Monday, January 26, 2004

Ego Blaster

Sometimes I'll be jogging along through life, reasonably content with myself, when suddenly a number of things will pop up and throw my many inadequacies in my face. Suddenly my self-esteem is shattered, shredded, slaughtered. I stand naked in the wreckage of my life, weeping over my failures.

Today's just one of those days. Well, I'm not actually weeping yet, but I am more than a little irritated with myself. See, one of the drawbacks to these very generalized factotum-type jobs, like mine, is that you can't play exclusively to your strengths. You have a hundred things to do, and maybe fifty of them you're great at and fifty of them you suck at. And while the things you're great at might outweigh in importance the things you suck at (especially when being evaluated), the things you suck at still have to be done, however half-assedly you do them.

I totally suck at filing, and I totally suck at remembering little errands and tasks. Ordinarily these things are just my little shortcomings, I accept them and try to work around them. But today is one of those days where I am being asked for files I should be able to just put my hands on, but simply cannot find no matter where and how hard I look, and I am being reminded of little tasks and errands that I forgot all about, some of them important, some of them I forgot months and months ago.

It's been just one thing after another all morning... I got here at ten a.m. and am just now, three and a half hours later, enjoying the first bit of quiet in the day, the first succession of moments where someone wasn't asking me to find something I was supposed to have filed or remember something I was supposed to have already done. There were all these files for the audit that others assumed I had, while I assumed they knew me better than that and would have provided copies; there were little tasks that people wondered if I'd completed yet, and I had to admit that I'd forgotten all about them; there were papers that I was supposed to have sent in and made copies of, given to me months ago, which were still sitting in my "To Do" pile. All this and more, an absolute barrage of my own failures.

And it's not like I was jogging along, reasonably content with myself; my self-esteem has for the most part been flying at half-mast recently. I've been kind of disgusted with myself for my inability to perform all of my obligations, to take on new good habits, or even do my own damned laundry. So this is just the universe kicking me when I'm down.

I am so beleaguered and benumbed, in fact, that I just agreed to let someone send me eight magazines every month for a dollar each. I only caught a couple of the titles they threw at me, GQ and Field & Stream, and I'm sure the other six are equally pointless. At least I had the presence of mind to make sure there was an easy opt-out mechanism in the form of a mail-in confirmation card. But still... Field & Stream? That's just wrong.

Right now all I want to do is go check into a hotel somewhere and go to sleep, a clean bed in a clean room with none of my wreckage in it, where nobody can call me or talk to me or pester me in any way. Of course I can't even afford to check into a motel right now, unless I were to find one of those roachtraps full of whores and crackheads and crackwhores and heads. There are plenty around here, just a few blocks away in fact, but I've woken up in enough of those to last me a lifetime (really, once is enough), so I don't think that would quite fit the bill.

So instead I will just sit here and hate myself for a while. But only a little while. One of the blessings of being so absent-minded is that I cannot hang on to any emotion, either positive or negative, for very long. Grudges and hates just evaporate after a while, as do joys and loves. You may be left with a memory of them, but not the feelings themselves. The memory of a hate you can talk yourself out of; the memory of a love you can cherish to your bosom. But the feelings themselves are ephemeral things. They come, you feel them, and they go.

The trick is to not make any permanent or repurcussive decisions while experiencing the feeling. Like getting married and having children while still in the first throes of love. Like killing people in the heat of hatred. Like slashing your wrists in the fits of despair. Like racking up your credit card on celebratory purchases in a spree of euphoria. When you're angry with someone, wait until you're not angry anymore to discuss it with them; when you're thrilled with an outcome, wait until the excitement dies down before you make further decisions based on that outcome. It's all about being prudent.

Otherwise you could end up subscribing to Field & Stream. The horror. THE HORROR!!!

Ah, well... I have to get back to the daily practice of picking up my dropped threads. I have phone calls to make (another thing I totally suck at), flyers to print, errands to run, treadmills to tread upon, bottled water to drink, dinner to eat, books to read, porn to peruse, and a bed to sleep in.

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