Whistle while you work

What would I do with my one wild and precious life? Not a fucking clue. I suppose I would just go wherever it took me? I suppose that is what I’m doing now.

So now I have this job. In so many ways it’s a drea job – work from home, build on the skills I have accrued. A real team environment, not just saying the words but actually working as a team. They are not terribly hierarchical, ether. We have a team lead, not a “manager”. I never thought I needed to be managed, as though I was started out in some unruly position to begin with. But I’m learning things. And that is good.

I find myself compulsively checking up on things at night or over the weekend…I guess I don’t have enough of a life these days. It is very exciting to feel as though I am making a difference, in some minute way – I worked with some end-users and have gotten services restored and did some hand holding, and it was good. One lady started off in quite a state of irate, but at the end of the whole process she was sweet as pie and talked to me about God. Even though she was kind of a mess, it still felt good to know that I had resolved the issues she found difficult.

Because I am who I am, I struggle with feeling stupid and ignorant of the modern contrivances, but I’ve been there under six weeks and don’t quite recognize my first-day self. There is just a learning curve is all, and team mates are willing to help. It’s what I’ve wanted for a while now, to feel as though I was a part of something that did some good and where I didn’t have to fight to prove my worthiness every day. That’s toxic, especially for me, but for anyone who has any ethics.

Sometimes I want things to go so much faster, and have to stop myself from wanting the adrenaline rush of being under pressure, deadlines, metrics, hurry hurry hurry. That last job was an adrenaline junkie’s dream right up until it wasn’t. Right up until the adrenaline burned itself out and I was like a dying star that ran out of fuel and blew itself up in a dramatic fashion. Actually, my super nova was pretty calm, all things considered, because I was just done. Well done. Burned out. I don’t think this job has even the potential of going there.

Mardi Gras was March 1st, which means we’re now in Lent. I grieve Mardi Gras just a bit this year, but it wasn’t terrible. I could not have been paid enough money to be part of that nutty stuff, especially with COVID still a reality. Mask mandates were lifted here, and people are being ridiculous, with no masks in sight, sitting shoulder to shoulder in large groups like this is all over. I am retreating even further because of this, and I guess that’s just how it’s going to be. I am convinced there will be another surge, and even if it’s not a huge spike in infections, I am not willing to take the risk of throwing caution to the wind. And nobody else really gives a damn, so *shrug* as always, I have to take care of myself by myself because … there is nobody else.

There is still much concern in me about my cognitive state. I’m now at the age where my mother had begun to decline, bit by bit, until she was in full dementia. This is how it has gone with my great-aunts, and how it is going with my aunt. These are all on the maternal side, and I am literally obsessed with whether or not I’ heading that way. I am told I can ask my neurologist for a referral to get a cognitive workup by a neuro-psych, and I need to do that. Maybe if I am heading that way, I can start medication early and stave it off for a time.

It’s just becoming apparent to me how traumatic it was to watch my mother descend into that deep dark place that swallowed the person she was. Whatever made her the unique being that she was disappeared until there was less than nothing left. She recognized me until the end, and I think I am grateful for that. I’m not sure if it would have made it easier or more difficult if that link had been severed. Sometimes it goes that way, but she always knew me. I wonder where she is now.

There is still a part of me that is incredibly resentful that she did somethings the way she did them, but it’s never absolute – she did some things very well. things that worked in my favor. Getting this job was only possible because I built skill and expertise over the past 35 year, and I only had the opportunity to do that because I had a college degree. I have never been one to believe that a degree is the only way to have a job that pays you enough to buy the dog food, but having one made it possible for me to move along the path. Had I been a bit more assertive and possibly more athletic, I probably would have become a police officer, and by now I would probably be dead. I believe what people tell me, and that can be the kiss of death in a law enforcement career.

I also need to get a mammogram, which is one of the more stellar highlights of my life. I don’t want to know. But I do. But I don’t want to find out if there’s a problem. I’m cowardly about that.

My mother was skittish about the exams as well – I remember when I had to have oral surgery to remove a molar that had gone sour, my mother brought me to the appointment. She thought it was just the most wonderful thing that she had a mammogram scheduled for the same clinic, so I would have a ride home (they wouldn’t let me leave under my own recognizance because the aenesthesia would linger a bit). My dear mother got me there, and bounced off to her appointment. When I was done, she was supposed to be there, but…nope. The nurse wheeled me like a huge sack of potatoes in a wheelchair to the mammography unit, where she was nowhere to be found. She was still in there, it seemed. So, as with SO many other things in my life, I was left there alone to wait for someone to come and collect me.

