Underthecurrent


white wine and cookies
May 2, 2017, 8:40 pm
Filed under: work work work work work

Cheeseburger.  Foggy headed and late to start the day.  Last night was a flashback, a wine and whirling room flashback.  Now, the kind of post-dawn bleakness where all the neurotransmitters have spilled out and the one true solution above all feels like: cheeseburger.

Although at the time there wasn’t the old anxiety, the internal fluttering, thinking now something feels off.  Who was in that room last night?  A ghost from ten years past?  Hasn’t all of this been dealt with?

Maybe it just needs a cheeseburger.

This is the last month, four weeks, twenty days.  Every day is still a grind.  The pinging emails, expectations, timelines, demands.  This is why it must end.  Drive is zero.  The money is almost there.

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fine.
April 18, 2017, 12:11 am
Filed under: when I grow up, work work work work work

In ten days, finally, finally, everyone can know and the end can begin.

Presently, trying to muster up enough to keep working.  Keep working for three, four, five more days.  The only thing that sounds like a good idea are carbohydrates.  Caffeine does nothing.  Naps are a panacea.

A lot of things are on track.  There’s a spreadsheet with running totals and projections, it says everything is fine.

Everything is fine.



working for the weekend
April 15, 2017, 3:53 am
Filed under: work work work work work

Up in the mountains, beside the fire, on a sort of involuntary holiday, that isn’t really a holiday because there is a seemingly endless stack of work.  There’s still snow this year, making shoulder season into peak season.  Trying to block out the thoughts of what would be happening now but for the looming deadlines next week.

More than ten years ago, different mountains, around this time of year.  There was no snow then.  Cleaning rooms like this, the thousand point checklist, hospital corners.

Everyone looks exhausted leaving for the weekend, strangers in the lift.  For almost all of us, if we are here, this time of day, it’s because the weekend is just a number of days where work will be done somewhere else.

 



The Last Big Thing
February 20, 2017, 2:13 am
Filed under: work work work work work

This is the last one.

As the work bleeds over from early morning until late evening, that’s what makes this possible.  There are bright moments, sure, but this is so unsustainable.  The guilt of taking time to do anything else – eat, breathe, let the mind wander – is tiring.  The interrupted sleep. For what?  The agitation creeps in, the sense of time being already sold. For what?

Just a little bit further.  Winter will end.

Some things are going okay.  After what feels like months of wading through bureaucracy, there are little flickers of light.  Things start to work out.

For all the gnashing of teeth and subdued panic last Fall, this last part is working out as well as it probably could.  Winding down, but probably not too obviously.  Just busy enough.

 



since you’ve been gone
January 24, 2017, 12:32 am
Filed under: unrelated thoughts, voyageur, work work work work work

“You can stand anything for 10 seconds.  Then you just start on a new 10 seconds.”

The countdown came and went.  Holiday time was jet-lagged and rushed but still a break from the pinging messages and churning pointless to-do list.  The countdown (which has now ended) used to represent the time after which it would be okay to just quit; paid holidays cashed out, enough money saved to walk away.  When the countdown started, that is where things were focused, just making it that far.

Now there are all these small goal posts, like trail markers on a marathon.  Just. A. Little. Further.  As every one goes past, the load gets a bit lighter.

*

“I don’t know if I’ll ever get to hold your children,” she says.  She starts to cry a bit.  We are helping, half helping, pack the house they have been in for almost two decades.  She will pack the leftover pieces up for us, for when we come back.  Wine glasses and casserole dishes.

*

We buy them cigarettes, bread and washing powder.  They kiss us goodbye.  It’s complicated.  This place never stops being complicated, maybe that’s what’s so attractive about it.  This time, again, there are changes.  Those paved roads, hydro poles and preschools.  Maybe not enough, not fast enough, but something forward.

Our friends there talk about the same things our friends here struggle with.  Uncertainty about the future.  The price of property, being able to afford to have children.  How the older generation pays us poorly as they spend freely on themselves.

*

The world is a crazy place right now, women marching all over everywhere, questions about the future of free trade, political maelstrom.  More questions than answers, big questions shaking the foundations of the West.  The markets hold, Atlas shrugs.

We spend the weekend cleaning our apartment.  Taking long walks to see what is opening and what is closing.  Shutting down the news cycle, the talking heads, the rotating scandals and smokescreens.  The impulse to refresh in hope of answers instead of venturing out into the world to find them.



November 9, 2016, 12:24 am
Filed under: work work work work work

The bowtied guitar player smiles and sings in French.  A pineapple express breeze fades the last few months of rain and dark, maybe it wasn’t so bad.  The market is just busy enough, freed of the summer tourist crush.  The sandwich is average, but the walk to find it: exceptional.

Stress contorts the muscles, pushing them over one another, pulling entire body parts into uncomfortable positions, compounding and multiplying the problem.  The desk becomes physically unbearable; the ‘ergonomic’ chair torture.  Suddenly, focus on anything else is impossible; the body is overtaking the mind, a biological system override.

Day 30 is a strange land.



October 4, 2016, 12:50 am
Filed under: work work work work work

A weekend of antibiotics and fever sleep ticks by.  The physical expulsion of all the mental twisting of the last week is bacteria all around.  Invading, wasting.

From bed, order: a candle that smells like patchouli, bran muffin mix and rainboots.

Reflecting on the past few years.  Years one and two: relative success.  Year three: burnout, avoidance as survival. Year four: avoidance as main objective, focus on other projects.

Four years ago, sitting in a small apartment on the ground floor.  A sweet little funny angled space, secured against the odds.  Sending out cover letters, cleaning up for interviews, lying.  Lying about having any intention of sticking with this, about long term goals and ambition.

Eventually the lies sound so good, sufficiently well polished, they seem possibly true.

What was the point?  Money.  Temporarily, money, which is a whole other thing to write about.  By the metrics of four years ago, there is now money.  Enough money to eke out middle class security, to have a few more dreams, to start something.  Staying too much longer undermines this, doesn’t it?  If all the dreams are foregone in pursuit of more.

Today is day 55.