Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Unbearable Lateness of Being Me

Yesterday I was very late getting to work. I had overslept, and woke to my alarm which had been going off for nearly an hour. The alarm is tuned to an am newsstation, and even though it’s loud it’s easier to ignore than a buzzing sound. I think I even had dreams regarding what was on the news, which was weird.

When I got to work I asked my boss if I could talk to him for a minute. We went to a small conference room and shut the door.

I told him that I have been running behind lately, for several weeks now. The past two weeks when OC was sick was really hard. It drug us all down. I probably sent her to school too much. Although she didn’t have a fever or anything, I felt bad about it. I wanted to keep her home for a week, just to rest up and get all well, but my schedule doesn’t allow for that. I have been getting to work late, which means I have to stay late to make up for it. I hate that. I told him that I wasn't trying to be a bad employee, and when there are extra things to do it means I get behind, and it's hard to catch up.

He was very nice, listened politely, and then asked what he could do for me. I wasn't sure. I just needed to talk about everything, so he knew what was going on and that it wasn't that I was trying to be flaky. He sympathized, and said he was glad I acknowledged it but that it wasn't a problem workwise to be late. He also said he thought it likely didn't help me when I had to stay late. He offered something to think about: a reduced schedule. But, he said it was something to think about and do only if really necessary. I said I was interested in thinking about it.

I am really interested in doing that. It would mean reduced money and reduced benefits, but it also means a little more free time. I crave time like I crave chocolate: way down deep in my bones and in my gut; time that is not governed or managed or accounted for I feel a visceral need for, like I need air and water.

I crave to experience feelings of satisfaction, in small, not so obvious ways. It’s a craving to know that my child has had enough sleep, that she has a good lunch, that she feels loved and secure in her relationship with me; to know that my house is in order and I can find things when I need them; that my husband and I have our workspaces, and that we can have people over without being embarrassed at the state of disarray.

There is so much to do every day. Lunches to pack, dinners to create, grocery shopping for the week, cats to cater to, and all the rest. The laundry, it mocks me; multiplying itself in great numbers while we are at work. I wash and dry many loads, and as it sits in clean piles, unfolded of course, it watches me walk by and laughs. I think I even hear it saying, “hee hee hee, you’ll never catch up with me!” I could be imagining that, but I think if it could talk, that’s what it would say.

I know my experience is not unique, that I am not special in feeling this way. Everyone feels this way at some point, to some degree, no matter how many kids they have or don’t have, if they are married or single, if they live close to work or commute, if they work or stay at home.

Yesterday I was behind a Tri Met bus that had an advertisement for their transit system, touting all the great things you can go and do by bus and MAX. This sign said, “Find Time” and pictured a tea cup in a serene little setting. I remember thinking, “Where is this time of which you speak?” Lead me to it, and I will follow.

Instead, I went to work.

1 comment:

snowballinhell said...

I completely understand the need for more time, oh yes. I was just saying over on my blog that it takes a lot of trust to NOT work, and I imagine the same would be true of working less, but to a smaller extent.

More time to climb Laundry Mountain! More time to knit! More time to do something crazy like...SLEEP! Wheeee!

Yes, I love the concept.