Why am I writing this? Was my announcement I was shutting down the Breadbin indefinitely just another attention-seeking ploy of the sort my depressive personality used to conjure with regularity?
No. I'm not exactly depressed right now. Actually, my own life is beyond rich. Let me detail.
Last week, my supervisor at work called me "one of the most positive people [she'd] ever seen". You could have knocked me over with a feather. A positive attitude is not something I have been known for, professionally (or personally, if I'm being honest), and when it comes to the world outside my personal bubble, negative doesn't even begin to touch it. Yet she said that, and she meant it.
And I owe it to one word: REFRAME.
An example, and pardon the complexity here. At my work, every five to eight months based on the needs of the business, we engage in a "shift bid". There are a (largish) number of potential schedules you are required to rank; your quality stats dictate how close to your first choice of shifts you get.
My quality has been pretty good. Not perfect: I got a performance bonus for August and promptly lost it for September. Of course, it was September's stats they used for the shift bid. and I ranked 47th out of 59.
Jaw drop. Jesus, I thought I was doing well. Another supervisor here reframed this for me by informing me that there was a 41-way tie for first place and a six-way tie behind that; I could just as easily say I was in second place. Still, despite some arcane method they used to make it fairer, I had to assume I wouldn't get anywhere near my first choice of shifts. I could have tried to rig it myself by putting my actual first choice (Monday to Friday, 8am-4:30pm) down around 7th or 8th, but that's a dangerous game.
Results of shift bid come out. I look quickly. I'm off the first and last days of the week. Yay. Still Monday to Friday, in other words, and my new shift starts and ends one hour later. That would be my fourth choice. Not bad.
Come in this past Monday. The seating arrangement has changed as well: I have a new computer, with a 21" monitor instead of the 27" I had before. (Female colleague of mine: "it's amazing the difference a few inches makes"). Snicker.
I didn't know about the seating change and this is a computer I've never used before which means it's going to take longer than expected logging in, and I have a lot of customization to do afterwards. Barely punch in on time.
There's a module I have to load each day which tells me when my breaks and lunches are, along with other job-related scheduling like coaching and training sessions. Load it up and look at it.
That's an odd glitch, I thought. According to this I'm not supposed to be here.
A horrible suspicion seeped into my skull which was confirmed a minute later. The weeks on that calendar I had looked at go from Monday to Sunday. "Your new schedule is Tuesday to Saturday, 12:30-9:00", a supervisor told me. "Do you want to stay today? Overtime is available. Or you can just go home."
Yeah, this has thrown my life a bit of a curveball, I need to go home and brood over it.
Weekends are the only times I get to see Eva for any length of time, and the only chances I have to see Kathy at all. Eva and I have big plans two of the next three -- SHIT -- weekends! I never bothered to book the Saturdays off because I'm ALWAYS off Saturdays FUCK FUCK FUCK! As far as Kathy goes, it was already bad enough my shift ended an hour later: 9:00 is late to be going out to grab me in New Hamburg, especially on a winter's night. My mind started to go down this black path of having to cancel the plans with Eva and not see Kathy and Jade hardly at all for months.
Talk it over. One set of plans with Eva is for this coming Friday night (which I had booked off); she's sure we can get me back for the Saturday shift. And I managed to get December 1st off too, so that's resolved.
Check bus schedules. There's one that leaves Woodstock at 7am on Tuesdays. Terminal is an easy walk from Kathy's house. I could come Saturday night or Sunday morning and do some housework for Kathy while she's at work on Monday, take a stab at cooking her and Jade dinner. Hey, that might actually work out...better?
Come into work on Tuesday and confront this stupid little monitor. It takes me a while, but I re-jig my workflow in such a way that I don't miss the extra space on my screen (much). Then I look around and start to appreciate my new location in the room. There's a window eight feet to my right and another about 20 feet straight ahead. I'm in a kind of alcove, out of the hustle and bustle of the main room, and that MORE than makes up for the lost monitor space. There's no-one at the sole computer to the right of me, one of the guys who trained me to the left, and a friend straight ahead. This station is almost perfect, and after a few days I'll be used to working with the 21" monitor.
REFRAME. Any problem I thought I had was the very epitome of a First World problem, you know? Not off weekends anymore? Still off two consecutive days, workaround has been found, and having Mondays off makes it easier to schedule appointments if necessary. And Jesus, Ken, it's not as if you just got out of retail where getting a weekend off is like pulling teeth or anything,
Once I started trying to find the positive, it fairly leapt out at me. I've noticed that happening more and more just lately.
