Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tagging Mary Oliver

The one problem with working at the P&PC home office is that you can never really get all that far away from work. Take Sally the Stenographer, for example. There she was, shopping on her own in downtown Portland, thinking she had the whole day to herself without any interruption from a P or a PC. She needed a raincoat, a couple of sweaters, and maybe a new pair of tights. She wandered here and there from Lucy to REI, keeping in mind one of her favorite stores, Title 9, as her final destination. Sally likes the sporty, casual look at Title 9. She likes their clothes that women can "live in" while "doing their thing." She likes how the catalogs don't show models but picture real employees—sometimes holding chickens, or mountain biking, or rock climbing—accompanied by little interviews with them about what they've got in the fridge or what kind of food they love. Her face lights up when she walks through the door.

Then, as she's blissfully looking through a bunch of sweaters by prAna—the Carlsbad, California, outfit named after an ancient Sanskrit word for "breath, life, and vitality of the spirit"—Sally comes across the hang-tag pictured here where, along with a statement of prAna's company philosophy, there's a quotation from Mary Oliver's poem "The Summer Day": "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life." Sally paused, admiring the sandstone design and the way it makes the words kind of look like a petroglyph, and for a moment she did wonder, "What am I going to do with my one wild and precious life?" Then she realized she was holding the answer to Mary Oliver's question in her very hands. She bought the sweater, delivered its tag to the P&PC Office, and submitted the receipt for reimbursement as a work-related expense.