The feeling for the weekend?
I’ve been quite productive and relatively social, yet I could have done nothing but sleep and been just as happy. I’ve purposely withdrawn as much as possible to try to save up some energy. I don’t want to be exhausted and sad all the time, so apathetic seems the way to go lately.
Being busy is excellent for indifference though – I just did mindless work for the most part. Since my blogging habit stems from being too introspective, my outward focus left me with nothing interesting to write. I’d start something, get bored with whatever I was trying to explain, then stop to do something else.
Damn. I’m out of weeds.
Weeds – plural. I lived on a wellness floor (yes, seriously. Hush.) in college and can honestly say I’ve never been offered weed, singular. Would it make me seem cooler if I told you I know people who have tried it? I didn’t think so.
I continued my weeding obsession this weekend. My first thought upon waking Saturday morning – in all seriousness – was “It’s raining! Those weeds are going to be so easy to pull!” And I was happy for a few minutes before indifference slipped into place.
After a few hours, I was able to settle on my damp sidewalk with shears, a garbage bag and my gardening gloves, and I pulled weeds until there were no weeds left to pull. The ants? Well, they were less than pleased. Let’s just say that I don’t think they’ll be building a statue in my honor anytime soon.
I was so disappointed that I couldn’t continue with pulling weeds (It’s shockingly soothing. I don’t know why.) that I decided to walk around the perimeter of my home, weeding all the way. There were lots of bugs disturbed by this project – spiders and those black rolly ones – but I uncovered a tiny rose bush (who knew?!) and got some ick away from my air conditioner. After three good hours of weeding, I called it good.
I think we can all agree that I tend toward obsessive. Which means it’s good that I like weeds, plural rather than weed, singular.
I embarrass my dog.
I dogsat for a friend in grad school. She had 2 toy rat terriers and they were fantastic. I was confused when the younger of the 2 would immediately drop to the ground - lying as flat as possible - on some mornings when we'd go outside. I couldn't figure out the cause, but the tiny dog wouldn't budge from her low to the ground position.
When I asked Carrie, she asked if it was windy on those mornings.
"I guess. A little bit." I replied, still confused.
"The wind is her nemesis." Carrie explained. "I don't know why, and it's very weird, but YoungerDog hates the wind." So we laughed and I decided if I had a dog, she would not be afraid of random weather elements.
Chienne, of course, hates the rain. She actually doesn’t like any form of being wet. I had to yank her out of the apartment on her leash in grad school so she would take a brief walk. She’s recently developed an unfortunate aversion to thunder – this one in the form of terror. So while I’m happiest in the rain, my dog is not.
It was cloudy on Saturday morning. The soft rain seemed to have passed by, and though I was eager to get started on the weeds, I decided to take a walk first. Thrilled with the cooler temperatures (the heat broke on Friday night here – I’ve never been so grateful for upper 80 degree temperatures in my life), I decided on a longer route. Just before the midpoint (we tend to walk in large circles through the neighborhood), it started to pour down rain.
Chienne was less than pleased.
I decided to turn around and return home, but we still had about 20 minutes of walking to do. I matched the dog’s brisk pace, giggling slightly when cars would pass because we clearly looked stupid, and asked her why she looked so disgusted with me. She tolerated me drying her off, then climbed in the bathtub and refused to make eye contact for a couple of hours.
We were later out back, and the sun was starting to shine. I was nearing the end of my weeding marathon and captured a huge plant near the patio. I threw it onto the pile and looked down to see a worm on my glove.
So I screamed. Just a tiny yip of alarm. Then flailed my hand so the worm went back to the ground.
My dog looked up from her spot the fence, sighed at me, then went inside through her dog door. She didn’t return for the 20 minutes I remained in her yard.
I reminded her – after finding her sleeping in my office - that she’s 4, which is 28 in dog years, right? Far too old to be that embarrassed by your family. Unless my mom asks a stupid question in public. Or my dad tells a lame joke.
But that’s different.
Then stop it.
I try not to talk about work very often. I believe that a ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say’ philosophy works best in this area for me. It’s actually not a problem for a few reasons. First, I think what I do is pretty boring. It’s important and cool on some level, but I don’t spend hours of my free time thinking about it. That’s just me. Second, I have a lot of positive statements to make of my current location. Any problems and lack of progress are completely my responsibility. I’ve found people to be helpful, lovely and smart. Third, when I do decide to describe a work problem, I tend toward overly cute little stories.
So. I’m a polar bear, right? Let’s say a penguin needs some ice moved. The penguin knows a lot about ice in general – he works with it all the time. However, I’m big enough to actually move the ice, so the moving part of the project is actually my area of expertise (among other things, of course. I’m also an excellent swimmer and have a very pretty black nose). So the penguin explains some properties of the ice to me, and I tell him a little about how I’m going to move it. But we’re basically going to do our own thing and meet up at the end.
So that happens. I might have to interrupt this penguin to make my polar bear point when we meet with the head penguin, but that’s OK. I figure my penguin pal is just excited with how well the ice is moving so far.
But then we go meet with a whale. Now the whale has heard of ice – can easily learn whatever he needs to know to be peripherally involved with our scheme – and can also understand some details about moving the ice. He’s more interested in moving objects in general. Water currents. Migrating fish. That sort of stuff. So this ice movement project can apply some of his general knowledge of movement. Lovely. The whale’s great – I like him a lot. We share some tips on swimming while we wait for penguin to waddle in.
But when the penguin arrives, he devises a plan where we will demonstrate the ice moving plan by taking turns sliding down a hill on our bellies. So the penguin goes down the hill while I wait for my turn - after all, I developed the technique we're demonstrating. But then he races up the hill and goes again. The penguin apologizes – several times – for not allowing me to slide down the hill on my belly, yet continues to cut in front of me, demonstrating parts of my ice-moving plan even though he doesn’t have all the details quite right. Whale keeps looking at me – he only gets to slide down the hill a couple of times himself, and I step in to correct penguin’s technique and race in front of him to make a couple slides myself. But I’m mostly silent as the penguin hogs the hill.
My problem is this. If you’re going to take all the turns, why apologize if you have no intention of changing your behavior? It would be like me saying, “Oh, penguin, I’m sorry I swatted you in the head with my gigantic paw.” And then continuing to smack at him the entire walk back to my snowy area with is swimming pool. If you’re sincerely sorry – and you think it’s a problem – then stop doing it.
My other problem is that there was a smaller whale in the room and she wasn’t allowed to slide down the hill at all. I was too busy glaring at penguin and battling for my own turn to give her any attention, but as I thought about it, I wished she’d had the chance to slide down the hill as well.
Collaborations are tricky, even in environments were they are crucial. I never work alone, and try to play nicely with the other animals. Respect their strengths, accept inconveniences so that working with me is easy, take notes so I can move the ice properly, show genuine interest in this particular kind of ice because clearly its important. I realize that there are other polar bears far more talented than I am. But I’m a good polar bear! I deserve my turn sliding down the hill! And next time we all meet, I’m blocking the route back up the hill so the little whale can take a turn too.