Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bad Day

It’s funny how when something goes wrong – when something happens and maybe it causes you to have a bad day – you can start to feel dejected and alone and like you’re hopeless for whatever the problem seems to be.

My bad week started on Saturday night when I came out of the bout to find my car had a flat. Luckily, it was before the after party, so I wasn’t all by myself and tired. Unluckily, it was 4 degrees out with the wind blowing and I was wearing a mini skirt. A friend and her friend were outside with me when I discovered the flat. Wanting to ignore it and pretend like I wasn’t going to have to change the tire before the end of the night, I told them to go on – that I would change it later, after the after party. I’m glad they wouldn’t take “later” for an answer, but it still meant my assisting in the changing of my tire in the 4-degree weather in a miniskirt, and the tire change taking longer than necessary because I kept getting calls from people still inside the arena asking if we take the empty kegs home or leave them, were the banners all packed and in order, and where is the new ladder anyway? I really didn’t mind answering, but the bad timing was impeccable.

I meant to write a whole separate blog entry about it last night or this morning, but last night’s practice was a royal bitch. The fun part where I jammed and made it clean through two packs with my new-found fancy footwork and then almost a third before Dolly took her revenge on me for passing her earlier was preceded by a grueling endurance practice that had me stopping to stretch out my back and apply Tiger Balm more than once. I haven’t felt that out of shape in a long, long time. The practice left me with two blistered big toes – one prepopped, I noticed, when I put my shoes on to leave – and enough lower back pain to make childbirth seem appealing. It was the kind of pain that made me stiff and have difficulties falling asleep. This morning most of that back pain became an ache and I instead felt a new pulled muscle in my left hip that seemed to have something to do with my back. I was running a half-hour late for work and had a meeting scheduled first thing – shit.

I drove to work this morning in the remainders of the mysterious Baltimore snow that fell yesterday only in Baltimore – not even Baltimore City Department of Public Works’ workers believed it had actually snowed, because no salt trucks were ever sent out, creating a big sheet of packed down ice covering more than half of my route to work. Maybe I wouldn’t have cared if I hadn’t been driving around for what was already way too long on the donut replacing my flat tire from Saturday. It seems that since tiny cars are popular now, no one can keep tiny-car tires in stock. They’ll be here sometime tomorrow, Wednesday, and I can’t call until they arrive to make an appointment to have them put on, so I’ve been driving around on the donut that I’d already gone about 50 miles on one other time when I got a flat. Oops.

Then today, as I’m finishing a meeting in my office, someone pops by and asks me to call them when I’m done. This morning my boss told me to meet up with her and review some documents she was preparing, because she had to send them out tonight and she had some questions I supposedly could answer. I totally forgot and never caught up with her. FUCK!

My next three hours, three hours after I should have already left for the day, were spent alone in the office searching for budget files and scribbled notes from data-management meetings about when such-and-such was going out of print, but keeping in mind that those dates we had set were set before we revised the pub date. I was getting so angry that I couldn’t do math. Angry at this not having been drafted prior to today, angry that I had fucked up and totally dropped the ball on helping her earlier in the day, and angry that I was at the office so damn late, missing an optional scrimmage being held close to my house. I finally finished giving my feedback – my notes neatly written in perfect penmanship on the first page and in large, heave scribble on the last. I went to photocopy a set for myself and my boss, and the photocopier worked without incident and actually seemed to make the copies at a speed exponentially faster than usual – NOT! It jammed. Three times.

As I was driving home with my full-size flat in the front passenger seat of my car listening to Dark Side of the Moon trying and relax myself while eating a healthy dinner of Trader Joe’s rice crispie treats, I thought to myself: I wish I were back at last night’s practice. Funny thing is, last night at practice when I was wincing in pain I was thinking to myself that I wish the fun I had at the bout on Saturday would be what derby always felt like.

I guess no matter how angry or upset or pissed off you are, you’re always the most angry or upset or pissed off when you’re angry or upset or pissed off right now. At each of those miserable instances since Saturday, I was wishing things were like the good old days – when I just couldn’t remember how shitty I thought they were at the time.

Another funny thing about being in a bad mood is that you kind of think you’re the only person in one. I woke up to a Facebook comment from my skinny, athletic acupuncturist who is new Fresh Meat and was lamenting the pain that was also inflicted on her lower back from last night’s practice. Huh. Then later this evening once I got home I opened an email from someone telling me about their bad day at work, and my bad mood instantly lifted. I guess one thing we all really want in life is to feel validated, even if that means we find comfort in other people’s pain. Hmmm, that’s kind of why I started this blog, and it’s why I continually expose myself on here, often telling “too much” or revealing secret information like what the scale said this morning or how I lost my shit across the country because I saw a note in a bathroom that reminded me of my dad’s handwriting. I guess part of me already knew the value in commiserating – the importance of knowing you’re not alone.

Regardless, there is something to be said for losing your way a little bit and getting caught up in life – being human and having a little adult temper tantrum because no one else can possibly have had a day worse than you just did. The important part for me is trying to remember what I forgot and being mindful that I don’t get carried away again. And if I do, I’ll post these flaws too for everyone in the world to see, so they can feel validated. We’re all the same when it comes down to it. Whether you struggle in times of bad luck, like getting a flat in the middle of the night in winter, in times of painful challenge, like the most heinous physical endurance practice you’ve ever been made to do, or in times of stress, like when you have to stay at work late to finish something, just know that the next person you lay eyes on has felt all those same struggles too, and the important thing to learn is to not let those struggles get you down. Each day you make the decision to rise to the challenge or to give up without really trying. If you choose to rise to the challenge and someone else sees you doing so, he or she may take a cue from you and in a way you’ve helped that person have a better day.

Here’s to hoping tomorrow is without incident.


anik2 said...

Wow - I just found your blog! I can't find your email address though, so I'm commenting on this post.

Ah derby lady after my own heart! I'm a self proclaimed big girl too! I'm working hard - Winnipeg Roller Derby League is in training to bout in May!!! Thank you for your awesome blog - I will forward it to my team!!

anik2 said...

Also - my email address aniktwo@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

The header of your blog contains a grammatical error. You have used the noun, "challenge," where I believe you meant to use the verb "challenging."