Positive Watchfulness

I’ve been having the occasional comment wend it’s way to me about how positive I’m being at work, how untroubled by all the stresses around us.

Truth be told its mostly because being cheery and positive is less exhausting than brooding on everything. Yes, there’s a small amount of denial, but I choose to interpret that as actively picking my battles.

A few days ago, myr s confessed they weren’t happy that I had to go in to work and risk infection. My only answer is that I feel safe enough in my work environment, especially with the barriers, cleaning, masks, and distance enforced while there. If anything it feels safer than going to the shops, and that’s in no small part due to control of my environment that I can exercise while at work.

Semi-related to the above is the descriptive fragment that bounced around my imagination this morning: “he was so optimistic that he expected anyone coming from Woking to be woke”

Time for bed I think.

Phoneless Day

I left my phone at home today – not for any great reason, but just because I was in a hurry. As is usual in such cases, I only realised when I got to work, so just shrugged and got on with it.

It did mean that my peers had to use the branch landlines to get in touch with me through the day – and in the process I think it all underlined how much of our job is based on communication and consensus.

I did manage to get some work done for wider projects currently underway, as well as prepare a bit for the reapplication my job that an upcoming restructure is promising, so it was a productive day – but I did feel a little lost without being able to quickly check mail and news at a moment’s notice.

First world problems…

A Few More Spoons

Today feels a bit better than yesterday, which saw me make a grand total of 97 steps according to my phone. I’m still trying to get rid of head fog, but I’ve done the washing up, cooked lunch, hoovered the living room, and engaged with a few people online, at least in passing. I’ve even attempted, and will continue to attempt, to write. I’m currently editing through more short stories, aiming to bring them to around the 5000 word mark each as a starter. It feels like an iterative approach for these is helping, because I’ve actually completed the whole structure of them and can now flesh out and fill in gaps and leaps to even the pace.

So, today feels like I have a few more spoons.

One conversation I had yesterday pulled together a unified theory of cutlery that I’m sure some of you will have encountered as I’m pretty sure its not actually anything brand new. Spoon theory is about the parcelling out of personal energy to perform individual tasks across a day. These tasks can include social interactions, self care, household maintenance, and work. Fork theory is about the same thing, but is exclusively for helping other people – explaining how sometimes we have no problem at all helping other people with things while feeling unable to manage ourselves. Then there is Knife theory, which are spoons borrowed against the day to come to deal with emergencies, but which then lead you to eventually running out of energy and needing more time the next day to recover back to a normal (for you) operating level.

By that set of measurements, yesterday’s near collapse and today’s quietness is connected to low spoons and low knives, with a few forks rattling around from where I’ve been helping other people as well.

In the same breath, I can now confirm that within the DDC we are now referring to being unable to get out of bed as being trapped by mimics. Just roll with it…

Settling In

Well, we’re two days in to the lockdown and the initial scramble of people has calmed down.

Which of course has let my brain start to consider geeky things again. Most recently I’ve been inspired by people discussing dwarf beards in fantasy tales – in particular how they could act as a natural air filtration systems for miners which is why a) both men and women dwarves traditionally have beards and b) why they are so proud of the familial braiding and clan traditions of grooming…

Which leads to thoughts of microbiomes and fungal colouring and all sorts of fancy bits of descriptive colour that I fully intend to develop with the D&D games…

What Do You Mean I’m The Adult?

If there’s one thing I think most of us recognise, it’s that situation where you realise that you’re not the newbie any more, and indeed that people are looking to you to lead – and you look round for a more adult-y person, but there aren’t any so you’re it. Yeah, had one of those today.

To give some context I usually am the one to whom people defer so being “the adult” isn’t exactly new. Whether that’s as a manager, or a leader, or DM, or Dom it’s usually me making a decision or giving approval, or well you get the idea.

Even the opening situation described above isn’t exactly new either. It tends to happen every month or so in one context or another. I blame the silver in my beard I think.

Today’s revolved around a conversation with one of my peers about someone seconded to a position recently. Among other things, we talked about areas that some quiet words may be needed about – to help keep pace with the demands of the job and certain situations.

