Nothing: Part 28

Sunday nights are all about mental preparations and strategic outlines for tackling Mondays.  I know I’ll be reluctant to hop out of bed and that I won’t feel up to any challenges until the mint and the fluoride hit the gums and the enamel, and the burning hot water hits the skin.  It will all have to be timed and choreographed.  The guilt will make its appearance right on schedule when A is dragged out of bed early and when she is at Y’s doorstep, waiting to be let in.  She will probably nap on Y’s couch until the bus arrives.

Then I’d have to steel myself to deal with the creeping traffic.  Judging by the Channel 2 weather guy’s report the most common cause for creeping traffic would be sun glare tomorrow.  I’ll have to keep an eye on the Rt 80 overpass that can be seen from Rt 46 to spot back to back, creeping cars and trucks in order to decide whether I take the ramp to 80 or continue on 46, braving the scary traffic circle (hate traffic circles!).

My driving stress will end at the park and ride and there will be some reprieve while I snooze.  Then something will wake me up, probably the Lakeland Bus driver’s radio, as he talks to other drivers, wondering why Lincoln Tunnel is simply not moving.

The next decision would be whether to walk to the office or to switch two trains to get to work.  That would depend on whether the bus made it to Port Authority by 8:40 AM or 8:55 AM.  The latter would rule out walking.  I’d get on the subway and get to work by 9:20 AM.  I’d stare at the large clock as I make it through the revolving doors wondering if walking would have been as effective and better for my health.  I’d also wonder if there’s enough time to get real coffee from Pret or Europa Cafe or whether I’d have to make do with the office coffee, made with awful creamer, because a Dolores Umbridge like office manager has cut off milk or half and half supplies for us after spotting someone pouring some into cereal.  Yes, yes it isn’t the office’s job to keep us in milk and cereal…sigh!

Before I open up the first MS Excel file of the day my mind would already have gone through a complex flowchart littered with if and then choices and consequences.

Then we’ll have the midday deadline to meet.  A deadline that would have been obliterated had the VPN connection not given me this sweet message on Sunday:  Error 429.  Unable to resolve server address.  Why after three years of VPN access is it suddenly not able to resolve server address? I don’t know.  I’ll never know. 

Two and a half hours to create several spreadsheets and pie charts.  It would be more than enough time if the servers, the RAM etc were all cooperating and if there was no danger of losing my work because “Save” generated a message “Not Responding”.  It would be so pleasant if it didn’t take twenty minutes to open each file, twenty minutes to save it, twenty minutes to close it because the computer appears unable to handle several open windows.

All this would stress me out because there would be no recourse, no sympathy, the deadlines are mine to meet and anything else amounts to shirking or whining or both.

Through it all I’ll stay worried or guilty about A.  I’d keep thinking I am forgetting something.  I’ll wonder if I’d be able to surmount all difficulties and meet the deadline in time for making my 6:10 PM bus.  I would need to make sure I leave by 5:40 PM in order to get that bus.  I would ideally like to leave at 5:10 PM and get on the 5:45 PM bus but that bus has a midget creep who travels on it, the one who ignores all empty seats and asks to sit next to me.  It’s just exhausting to keep telling him he can have the seat because I am moving to another one.  One would think he’d get the hint by now! So 5:45 must always be skipped.  

Whichever bus I take it will always get stuck near the Meadowlands after exiting the Lincoln Tunnel, sometimes for hours on end.  That’s just the way things are.  Through it all I’ll be praying for some kind of serenity while the brain wants to keep returning to agony.  Must accept what we can’t change.

Home!  Finally I’ll be at Y’s doorstep, ready to collect A at 8:00 PM, when most kids are already in bed or an hour away from bedtime.  Bedtime just won’t happen for her until 10:30 PM.  Is that a parenting crime?  Will the Super-parent police force come after me with their “tsk, tsks” or more? Some folks would say to me how their goal is to get their kids in bed before 9:00 PM and the words would hit like a million jackhammers on my head. 

Through all this choreography, this tightrope walking, this constant planning and strategizing for each twenty four hour period I’ll see myself getting smaller and smaller, diminished beyond recognition, expecting nothing, planning for nothing, setting no goals other than the next grocery list, as time goes on. 

I’ve always tried to gaze into the eyes of other women in the family: grandmas, grandaunts, aunts, in sepia toned photographs of yore.  Photographs from when they were little girls, from when they became mothers and in their present wrinkled or toothless stage.  I don’t know what I am looking for…perhaps some signs of a desire to leave an imprint of their having existed, of their having meant something to the line of descendants who owe their existence to them.  But I never catch this glimpse.   When I inquire about some of the women in our family tree (added in there as “? Mishra” or “? Devi” or “? Jha”) people don’t even remember the names of the women who were.

Not only is it distressing, it may also be prophetic, as a future person with some fraction of my blood gazes at an old album or an old digital record (even more ephemeral and inconsequential than an old scrapbook or album) and notices nothing but exhaustion and resignation, if anything.

1 Comment

  1. I love the new blog look.and of course I love what you write


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