Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Everything's Gonna Be All Right...I Hope

The frustrations began, I think, yesterday morning while I was driving to work. That was when my glasses broke. The left earpiece had been bent for a few days, due to my falling asleep with them on. Getting them fixed or getting a new pair was on the agenda, but I hadn't gotten around to it yet. As I was driving, they were bothering me because they were sitting crooked on my face. I tried to adjust them, and the earpiece just broke off. Luckily, they stayed on my face well enough that I could actually see to finish my drive to work. When I got there, I had to mend them with a piece of tape. I definitely wasn't planning to wear them like that for very long, but I was hopeful that it would, at least, get me by for a day or two.

After a relatively normal day, the frustrations continued yesterday evening. After Brandi went to bed I sat down in front of my computer to do some work. Unfortunately, my computer wouldn't cooperate. I couldn't launch the program I needed, and when I tried to shut down programs that were already running, in hopes of helping things along, that just snarled them even further. Eventually I had to go do something else in hopes of it working when I came back to it later.

In the meantime, I tried to re-tape my broken glasses. The tape job I had done in the morning had been good all day long, but by that time in the evening it was getting pretty loose. This time, it didn't go so well. I couldn't get the pieces to fit together very well, and when I finally did, the tape wouldn't stick. I finally got it slapped together, but it took far longer than it should have, and it wasn't very stable. It was worse than it had been, actually, but I figured it would at least get me by for a little bit.

When I went back to my computer, it was ready and willing to work. That was good, because I needed to get my finances squared away and pay the bills for the month. I logged into my bank account and got really depressed and irritated due to my financial situation. The pay cut I took for this new job is starting to rear its ugly head. It's not to the point where I can't pay rent or buy groceries or anything, but neither would I describe my situation as "optimal."

Things did not get better this morning. I did get out of bed on time, but for some reason I had a hard time getting through my routine as quickly as I usually do. I didn't leave much later than my normal time, but I also had forgotten that I would have to scrape snow and ice off my car. That took a few minutes, and I managed to slip on the ice and fall down in the process, whacking my right elbow a pretty good one on the ground. When I got in my car, I realized that there was no way I could make it to work without stopping to refuel.

By the time I got to work, I was a few minutes late. I had some stuff in my trunk that I wanted, including an orange bracelet I wear on my right wrist, so I got in there and got the stuff as quickly as I could and just stuffed it into my pocket. When I got to my desk and had a moment as my computer was booting up, I went to put my bracelet on and found that it was no longer in my pocket. It had fallen out somewhere along the way. I did a quick scan of my path through the building and didn't see it, so I knew it was probably out in the parking lot somewhere, being buried under the snow.

As the morning progressed, one of my co-workers walked into our department from the lunch room and announced that her lunch had been stolen from the refrigerator. Another co-worker came in a short time later with a similar complaint. I decided then that if my lunch was missing when I went to get it at noon, it would be the last straw. I would come back to my desk, collect the few belongings I've accumulated in my short time there (three months today, in fact), and walk out.

Fortunately, it didn't get to that point. My lunch was still in the refrigerator when I went in for my break. With the mood I was in at that point, I was almost disappointed. I was sort of looking forward to storming out, even knowing that it would be extremely impetuous and unwise.

My afternoon was fairly nondescript, with no further incidents until very nearly the end of the day. I was delivering a couple of proofread pages to the graphics department when a co-worker told me that the company president wanted to see me in his office. I went in that direction, steeling myself for another spate of irritation. I couldn't think of anything I had done wrong, so I didn't expect to get yelled at or anything, but I didn't really expect anything good to come of it, either.

How wrong I was. I found myself in there with another person from my department who is a relatively new (less than one year) employee. He explained that the company gives out occasional bonus checks, and that today was "bonus day." He said that bonuses for first-year employees were fairly small, but that they went up after that, and he went through the various criteria they use to determine bonus amounts. He then told us that our bonuses were $500. I thought he was kidding, actually. In my book, $500 doesn't qualify as "small." I got back to my desk and looked at the check, though, and it was indeed for $500 (minus taxes, of course).

That "small" bonus could not have come at a better time. It's not going to solve everything, but it's definitely going to help. I can't even explain how much it lifted my spirits.

Shortly after that the workday was over. As I walked through the parking lot and got close to my car, I noticed a flash of bright orange against the snow on the ground. I went for a closer look, and sure enough, it was my bracelet. It had some parking lot grime on it, but it was otherwise in good shape. I picked it up and put it in my pocket, this time making absolutely sure that it couldn't fall out again.

This is why I normally don't worry about much of anything, even serious matters like financial concerns. I even realized as I sank into my bad mood that it was out of character for me to get as worked up as I was. I just couldn't see any quick and easy way for things to improve; and yet they did. I know I can't always count on stuff just falling out of the sky to save the day, but I also know that things generally work out--either things get better on their own, or a solution presents itself. Next time, hopefully I'll do a better job of keeping that in mind.

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