Do you ever wonder how a girl like me winds up spending a Saturday night at home eating oatmeal and drinking margaritas? Well, grab a drink and let me tell you a long tale. (If I’m lucky, you will bore early and not read this at all)
First it starts with an overachieving, workaholic manager who works so hard he manages to come down with the flu on the day our project is due. I’ve been sublimating my overachieving tendencies into slacking for years with great success, yet here he is, trying to wear me down. So Friday, I went into overdrive, desperately trying to make up for his absence.
I’d submitted our project on Thursday night, but found out Friday morning that I *might* have submitted a horrible regression. It was impossible to tell if this was true, and so I frantically submitted again.
By noon, I had finished, but that is when I start to panic. It has been true all my life. I am never nervous before acting in a play, I am nervous after. I didn’t scream when I stuck my arm into a bucket of ants—I brushed them off, killed them, cleaned out the bucket and then sat on the back steps and cried. Nothing has changed.
I also am a typical Irish girl. I can’t express emotion to save my life. My family has a difficult time talking to each other about any subject, and so we use humor. It is how we deal with death, with life, with love. My siblings and I—and their significant others—have all been making a concerted effort to talk more, but it isn’t easy. I, being the typical single, oldest daughter, due to my strong disposition and innate sense of independence have no one to practice with, so I talk to you. Even then, I hide a lot of how I actually feel and just tell you what is funny.
A neighboring manager stopped by my office while I was having what I wish had been a panic attack (wish because at least then I would be showing some emotion) and I told him that I was stressed out. He asked why I was laughing and smiling and looking so comfortable stretched out on my couch with my computer. I explained that this is my coping mechanism.
He took some Belly Flops (I provide a container of reject Jelly Bellys for the office). I told him they are magic and would make him feel better since he too was stressed out. He thought I was crazy.
During lunch time, while still on my stress-high, I decided to email Mr. Peeps. As I just said, I prefer to use humor over any other coping mechanism, and so instead of dealing with rejection, I decided to do something that I could write to you all about. If I’m going to get turned down, I might as well have a good story out of it.
Hey [Mr. Peeps],
Okay, curiosity gets the best of me every time. At least I’ve waited almost a week before bothering you again. Just wondering what I should read into you not being able to come by and watch tv last sunday. I’ve made some options for you to choose from…
Choose all that apply:
1. ___: I was just too busy, but I’d love to ______________.
1a. ___: … have dinner
1b. ___: … stop by to play your Wii
1c. ___: … swing by the driving range
1d. ___: … find an open closet in ten minutes
2. ___: My manager says_____________.
3a.___: you are just trying to use me to figure out our secret project
3b.___: sex brings down my productivity
3c.___: he’d hold the door for you anytime, and I should take you up on your offers.
3d.___: I work too much and need to find some other activities (see 1.)
3. ___: My girlfriend(/boyfriend) wouldn’t approve because ________________.
3a.___: She’s only interested in a ménage à trois.
3b.___: (S)he is a transgender ex-sumo wrestler named Bertha. I’d suggest you hide. Now!
3c.___: She was horribly disfigured in a car crash that I caused a year ago which killed her entire family and now I am her sole caregiver and feel too guilty to leave her.
3c.___: She says no.
4. ___: You are
4a.___: insane. Please stop contacting me. (Usually people choose one of the other options just to be nice.)
4b.___: sweet, but really, this isn’t a good time. I’ll have my people call your people if it ever changes.
4c.___: a bit crazy, but I’m intrigued. Try again in [ a week | a month | when hell freezes over]
4d.___: funny. I can’t stop laughing from this long enough to see the screen and reply. Who says this stuff?
5. ___: [Make your own]
Hopefully, you are laughing at me as hard as I was laughing at me for writing that. Sadly, he hasn’t replied, so I’m guessing that his answer was 4a. Too bad, because I actually find him interesting. I have a bad habit of sabotaging myself. I don’t even do it subconsciously. Wouldn’t possibly want anyone to think that I’m anywhere even close to normal.
The day continued. The manager who had eaten the magic Belly Flops came back and said, “Strangely, I do feel better.” I told him that he should have believed me to begin with. Everyone thinks I’m crazy. They are magic. I don’t eat them though because I don’t like jelly beans. No magic for me.
Our projects all had to be submitted by midnight. By five, I had everything I could do done. I had two more projects to submit, but they weren’t ready yet, so I did my usual evening routine. I rode my bike home, walked my dog, and came back to work for dinner.
The previous day, I had stupidly told a friend that I could go to a house concert with him. I had to cancel. I managed to finish submitting the projects by 10 pm, but I would have been too late for the concert. So, I came home and went to sleep by midnight.
At 7 am this morning, I woke like every other day. I fed the cats, walked the dog, then headed a couple miles down the road to help Ying move. (BTW, she has some good photos of our Bay to Breakers walk last weekend.) It was one flight of stairs down, a drive to the city, then two flights of stairs up. Needless to say, by 3pm, I was tired and sweaty. We drank large bottles of water and a couple beers. Then Coworker J called.
He asked if he’d be able to follow my submission directions because we needed to submit the project again today. I said he should be able to and to give me a call if he needs help. At 5:15 pm, he called and asked if I could come to the office to submit before 7 pm. Not being capable of saying no to Coworker J (even after I’ve been practicing saying “No” to everyone for the last two weeks), I said I could.
Fastest trip back from SF, I submitted from home. My poor pets were pissed off, especially Perl who really needed to go out. I put everything together as fast as I could and hit the last command at four minutes to seven. Then it hung for half an hour.
I wasn’t sure if I could resubmit. I didn’t know what would happen if I submitted after seven. I really started to flip out. Well, flip out in the only way I know how—I sat uber-patiently, hoping that it would work. Then I took Perl on a super-short walk. Then I saw it was still hung. At 7:30, I started the command from another computer and it took two minutes. I was pissed.
I was tired, sore, sweaty, hungry, and now highly disappointed in myself for something I couldn’t have done any differently. But this submission was at the request of our Director and I wanted everything to go smoothy. I wanted to show that I could drop everything and be the overachieving workaholic like my manager. When I think about it, I don’t want these things, but when I’m not thinking, and just doing, then I fall right into that pattern.
So, I drowned my self-disappointment in the shower. Too lazy to go out to hunt and gather, I picked through the remains of my cupboards. They are pretty bare since Meine Schwester moved out a year ago. However, I did find some raisin oatmeal and ingredients for a margarita, including some frozen strawberries I used instead of ice.
And there you have it—how a girl like me comes to be alone at home, eating oatmeal and sipping margaritas on a Saturday night. It isn’t really all that much of a surprise now is it?