By most accounts — and not all of them mine either — I am an emotional wreck.

Does this surprise you? It doesn't surprise me. Really, I can't imagine how it could possibly surprise anyone at this point. And the dominant emotion, actually running slightly ahead of anger and frustration this week, is, of all things, shame. Now this surprises me.

Or maybe it doesn't. Most people perceive a gap between what they are and what they'd like to be; the chasm between what I am and what I feel I need to be is so wide that what I'd like to be, mostly, is somebody else. And while I was fairly good at that for a while, it's a tremendous strain to maintain a second persona — especially when it seems that no one has much use for the first.

This is not to say that I'm not being used, mind you. In my guise as an "IT Professional", whatever that buzzword means this week, I am expected to know why it is Mrs Putzweiler from Shelbyville can't read an Acrobat document, how come something that takes two hours to print can't be printed just this once in forty-five minutes, and whether it's too early in the morning to call someone in the Yukon Territory who turned in an unreadable submission three minutes before the deadline — and that's just the first sixty seconds of the morning. Any delusions I may have had that I was performing any kind of service to mankind have long since vanished; if anything, I have become a facilitator of stupidity, a person who makes it possible for a bunch of people with more money than brains (and, with two dozen credit-card transactions declined yesterday, apparently not that much money either) to indulge their swollen egos and pass it off as sport. No wonder I'm ashamed.

And in the fraction of the week I spend out of the office, I'm just as demoralized. I suppose I could drop a few pounds here and there, mostly here, but even if I were at that emaciated state endorsed by insurance-company actuarial charts, I'd still look like me, and this is not something I recommend to anyone. More to the point, I'd still act like me, which is more difficult to endure, unless someone has figured out a way to put a bag over a personality. Needless to say, any romantic notions I may have are ludicrous in the extreme; the better her understanding of me, the greater the distance she will want to put between us. So I sleep alone, and not very well at that, and wonder how long it will take before I don't have to wake up anymore.

The Vent

#237
16 March 2001



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