All posts tagged: work stress

Blink.

Six months I ran before the storm, eyes-wide, mind-revved, fingertips-atingle. Grim winter in my rust-belt city disappeared during a week hiking high Oahu ridges. Useless hounds, beloved corgis, and ancient cats snoozed on my tense feet during long hours at the desk. Spring came and went: the cherry blossoms, the tiny green perennial shoots, the new gardens. Summer sneaks replaced Joan of Arctic pack boots. Amid the lightening and squalls and winds of change in the WideEyedProfessional life, everything life passed as moments in time, each separated from the next by nearly unachievable work-burdens. The Spouse, he was there through this long storm. This catastrophic professo-ecological  shift. He’s still there – I’m looking at his head nod, eyelids heavy sitting at his own desk in the WideEyedOffice this evening. HeavyEyedOffice more like. Then, not long ago, I blinked. I blinked against the shocking glare of desert sunlight at Elder Brother’s house in Arizona. I blinked and my heart thumped hard twice. Like tiny bio-earthquakes in my soul. The howling in my mind eased and I …

Numb.

The leaves on the ground are red and orange and gold and wet in the rain. The air stinks of fall, of soil going to sleep and grasses falling into dormancy. The squirrels stash nuts on my hose reel, on the little ledges of decorative trim all over the house, in the compost heap. Hamish the Corgi races smiling through the fluttering heaps of leaves at top speed, he thinks the rustling noises make it seem like he is going faster, faster, faster. Miss Tibbit the Useless Little Black Dog stands at the back door testing the temperature with her nose, holding one dainty foot above the rain-wet stoop. Maybe, maybe not. She can’t decide if she really wants to go outside. I should feel something when I look at all this charm but for the next day or three or four I’m numb. Numb at best. A many-months long project finished up this morning when the grant proposal was submitted. I balanced working on it with other writing projects, other lab work, the start …

My work colleagues are dogs. And no, I’m not a sheepherder.

Miss Tibbit the Useless Little Black Dog and Hamish the Corgi work with me all the day long. And they work hard on their dog chores. Miss Tibbit holds the cushion down on the chair. Hamish holds the chair in position. They sigh and stretch and mumble over their tasks. Every now and again, Hamish has to squirm into a better holding position, Miss Tibbit must squeeze herself tighter into her little dog-round position. Today Miss Tibbit worked in the window seat in the front parlor. Hamish occupied himself with holding down the old red settee. I was so lonely. The keys wouldn’t type right on the keyboard. The words wouldn’t come in my careful writing. The day was bleak. Now we’re back up here for the evening round of work. Sweet Tibbit is snoring and twitching with her full post-dinner belly and Hamish looks like he may have actually passed out. And, sure, the WideEyedSpouse is across the room, sighing and creaking around in his chair doing mysterious Spouse office things.  But he’s with …

When deadlines physically manifest.

When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall deadline grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the office wall, and she looks you crooked in the eye and she asks if you finished your draft yet, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol’ WideEyedFunk always says at a time like that: “Is your draft done yet, WEF?” “Yes ma’am, it’s uploaded to dropbox.” Misquote adapted from Big Trouble in Little China. 1986. Director John Carpenter. Twentieth Century Fox.

The geese were flying without moving: a portent or just the end of a long week?

I watched a lopsided arrow of nine geese hover above a leafless oak. The massive oak was far larger, more truly there than the tiny clapboard church it grew near. I could see the willows on the far side of the intersection, their fronds fluttered nearly horizontal in dense gusts of wind. In the Mini’s speakers, Rihanna and Eminem sang about being friends with the monster under the bed. An old man wandered in the graveyard across from the church. The light turned green and the Mini and I accelerated away. That was Friday. I thought about the geese, the trees, the old man while the WideEyedHousehold cleared and mulched leaves on Saturday. They all wandered around in my head while we did the Fall housecleaning on Sunday. Here it is Monday, and I’m busy at the desk, those geese still hovering in that mental space just above my eyes. What did I miss about that moment? What was I supposed to see that I did not? I want to go back to campus and …