Organized Chaos

PrintI like to give off the impression that I’m an organized person—my desk is neat, my files are labeled and organized alphabetically, and I can’t leave work at night without straightening my pen cup. But frankly, it’s all a ruse. There’s that line in my favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally, when Harry tells Sally that she is the worst kind of high maintenance, because, “you’re high maintenance but you think you’re low maintenance.” And that’s basically me: I think I’m organized but I’m really a straight up mess.

Take my daily routine in getting ready for work. Sure, I may arrive looking neat and together, but did you see me racing around my apartment looking for my keys and trying to find my debit card while tossing a yogurt into my bag while also looking for a ponytail holder and poking a pair of earrings into my lobes? And of course, you may look at my desk, with its labeled files and books organized by height and think, that person is an organized person. But stay away from my desk drawers, which are filled to bursting with computer cables, office supplies and paper work from 2010 W-2s!

Sigh. If only my inside craziness could mellow out to match the outside togetherness that I desperately work to portray! But despite the work and effort I need to put into it, I just can’t live a fully disorganized life! …At least I look good while figuring it out??

What’s My Age: A 42-year-old high-powered executive with three rambunctious children who is struggling to “have it all.”

(Old) Home Alone

PrintDuring the summer, the last thing I feel like doing on the weekends is melting in my un-air-conditioned apartment and battling the bevy of tourists and every-day idiots that make the city their own. So instead, I take on the headache of actually leaving the city for the weekend. But as we all know by now, it’s not the leaving that usually presents my issue, but the return trip! For whatever reason, my weekend escapes are only accessible via daily-train (read: 1 train…daily) or, of course, covered wagon. So it was really no surprise that a few weekends ago, I was heading back from the Catskills by myself when–SURPRISE!–I missed said train and the country store was out of wagon yokes.

I had already car-jacked my sister’s car to try and make this train, so my only option at this point was to continue back to my family’s home and start the process of emotionally preparing myself for an early-a.m. commute. But what I wasn’t prepared for was how terrifying it was to stay in my childhood home alone! 

I live alone now, and I certainly don’t live in fear that someone is going to break in and kidnap me at night! So call it a repressed childhood fear, but the second I arrived home, I turned on every light, locked the basement door, triple checked the front door, and may or may-not have laid awake until 2 am thinking someone was lurking in the hallway. Just a reminder that my parents live in a very nice suburban neighborhood, where the biggest threat is a crop of wild turkeys gobbling across the front lawn! 

But see, I’m used to my little apartment, with its variety of lulling sleep sounds–the neighbors upstairs who scream at each other, for example–and not the sounds of silence the suburbs bring! When my alarm went off the next morning and I tiptoed down the hall prepared to battle an intruder, I couldn’t wait to be back in the city! There is such a thing as too much alone time! 

What’s My Age: 8, when I refused to feed my sweet dog because his food was in the terrifying basement. 

A Schedule of Sloth 

PrintMy productivity level has officially hit a brick wall this week. Blame the summer heat, a quiet calendar, and an upcoming vacation I’m counting the days until…I need a jolt of something stronger than caffeine! (of which I’ve had three cups…)

But this week, my only motivation is to get through the third season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia during my lunch breaks. Dream big! Now listen, this is something I’m certainly used to–the “feast or famine” mentality of my work-life–and this week is working itself out right on “schedule”:

Monday morning: I come in charged and refreshed from my weekend, and formulate my “to-do” list. So far, so good! But let’s not get too crazy first thing in the morning. Why don’t we ease in with some coffee, a little office gossip, and a few Buzzfeed links. ….O, look at that, it’s 2 pm! Time for lunch and a stroll around the block to “reset”  my productivity. Boy, am I tired today. Let’s just take it easy and wind down with some Facebook time. O, it’s 5:30? Guess I’ll head out a few minutes early!

 Tuesday-Friday: See Monday morning. 

 Of course, my intentions are always to fill my day with productivity–I’m an expert at crafting 20-point to-do lists filled with meaningless tasks that could fill my week up stat! 1. Color code post-it collection=CHECK. 2. Clean between keyboard keys with q-tip=CHECK. 3. Start taking OCD medication …..Well, can’t get everything done in a day!

What’s My Age: 14, a teenager on summer vacation who’s “bored” and “has nothing to do.” Gawd! 

Fashion “Short” Fall

PrintAh, summer in the city! A season of joy, freedom, and sweating profusely wherever you go. Frankly, it hasn’t really been too bad this year, and after the endless, frigid winter, I’ve been enjoying the nice weather! But one of the challenges in the summer (and the fall, winter, and spring…) is figuring out what I’m going to wear. In the winter, I basically take my dresses and put tights under them, so it’s not like I have a “wardrobe” I can switch out for each season. And then, of course, there is the constant temptation to wear shorts.

For whatever reason, I spend an unrealistic amount of time debating whether or not I should wear shorts to work. It may be a desire to make up for a very awkward fashion phase in my younger years (think long-overalls and shirts buttoned all the way up…) that I now try to over-compensate with a trendier look! Whatever the reason, I look at my three lowly pairs of shorts and weigh the pros and cons of wearing them at least twice a week! So, since my office is already pretty casual, last week I finally figured, what the heck! Shorts it is! I had seen several people wearing shorts to work, so feeling that the path had been paved, I picked out my most-formal pair and attempted to “rock that look.” Well, I think we can gather how I really felt….which was extremely self-conscious.

