Wrap

The last person I hugged before the pandemic lockdown was my mother.

The first person I hugged after my vaccination was…my mother.

It’s pretty obvious. I am shit at this whole “building a society of friends around myself” thing. Absolute failure. Nobody else? Nobody? Nobody.

Vampires

There are people who are energy vampires. As you’re moving along in your day, they cross your path and drag you down, pulling as much energy as they can out of you, whether you know it or not. After your conversation, you’re drained and your day is derailed.

Those people are to be avoided whenever possible.

And then there are the people to whom you willingly give energy, and yet there is no reciprocal flow. You look up to them and perhaps get excited when they come around, but spend much of the conversation on subjects directly related to them and their lives.

They spend no energy on your troubles, nor do they celebrate in your victories.

Once you identify that the person you are willingly, gleefully, and perhaps habitually, giving energy to is giving nothing back, you’ve identified that there is a power dynamic in play. At that point, if you have any shred of respect for yourself, it’s imperative that you draw a boundary to save yourself. You must set a limit.

If you find yourself humming along and enjoying your day, and then feel a pang or twist in your stomach when someone you look up to comes around, you’ve identified a vampire. You already know in your heart of hearts that they will drain you like a sucker. Learn from that feeling.

Walking away is always an option.

If they’re socially savvy enough to manipulate you, they’re savvy enough to notice when you set a limit.

Find people who know there should be a multi-way flow of energy. That’s the golden mean. Strive for that. If there is to be any love in this world, we must all give and take equally.

Peers set limits.

Oversubscribed

My writing and my personal life have suffered of late, and that’s because work is dominating my time. Rather, I’m letting it dominate my time. And that’s not a good thing.

Due to economic slowdown, I’ve been capped at 40hrs/wk on the clock at work, and overtime has to be approved or justified. Well, since I’ve been behind at work, I’ve been working off the clock as a contractor, not billing for time. Last week I worked until midnight twice, and had already hit 40hrs by Thursday night. In order to make a meeting on Friday, I carved out some hours from earlier in the week (likely when I was eating supper).

I told my manager about this, in work chat, about what I’ve been doing and why. He made it clear, in no uncertain terms: there is to be no unlogged work. Since we’re in a critical point in the program, there will always be justification for overtime. That comforts me.

Unspoken is that it also absolves the company of liability. If I were to keep record of time actually worked and not billed, I’d have a legal case. So no, no unlogged work.

Seriously, if my last job at the datacenter taught me anything, is that you never work for free, even if you’re doing it to make up for lost time during the week.

So now that I’m coming out of the end of that nightmare, I’m looking around at my living room, where I don’t spend any time during the week, and wondering where I’ve gone in my life and what I’m working so hard for at my WFH desk in the bedroom. Where has my internal life gone? Why have I dedicated so much headspace to practical projects, in work and my personal life? Where has playtime gone? Wither has gone passions, whence passions once roamed rampant?

I can’t say. Not won’t. Can’t.

After Sunrise

That last three minutes of “Before Sunrise” (1995) are always a punch to my gut. The inevitability of the end of the shining relationship. The rising of the sun burning away the evening of dreams and possibilities. Collapsing infinite potentials into a concrete reality. Exposing the detritus of the night’s revelry. Exchanging uncertainty on the edge of the teeth with the clear declaration on the lips of rational adults making rational decisions. “We are back in real time,” we reluctantly groan.

And then the flip at the train. The manifest exchange of certainty with potentials. Feverish, breathless abandon pushing aside rationality with passion. We will meet again, will we?

Personally, I love the sunrise; I just hate waking up for it. I also hate what it does to the world if the night allowed the world to feel something. It shows us passion is folly, although hours before passion was as real as solar fire.

Babycakes and milkshakes. Don’t you know me? Don’t you know me by now?

Fix Bug

“So, what do you do?”

“I solve computer problems.”

“No, I mean when you’re not at work.”

“I solve computer problems.”

“Wait, so you do the same thing at work and when you’re at home?”

“Yeah.”

“So what do you do for fun?”

“I solve computer problems.”

“OK, so what about when you’re hanging out with other people?”

“I solve their computer problems.”

“Hokay. So, uh, do you actually get any joy out of it?”

“Hell no.”

“Then why do you do it?”

“Because that’s what I do. I solve computer problems.”