MORE's Over-40 Intern Diaries: I'm Drowning in Tasks

Ruth Morganto, 49, wanted to explore a new career but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Read what happens on Day 6 when she joins the MORE team to assist on an upcoming issue

by Ruth Morganto • Midlife Intern
ruth morganto image
Photograph: Ari Michelson

I’m going to miss the Chop’t salads most of all. Of course, I can buy a salad in Pennsylvania. I can even make one myself. But it is a special experience to stand before a buffet of salad toppings, selecting them at whim.  Romaine or mesclun?  Chicken or steak?  Craisins or grapes?  What about the veggies?  And the cheeses! There are at least six kinds. Pecorino, anyone?

Since New York City requires that calorie counts be posted on the menus of restaurants with more than 15 branches, I need only minimal math skills to calculate my caloric intake as the ingredients fly into the bowl, which is then handed off to a knife-wielding man who chops my greens into tiny bits and tosses in the dressing of my choice. (Spa balsamic—only 20 calories!)  But, I digress.  The day is half over and I’m only starting to get into a groove.  

I’m finally settling in at the office. After a few days of floundering, I’ve discovered how to open the glass entryway doors (pull, don’t push), who can answer my printer questions (Mackie Siebens, editorial assistant extraordinaire), where to find critical office supplies and even how to navigate my MAC. Although I’m drowning in tasks, each one is more interesting than the last and I don’t want to hand off any of them. Read a manuscript?  Absolutely.  Research amazing women? I’m on it. Watch an Academy-Award-nominated documentary and interview the director? Yes, please! Keep in mind, I am not a journalist, so I am truly winging it—every day, all day.

Although I’m practically manic from the excitement, adrenaline is no replacement for sleep and my insomnia has been acting up. Monday was a holiday, so Tuesday feels like a Monday. This morning, I woke at 5 A.M. and had so many thoughts running through my head that I couldn’t get back to sleep. “How do I interview an author? What if I can’t think of anything to write? What if I miss my train?”  I’m exhausted. Worse yet, I think it shows. I wish I could find a cheat sheet on 12 ways to look awake when you aren’t. I wish I had my own makeup artist. Or even makeup skills. Desperate, I resort to my usual trick— throw lipstick and mascara in the general direction of my face and wear a bright-colored sweater, which I hope will distract people from noticing the bags under my eyes.  It seems to be working.
 
In the end, excitement wins over and the hours fly by. Suddenly, the sky is dark and people are reaching for their coats. It’s time to set aside my work and leave. I’m still mentally blogging, though, as I walk to the subway.

Next: When a Non-Journalist Interviews a Filmmaker

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