Now of course, it’s not like I was sporting daisy-dukes and a tube top. My shorts were an acceptable, pointer-finger length and my blouse had a giant bow on it! But no less than 6 people said, “Oo, shorts!” to me during the day. And what is that supposed to mean? “Oo, shorts! Looking good!” or, “Oo, shorts! You look unprofessional and should be fired.” It’s just really hard to tell….

But why shouldn’t I feel comfortable in shorts—unlike a skirt, shorts give cylindrical coverage on both legs! Hmm…I think I’m realizing the person that gets in the way of most of my sartorial choices is….me!

What’s My Age: 14, when dressing “trendy” meant rainbow toe-socks under jeans with Adidas slip-on sandals. Oooo, middle school. 

Awkward Silence

PrintRecently, our cube pod expanded to include a new person. In the two weeks that she’s been sitting there, aside from a brief introduction on day 1, we have never spoken. It is… incredibly awkward.

You know how there’s that period of time after meeting someone where you can no longer ask them what their name is? Well this is sort of like that, except not only am I still vaguely wondering what her name is, I’m also wondering if I should suddenly start saying good morning and good night when I arrive and leave work!

Now, I’ve been working with my other coworkers for over three years, so we have a sort of jolly report, which mostly involves them making fun of me and my….quirks. So it just feels more and more awkward the longer I sit in silence with a woman who sits mere inches away!

But as much as I love to self-deprecate myself, some of this falls on her, right? She’s just as capable of saying good morning or nodding goodbye on her way out the door. So why do I feel like she’s judging me for being anti-social? Does she go home at night and say, “I like my job but the people really suck?” But how will I ever know what she talks about when I’ve never even heard her voice?! Crazy how a two-letter word has me waxing poetic for a clean 500!

What’s My Age: 14, the height of my awkward stage. (Still in it, actually….) 

A PSA to Gum-Snappers*

PrintThis public service announcement is brought to you by my future therapist, who I’m going to need to start seeing when I go insane after listening to you snap your gum like a cow.

ATTENTION GUM SNAPPERS: PLEASE. STOP. As an obsessive gum chewer myself, I understand the joy a piece of chewing gum brings! The delightful elasticity of forming a bubble with your tongue! The whimsical sight of said bubble forming from your lips! BUT STOP RIGHT THERE. Snapping your gum in the workplace is RUDE. It is DISTRACTING. It is NOT THAT DIFFICULT to keep your gum in your mouth, lips closed, chewing quietly. I do it every day, all day. (I really love gum.)

No one needs to hear your jaws chomping away, the occasional snap like an electric shock. As my grandmother used to tell me five hundred times a day, “Whaddya think, you’re a cow? Close ya mouth.” Listen to my grandma. She is a delight.

So please, I beg of you, for the sake of my sanity and the health of your jaw, STOP SNAPPING YOUR GUM.

*PSA provided by the Organization of Reformed Gum Snappers**

**This organization does not exist.

What’s My Age: 87, a disgruntled senior citizen. 

Double Sided 

PrintWhen I first started my job three years ago, I was filled with such an overwhelming sense of relief that I probably would’ve done pretty much anything if asked. This job saved me from the most depressing months of my life, where I literally wept every single day. It was an unnecessarily over-dramatic time in retrospect! But if someone had asked me to crawl under a bus to retrieve a roll of duct tape, I would’ve done it! …O wait, I actually did do that! Maybe I was a bit of a pushover in the beginning….

But now that my emotions have leveled out (for the most part) and my confidence has grown, I’m finding that I’m becoming a little picky in the things that I’m asked to do. I’m the first to admit that I hold often impossibly high standards for myself and I suppose I expect everyone else to do the same. So when someone handed me a giant binder of documents and asked me to make copies of them, I’m sorry to say that I did the most eye-roll-worthy thing and grumbled (out of earshot of course!) “This is where a $200,000 college degree gets you.”

I know, I know. Pay those dues, blah blah blah. It wasn’t that long ago that the highlight of my life was the breakfast sandwiches at the end of my overnight shift! Of course, if I had it my way, I’d be running this place! (Or at least have an extra week of vacation…) But patience is a virtue, as the saying goes. It’s just that there’s so much I want to–oh hold on a sec….I have to go refill the printer tray!

What’s My Age: 21, when I was an intern, makin’ copies. 


PrintSo I’ve recently come to the horrifying discovery that I am out of vacation days. Of course, I had suspected that I was running low; but wasn’t one of my days in Africa a company holiday? (It wasn’t.) And didn’t someone mention in passing that they were handing out extra weeks this year? (They didn’t.) And aren’t vacations taken just a month after the holidays considered New Year’s good will?  (They aren’t.)

So now I’m in a pickle of having a month of summer and an entire holiday season ahead of me, with nothing but two personal days and a couple of measly sick days to my name. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? Travelling and vacation are like the blood that flows through my veins! And I’m already almost paralyzed with jealousy by my friends and family who have more responsibly meted out their vacations and are heading to Peru and Greece and Iceland while I sit in New York, unable to afford even a day trip out of the city!

Sigh. I guess Thailand and Morocco and India and even the Catskills are going to have to wait for another few months. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be tearing out the pages of my passport and throwing them into a bonfire of my deepest regrets!

What’s My Age: Thinking I’m 5-21, when I still had summer vacations every year.