I once had to work with a truly annoying woman named Alison. Her company acquired the smaller company I had been with and she became drunk with a previously untested taste for power. She finally and, in her mind, deservedly had the upper hand over someone else. That someone else was yours truly. Yes, she’d set her condescending sights on me despite the fact that my track record eclipsed hers, running twice as long and five times as deep. Allison was a little hard to take. She often said three things that tempted me to pick her up and set her down hard in a corner facing a wall.
“You’re a rock star in this organization!”
It was always after she’d asked me for status on an assignment that I didn’t get from her, and always on the phone, ending with the latest update about her relationship with one of the big corporate mucky mucks.
“The team doesn’t need to know that.”
Apparently no one ever asked any questions about what the heck we were trying to do in spending thousands of man-hours preparing a multi-thousand-page proposal for a huge and complex contract. I am a need-to-know person. And I am all about questions. I realized she had no idea what the proposed solution was nor did she know how to direct the work of her many chosen minions, so I made sure to double down on the number of questions I threw her way every chance I got.
“I have a hard stop at 4:10.”
Allison said this at the start of every meeting. And she usually said it at about 3:45. Of course, the group had at least an hours worth of work to do (and we were of the mind that we stay until it’s done). Her “I’m too important to work out my schedule even though this is about a multi-hundred-million-dollar contract” attitude really bugged me. Fortunately, one of the others from my old company was quick enough to quip, “Oh, I see. We’re five bucks losing just a dime,” which basically meant we wouldn’t miss her at all.
This has nothing to do with anything. It’s just how my mind works. Don’t ask.
I don’t have any hard stops anymore. The days are different. I mean really different. My last day of client work was December 17th 2015. I’m just now starting to relax. Oh yeah, there was the book and it was a lot of work, but I don’t have a book project right now. I want one. I just don’t have one. Can’t see myself writing fiction. I don’t know why. When I think about it, writing fiction always seems like a frivolous pursuit, and then I’ll read a chapter in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and realize I need to reconsider things. A Man Called Ove has the same effect.
Maybe I’m afraid. Maybe I’m afraid it will be a waste of time. But why would I be afraid? After all, hard stops are a thing of the past. I can waste all the time I want! Maybe it just seems a little too open-ended and ethereal, like water that’s deeper than I’m able to tread.
I once had a dream. It was a very vivid dream. I hope this doesn’t wig you out but I don’t know how else to paint the picture. I was a little girl at a company picnic situated on an area of green rolling hills. I was with my mother and father just on the other side of one of the hills below the line of sight, so no one could see us. On a flatter spot in the grass, something like two saw horses joined together stood supporting an open coffin. My parents told me to get inside. They said there was something wrong with me and I was going to die anyway. I got in and they closed the lid.
Once inside, I immediately said to myself, “Hey, there’s nothing wrong with me!” and I lifted the lid and climbed out. My parents were gone. The people at the picnic were gone. But suddenly there were other people, all of them happy as they ran toward a deep and beautifully clear lagoon. I joined them, running with, but apart from them, and just as they did, I dove into the lagoon, floating further down than any of the others, reaching a depth that gave me a beautiful view of the waters lights and shadows sprinkled with lush foliage, bright orange lagoon creatures, and happy people swimming toward the surface. The blues and greens were especially vibrant and full of life. As I neared the surface, something fell away from my body, something that was heavy and dark that would have made it difficult for me to ascend the shoreline hill and become a part of the happy ones. I awoke with a start. It seemed so real.
Just before I had gone to bed that night, I’d been up for several hours reading a book my pastor loaned to me. The book was People of the Lie by Scott Peck. Pastor had given me the book after reading a terrorizing letter I received from my father.
The dream was so real.
I especially remember the lagoon.
The need to tread water never crossed my mind.
That’s it for today…Love you