Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sometimes you've got to get through a bad week

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Editorial page

Last week was one of those weeks from hell at work and in my personal life. It just seemed that everything was due at once, everyone was tugging at my shirttails for attention, and emergency after emergency was popping up.

By the time Friday arrived, I was a walking zombie -- too tired to function, but somehow I made it through the day. Colleagues were equally spent. Sometimes, you just have one of those weeks.

"One of those weeks" tends to wreak havoc with taking care of yourself, however. First of all, eating right took a week off. I didn't necessarily cheat on my low-carb diet, but it wasn't as easy as it usually is. Exhaustion and dieting do not travel well together. Also, let's just say that my usually sunny and joyful self (assume I'm telling the truth if you don't know me personally) was sorely tested throughout the week.

Time after time, I found myself biting my tongue with people. No matter what apparent problem popped up, I pretty much just wanted to chew someone's head off. Whether it was lacking patience or wanting to tear a strip off someone online, I had to remind myself that being tired is only a temporary condition. "Serenity now!" as Kramer's father used to say on Seinfeld. As corny as it sounds, it actually works.

From time to time, we all lose our noggin and tell off someone for something rather minor. I bit my tongue so often in the past week that I'm surprised I don't require reconstructive surgery. Whether it was while driving, dealing with family, people at work (paid and volunteer) or just talking to friends, I constantly had to talk myself down off the ledge of having a 10-on-the-Richter-Scale temper tantrum.

Of course, the devil sitting on one shoulder was whispering, "Do it, Brian. Freak out. Scream! Tear their heart out and take a bite out of it while it's still beating! It'll feel so good." At the same time, my pesky little angel was sitting on the other shoulder admonishing the red dude with the pointy tail. "Brian, my son, you are just tired. Have a good night's sleep and all will seem better in the morning. It's all fine."

Luckily, the angel won that battle, although I have to admit that he only came out victorious after a closely fought election and a judicial recount of the only ballot cast -- mine!

When people are barking up your tree for more of your time -- sometimes time that you just don't have -- it's important to remain polite. After all, it's a compliment to be asked. They think you can help and thought of you. It's flattering. But sometimes, when all these requests come at once, it's important to remember that it's just as vital to keep yourself sane and not take on too much.

In the past week, I've had to pass on a few opportunities that were interesting, but that would have seriously taxed my sanity.

Speaking of sanity, you know you're tired when you can't even dress yourself in the morning. On Halloween day, I got my winter tires installed and then returned home for a date with my sofa before the kids came knocking. I'd been feeling uncomfortable all day -- like I'd gained 100 pounds in one week. (After not eating right all week, that was a definite possibility.) But it wasn't that, it was just that my clothes weren't fitting right.

All day long, I kept readjusting the way I was sitting to try and find a position that was comfortable. Not only was I exhausted, I felt like I was covered in plastic wrap, too. Eventually, I discovered why. Without going into the gory details, I soon figured out that -- in my complete and utter daze after my week from hell -- I'd somehow managed to put my underwear on backwards that morning. All day, I walked around uncomfortable trying to figure out why things just weren't fitting correctly.

When I discovered the -- uhm -- error of my ways, I burst out laughing. After I rectified the mistake, a sense of relief poured over me. "Aaaaah."

I realize this sounds too stupid to even admit to, but after a week of emergencies and people clamouring for my time, it was actually refreshing to figure out that the only thing wrong with me that day was a pair of knickers turned around the wrong way.

If only life could be that easy. Perhaps the people negotiating peace in the Middle East just need to do a quick check "down there" to ensure everything is kosher, so to speak. We could have the Skivvies Summit... or the Undies Entente... or the Boxers Pact. A quick dash to the bathroom to switch things around, let out a big sigh of relief, and voilĂ ! Ceasefire!

Despite my taking great pains to try and push some people's requests into the future, I have to admit that I've dropped the ball a few times and -- bluntly -- have just put some things aside to deal with later. I hate doing that, but sometimes your sanity comes first. Hopefully people will forgive me. Once in a while, you just have one of those weeks when everything rains down at once. Like trying to bail out a sinking ship by using a teaspoon, sometimes you just have to pray, keep going, and hope that you reach shore before you sink.

October was one of those crazy months. Banquets. Meetings. Big events. Huge announcements. Major changes. It seemed like everything hit at once.

Now that November is here, hopefully we can coast through to the end of the year. I'm taking a week of vacation in the middle of the month, too, so that will help. Hopefully I'll be able to figure out how to dress myself by then.


Paul Melanson said...

It was actually George's father who yelled "Serenity Now!", not Kramer's father. Just setting the trivia record straight ... :-)

Paul Melanson said...

To continue the alliteration you could have suggested a "Pugilist's Pact". :-)

Getting your "knickers in a knot" was priceless!

Brian Cormier said...

Ack!! You're right. I was seeing George's father in my head, but it came out as "Kramer" on paper. Thanks for the correction.