Through the haze of waning medication, I slumped in the wheelchair clutching the prescription for painkillers that I had to have filled before I got home, and heard my mother’s voice from the other side of the wall I was leaning on – “But, I know, can you just tell me if it looked OK? I know you can’t tell me the results, but…was there anything that looked obviously abnormal??? Yes, I know, the radiologist has to look…oh, ok. No, I just thought maybe you could…”.

When my mother finally came out to get me and take me to the car, one would think that was an end to the story. No. It was just beginning. We couldn’t find the car. Had to have security drive us around the parking garage until we found it. And that’s not the end of it, either. On the way to my apartment, she ran out of gas. She left me slumped against the car window on one of the hottest days of the year while she walked down the street to the gas station to buy a gas can and some gas. She came back with some drug addict who was very eager to pour the gas into the tank (he was probably really disappointed with his tip, because that woman was tight fisted). So. Off we go AGAIN, to the drugstore for the pain meds, and then finally home. I went right to sleep, and was in la-la land when she called to check on me and ask me if I wanted her to bring me something to eat. My mouth was twice its normal size on one side and the last thing I wanted to do was eat. As we say down in that part of the world – “Lawd, have mercy.”

That is one of the crazy stories I am left with, and that was a vintage performance by the mother unit. She was a dingbat, an old lady in training for my whole life. She was a professional lady, one who needed help with a lot of things but who could cuss you out like a sailor if you got on her nerves or tried to cheat her out of something. Bless her heart. I have mellowed a fair amount, but I got that righteous indignation thing from her. Don’t shame me, or treat me like a second-class anything, and we’ll be fine. But cross that line, and I will have to detach you from your face. Sorry about the eyebrows, but they’ll grow back.

This job is good for me, because I am not having to deal with other people in close quarters, not having the distractions inherent in a cubicle farm, and having way more dignity about how I learn and at what pace. These folks are pretty laid back, and they just leave you alone to do your job. They stay in chat all day long, so whenever you have a question or a problem you can just toss it out there and somebody will answer you. We’re all on pretty much the same level, although if you’re a SQL programmer you have slightly more access to a few things, but in general we’re all pretty much interchangeable. That’s really nice.

This is a contract, guaranteed until mid-October, but there are signs that it will be extended. We’ll see. It’s a nice way to ease back into the work force after my hiatus of 2-1/2 years, and like I said, its nice to feel like you’re making some kind of positive difference in somebody’s day. I kind of like the technology part of it, too – it’s not ostentatious like the other place. It’s a different system, of course, but it’s a system that is far easier to learn and administrate, and they want everybody to know how to do all the things. They share knowledge, which is amazing to me. That was definitely not the case before.

So, as I posted in the general chat the other day – we all kind of check in at the beginning of the day and check out at the end – here I am. Rock me like a hurricane. Seriously. Wow me, and let me wow you. Don’t assume that I can’t do things, that I can’t learn things, that one-size-fits-all. That concept is going to be the death of the American economy, not the value of the dollar or outsourcing. It’s presuming that if you just keep things geared to the highest common denominator you can conquer the world. That’s a dehumanizing fallacy, and all it really means is corporate America is not skilled enough to manage for the grey areas. Some days you’re the bug, some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re not driving. They don’t know how to plan or envision anything other than the binary. Yes or now, 1 or 10, true or false. Unfortunately, real life doesn’t work that way.

My blood pressure has been insanely high for a bit of time lately, which has me a bit concerned. I went to have my physical with the P.A., who turned out to be a really excellent provider. The tiny little primary care doctor was out of town, so I got the P.A., and like her more than the doctor. She actually touched me – put her hand on my arm to make a point while talking several times, looked me in the eye the entire time. She had incredible eyes, too – very caring and like she was actually listening to me, not contemplating her next move. She was also taller than like 5’2″ or something, which set her apart from the rest of my medical team, all of whom seem to be 5’2″ or well under.

So, off I go, hopefully into the land of Nod. The right-sized P.A. double the blood pressure medication to help put things into a better range. I am sure it’s my weight. The weather is getting nice, and I need to start walking again. That’s part of how I was keeping the weight and the blood pressure down before, so I can do it again. I will probably be watching my weight at the hour of my death.

Today is Sunday, and I have not left the apartment except to take the dog out. There just wasn’t anything I could think of to do. Oh, yeah – WALK, YOU IDIOT. The dog really enjoys it, so there really was no excuse other than I’m in the habit of not doing it. Time for a change. Gotta do something because I don’t feel…good. I don’t feel bad, even when my blood pressure has been up, but I don’t feel good. That’s what really needs to change – I don’t want to be feeling this sluggish and lethargic any longer.

Magic is afoot! Or maybe it’s just Spring, but then again – that’s kind of magic when the flowers start blooming and the trees start budding and the sun is right overhead.

Not ending, not beginning, just turning.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: