Friday, May 11, 2007

Freaked out stress

Stress. I’m so stressed with work. Why can’t I just win the damn lottery and be done with it?

I wish I didn’t care about doing quality work. I think plenty of employees in the world around us don’t really care about the quality of their work or the effort they put into it. Bus drivers. People who work at Walgreen's. Public agency employees. We have a few duds around the office, but I guess that goes with any work environment.

I remember when I was in high school, near the end of my senior year, I attended an awards dinner hosted by an important organization to honor my grandfather, Leon Goldman, the so-called “Father of Laser Medicine.” Also receiving honors or doing a keynote or showing up for another reason was Admiral Hyman Rickover, “Father of the Nuclear Navy.” Maybe it was dinner to honor “Fathers of something scientific and important.” My grandfather was trying to score me a photo and autograph with the Admiral who asked me, “So, tell me, young man. How many hours per day do you study?”

I studied a lot in high school, but my answer was full of smack: “I’m all studied out, so I’m trying to cut down.”

Can you believe that fucking jerk admiral had no sense of humor whatsoever? He refused to sign an autograph! My grandfather was playing intermediary, telling him I was just joking and I had been accepted to a couple of good universities and was a very good student, and in the National Honor Society and all that crap that doesn’t matter when you’re 39, but that old Hymie would have none of it.

Nowadays, I wish I had really meant what I said to the old admiral. He croaked in 1986, about a year after I met him and I still have the photos (somewhere) to prove I was in his presence, not that I care so much.

I wish I could just say, “It doesn’t matter” or it’s “just a dumb job.” I’ll admit, I try to say these to myself every once in a while, but I don’t take myself seriously enough. I guess I know something about myself that I don’t want to admit. On the other hand, I’m not actually a workaholic. I try not to overload myself intentionally and I limit my work hours in a typical week to 45 hours, if possible. I don’t check my work email on the weekends and never even peek at it when I’m on a vacation.

I’m trying to deal with this stress. I finished some reports this week, so I’m feeling a bit calmer. A lot is still going on. Tomorrow, for instance, Brad and I are going to take a little drive – about four hours in duration – to drop off his kitty at her new home. I’m the evil allergified monster here who is forcing him to part with his dearest Gracie. She is one of my favorite cats of all time: she looks smart, she’s bold and playful, she doesn’t hide in the corner. I’d say she’s sort of puppy-like for a cat. She doesn’t have one of those ugly smooshed-in feline faces or weird puffy hair going in all directions. I think she’ll probably be happier in her new home once she adapts because she’ll have more attention and playmates, but still, I’m the sneezy and itchy meanie that’s sending her away to boarding school. Although that’s upsetting to Brad, it’s also one stressor to me. What if she had been a better companion?

Another is moving. I’m not moving, but two of us are going to be living here soon. I’m not worried about the living situation – it’s a good thing – but the schlepping and organizing will require a lot of work and planning. And if we move from here to another abode by the end of the year, which is a goal, then all of this moving and buying and selling continues for a while.

Another is my car. I don’t drive it enough so I should sell it and get something Japanese that I can keep for 40 years. Another is travel for work. It’s Indiana and Southern California next week. Another is the garden. It needs help and my neighbors don’t do anything in it. White girl problems.

Yesterday I came home from work, dropped into the sofa and clicked on the television, flipping between channels to maximize my entertainment experience. I never do that. I ran a bath for myself, dumping in a capful or two of invigorating bubble bath and lay there, swishing the water around my naked self, avoiding an exit from the clawfoot. I hopped into bed at half past nine and awoke this morning at half past seven. I need to do more of that. But where do you find the time?

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