Today begins as a not-so-typical Friday. It seems miraculous to me even as it occurs: First thing in the morning, I have a song in my heart. Well, okay, maybe not in my heart, by my lips are attempting a sing-song melody:
“It’s going to be a perfect Friday. I have a perfect project (a book) that will keep me busy all day and – bonus – the boss is planning to leave early. La, la, la. It’s going to be a perfect Friday.”
I am amazed that – for the first time since I returned from New Mexico – the first word out of my mouth is NOT the f-word. It’s equally unusual that I’m even working today. It will be my first full-time week (35 hours) in a long time. I’m actually a little bummed about it, but my bank account will be happy. And my 3-day weekends never, ever live up to my expectations, expectations being my major stumbling block most days.
I think to myself, “Maybe I’ll even invite Scott over for dinner.” (We haven't seen each other for two weeks, my call.) But that’s a slippery slope. We’ll see how the day goes.
I know exactly why I feel so good. I’ve been working out, running actually. Well, walking/jogging. But I’m exercising, something that has been back-burnered for quite some time. I always manage to accomplish something at least a few times a week: stretching, lifting some weights, doing some crunches or squats, even a bike ride once in awhile. Even swinging a hammer or cutting lumber with a handsaw has been relegated to the “this counts as a workout” checklist. But this week, I did two 3-mile run/walks and, omg, I feel good!
This is not surprising to me. I am well aware of the psychological impact of (especially) aerobic exercise. I actually considered myself to be addicted to it sometime in the not-so-distant past. And tomorrow – Halloween morning – there’s a 5K taking place just blocks from my house, at the same location where I participated in my first (and so-far only) triathlon a couple of years ago. I found out about it just yesterday and – coincidentally – my unofficial training route is exactly 3 miles. I have committed to doing the run; that is until I check the forecast: 45 degrees (maybe) and rain. We’ll see.
So, my day sings along. Time flies. I am able to immerse myself, for nearly the entire day, in my book project at work. My boss leaves early, which immediately drops my stress level several degrees. We actually have a good day together, my boss and I, collaborating on projects, encouraging one another. That is a rare event. But it’s still a relief when he leaves. Maybe I just don’t get along well with others, not a highlight for a resume. (I lie on my resume and say that I am equally comfortable in a team environment or working independently. “Working independently” means “tell me what to do and let me do it.”)
At 4:30, I call my/our book customer and tell her I have a first proof ready for her to review. I explain to her (per my boss’ instructions) that I would like to meet with her personally to discuss certain aspects of the project. She is immediately dismayed to hear that my boss did not work on her project.
“Well, I’m sorry,” I apologize. “He got busy with his printing work and passed the project to me. It is my specialty, by the way,” I add, not to brag, but to ensure her that her job is in very good hands. I tell her that I have very much enjoyed working on her memoir and that it would be my pleasure to continue with her on the project. She is not happy, I can tell.
When I say, “I don’t know how to respond to that. I’m just doing what my boss told me to do,” she says, “I don’t know what to say either. And I don’t have any idea when I might be able to come in and look at a proof. My schedule is extremely full.”
“Well, ma’am, we’ve gone as far as we can with the book. We need more input from you at this point. Please come in at your convenience.”
She thanks me, tells me she will try and meet with me on Monday and hangs up. I am flabbergasted. I know I shouldn’t take it personally, but I am taking it very personally.
I think it would be prudent to give my boss a head’s up about the customer’s feelings.
His response, in a nutshell, “Well, okay we’ll deal with it. I just hope you kept all of her (100+) photographs in the exact same order as they were when she brought them in.”
Physically impossible. I tell him that, wish him a good weekend, and that’s that. I am deflated. And so angry, I can’t even speak. Livid, I am. When did I become livid? I’ve never been livid. Ever. But, I’ve been livid a lot lately.
It’s 5 p.m. Shake it off. Go home. Drink wine. Oh, crap, crap, crap. I have to go to Walmart. Have to, have to, have to. I am out of cat food and yogurt and milk and toilet paper and mouthwash and bananas and mushrooms and pizza. And wine. I need to restock my pantry with healthy food options, get back to planning and cooking my meals. Get back to me.
Friday night at Walmart. That should calm me down (!). Halfway there my cell phone rings. I’m driving so I ignore it until I park. It’s Scott.
Crap, crap, crap. Gotta deal with Walmart first. No restocking. In and out. Only one or two cart crashes and only 15 minutes in line. Easy-peasy, thank you very much.
I call Scott on the way home. He wants to know if he can come over. I say, “No, I’m not in the mood for company.” (I can’t remember the last time I was actually in the mood for company. Oh, wait, yeah, that was in New Mexico.) Naturally, an argument ensues. I am not going to go into details, but by the time I am in my driveway, I am screaming at him like a wild banshee needing to escape a trapper’s snare. I sit in my driveway, for what seems like an eternity, screaming like a caged animal, while my cats stare at me from the front porch, wondering where dinner is. I even tell them to shut up, which really is not like me.
I put away my groceries, pour myself a glass of wine, put on two layers of sweatshirts and sweatpants (No! I am not turning on the heat…what heat?! [another story].
Then I send a text message to Scott:
“I am tired of explaining myself to people. Explain to my customer why I’m doing the job I was hired to do and assigned to do by my boss. Then explain to my boss why I do my job the way I do it. Explain to my family why I haven’t sold my house. Explain to at least one person every single day why I’m still here. And then I have to explain to you why I want to be alone. And when I try to explain anything to anybody, they question my answers. No wonder I want to be alone.”
That’s my problem. And the solution. As soon as I can explain it to myself.