Monday, December 1, 2003

Change to Spare

As you may have noticed, I (like so many other people) cannot stand change. Actually, it's not change I dislike so much, it's upheaval. But I also dislike change: not the gaining of new things, but the loss of old things, and having to endure physical hardship in between... my dream of life is a life in which things settle down where I want them, and stay there, with an occasional pleasant new thing to liven the days.

Anyway, I was thinking last night, or rather very very early this morning as I lay awake with another bout of leg-twitching insomnia, that I am not completely happy at work. See, these bouts of leg-twitching insomnia always happen on weeknights, usually Sunday. I thought maybe it was the gym, maybe I was doing too much on the elliptical machines (Caroline's newest enthusiasm, since the readout of calories burned is much higher on those machines than on the treadmill or bicycles) and that was causing the spasms, but I don't go to the gym on Sunday so that doesn't wash; I thought maybe it was the getting up early on Sundays, as I do on the weekdays, that I'm going to bed in a too-tired-to-sleep state; maybe it's the trying to go to bed at a particular time instead of sitting up until my head starts wobbling on my neck, as I do on weekend nights. But last night as I lay wide-awake in the dark with little irritating spasms in my left thigh and a head full of worries, I realized that I didn't want to go to work in the morning.

Today is a two-piece program that promises to be a lot of hard work. First, I have to resume printing the newsletter, a task that is not in itself difficult but which is so time-consuming that it is very like hard work... the printer only makes two copies a minute on average (it's a two-sided eleven-by-seventeen sheet folded in half, a rather involved object for one tiny finishing module), so a distribution of 1500 copies takes an aggregate twelve hours to complete, and every twenty-three copies (just over ten minutes) you have to empty the product tray, so you can't just leave the machine to play with itself while you do something else, you have to listen for the stops and empty the tray over and over and over again during the aggregate twelve hours. I got started on Wednesday, and got about three hundred done, and I planned to come in during the holiday weekend and get some more out of the way; but I didn't, and the newsletter has to be in the boxes by tomorrow, so I am going to have to put in at least an eight hour day today, maybe even ten.

While that is happening, I and my coworkers will be cleaning the entire office of loose papers and important documents and electronic equipment, moving everything but the actual furniture into the storage room, so that the carpeters can come in tomorrow and install our new carpeting. Needless to say, I am not thrilled about the prospect of new carpeting... no, that's not quite right: while I look forward to having new carpet, which is going to be industrial-pile with a multi-color nap that will disguise stains, replacing a once-lovely but now terribly stained and entirely inappropriate deep-pile sandy beige residential carpeting, I do not look forward to the upheaval of the entire office that the installation of said carpet will cause. And I certainly am not happy with the speed in which this whole process has taken place, my change-resistant mind simply hasn't had time to digest it.

This upheaval will be good for one thing, it will force me to clean my desk. But it also forces me to unplug my computer, which I haven't dared to turn off since something went flooey with the power-source coupling; every time I turned it on, I had to jiggle the cord in the plug while pushing the power button, three or four times, before it would turn on and so I started simply restarting the computer in the evening instead of turning the CPU off. Then my coworker's computer, which is the same model and age, wouldn't turn back on at all, no matter how much we jiggled it (which occasioned another change, four entirely new workstations so that everyone in the office has the same kind and age of computer).

I backed up all of my documents, of course, some weeks ago; and I have a new computer, but it doesn't have anything loaded on it so it's not ready to operate. If my computer doesn't turn back on after I move it, I will lose weeks of work as well as a lot of personal information and cookies (I'll have to remember all of my passwords, dommage!) as well as being without a computer until our computer-guru-guy gets back from convalescing from gastrointestinal surgery... after Christmas. Needless to say, I'm more than a little worried.

Then there's the whole Coming In At Ten Issue: when my new boss started back in March or April (I forget, it was such a blur), he asked me to start coming in at ten sharp instead of rolling in any time between eleven and twelve-thirty, as I had been accustomed to do. My boss is generally a nice guy, but he is nevertheless a guy and feels the need to exercise authority every once in a while. I argued with him for a bit and then acceded without making any promises—I'll give it a shot, I said.

After about a month of trying and failing to arrive in the office at or before 10 a.m., I more-or-less reverted to my original schedule, though I never came in as late as I used to. I was always there by eleven-thirty, which I viewed as a one-hour improvement over my previous habits. But this is not good enough for him; about a month ago he asked me to "reload and start shooting for ten again." And so I have been.

But it's not working very well. For one thing, I have to set my alarm to eight, where I hadn't previously even had to use my alarm clock; and then I never get out of there at four or four-thirty, so I find it difficult to motivate myself to get in any earlier. I mean, why bust my hump to come in at ten if I can't leave at four? Sure, it gives me more time off to take long lunches on Friday, but that's not much of a consolation prize for working more-than-six-hour days. And then, for the first hour all I do is answer the phone and tell everyone who calls that the person he or she is calling is not in, which the answering machine could very easily do without me.

But my usual work dogma of "I'll do whatever I want so long as I get the work done" is not there for me right now... I'm not getting my work done. Now, a lot of this is because I have too much work to do, and am so been so overwhelmed that I spend whole days just sitting idle behind my desk, shell-shocked. This is hardly my fault, but my bargaining chip of "as long as I get the work done" has lost much of its impact. And so I am busting my hump trying to get to the office by ten — and failing... as I am doing right now, sitting in my bedroom at home at 10:30 writing in my diary. But then, I'm going to be at the office all blinking night moving papers and printing newsletters, so it doesn't really matter when I start, does it?

Well, anyway, that's what was squirreling around my mind last night as I clutched a heating pad between my knees and tried to drop off. That and so much more. Worries and concerns and random thoughts and ideas and fantasies and resentments and replayed conversations. Prayer and meditation didn't even work. It's a wonder I'm able to sleep at all.

I'm going to chalk it up to Seasonal Affect Disorder and weather through it, though (pardon the pun, I didn't even see it until after I published). We're having an unusually cold autumn this year, so that might actually be the reason. Either way, I'd better get to work or I'll miss my eleven-thirty personal deadline. Toodles!

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