended up being down) in quality of residence. Across town or across the country. For reasons that were never fully explained, we lived in a crummy little rental house in Rock Hill, Mo., for about six months on our way to Roanoke, Va. It may have in fact been only six weeks, but it seemed like an eternity to a 9-year-old native Californian during a Midwest winter harsh enough to kill off a few dinosaurs.
We moved so much, I got to taping little notes on my bedroom shelves to indicate the precise location of each doll, so that Kaa from "The Jungle Book," my little Scottish bagpipe player and Snoopy would go back in exactly the same spot in the next house.
All that relocation was sometimes tough, but looking back I really learned a lot about flexibility, enjoying the adventure, going with the flow and properly packing delicate china.
And, except for the china part, this has come in handy at work. It's not so much where you are, but who you're with and that your Pez dispensers are lined up all in a row, your co-workers' desks resemble frat houses and reporters go around cursing at bosses, computers and vending machines. Ah, the newsroom. It sure feels like home.