Monday, May 21, 2007

Concierge Me

A couple of you may know that I started writing a column for a monthly magazine a few months ago. (Yes, somebody is giving me actual U.S. currency to write down the warped thoughts that clog up my brain. Amazing!)

So...I present in the space below the column that appears below my name in current issue of the unnamed publication. (Now, that's a convoluted sentence...)

I can't say it's my best writing, but it sure beats having to put together a blog post from scratch. Enjoy!

A recent survey of Average Americans shows that their Number One Concern is “lack of time.” Okay, by “survey” I mean asking my husband and the lady in front of us in the Target check-out line.

But we all three agreed that there are not enough hours in the day to conquer one’s minimum-daily-requirement of obligatory tasks and still have time left-over to heckle American Idol contestants and make videos to post on YouTube.

So what’s a time-deprived American Adult to do? Since the American Way guarantees an entrepreneur stands ready to profit from our every need – a new service industry has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of our no-time pyre -- the personal concierge.

The website of one such service – headconcierge.com – describes its “lifestyle management services” as encompassing everything “from arranging a special evening to organizing the carrying out of any menial task.”

Since I already have my own personal assistant skilled in carrying out menial tasks (my husband) and two little-concierges-in-training (explains why all our dinner reservations are at Applebees) the headconcierge.com pitch didn’t really move me.

Until I got to this line:
“Just imagine a life where any conceivable task is completed quickly, efficiently and with a minimum of fuss.”

“Just imagine” eh?

“Any conceivable task”?

Okay…what conceivable task do I hate so much that I’d be willing to pay someone to do it for me? The first thing that sprang to mind – five little letters: O-B-G-Y-N.

Alright, that’s medically inadvisable and probably not on the list of your typical concierge duties.

So while a personal concierge is a fine idea, perhaps what I need is a stand-in …you know, like the person who substitutes for an actor before a scene is shot…

I can see it now – my stand-in sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, paging listlessly through last month’s Easy Yet Purposeless Family Crafts That You Feel Guilty Throwing Out magazine – while I lounge outside getting a pedicure from a guy named Sven in my air-conditioned Winnebago.

Forty-five minutes later, a quick call to my cell-phone tells me they’re ready for my close-up. Nearly painless!

Yes, so many, many things that a stand-in could be used for:

To take your place during the daily “Hot enough for you?” chit chat with the tedious co-worker you usually hide from…

To attend school functions and kids’ parties (and I’ll request my stand-in has thinner thighs than I do – we moms can be pretty critical)…

To call in sick for you (requires an impressionist -- preferably with an encyclopedic knowledge of exotic diseases)…

To step in during automatically after the first five minutes of your child’s half-hour monologue detailing the personalities of each and every Pokemon character…

To eat your vegetables.

But I digress…

I can only think of one person I’d actually hire to be my own personal concierge -- Jack Bauer. He’s high energy, requires very little coddling and he’s got a soft spot for the ladies. Plus he’d pretty much guarantee the kids would never get bullied.

Jack and his buddies from CTU would have come in handy a few days ago when my little family was taking a walk around the neighborhood. We encountered a familiar-looking woman escorting a gaggle of children. She greeted us with a huge hello, but I hadn’t the foggiest idea where we knew her from. So we picked up our pace and moved on before my memory lapse became evident.

Now imagine the same situation with Bauer backing me up…a van trails us discreetly and when the unknown soccer mom crosses our path, Jack’s there to snap her photo and relay it to Chloe who instantaneously cross-references it with her database…and in a split second: “Mary Smith -- Room Mom in 2004” is whispered into my earpiece.

Sure – I’d still probably walk away without any more of a conversation than “Hi!” But at least I’d know exactly whom I was being antisocial to.

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