I was just listening to a talk by the Mayor of Oklahoma City where he explains how the city made it to the list of most obese cities in the US, and what he did to collectively make the city lose 1 million pounds. An impressive task.
This brought to mind the day I opened an account with Boatmen's Bank (which was bought by Nations Bank which then became Bank of America) in St. Louis, MO. Its logo was a red background with blue boats if i remember correctly and the reason i chose them was because they had an ATM in the hospital where I was working - or trying to - but that's another story for another time.
Opening the account took a while - you sat down with a bank representative and filled in many, many, many forms. Some were done on paper, some were entered into a computer - the bank hadn't quite moved to a fully computerized system yet. The whole process took a long time to complete; it was at least an hour before the lady taking down my information finally laid down her pen, shuffled the photocopies of my documents and then passed me my own very red and blue cheque book. I thanked her, and was very surprised when she suddenly caught my hand, and said that I had been the most polite person she'd ever had the pleasure of dealing with, and she wished everyone was as pleasant as I had been. Then she welcomed me to the bank and told me she hoped I would enjoy my stay in St. Louis.
For some reason, thinking about this makes me sad. I'm not sure why, but it makes me feel that my life has been a waste, and I've not made as much of it as I could have. It might be the memory of my 18 months in St. Louis which was probably one of the toughest chapters of my life. I did not like St. Louis, I was unhappy there - even though I tried so very hard to convince myself otherwise. I sometimes wonder what life would have been like had I stayed in St. Louis, but perhaps better not to think too much about the past tonight. Particularly the past that consists of that 18 months. I should have known that it was a mistake from the moment the job offer was sent to me, I replied, and then promptly threw up.
I rode home slowly tonight - torn between going to dinner with CP, and getting home to eat a simple meal. In any case, I was mentally tired and didn't have the motivation to ride up the hills one more time and return to the dirty dishes in the sink. I'm tired of the same old cycle - write application, be peer-reviewed, be found wanting, and told to try again. There are only so many try-agains left in my mental state, and I'm tired of trying again. I just want things to work the way I want them to. To simply work. It parallels the other rhythms of life - get up, have coffee, go to work, come home, repeat. Dr. RP used to say to me - imagine yourself walking in a rut in a field of tall grass...and he'd get no further than 'high grass' because what would flash into my mind were the warning labels of the Flymo Lawn Mower we had in Sandakan warning us against cutting grass that was too tall. To illustrate the dangers of this, they had a picture of a tiger hidden in the tall grass waiting to pounce on you were you foolhardy enough to approach with the Flymo.
Thursday Morning and Afternoon
I had a moment of clarity just a moment ago, but let me back up a bit.
I woke up this morning not feeling rested because of a dream last night where I was living in a building with a concierge, but even then found myself putting a note on the main entrance telling the courier (UPS - Boycott them - in this case) who was delivering something to me what code to dial to buzz my apartment. In the back of my mind, this didn't make any sense because why would you leave instructions for the courier (UPS - Boycott them) when there's a concierge? This sense of unease pervaded the rest of my sleep and I never really reached the rejuvenating deep sleep that I was seeking.
The reality is, I live in a building where there is no concierge, but I was expecting a delivery from a courier (UPS - Boycott them) and I so I left them my buzzer number on the door since I was staying home to receive the package. In any event, the bastard, fecking, useless, asswipe driver of (UPS - Boycott them) didn't bother buzzing me and left a note saying that the customer didn't answer the door. In my defense, how does one answer when there is no knock, no ring, no buzz, no attempt to make any contact with me? The next moment, Sauron popped out of me and I was ready to hunt down the first UPS (UPS - Boycott them) truck I saw and turn it over, then set fire to it with the driver inside. Luckily I had no energy (see above) to actually carry this plan out. In fact, the mere thought exhausted me even more.
The second thing that happened today is that I heard from a friend and a close confidant who told me that he may be moving. This news dismayed me - it's good news for him, and if all comes to pass as he expects and hopes - he'll be in a much better position. Not just financially, and in his career advancement, but also for other aspects of his life. But I was selfish and thought to myself - I won't see him as often as I do now, and commiserating over bitter cups of espresso will be curtailed. You know how it is, different friends play different foils to the turmoils in life. If he goes, I will miss him and his buckets of cold water advice that brings me back down to earth.
The third thing that happened and this is what irks me most because, well just because. I heard from RB in Ottawa, then JP from Calgary and before I knew it, SS from Vancouver had sent me a message, and in turn I sent a message to SN, also in Vancouver. All this communicating will not do me any good. I can foretell this already, and my stomach sank as all the messages flew about. Before I know it, DF in Dayton, OH, and maybe even PP in Boston, MA, will fall into the messaging circle and someone will try to organize a reunion. I can't do this anymore - part of me wants to, but another part says, be very afraid, and run far, far away. Mind you, if TE from Oakland, CA were to come along for the ride, that'd be okay. He'd make a good buffer.
These three things taking place on the same day that office politics rear their ugly head again and more tasks fall into my lap make me angry (see Sauron popping out), stressed and also sad because more things are spinning out of my control.
That's when the moment of clarity kicked in. I was sitting on one of my grey chairs having a little meltdown. A quiet one, where all seemed hopeless, and the approaching dark, like the bats of Bolg, seemed that little bit darker and more permanent even though we've passed the Winter Solstice and I was just sat there, stunned by all that was happening, when I realized I was jumping to conclusions and making connections in my mind that weren't borne out by any solid evidence. Best to continue collecting data and in cases where data is not forthcoming, to have some faith - after all what is the point if you have no faith - it's irrelevant then isn't it? So there you go, I shall out-zen the little Snarky Durian sitting in the middle of the gurgling stream letting the water flow over and around him.
In short, it'll all be okay. Bad things happen, good things happen and who's to say what is bad or good anyway? And this isn't being defeatist by a long shot. It's the road to recovery.
1) No images today. I can't be arsed.
2) I will process the slides for the politicos
3) I will deconstruct the Aims, Hypotheses and Objectives to create a working framework
4) I will go and stretch myself out
5) I will eat well tonight