Saturday, October 13, 2012

Surreal, but Super, Friday

Yesterday was a strange day, but overall a good day.  It seemed surreal as I lurched from experience to experience.  Did it seem surreal because I got so little sleep the night before?  On Thursday, I stayed up until 11 working on computer issues.  Of course, I still got up early.  I worried that I'd slog through the day, but I felt energized, for the most part.

How was my day both strange and wonderful?  Let me count the ways:

--I got to the office to find I had no working phone.  It's been technology hell week at the office, with computers going out, power failures, and now my phone. 

--Actually, I'm quite happy not to have a phone.  I can't get much work done without a computer, but the phone really seems like an anachronism to me.

--Along with work my school pays me to do, I got some poetry packets ready to send to literary journals.  I love putting packets together, thinking about how 5 poems work together.  I love the chance to reread my poems. 

--I met a writer friend for lunch at our favorite all-you-can eat sushi/Chinese buffet/mongolian barbecue place.  I always load up on veggies and allow myself a few fried things.  We haven't seen each other since July, so we had a lot of catching up to do.

--She's now in a relationship with a person in Oregon.  She went out there to visit and told me about her adventures with Civil War reenactors.

--Yes, Civil War reenactors--in Oregon!  Oh, my brain wants to run with this.

--My friend has been wrestling with anxieties about logistics and the relationship.  There's a continent between her and her beloved, after all.  They both have strong roots to their current location.  It's not an easy airplane trip.  Her beloved is in the Air Force, which means it's even harder to think about the future.  Her beloved is convinced that it will all work out and doesn't want to dwell on all the anxieties.

--I suggested that my friend write out her anxieties.  "Write a novel," I said.  "Two lovers, separated by a continent and the Air Force.  Throw in some vampires and an apocalypse of some sort, and you've got a best seller!"

--I suggested that she go further, that she write a chapter, send it to me, and I'd write some more and send it back.  I love this idea of writing a novel this way--but how long would it be before I chafed and wanted to do what I wanted to do with the plot?  Or would it continue to be a lark?

--In the afternoon, back in the office, I decided to change my password so that on Monday, I could be ready to go with the mandatory sexual harassment webinar training that I'm required to do by the end of the month.  But it was so quiet that I decided to go ahead and do the training.

--It's the exact same training that we did a year ago!  Sigh.  And I'm required to spend 2 hours with it.  So, as it droned on and on, I deleted old e-mails, stopping occasionally to do the required tests.

--Can anyone in an American workplace think that it's wise to brush up against people suggestively at the copy machine?  Really?

--But I know that we haven't all evolved, and so I slogged on through.  I got a lot of e-mails deleted too.  My e-mail has been crashing every few days.  I am so bad at e-mail management.

--Of course, it doesn't help that I get e-mails that have absolutely nothing to do with me.  Yesterday, someone forwarded me an e-mail which had nothing to do with me that I could see.  I wrote back to ask for clarification, and she forwarded the same e-mail again, again with no explanation of any sort.  I was tempted to write back, to see how long we'd carry on this non-communication.  But I had sexual harassment training to complete, and so I stopped.

--After I spent hours--hours that I'll never get back!!!--on the training, I felt that cotton brain that I get when I spend hours submerged in Online Land.  I needed to do something else.

--Since I still had no phone, I went to the conference room and called a friend who has moved several states away; she kept her cell phone # so it was a local call.  She used to work at my school, so she's got interesting insights into how things used to be, and that helps me realize that things have really changed.

--We had a FABULOUS conversation about mid-life job upheaval, about vocation, about feeling called to do something or not called to do something.  I will likely write more about this in a separate post.

--I told her I'd been feeling lazy, because at one point, I'd determined that I'd only see my current job appointment as a reprieve, and I had planned to be looking for something else.  But the thought of putting those packets together just makes me feel so tired.

--She laughed, and she said, "Kristin, I've known you for a long time, and one word I would NEVER use to describe you is 'lazy.'"  She suggested that I'd been through a trauma, and even though it had ended well for now, it's understandable that I'm tired, that I might need some time to just recover.

--I felt such RELIEF when she said this.

--And then it was night, and time to head over to an inner-city, inner-county Lutheran church.  My spouse had been invited to do a drumming workshop, and I wanted to be there, in case he needed help. 

--It was an amazing experience.  I wrote about it in more detail in this post at my theology blog.  Words cannot adequately express my great joy at the experience of singing "We Are Walking in the Light of God" in a small church with a choir of 40 children drumming enthusiastically.  Wow.

--Is that joy trying to tell me something?  Music, kids from surrounding public housing, instruments, church--or is that joy leading my spouse to some place I only glimpsed last night?

--As we left the church, children ran to hug us.  Very surreal--just hours after the sexual harassment training, I've got all these tiny arms flung around me.

--One little 5 year old girl who had the most skill with a hula hoop of anyone I've ever seen asked, "Will you come back?"

--It seems like a far deeper question than she likely meant for it to be.


Kathleen said...

Whew! I agree with your friend and wish you continued joy and relief!!

Kristin said...

Thanks Kathleen, for reading what turned out to be a much longer blog post than I intended--and for your good wishes.