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February 1, 2007

I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!

I deserve some kind of recognition for maintaining focus in the gym last night. Sometimes I work out on campus where I work and not downtown, especially in the winter when it's cold, as I know how easily I can convince myself not to work out in some way or another on the commute back home before riding my bike to the gyms in DC. But despite the crowding at the campus gyms during the school year, filled with muscular and distracting proto-metrosexual students aged 18-21, I still have to go there or else I won't work out at all.

And apparently the university I work at has the highest ratio of Jewish students in the region for a public university, and at this particular gym on campus there's scruffy Jews, beefy Jews, cut Jews, wrestler Jews, Jock jews, tall Jews, lean Jews, bearded Jews, blond Jews, puppy-dog faced Jews and even red-headed Jews. Most of them are furry too. And I maintained workout focus for the entire time I was there in the face of temptation not even the devil could throw at me.

So I deserve an award. Howabout "Best Composure in the Face of Ultimate Temptation"? Them were some fine Kosher chicken in there tonight, lemme tell ya.

But there was a reason for my laser-focus tonight, as it was a very trying day at work, which always leads to a good workout. This week we underwent the redesign and migration of a very large website, which involves cleaning out old files, redesigning the important stuff, and making sure all the links work on hundreds of pages. Even with staff support and good software, it's a lot of labor that requires organization and memory. Add this to an unexpected event for next week that I'm coordinating and advertising, and a major event in March where I'm doing the same thing, plus a looming newsletter deadline on my shoulders, in addition to a new grad school class starting up (and I still don't know where class is). Needless to say my desk is filled with tasks and my e-mail box fills up by the minute. While I find a rhythm in multitasking through the day, it's not my forte and it exhausts me.

And usually I get the flurries taken care of in the morning, allowing me to work on my marketing networking, chasing professors for pictures, info and lecture titles, and putting small fires out in general. This allows me time in the afternoon to focus on the tasks that require concentration, like writing articles and media alerts, fixing web pages, restoring links, and desktop publishing - all of which require uninterrupted periods of concentration. I have this now after an office move to a more quiet area of our department, but on some days there are exceptions to this.

The new semester has started and everyone has a problem, and they come into my office telling me about it at great length with no warning. Perhaps my new aquarium fish are too relaxing to watch and causes conversational diarhea in most people. But unless it's on e-mail, during busy times like this at work my mind is a sieve and it goes in one ear and out the other.

So the second to last person to come into my office got his point across, but then he droned on and on and I couldn't even find change in my wallet correctly as the buzzing humm of his voice was scattering my brain across the cosmos. Following him was a person with a very bomastic, forcefull manner, and although he is very nice I just wasn't ready for his pure force at that time. The list of things to fix on the freshly redesigned site was growing while he was talking and there was a number of things I had to get done for the upcoming events by the end of the day as well. But like the man before him, his statements and tasks to deliver turned into a barrage of semiautomatic gunfire to my brain. Brrr-att! Brrr-att! Rrrrrattatttattattt. And he just wouldn't stop even after I told him I can't do what he wants me to do now, so please write the points in an e-mail, but he kept on going at that pace, not seeming to notice the hysterical tone rising in my voice. At such trials in my life I abruptly quiet down and drop my head as if in prayer, and my eyes shift from side to side as if seeking escape. Close friends have seen this dire moment, and know to back off. But not everyone knows they should stop what they are doing and quiet down so I can procees before I explode.

And I know I can explode easy, so I have developed the catatonic method described above to deal, but that wasn't working, and the verbal gunfire to my head wasn't stopping either. So I left my office that had become his space and walked down the hallway, not intending to stop until the blast of pain forming in my left temple would stop throbbing. I walked the length of the building, breathing deep, cooling down the wave of heat cascading over my brain.

I returned to my office and it was empty. I closed my door and sat down and logged off AOL and work e-mail to reduce distraction, and approached each task calmly and in an orderly fashion in my own physical, mental and cyber space at my desk. No one came to visit after that, and I got most of my tasks completed, or at least organized enough so I could finish it tomorrow when I'm less addled.

I got out of my office at 7pm, something I avoid getting in a habit of doing. But hell, I'm seasonally-depressed, it's winter, and working allows me to be in a state of not-depressed for a time, but I'm not saying it's a happy thing either.

I haven't felt the way I felt today since I was in college, president of both an active gay and a busy environmental campus student groups, and taking a 5-credit chemistry class in addition to ecology and calculus at the same time. Yeah, I was younger with more stamina then, but I'm equally pressed with tasks today. I know a lot of type-A gays like to load up their tasks in the same way, usually plowing through them like Juggernaut, thinking we're invulnerable and irresistable in our advance on our work, because we're fabulous and should be up to the tasks for the day, right?

But every superhero and supervillian has their Achilles' heel, and mine was found today. But at least I didn't yell out, "I'm the JUGGERNAUT, bitch!" at the chatty people in my office.

Posted by jimbo at February 1, 2007 8:18 AM


Do you have a lock on your door? Jam the door with something, keep them out. What's the point of an office if you can't lock others out.

Posted by: Mari at February 1, 2007 8:20 AM

Have you ever closed a door in your house and you have a cat? The cat can't handle the door being shut...and starts to freak out and meows all night. That is like my coworkers. A shut door to them means, "Knock on Jimbo's Door!" There is no privacy in our office, and all tasks must be handled loudly and communally. Thus, individual tasks that I need to do cannot be done until everyone else leaves, making for many long nights.

Posted by: jimbo at February 1, 2007 11:54 AM

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