Meltdown averted   Leave a comment

Have a nice day.

Last week was fun. This is probably going to sound stupid, because it is, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

After a rather vexing weekend, on Monday things were looking up: my Uncle came around to start the decorating he’d been meaning to get on with for months. Hurrah!

Unfortunately, that has an obvious downside: I have somebody in my house all day while I’m (supposed to be) getting on with whatever it is I’m supposed to be getting on with. Sometimes this is motivational, because I feel guilty not doing anything while somebody else is hard at work (and he certainly was), but it’s always stressful. I feel like I should be helping, or worry that I’m not offering them enough tea, or should be offering food, or that I’m in the way, or… Well, you get the picture. Lots of things I don’t know all putting me on edge.

To make it better, my dad appeared without warning (as ever) on Tuesday. I still don’t much like unannounced visits, and often don’t answer the door if I’m not expecting one, so he almost didn’t get let in. But this was a problem; not only did he start getting in my uncle’s way and slow things down*, but it caused added worry about having even more people, and what to offer when I only had two of things (especially when I know Dad already had some of them at his house, because I’d made and given them). And I know Dad definitely won’t ask for things if he wants them, because you’re supposed to be psychic. Which doesn’t help.

Added on to that, by Wednesday – when I barely managed to drag myself out of bed by eleven, despite waking up early – I’d not heard from work for thirteen days. I’d run out of work the week before. It’d got so bad that I’d even emailed someone to ask if they had anything for me to do, but I’d not heard back. So I started to worry if perhaps my email was playing up (I was getting automated “Everything OK” emails from the server as expected, but don’t know the internal systems so staff email could operate differently. And there was a problem with too many emails not long ago; maybe the fix had broken something else?), or worse, that something was up and nobody had told me. And, of course, I worried what I’d say next time my boss called and asked what I was up to – what can you say, “exactly what I was asked to do; nothing”? Also I worried that they might finally realise what I’ve been waiting for them to notice for half a decade: that I’m entirely surplus to requirements (apart from when something breaks).
Sure, there are tentative plans about what could happen next, but usually when I start poking at such things I’m interrupted a few days later, forgetting anything I’ve figured out over the next few months until another lull turns up. So there’s not much motivation to try unless you know you can get on with it.

This compounded with having other people here meant that not only wasn’t I helping them, but I wasn’t doing any work either, and I couldn’t do anything fun because that’d be neither working nor helping. Which gave me plenty of time being bored and useless to worry and get stressed about everything else.

A friend invited me over to watch a Grand Prix (these fancy people with their modern as-it-happens televisual entertainment!). He even suggested a train route that wasn’t prohibitively longwinded or expensive, taking less than an hour and a half to cover the thirty miles between our houses (plus about six miles of walking or cycling) which is quite good for the railways herabouts. Hurrah! I thought. And then I looked it up and discovered that it doesn’t run at all on Sundays. After all, why would anybody want to travel on Sundays? That would be silly.

I know I shouldn’t get angry and annoyed by stupid people and their idiotic organisations that are entirely out of my control, but I do. Public transport is important. And if you want people to use it – and we are encouraged to do so – then it has to take people from where they are to where they want to go, when they want to go there. If driving is significantly quicker or cheaper, that’s what people will do. All the other stuff going on didn’t make it a good day to arrange train journeys, either, because I was thinking of them as far worse than they actually would be by this point; almost as bad as buses, in fact.

And then I got an email about a friend’s house-warming party down in London, which is about the only place in the universe which is easily and efficiently reachable from here by train. A Londoner, of course, would think this only right and proper, although might wonder why trains would go from London at all. Anyway, I mentioned how good I have been at humans lately (none of the good), and had a chat which probably persuaded him that he’d be quite happy if I didn’t go, actually.

So that was Wednesday. Between being tired, the presence of people, the lack of work, and the terrible prospect of socialising, I was pretty much on the verge of meltdown. It was a lot of fun! I am sure anyone following me on Twitter agrees.

Then it was Thursday. Work finally got in touch, gave me some things to do (which only took a few hours, but still), and didn’t ask me what I’d been doing. Phew! Dad was at work and my uncle finished early, so I had the house to myself all evening and night. I could sit around playing computer games in peace and quiet. It was lovely. And Friday wasn’t so bad, either. Did some swimming, so nothing to complain about there.

The weekend was a bit mental, involving making a mess of moussaka in the early hours of Sunday morning and all sorts of other stuff, but fortunately I’d calmed down by then.

* Although my uncle’s presence and, um, encouragement did rather hasten my father’s progress as he minutely fussed over window frames about which only he cares. I should be grateful. I want to be; he’s fitting new window-frames for no money, and even buying the parts. But I can’t help but feel the reason not to pay somebody to do it almost as well and considerably more quickly is to avoid causing offence. But! This room’s window-fiddling only took two days, which is verging on orders of magnitude faster than the last one.


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