Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Death comes to tea time

I am the death of the party. In the office, at three, when my boss emerges to make the tea and signal a break from the activities of the day, I am emanating poisonous clouds of forced productivity.

I’m working for god’s sake. Will you all shut up?

My boss asks JF what she’s reading lately and JF responds with a mind-bogglingly long list of titles and subjects. They chat back and forth. I slam labels on course reserve photocopies in deadly silence. There’s a polite air to this conversation. It’s forced and unnatural. It’s trying to beat it’s way around the black hole of my mood which is not only poisonous, but probably smells, on some psychic level, like stale perfume mixed with rotten milk and dog shit. The unspoken sentence aimed in the direction of my tomb is, “You can choose not to beat yourself up like this, you know. No one is telling you not to take lunch.”

The chat goes on. How little energy everyone has. How difficult the transition to the new system makes life. The attempt to normalize and civilize the atmosphere is adding thick oozing layers to the fatigue and resentment I’m trying to fight.

Have tea, for the love of god. Please. Enjoy. Just stop being so aware that my mood is radioactive.
Look, I want to say to my boss, what you need right now is not a human employee. You need a drone, a machine that labels and catalogues and adds things and gets them the hell out there before another student melts down or gets behind. What you need, unpleasant as it is, is a person with Attention Deficit Disorder who can obsess until the job is done. No lunches. No conversation. No looking up until the five foot high stack of files is done. Because, as everyone is pointing out, we all have personal interests and endeavors we’d like to get back to. We’d all like the job to stop sucking the life out of us. And my personal way, sisters, is to get it the hell done and over with so the crisis ends. The more time I don’t obsess, the longer it takes me to get back to my real life.

But then I’m enduring a nasty square of Mars to my Sun, which is making me less than my calm, obliging, underachieving (Okay, I’m only the last thing) self. This, non-astrologers, is not a time to mess with me.

Maybe they should have me work from home until I’m human again. Or maybe they should just shoot me and put me out of their misery.

Right now, my solution is Muddy Waters on ear splitting volume and another glass of red wine. Tomorrow, if the gods are kind, the Scorpio and me will give each other something to live for. Cheers!


Koru's Daughter said...

It sounds like your guest house is the dog house today.

When that big black dog comes around, make sure to show it a little kindness. Yeah, it will chew up the furniture, piss all over (to mark its territory) and infect the place with fleas but it still needs some kibble, water and scratching behind the ears.

Be sure to blog about when this stray dog wanders off.

marko said...

How vividly I recall wandering into that office, getting a single whiff of the collective consciousness, and backing right the hell out the door without so much as a whimper.

Sometimes LJ would take to chortling.

Now, I'm a poisonous cloud many a day. At first, when I recognized what was happening, I tried to squelch it. This would result in what would have to have appeared as some sort of reverse posession, where a perfectly okay demon is seized by the invading spirit of a cabbage patch doll, and must fight. The effect would not be of Marko the Nice, rather, we'd have Marko the Really Pissed Doing a Freakish Impersonation of the Colour Beige With Pink Sprinkles Whilst His Bowels Burst.

LJ taught me to let it go. That it was perfectly fine to be a seething dragon at the back of a cave, waiting for some bloody twit in silver armour to come blustering in. I identify with the beast, the beast is at the very least meshed with its' nature. Grendel was way more fun than Beowulf.

It sounds to me like you're fine m'lady. Have the wine, see the boy, hear the blues. As your boss once said "Being fine and well all the time would be a sentence in hell".

Marigoldie said...

In adulthood I finally decided to treat the black dog's visits as special occasions, times to shelter myself and indulge in small ways. At work that includes piddly stuff like listening to good music, like you did, and taking the time to fix a cup of sweet-smelling tea. You take what you can get, I suppose. My big cure-all is going to an afternoon movie.

In young adulthood (say, 10 years ago) I would pace and scream and break up with people.

But the real reason I'm writing is to say I love the title of this entry.

LJ said...

Dear Beige Muppet wannabe. Let's just stick to Grendel, shall we? Both of us are better suited to the role. And I adored, "waiting for some twit in silver armour to come blustering in..." Myself, I wait for the poor students to come blustering in and ask, and I quote the little darlings:
"When will the file be ready?
Are you working on it now?
Will it be ready in five minutes?
Will it be ready in an hour?
Will it be ready this weekend?"
Can I just borrow it a minute if you're not working on it?"
To which, I eventually reply (breathing very real and noticable fire), "The longer I stand here answering your questions over and over, the less liklihood there is of it EVER being ready."
"But I need it."
Note! New guy cleaning the office mentions (we're talking about this)that he once worked in a restaurant. "It's a SERVICE industry," he says, "so you smile and shut up."
I leap on this. "We're a service industry, " I say cheerfully, "and it's like this: This is the kitchen and the chef and assistants are running around cooking and slamming pots and pans and yelling at and to each other in a complete frenzy. AND THE CUSTOMERS ARE MILLING AROUND THE KITCHEN ASKING, 'Why are you cooking that order? When will mine be ready? Why are you putting that in? Jeez, it's only eggs, you could do it in five minutes!"

And Dear Marigoldie...I still pace and scream. But only when attacked by swarms of blood-sucking gnats eight, nine hours a day.

At least I got a decent title out of it though. And that's the point of all life. A good story or a good title. Seriously. What else do you do with all this crap?

Thanks for the comments, m'dears.


LJ said...

KD, we'll talk about dogs.
And by the way, the "boy" came over, it was a great evening...but I doubt the hangover and sleep deprivation made me a nicer person.
And as I was slouched on a bench between our ridiculous pink lion statues, sucking on a cigarette, staring at nothing through red, dead eyes and ready to keel the hell over, Japanese tourists took my picture. RC should like that one.