By Greg Seitz
Author’s note: It’s been a hot summer in Missoula, Montana. Restful sleep is scarce, productivity is flagging, and many of us can’t help but count our work hours down to leisure time. The following is an ever-so-slightly fictionalized snapshot of the Planetary Design headquarters at week’s end, as everybody waits for the weekend to begin.
I sure am glad it’s Friday, as hot as it’s been. No end in sight, if you believe the weatherman, and this summer I do. We all do, so much that we stopped watching the forecast.
Here on the banks of the Blackfoot River, just a few hundred yards upstream of where it flows into the Clark Fork, inside a former lumber mill, is the new Planetary Design headquarters. But with the scenic location, and the endless flotilla of rafts and inner tubes bobbing downstream just outside, and it’s Friday afternoon, who can excel at work in such circumstances?
Come with me, reader, up the main street past the restored lumber company houses, through the millyard that now hosts an amphitheater, past the old millwright shop that now turns discarded metal into fine art fixtures, to the Planetary Design office and warehouse, and take a peek.
Photo: Planetary Design’s location in its former use as a lumber mill
A Walk Around Planetary Design
Oh. This is embarrassing. This doesn’t normally happen. On any other day this would be all hustle and bustle, taking orders, innovating. But it’s Friday afternoon, and it’s hot. Have you never drifted off into daydreams at the workplace?
How about we instead view the menagerie -excuse me- team, and get to know them by their summertime daydreams one by one? That’s far more revealing than watching them work, anyway.
Here, in the lunchroom: It’s Parker, Alysia and Jonathan, chatting about all the ways they love recreating on the water. Alysia loves the simple pleasures of floating the river on an inner tube, and the practicality of taking the free city bus service upstream to the river access so she can float to her destination without the hassle of a car shuttle. Not to mention, she can kick back with a few cold ones in her cooler in tow without worrying about getting behind the wheel. Parker has been discovering the complexities of underwater world lately, snorkeling the rivers and lakes. He’s found about a dozen pairs of sunglasses so far this year, and is thinking about learning to fish for invasive pike with a Hawaiian Sling, which he’s heard is high adventure. Not to be upstaged, Jonathan somewhat hurriedly blurts that between jet-skiing, wake-boarding, boating, paddle-boarding and swimming, he’s game for anything on the area’s lakes. Jonathan is still a little new, so we’re not going to conclude he’s one-upping the others.
Let’s mosey over to the conference area, where Jess, Beth and Erin are sitting at the big table. Their meeting must have satisfied its agenda, because they’re all rejoicing in the 16 hours of summertime daylight that we enjoy here. Jess is a golfer through and through, and plans his peak golf season around the solstice to pack in as many holes as possible. Beth is a woman of simple pleasures, who packs her long summer days with slow, meandering walks during which she makes time to sketch the sights she encounters, followed by relaxing floats. To Beth this is the perfect mix of activity and laziness. Hearing all this, Erin knows she’s in good company, because all it takes is a trip to the farmer’s market, time spent alongside a body of water, and the occasional thunderstorm for Erin to be content with the universe.
For our last stop we’ll go out to the warehouse, where we see Witte napping on some pallets. Please don’t get up, Witte, we know you’re ready for the final FedEx pickup of the week. Witte is kind of a mystery to the others. Not only does his warehouse work limit interaction with them, but nobody can pronounce his name correctly. He’s pretty content wherever he lives, but Missoula’s biggest summertime draw is its farmer’s markets, of which there are no less than fourteen, and that’s enough for Witte. Witte has a strategic route planned, allowing him to procure everything he needs for the week.
Well, reader, I think that covers everyone. That worked out pretty well, because it’s time for everyone to get their weekends started. They’re going to have some catching up to do on Monday, but that’s alright.
Have a great weekend everyone, and whoever is last to leave, be sure to lock up.