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Small Talk Mama
So today my prompt is So you get to be "Mother Nature" for the day, what's on your To Do List? and it was submitted by the lovely Shawnna from Small Talk Mama.
Wanted: motivated go-getter for newly available management position. You must have the ability to multi-task, and the willingness to ride the storm. Nature lovers welcome.
I circled the add then dialed the number given at the bottom. A cheerful sounding woman asked me a few basic questions, then invited me to meet up with her for an interview the next day. I hung up the phone with a knot of nerves slowly growing in my stomach. I'd been feeling for a while now that I needed a change of scenery, and I was hopeful that a new job was just the ticket.
I put my best work attire on the next day, and made my way to the cafe I was directed to the day before. I was surprised when I entered to find the only other customer in the room was a tall olive skinned woman in a purple flowing summer dress. I assumed I was really early until she walked over to me, with her arm outstretched.
"You must be my prospective replacement" she said with a warm smile. Suddenly I felt incredibly overdressed. We sat down at a small table in the corner of the cafe and she began to speak.
"First of all let me tell you what your new job is going to involve. You're going to be mother nature for the day."
I thought she was being metaphoric, or at the very least funny, but when her expression didn't change, I became confused.
"Excuse me?" I managed to squeak out
"Mother Nature. You know, Mother Earth, Gaia, the woman behind all of nature? I need you to be her for a day so that I can have a day off."
"Mother Nature gets days off?" I asked
"Ah, yeah, of course she does. Or at least I'm hoping she can, because I am incredibly burnt out right now, and I need a day of not worrying about monsoons and tides and balance. And that's where you come in. Now can I count on you?"
I was certain I was being pranked at that stage, but a quick scan around the room showed no hidden cameras, and given that I could come up with no good reason why I could say no, I nodded mutely. With that she jumped up, her grin widening.
"Great. Smart decision. I'll see you at midnight tonight."
"Midnight? Why so early?"
"Because that's when the day begins. Don't worry, it won't take you too long to pick up the system, besides it's only for a day. What's the worst you can do?"
I left the cafe in a daze, still not entirely convinced this wasn't an elaborate prank. However just in case it was real, and I was running the risk of breaking nature I arrived the address she gave me fifteen minutes early. I knocked on the door, and she opened it, still wearing the same purple robe I'd seen her in fourteen hours earlier.
"You're early, that's great" she said smiling. "Come on in and I'll show you around. Here's the kitchen, it's fully stocked, so help yourself. Amenities are over there, and here is your work station."
I looked where she was pointing and saw a small laptop sitting on a coffee table. It seemed so modern I just stood there staring for a few seconds. Noticing my shock Gaia smiled.
"You were expecting something more mystical weren't you?"
"Well yeah, a globe at least."
"Honey globes are so last century, we like to keep up with the times around here. Go on, take a seat."
I sat down on the couch and noticed a map of the world on the screen.
"You control the weather using Google Maps?" I asked incredulously.
"Well, yeah, but this isn't the publicly available one, I had a special plug in designed for me. Go ahead, take a look."
I checked the screen again, and noticed the task bar had several unusual buttons, rain, snow, typhoon, earthquake, spawn and sun, to name just a few.
"So how does this work?" I asked
"It's a basic point and click interface. You choose the location, choose the weather and click go."
"what about that spawn button?"
"what about that spawn button?"
"That's for creating life. Be careful with that one, because the last temp I had in accidentally caused a rat plague, which ended up leading to the Black Death and nearly the end of civilisation as we knew it."
"Anything else I need to know?"
"Yeah one other thing. There's only a finite amount of water on earth. The one thing I can't do is make more water, so if you go too crazy with that one, you could end up causing a drought somewhere else. Trust me, I learned that the hard way. The centre of Australia wasn't always quite so red."
With that she grabbed her suitcase and walked towards the door. She promised to be back by midnight the next evening and left me to it. I slowly sat back down on the couch and started playing around with the map. I clicked the search feature and started typing in addresses of people I knew. I spent the first fifteen minutes stalking friends, but given it was so late at night, there really wasn't much to see. Then I had an idea. I searched for the Great Barrier Reef, and had a look around. I remembered reading somewhere that the reef was dying, the coral wasn't coping with global warming or something, so I figured I could try to do something about it. I clicked the spawn button, then went through the drop down menu until I found the list of corals. I clicked randomly on several different species then clicked spawn a couple of times. Couldn't hurt I figured. Plus it might give the environmentalists one less thing to worry about for now. Next I found the bees. I knew that the latest panic had been the decline of the bee population in the world, so I decided to spawn them in several places over the world. Again, what was the worst that could happen.
I kept fiddling with different things, I caused a slight earthquake in Russia, to pay back the spammers who kept trying to hack my blog, and a second one in Nigeria, just as a warning to all the "princes" there who kept emailing me. By this time it was about 9am and I was getting the hang of it, but it was pretty monotonous. I decided to have a little bit of fun with my new found power and located Miss K's dad's house on the map. Then I clicked the rain button, selected his house as the location and hit go. It did look pretty funny his house being the only one in the neighbourhood getting any rain.
An email came through so I clicked on it and found a request for snow in Vancouver from a small child. He wanted a day off school the next day, and was hoping I could help. I found Vancouver on the map and made it snow there. Being so unfamiliar with the imperial measurement I accidentally set it to snow 30 inches instead of 30 centimetres, but I couldn't figure out how to undo that one, so I just sent an email back to the small boy telling him to enjoy his snow, and maybe go out for some supplies before it was too late.
By this time a second email had come through from a surfer in California requesting "kick ass waves" that day, as he had a date with his girlfriend and wanted to impress her with his surfing skills. I selected California on the map and hit wind, figuring that was how waves were made. While trying to figure it out, I accidentally ended up sending a hurricane to the coast, and again, couldn't figure out how to fix it, so I sent an email back telling him to avoid the beach that day, and perhaps try to head inland a little bit, just to be on the safe side.
I was still playing around when I got a text. I checked my phone to find Miss K's dad had texted me, telling me something funky was going on in Melbourne, as it had been raining at his house for two hours now, but nowhere else. His back yard was starting to flood, and his mum's vegetable patch was destroyed. I rushed the map back over to his house and tried to stop the rain, but accidentally sent a thunderstorm there instead. So I sent a text back to him telling him to put on some gumboots and send me a text if he survived the next twelve hours.
The rest of the day went slightly smoother, mainly because I stopped answering emails and ended up spying on different countries. If somewhere looked too dry I'd send them a little rain, if somewhere looked too wet I'd send them some sunshine. By the time midnight rolled around I was absolutely exhausted, so you can imagine my relief when I heard the front door open. In walked Gaia with the same sunny smile on her face she always seemed to wear.
"How did it go?" she asked me
"I understand why you needed a holiday" I replied smoothing my clothes down. "Speaking of which, the next time you need a break, please feel free to call someone else."
With that I walked towards the door, but before I left I felt I needed to say something else.
"If you feel that you absolutely must, there's a storm raging over a house in the suburbs that's been going for a little while now, it may not be a big deal, but you might want to turn it off."
So while it's not something I could ever put on the resume, I certainly won't forget the day I became Mother Nature. I can certainly tell you that nature is not for the weak.