Halfway through, it dawned on me that I was being agreed with, and was leading the conversation. As the other person has been in post longer than I have there is usually an expectation of leaning in on that experience, but not this time. This time I was the adulty adult being asked for experience and guidance.

What’s the problem? Well, nothing and something. Having my opinion taken as equal weight is a good thing, as is recognition of skills and experiences. What quails is the inner child that doesn’t like having expectations put on him because it reminds me of past pressures and mistakes. It’s that very young place that lacks self confidence even as adult me takes ownership and takes charge – despite, or perhaps because, there’s no one else willing or able to step up.

Perhaps that’s why it felt so important later in the day to acknowledge, congratulate, and thank an apprentice for stepping up, taking ownership, and resolving a situation (with one or two prompts). Seeing them straighten in their chair where they’d been bowed with worry they’d screwed up made my day.

Not Long

I know that there isn’t some magical tickertape explosion due to wipe the woes of 2020 away at the end of the week, but I am looking forward to symbolically saying goodbye to this year. If nothing else there’s a mental shrug to be done, like splitting a big job into smaller slices, with stepping into 2021.

I’m back at work for a few days, providing a click and collect service, so at least I can feel I’m making a positive difference in the lockdown. The biggest difficulty is retraining my brain to wake at a reasonable hour, so I’m setting lots of alarms tonight.

Christmas Eve

Lady M has been working today, I have not. I’m enjoying the fruits of the decision to take time before Christmas even with everything else going on in the world. By fruits, I mean putting my feet up, reading, playing games, watching YouTube videos, and maybe a couple of quiet drinks between snacks. There’s a definite feeling of overdue indulgence to today that is very welcome right now.

Inspired by a friend’s post on social media, we have given each other a pre-Christmas Funko, and resisted pressing each other to open any more. It’s a nice little thing I may do next year too, in line with our habit of giving little birthday presents in the week leading up to them.

All in all, it has helped keep positivity up, despite everything. It may not be the Christmas we hoped for, but it will be a good day tomorrow for us here. I hope it is for you too.

Christmas Eve Eve

I decided to deliberately have a day of doing very very little today. I managed to break the back of preparations for the one-off yesterday so I’ve given myself the day off. Instead I’ve watched The Muppets Christmas Carole and The Muppets Treasure Island while stretched out on the sofa.

On a not unrelated note we also did a lot of Christmas supplies shopping the last couple of days for basics, fun stuff, and yes alcohol. If we have to be in lockdown we’re going to do so in comfort and ease.

My biggest problems today have been checking in on a colleague (Lady Sz) for reasons, and resisting the urge to start passing presents to Lady M to open early. There are worse problems to have.

Jawdrop Moment

I was shelving books the other day, and was approached by a customer, book in hand. Nothing unusual there, it’s part and parcel of my daily work routine.

The customer wanted to know if we had the latest book by the author they had just finished reading – which was a bit of a problem because they held in their hand The Quarry – the last book written by Iain Banks before his death in 2013.

I gently broke it to them that this wouldn’t be possible – barring an upcoming non fiction work due out next year based on his notes and drawings around his Culture series of books. I thought that perhaps this was what they meant when they asked after his next book

And this is where the conversation wandered sideways a little: I was berated for keeping the books of a dead man on the shelves if there weren’t going to be any more books by them.

I’d love to say that I had the presence of mind to sassily spread my arms to encompass the many, many works by dead people on our shelves, but they turned on their heel and walked out, leaving the book on top of the desk beside us before I could gather my wits.

I love working with the public, and sometimes it is precisely because of the surreal conversations I have with them.

Carry On

There were interviews yesterday for a fixed term addition to our local managers during the restructure to make up for people who retired earlier in the year. I have been regaled today with stories from staff who were on-site where the interviews were taking place, and I’ve realised what I’m most looking forward to, whoever gets the position:

Someone else I can gossip with. My usual go-to peer for this is dealing with a family emergency, and I’m having to bite my lip at some of the unfiltered comments that have been made.

So, sorry whoever gets the job, you’re going to get your ear bent in the near future (though not until tomorrow apparently)

It’s a funny day, can you tell?