Saturday, September 26, 2009

Do you whistle while you work?

While waiting for the elevator this morning, I could hear the mailman around the corner filling each slot with bills and catalogs and whatnot. He was whistling while he worked. Literally cheerfully whistling while working on a Saturday morning.

He came around the corner and waited for the elevator with me. "I'm impressed. I have never been so content as to whistle while I work," I said to him. He chuckled.

"I like what I do."

I considered that for a moment, smiling and watching the numbers light up in succession as the elevator descended toward us.

"For the first 15 years of my career I could barely get out of bed in the morning to get to work," he said. "But for the past 13 years, doing this . . . I'm happy."

The elevator doors opened.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weekends are supposed to be relaxing

I had anxiety all weekend. After a long, stressful week, I had my heart set on hiding in my apartment, quiet, work-free, and relaxed. But the weather. The incredibly sunny, mild weather had me feeling guilty. I did not go outside. And I know that a few months from now I will always be cocooned in my apartment on the weekends, so it ate at me, but I just couldn't do it. Couldn't leave.

I appreciate all of the things I am allowed to do--or not do--because I am single. I have no partner to answer to, no children to feed. And sometimes that's exactly the thing that gets me down. But this weekend it was nice. For example, today went something like this:

5 a.m.: Wake to cat taking a leisurely bath on top of me. Not bad; 7.5 hours of sleep check e-mail, check Facebook, cross stitch one sheep on my latest endeavor. Begin making a week's worth of oatmeal and sort out all dirty clothes (which is almost all of them).

7 a.m.: Figure it's okay to go downstairs and begin doing laundry. Brush teeth first. One load of whites, one load of darks. Hang wet clothes throughout apartment in skillful and clever ways. Keep eye on oatmeal. Take pills. Stitch another sheep. The microwave timer is set for the wash (30 minutes for washer; 60 minutes for dryer) and the stove timer is set for the oatmeal. Dole out oatmeal into separate Ziploc containers. Top each with brown rice syrup and raisins. Eat a bowl for breakfast.

9 a.m.: Done with laundry. Begin watching Ghandi on TV while doing some backstitching. Movie is boring as shit, yet sort of gripping. Flip back and forth between that, Sleepless in Seattle, and Clean House.

10 a.m.: Christ, how long is this Ghandi film? I begin to flip through the channels and find John Cusack (insert sound of squealing breaks). Serendipity. That's sweet. I forgot all the Nick Drake in that movie. Oh, that I could be so lucky as to find John Cusack lying in the middle of the ice rink in Central Park at night.

noon: Playing online, looking at blogs about minimalist lifestyles. Decide to tear apart my bedroom, which is cluttered and driving me nuts. Spend substantial time pulling shoes, clothes, and jewelry that I don't need/want. Closet looks spectacular. Some drawers are empty. Bed is made. I'm amazing.

2 p.m.: Starting to feel depressed--I'm losing the day. Work tomorrow. I begin to clear my desk in the office. Sort through cross stitch materials. Suddenly wonder how much one person should spend on food each month. Google for a while. No good answers, but general consensus is about $100/month. What do these people eat? What do I spend? I have no idea. Begin looking at cookbooks. I should eat more fiber. Fiberous foods are filling and cheap. Beans, lentils . . . Stomach growls, so I order a pizza.

4 p.m.: Actual pit in stomach over the fact that the weekend's almost over. Hit "send" on an e-mail I shouldn't have written. Shed a tear or two. Realize that a truly lame Jason Biggs movie is on. Look around apartment. Flip over damp clothes hanging everywhere. Consider what I want my office/craft room to look like. Wonder why I am such a mess. Look at an indepth yoga/muscle book. Do a few stretches. I am completely inflexible. I can't keep sitting all day, like I do at work. It's killing me. My back always hurts. My hamstrings are completely tight. I lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling. Cat watches.

5 p.m.: Begin writing a pep-talk-type page to myself ("Be more firm," "Say what you mean," "Slow down"). Put pen down and write a completely boring blog entry.

Sometimes I'm not sure whether it's healthier to push myself to go "out there" or to rest and regroup for the week ahead. I figure if I'd left the house I'd have wished I was at home. Tough break.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

For a song . . .

I'm digging the song "Lover" by Devendra Banhart these days. It's on the soundtrack of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (sigh . . . Michael Cera). And I am so grateful that as an adult my mood still can turn around simply with a good song. It's the difference between simply driving to work and being pumped up by the time I pull into the parking lot at work. Hmmm. I probably should make a "to work" mix.

On the topic of simple pleasures, sometimes a green light feels like a victory. Granted, my days of driving through Dorchester and the North End are way behind me, so I have little room to bitch, putting about in New Hampshire. But please appreciate that on my four-mile commute I encounter about 14 traffic lights. It can be the difference of 15 minutes in my ride (wow, yeah, I just whined about 15 minutes). However, today, my friends, I hit a green light at Weeks Circle! Victory was mine!! I actually laughed as though I was getting away with something as I sped up to get through.

So, good song and green light. Kelly 2, cruel world 0.

At one of the red lights I did stop for, the car ahead of me had a homemade bumper sticker that read, "Got whiskey?" I was amused. Not only is it better than the "Gut deer?" stickers I'm accustomed to here, but it is ballsy. Little brother let me borrow his car once or twice when I had my first "real" job. He had a bumper sticker that read, "Jesus loves you. Everyone else thinks you're an asshole." I always backed into my parking spot, up against the woods at the far end of the lot. It didn't exactly scream "Promote me!"

So once at work, it turned out all of my meetings were canceled. Ha! Kelly 3, cruel world 0.

But damn did my back hurt all day. I've been having more "really bad back" days this summer than I'm used to. Doesn't bode well. Kelly 3, cruel world 1.

But then I worked diligently and got through more than 300 e-mails today. And I took a lunch break. And I left at a reasonable time. Kelly 6, cruel world 1.

Now, I'm fed and resting, watching John Cusack on TV. The sunset over Somersworth on a clear night, like tonight, is serene and beautiful. Light pink and purple slowly becoming gray. The cat is purring, and so am I. While the day was not a shut out, I still think I came out on top.