I love this website. I love this website because it features articles that make me feel a little better about being socially awkward, frighteningly over-sensitive, nauseatingly neurotic and terrifyingly lonely. Over the past several months I’ve read why being introverted usually indicates a higher intelligence, or why living alone gives us life skills allowing us to be more independent and better decision makers, and why creative people are more likely to suffer from depression and insomnia. Or why swearing can help us relieve stress! Of course I’m not claiming to be intelligent, creative, self-sufficient or some profound thinker…but I love believing that all of the unwanted quirks about my personality and behavior that often seem extremely limiting might not be as bad as they feel. I do cuss like a fucking sailor though…
There are also dozens of submissions that support my ideas about a more leisurely and laid-back workplace , which is just a more pleasant way of saying I’m lazy and would rather show up wearing my Cookie Monster Onesie, and also that I hate 40-hour work weeks…or working at all really. I just finished reading an article about why we shouldn’t start work until after 10am. Yes! Why must I be at my desk by 8:15 because I don’t do much those first two hours anyway other than make repeated trips to the break room to refill a coffee cup that is still over halfway full, and see if anyone has graciously blessed us with doughnuts or bagels. I also find those first two hours of the morning the perfect time to catch up on the news and of course read blurbs about why being weird might just make me a little cooler in the most nerdy sense. Yesterday I read a post about why we should spend more time daydreaming and socializing at work and less time hunched over a computer because those are the moments that lead to innovation! I really want to send these articles to my supervisor and our HR Department but something tells me they just aren’t ready for this revolution considering we aren’t even permitted to wear jeans on Friday.
So I just want to say thank you to all the contributing writers on lifehack.org for making me believe that my over-active sweat glands, dry-mouth and rapid heartbeat are totally normal responses to walking into a Costco at Noon on a Saturday, or that my inability to focus on anything work related before 10am (but really all day) might just spark a really awesome invention that would potentially allow me to retire early, like tomorrow for example.
I’m definitely emerging from my most recent retreat to my mental cave of solitude and avoidance. Usually the first thought that occurs to me when I wake up in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep is “did I leave my xanax in my bedroom or do I have to walk those entire 5 feet into the kitchen?” Instead of strapping on a backpack of supplies and heading out of my bedroom I opted to reach for my computer instead tonight.
I woke up from a dreadful nightmare in which I was being forced to share an office with a much despised coworker. Not only was I having to share my office with someone I refer to as “Banjo Mouth” but my computer screen now faced the outdoor window, which meant my back would be to anyone approaching from the doorway. Not only could this ignite a horrible startle complex within my already overly anxious brain but how will I get away with spying on my dog at daycare, watching free documentaries on Openculture.org and Pinning recipes I’ll never actually prepare or crafts I’ll never really make? And how can I possibly be expected to do real work when I have to listen to the obnoxiously loud southern twang of Banjo Mouth spewing forth zingers that people don’t even say anymore such as “oh snap!” or “OMG!” Just the sound of her voice nullifies any intelligence she may actually possess and then it seeps into my own ears inciting headaches and ultimately daydreams of violence involving a heavy stapler, duct tape, chloroform or whatever I can find just to shut her the fuck up. Now that she’s on a diet I can’t even offer her a very sticky candy bar or cupcake to keep her quietly entertained for at least 2-3 minutes of peace.
So waking up to this nightmarish scenario got me thinking about the whole concept of fairness and entitlement, and how pervasive and American the idea really is for us. Yesterday would technically have been my 5-year wedding anniversary if my 30 something year old husband hadn’t suddenly dropped dead on a run from a cardiac arrhythmia a couple of years ago. I had a difficult time integrating back into work after my week of paid bereavement. Apparently 5 days is all it takes to forget about your dead spouse and “just get on with it” so to speak. This didn’t work for me so I asked my supervisor if I could work from home of a week so that the social discomfort of inconsolable crying wouldn’t have to be on display a full 40+ hours a week, but just 24 hours a week. I was trying to find a reasonable compromise…and this situation would just be temporary until I could collect and compose myself enough to function again.
My supervisor was very supportive of this proposal and ordered me the necessary components to work from home 1-2 days a week, which allowed me to not only weep in the privacy of my own home but catch up on a lot of TV series while I occasionally moved my mouse so it looked like I was still working (yes, we actually have a program that shows how long we’ve been idle on our computer) HOWEVER the majority of members in my department, particularly Banjo Mouth, did not feel this was fair. Why should I get to work from home when she couldn’t? Because I am entirely too polite I didn’t smash her across the face as she deserved and point out to her that it seemed extremely unfair to me that her husband, a man she doesn’t even like all that much, is still breathing. I did manage to work from home roughly 16 hours a week for a few months until Banjo Mouth’s constant whining and complaining about the unfairness of her having to drive 90 minutes to get to work (her choice by the way since she did live 20 minutes from the office but chose to move away to be with her very much alive husband) caused so much strife within the department that I had to resume my regular 40+ hours a week, and again be on display in my work kennel. I handled this by bringing in extra boxes of tissues and just letting the tears flow whenever they needed to come out, not concerning myself with how uncomfortable my very public grieving made my self-absorbed and merciless coworkers.
So let me get back to this false idea of fairness and justness we all expect from the Universe. Where did this ridiculous idea generate and why do we keep telling both kids and adults that everything is always going to be okay, and that if we work hard enough then anything and everything is possible. You just have to want something bad enough and it will come true! We can all be amazingly attractive Olympic athletes with dozens of PhDs and gold medals papering our walls. Then we can become billionaires off an idea we gave birth to while sitting on the crapper at 2am unable to find the extra roll of toilet paper…ready for it? Glow in the dark Charmin! We can all own dozens of unicorns that freely prance around the state which we had named after ourselves (because we’re just that rich and fucking hot!) and none of the people we love will ever die nor will WE ever have the papery translucent skin that comes with old age, or just randomly drop dead… because that just wouldn’t be fair.
I hope Banjo Mouth realizes that she’ll be nothing more than a shit stain on the underpants of the planet someday. That seems reasonably fair to assume.
I really wanted to finish my little Crush series with a big bang but the desire to write out the entire story evaporated along with all non-essential motivations. Crippling depression and socially stunting anxiety strike me down several times a year. This sickness seemingly becomes more frequent with every ring added to the tree…and the duration has expanded from days to weeks to months. I figure eventually I’ll have entire years spent within the comforting yet claustrophobic confines of my house until eventually I lose my job, and with that will come the loss of the few material things that still bring me temporary joy…like drugs, books, hand-puppets of woodland creatures, and the occasional bag of kettle-cooked potato chips. In addition to the lack of funds, I would also lose a preferred shipping method thereby making it damn near impossible to fulfill all the items on my ever-expanding and relentless Amazon wish list, now approximately 107 items long, 105 of which are non-fiction books. So much useless shit to learn!
So in short I need to at least keep my head together long enough to feed and shelter my dog, and have a home address where I can have all of my hopes and desires delivered in bubble-wrapped envelopes or delightful brown boxes with my favorite logo emblazoned on the side. I even ordered shampoo last week because I didn’t feel like leaving my house. Amazon Prime is probably one of the best investments of my life. On a side note I encourage anyone reading this to watch a Prime show called Fleabag. It’s fantastic.
I suppose I am starting to brush off the most recent bout of despondency and despair since I put forth the effort of updating my computer so I could at the very least summarize the story of my high school crush, and the years of death and debauchery that followed. I’m not trying to be dramatic. There really is death and unprotected fornication in this story. Unfortunately I blew my load writing about why I haven’t been writing. Sorry…Cliff Notes to follow soon.