Thursday, July 07, 2005

How to succeed in business, part 2

I have established an unsettling rhythm to my worklife. I stay awake until very late at night - unnecessarily, needlessly - awake until 2:30 or 3 am. Finally my body just kind of gives up and sleeps. Then I ignore the alarm that goes off at 8 and I sleep through it for at least another hour, lurching across my bed every ten minutes to slam down the snooze bar the way you would forcefully dunk under the water the head of someone you were trying to drown. As I shower I consider the many permutations of business casual ensembles I could create - khakis, polos, button downs - and then I put on shorts and sneakers anyway. At this point, approximately 10;15, seventy-five minutes after the start of the workday, I may eat some breakfast in my kitchen, if I am feeling especially virtuous.

Not many people are on the subway between 10 and 11 in the morning. Indigents. People casually dressed, wayward tourists. I can always find a seat, although it can be a long wait for a train. I stride into work breezily, considering whether or not to feign illness or a hangover, wondering if The Powers That Be can log my swipe card's history of arrivals, and then seeing that a good third of my office is not in anyway. Summer is a fairly quiet season for my office, at least compared to the madness of September and October, and a certain dip in intensity is acceptable, even, to a degree, encouraged. Recently I've developed a sick addiction to Spider Solitaire - I was even dreaming of playing the game in my half-asleep state the other night, picturing the board and making moves. I realized that I can play the game with impunity if I just close my office door and pretend I am making a wrenching and profound cell-phone call. At the end of the work day I return home and collapse onto the unmade bed for a nap.

I hate this way of life. I feel lazy, slothlike and stagnant. Fortunately I only have three weeks left in my current position, one of which will be occupied by jury duty (!), so there is both a reason and a terminus for this malaise. I have been trying to make changes, though. I did some good work yesterday, and today I wrangled my loan application to pay for law school. This afternoon I went for a run and ran into an old friend (not literally), and I saw a tv news guy taping a piece and some models being photographed, as well as an outdoor concert about to begin. The glories of New York in three miles. I went to B&N and the Strand and then ate some Chipotle, feeling the uncomfortable neurotic alchemy of great wealth and great poverty that comes from a loan of several tens of thousands of bucks. So I covered that unease with a layer of rice and beans and sour cream. And when I came home I organized my bills from the last three years as well as my personal correspondence.

I am trying to be better, I am trying not to not end work on a negative and lazy note, but it's hard to ignore a gnawing sense of apathy and exhaustion. I am ready for a new challenge, I know what it is and I want to start doing it now. But I need to leave work with my head held high, too. Tomorrow I will go in and cross things of my list of tasks for the day, and then I will leave for a guilt-free weekend of moderate indulgence and sloth. The only saving grace of living this way - this lazy, intemperate, embarassing way - is knowing when and how and that I can redeem myself.

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