I was having a little stress at work over a project that was going to take perfect planning to complete on time. If you knew where and who I work with you'd understand that ain't gonna' happen so I had serious reservations when they took the job on. I was essentially being given one day to prep a 36 page program guide (scanning and more scanning), one day to lay it all out for a first proof and one day to make corrections/revisions for a final proof. In a society that increasingly tolerates just-good-enough-to-get-it-done, I like to pride myself on the fact that I have always gone the extra distance to get it done right, the first time. Of course, that was when I had boundless energy of youth and health. Primarily health, which as of late, has been a little meager. So, I was dreading the very real possibility that I was going to be slaving over something to be finished on time, all the while holding responsibility for the project's success or failure over my head. If you're even remotely connected to the graphic arts/creative industry, then you know what I'm talking about. My dilemma was being physically unable to 'go that extra distance' because of this whole cancer/chemo thing conflicting with my sense of responsibility and being better than the average schlep.
So I went in to work this morning and expressed my concerns over the timetable to complete this project and I got the "we all have to pitch in" response from the elf in charge. Hello? On my worst day, I still work harder than my 'motivationally-challenged' fellow employees, so if I say I may have some difficulty finishing a project on time, then you can be damn sure I'm not bailing on something just because I don't want to work. My health is very important to me right now (duh!) and I hate using that trump card even when I'm forced to. I wanted to take off my hat and say, "Most people can't even work while they're on chemo. Do you think this bald head and lack of eyelashes and eyebrows is a fashion choice of mine? Save the pep talk for someone who needs it, Junior." Instead, I said I would do what I could and that would have to be enough. I wasn't going to take the responsibility. As I walked back to my office, I realized I was insulted by his lack of compassion or understanding of my situation. Not that I need it, but come on, at least be fair.
Perhaps somewhere between the time I voiced my concerns to him and when he returned later with a meticulously laid out mock-up and detailed instructions, along with all photos and ad pages to be scanned, I thought maybe he did get it and 'went the extra mile' to make my part of this project easier. Or maybe it's just a coincidence that the client was extra prepared and he's still a schmuck. The bottom line is that it looks like the project is going to be do-able within the timeframe and without any additional stress on my shoulders. That's a relief.
On my way home this evening, I came to an intersection that had the lights out. Ever since the power was restored, we've had working traffic lights and so it was goodbye to the 4-way stops we were doing for a week while they were fixing things. These particular lights must have been temporarily disabled while they were working on something else, but tell me, how hard is it to remember the rules that apply to intersections without lights, especially since it was just two weeks ago? Apparently, some people have forgotten as I saw one car after another creep up without stopping, horns honking, people waving their arms and one really pathetic loser actually cut off a turning sheriff's car by not stopping. That was sweet. I hope that ticket costs a bundle.
My point is how quickly we revert to our old ways when the initial shock or surprise of something is over. How quickly we want to paint things as 'normal' even though things haven't changed. The last six months of my life still happened. I still had lymphoma. I still am going through chemotherapy. And just because I choose to return to work and try to make my life as 'normal' as possible as part of my therapy, doesn't mean I still don't feel like crap at times or have no energy to do more than walk around the block. So my message to you, Junior, when your temporary compassion for others is forgotten as quickly as how to drive properly: Any time you want to trade places with me, just let me know...