Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The last gasp of an exhausted brain

A voice is buzzing waspishly out of the radio. I’m sitting at my work table, pricing a new shipment of crystals and pressed glass leaves and I’m generating a white wall of thought noise, trying not to pay attention. It’s been a rough day.

I catch, “The Constitution belongs to the people…” I don’t know who he is or what he’s enraged about but I know that voice. It belongs to The Outraged Citizen, to the cab driver who demolishes my attempt at a peaceful trip home ranting about political corruption. It belongs to callers on CBC’s Cross Country Checkup who wait an hour on phone lines to crab that they want something legalized or something else criminalized or someone thrown into a prison with no key. They want, mostly, to be heard.

But no one listens to those voices. As soon as I hear one, I know I’m about to be poisoned with someone’s rage and frustration. Sometimes the voice is mine – and I really hate that.

Be impeccable with your word. Whatever I might think about the book generally, The Four Agreements, overall, the agreements themselves are good reminders of how to live cleanly.

Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Do your best.

Number one means don’t use words – powerful beyond belief – to hurt, poison or discourage.

Review of the day. I have not been impeccable with my word. I’ve sworn at the stupidity of a new computer system with more bugs than working functions. I’ve sworn (under my breath) at people who apparently can’t see the staff are running around like lunatics on fire and blissfully ask reference questions god herself couldn’t answer in under a week. And by the way, their paper is due in two days. I’ve whined self-pityingly about having no lunch hours and becoming crisis central. I’ve bitched about my aching back and the fact that by two in the afternoon, information is bouncing away from me like my brain is made of India rubber.

On the other hand, I did moderately well with agreement number two.

Three. Nope. Bombed. I made assumptions and they weren’t very productive. Like assuming the young guy who showed up at two minutes to closing and ignored my terse shout, “We’re closing” was a pain in the ass. As it turned out, he didn’t need much and he was gracious and appreciative for the last second bail out.

I managed agreement four pretty well. My “best” might have been lame and my voice waspish, but that was my best today.

And there’s always the Scarlet O’Hara agreement, “tomorrow is another day.”

Or was that, “I swear, I will never be hungry again?”

I’d be happy to test the theory, “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” I’m officially volunteering right here and now to accept large sums of cash and scientifically study my subsequent (job-free) level of happiness.

Anyone? That could be Agreement five.

Never go through life with less than two million dollars in the bank.


Lucas said...

Frankly, Lj, I think you'd make a hell of an elected representative!

Words to live by, but--unfortunately--I need to vent my frustration of the world on those strangers around me (but only in ways they are not aware of). There's probably a short term gain, but in the long run I'm taking days (weeks, months, years?) off my life. But I figure blogging, and reading blogs like yours, adds some time back on.


LJ said...

That's mysterious! Are you slicing and dicing strangers in fiction? "Ways they are not aware of..."
I'd make an awful elected representative. I have no poker face. I blurt what I really think.
And I agree about blogging and reading the blogs. It's almost alchemical sometimes how you can take a crappy day and turning it into a story will extract the crap from your system.