Now if I can just expand that somehow. That's going to be the part that's going to keep me away for a while yet. I could just concentrate on personal stuff, which would merely cut the number of blog entries in half, but....well, as I wrote in the last entry, "Writing about my own day-to-day happenings, be they good, bad or ugly, seems like an act of narcissism given what's going on in the wider world around us."
There are lots of people who don't pay attention to events in the wider world. I really don't know how they manage the feat; it eludes me. An analogy, an analogy: you're walking blindfolded and with earplugs on through a very bad area. There are people with unknown intent all around you. You could take the blindfold off and the earplugs out....but you choose not to.
What the hell is that? Bravery? Foolhardiness? Gross ignorance? Apathy?
Whatever it is, I could use some of it.
Nearly every day there's a new act of terror in the United States. That country is split seemingly right down the middle between people who absolutely cannot accept the result of the election they lost two years ago and people who won that election who want nothing more than to stick it to the losers.
One side is seeking to define some people out of existence. The other simply can not understand, let alone accept, that not everyone thinks the way they do. And both sides do nothing but spew hatred at each other while claiming they're "tolerant". Yeah. Star Trek tolerance. Everyone in the Federation looks different, but they all think the same, right?
Even the most innocent remark or action is immediately and viciously twisted into craziness. Any accusation of wrongdoing is instantly met with the retort: "your guy did it too". And people's minds aren't just closed....they're triple-locked, boarded, and barred. On both sides.
And it's all presided over by a man who rejects reality and substitutes his own on an hourly basis. He shouldn't be able to get away with that, and he does it in part by tapping into the collective amygdala of half the nation...but he's not the only one ignoring reality.
Call Trump what you want and I'm probably going to agree with you. He's a textbook narcissist; he's racist, sexist and a bunch of other unpleasant -ists. A word about that while I'm here, while emphasizing Trump is the genuine article: criticism about a given person of another race is not racist. Out-and-out hatred of A SPECIFIC woman is not sexist. You'd never guess that, from the way many people froth at the mouth. Megyn Kelly had a history of genuinely racist remarks; I found it interesting the remark that got her fired was an observation that blackface was common when she was a kid (true) and that she didn't see what was wrong with it. That last infuriated progressives and if we're now living in a world where you can't question something without getting fired, I think somebody had better shoot me.
Anyway, Trump is a pig and he's producing wage-class jobs at at ferocious clip. For a host of wage-class men and the women whom feminism says shouldn't depend on them and yet do...that right there is what matters. Trump is the furthest thing from a Christian there is, but evangelicals love him anyway because he's championing some of their causes, most notably abortion. Scoff all you want: there are people, including many women, who see abortion as straight up murder. It's pretty easy to forgive venial sins by the truckload when your guy is trying to stop what you view as a mortal sin.
Hatred. It's everywhere, it's metastasizing, and it's sneaking north. Do you know how many people hate Justin Trudeau? I mean...hate. What in the hell has Trudeau done to merit hatred? I'll be the first person to admit he's disappointed me (electoral reform or lack thereof, mostly, and calling Conservatives 'ambulance chasers' for demanding Tori Stafford's killer be put where she belongs did him no favours in my eyes)...but he's so....bland. I do think he's more style than substance, but that's why there's a government around him. A government that, as far as half the country is concerned, plays for the wrong team.
The wrong team, that's really what it is. I want to sit this goddamn tournament out. Can I do that?
I don't know. Because while everyone's treating this like a sport, it's going to be a blood sport very, very soon. Whatever your thoughts are on immigration...and it's long past time both the U.S. and Canada had a civilized, reasonable discussion on the topic...how can anybody dispatch soldiers to meet a migrant caravan that has walked more than two thousand kilometres? I can't imagine what unspeakable horror would motivate me to walk that far. (To address the inevitable question of why the migrants are not accepting offers of refuge in Mexico...it's quite simple. In Mexico, they are not out of reach of the gangs they're fleeing.)
Part of me wants to write and write and rant and rave against extremists on both sides of a host of issues. Indeed, I did before realizing how much stress that was making me feel. I don't know how to balance this. I know that writing it out doesn't help anymore. But ignoring it is worse.
If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears. If you can give me a solid REFRAME for the mess I'm seeing, I want to know about it yesterday.
In the meantime, I'm crawling back into my hole for a while. Find me on Facebook, where there are a million mirthful memes to dilute the hatred.