Bent Words

Bent Words

July 02, 2020

There's a kid I work with named Mark. He's a kid because he's 10 years my junior but he has as many kids as I do so he's technically NOT a child; merely younger. With a gaggle of tiny humans running rampantly around his legs while he tries to work from the confines of his basement, much like myself.

We began communicating when we were both part of the Automated Work Queue program's bi-monthly calls. Although I wasn't in charge of the calls, I was in charge of the meeting notes and since no one else likes to talk very much about things and I know a lot about the program, I took over the lead position of wrangling folks into speaking their minds. I did this in a number of ways including opening the conversational pool with major bitch sessions regarding the program's limitations or relating stories stories involving my kiddos (which always seems to get the ladies talking, anyway).

Everyone learned about my Big Kid's drawing of an anatomically correct horse she saw at the fair with my father.

"That's not a fifth leg, little girl."

Gets 'em rolling every time.

Mark told me one day that he loves my stories and so we've been buddies ever since. When Sam and I started sending out morale boosting "love boxes," Mark was often one of our targets.

Beer, chocolate, dollar store games and rubber band war supplies get ME going, anyway. Morale BOOSTED. Now we have zero morale...

Still, Mark calls me now and then to ask questions. He calls me to vent. He calls me to see how I'm doing and if I have learned of anyone else being laid off lately.

"How do you KNOW all this stuff, Laura? And how come I don't know this!?"

"I don't know all this stuff. I just a few more things than you do. And you probably know a bunch about shazz I'll need to know down the line."

"I feel like a moron."

"NO!!!" I screamed a bit too loudly.

No, Mark, you are not a moron. You are a good fucking kid who doesn't know everything but is expected to and this is compounded daily by this ever changing world which expects more and more out of us for a lot less than what we had before. Our pay was docked. Our herd was thinned out. We're making less but doing more because 85 people are missing after ONE WEEK and the rest of them are out for two weeks at a crack on furlough. We can't apply for overtime but there aren't enough hours in a day to make it all happen. We have gained the work from other printers who are DONE. We're working from home while also taking care of three children who need school, diapers changed, lunch, snacks, milk, water, peach tea and never enough water. They shouldn't be wandering the neighborhood but they are because who can watch the front door from the basement with a baby on your boob (not you, specifically, Mark) and a toddler falling asleep on a small potty with a tablet in her hand a thumb in her mouth next to the big potty that you WISH she were using so you didn't have to transport more human output in any given hour during the day.

You are STRETCHED too thin, Mark! You have too many balls in the air and not enough hands to catch each one that falls toward your horrified face. You cannot be expected to remember everything when you are doing everything that about five separate people normally do. It's impossible. You FEEL like a moron because you can't complete all these things successfully or even half-assedly.

That's my theory.

There are too many things.

You are not dumb. The world is dumb. You are overburdened.

You are filling out 15 new forms for each kid for daycare to ensure no responsibility is incurred if said child suffers death of COVID while not on your watch. You are trying to decide if it's okay that Suzie touches the fucking grocery cart while you're out because, while you think this whole thing is a joke, being banned from daycare for another 14 days is most decidedly not. You have to switch out 5 drawers of size 6 month baby clothes to keep up with your growing weeds of children, get the dishes cleaned because there are NO FUCKING SPOONS, vacuum the floor because you can't recall if it's been done in the last month, make sure the entire house has brushed their teeth (which you have to physically SEE because you're certain they have not in at least three days) and buy milk despite the fact that you don't drink it.

Some people have so fucking little to do that they berate you for not getting everything done. They taunt you with sentences like, "Oh, I get all my work done in about two hours now and have nothing better to do the rest of the day."

Good. Then babysit my kids and STFU.

I'm the only one who cooks in the house. I'm the only one who does laundry from start to fucking infinite un-finish.

I was awake at 2:39am this morning with a screaming baby and thus my day began. NO rest for the wicked. At 2:39pm, I was STILL awake with a screaming baby because WHO takes care of babies besides moms? RIGHT?! No one.

Let's all watch my son scream and wonder what could be the matter until I come tromping back up the stairs to calm said child.

Suddenly everyone is concerned.

No one jumps in beforehand however because Big Kid is wandering the neighborhood looking for frogs, the middle kid is asleep on the potty and the K-Dog is knee deep in whateveritisgoingon but not multi-tasking. My laptop is lagging, I've been disconnected, I'm playing a game on my phone because I can't give a fuck enough to make everyone happy. I quit midday to go to work to steal all of my equipment to make it work at home. Tomorrow might be the first day in a very long time I get some fucking work done.

I wish I could do more.

I wish I could BE more.

I wish I could do it all and someone would say, "FUCK YEAH!"

That won't happen.

Whatever your list of expectations are, leave them in the green, circular filing cabinet outside of my house.

I am about to tag out.

Yes, I complain too much but I know how ENTIRELY WRONG everything will be if I do not get THIS off my chest. Yes, I am even complaining despite the fact that some of us are currently fighting for our lives (however that looks because I see it in a few different hues at present).

I am complaining because I am a tad lonely out here.

I'm trying to remember all the facts. I'm trying to keep up with what you're saying. I'm trying to see it all and not lose sight of all the other shit I'm supposed to be tracking. I feel like I just don't get it. I feel as though I'm falling desperately short. I feel like a moron.

I feel like a HUGE failure.

And I am.

I know.

I've been awake for 17 or 18 hours worrying away the flesh of my fingertips, recalling forgotten tasks, getting very little work done, thinking about how to cure that without much of an effort at all and now I'm done.

I'm not mad -- I'm just not willing to disappoint one more person.

But I'm going to lose my shit tomorrow because today is no day to fall apart.

Written at 7:59 p.m.