Work has sucked lately and it’s my fault. Today I threw up my hands and came home at 3:30. Somewhat ironically I came home to relax and decided it would be a good time to do my taxes (just to unwind, you understand). Unfortunately, the result of that simple exercise was exactly the opposite of what I expected. For the third year in a row I’ve somehow managed to allow the IRS to screw me. I’m not asking for a huge refund; I’d just like to not have to write a check with four digits in front of the decimal point. That’s all. I’m happy to pay my share but when I have to plan for how to pay my taxes months in advance, that’s just too much. Perhaps it’s time to just start claiming zero exemptions and be the hell done with it. Christ on a stick! Oh, work. This part is supposed to be about work. You know the problem? So the other developers have a tradition. They go for a walk once during the day. Just go and walk around the office building and “shoot the shit” as the saying goes. This seems to be a tradition centered around Mike, who is clearly a genius. I came in to work at 7:30 today, worked through lunch and went mildly insane by 3:30. I was honestly about to explode. Mike and his loyal followers come in, then take a break, then work some more. They’re not crazy idiotic and insane about it. They treat themselves like they’re humans and doubtless their work is a hell of a lot better than mine. I need to dial back the intensity and expect more of myself but in smaller packages. My insanity is self-induced. Along those lines, I find myself in the need to choose one job function and not fifteen. I remember a time when I used to do one or two things and do them absolutely immaculately. At heart, I’m a perfectionist. Lately though I’ve spread myself way too thin to the point where I disappoint not only myself but my co-workers. It’s time to pick one direction and push in it. This may mean that a lot of people have to pick up a lot of loose ends, but ultimately it’s the best answer not just for me but for all the people I work with. OK, enough about work.
So of all the shows on television I make a point to watch exactly one. All the others I have far too little concentration to focus on or to remember a time for. I can remember exactly one thing at a time and currently that one thing is Thursday nights at 8am, turn on CBS. End of list. Oddly though, my reaction to “The Big Bang Theory” is that I’m not nearly nerdy enough. I’m in the technology industry which in my mind has always been hopelessly blue-collar. Those of us in this business know that our work and interests in it are far too practical. We’re not detecting rare sub-atomic particles or calculating the Planck Constant… we’re doing mundane and uninteresting things that have real practical applications. Part of me yearns to be in an industry with no right answer. Long, long ago during my college days, I was a mathematics major. I loved math because it was concrete. When you completed an item of work, i.e. proved Fermat’s Last Theorem, you were fairly certain you had something. It was done. Concrete. Final. Done. There was a right answer and there was a wrong answer, and when compared with the other sciences, math was all about right and wrong answers. Pretty soon though there loomed a reality of being a math major. Well, a couple. The first was that the majority of people in your major went off to become teachers. Since I was poorly equipped to speak in front of one person let alone a few dozen, that terrified me. Related to that was the reality that math majors had to take COM 114, the class on public speaking. There was no way in HELL that I was going to make it through that, so I went on a quest for another major without such a heinous requirement. Soon I settled on Computer Science. All the certainty but none of the “talking in front of people.” Oddly though, I find the certainty of my profession insipid. I yearn for the parts of my job that aren’t black and white. Something complicated like geology would be wonderful. The binary “it works” or “it doesn’t work” has begun to grate on my nerves. Can’t there be an area of grey? I babble and digress and wander too close to the topic of work.
As I had my leftover olive pizza for dinner, I realized that my palate had grown tired of the sweetness of my cookbook-inspired menu. For 5 recipes in a row, it has called for dark soy sauce and hoisin sauce, and my brain rebels at the thought of another meal bathed in this eastern saccharine. I yearn for the salty goodness of light soy sauce.
My soul needs the springtime. Today after I came home I went for a walk in the freezing cold. I tried to get out and about to clear my mind, to expunge my soul, but after a brief period I was too concerned about my own impending death by frostbite to continue. If there truly are seasonally-specific disorders, not designed merely to spur the sale of pharmaceuticals, then I suffer from one. The winter is a long, dark and lonely season for me and I await with no small anticipation its end.
It has occurred to me that I need to do a better job of connecting with people outside the bounds of necessity. I remember a loooooong time ago I wrote an entry about friendship and I defined a friend as…. Well, something along the lines of, “someone you interact with outside the bounds of necessity or convenience.” Basically, a friend is someone that you do stuff with because you want to, not just because fate happens to throw you together. With the exception of Laura, I do a really poor job of making the effort to be a friend to the people in my life. What’s utterly insane about this is that invariably when I think about the people I know fairly well, I can point out very specific things about them that just astound me. Anyone wanting to be supremely embarrassed and flattered should ask me what I think of them. Despite my cynical demeanor, I have a marvelously positive opinion of just about everyone I know. That begs the question though why I don’t make more of an effort to build stronger bonds with the people in my life. For the most part, I suspect that it’s personal insecurity. Something along the lines of, “Why would this incredibly interesting person want to waste their time with me?” sort of thing. That’s shitty upbringing for you, I suppose. At any rate, the world should be aware that I admire it. With the exception of Hillary Duff and Paris Hilton. What a waste of skin. (For the record, I don’t know anything about Hillary or Paris, but it seemed only apropos to make some exception to the rule.)