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Whelmed

24 September, 2013 (21:04) | Work

I ache.

I don’t even realize I’m staring slack-jawed at the screen until my roommate shakes my shoulder. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, fine, just tired.” I’m not sure I’ve ever felt this tired.

For over a week now, I’ve been working ten hour days. I’ve had worse hours, worse work, and less energy before, but for some reason I’m dragging far worse than ever. I worry I’m officially getting old. You wouldn’t be able to tell if you saw me at work. There, I’m bubbly, energetic, and vigilant. I can see the wear and tear on every one of my coworkers. We’re all struggling. They continue to inspire me not to let my weariness defeat me.

Covering for the school while it’s being repaired means 250+ kids descend upon the Y each day. All of us are working other sites, trying to function within the parameters of our regular positions as well. This means Jesse’s day is 7-8, open at one school; 8:30-1, cover “flood camp;” 2-6, cover afternoons. On top of this, he’s studying for his real estate exams, hoping to be done with them before the new year.

Comparatively, I have it easy. I’m hourly, meaning they try not to give me more work and use me only when they need to. The salaried staff have it worse. Ashley, whom I’m working with in the afternoons, has similar hours, but she’s been flooded out of her home. Between shifts, she’s unsure where to go, her stress level through the roof. I’ve been doing my best to pick up the slack, but for every inch I take on beyond my normal expectations, they seem to throw her three more. She bristles at a request that she cover the desk at the Y from 2-5 in the morning. They have to have it staffed around the clock due to its transformation into a shelter.

Every night, I come home and see my line of browser tabs. I can’t seem to organize them in my head. There’s increasing information about the flooding fallout in relation to fracking and oil. I keep glancing at an article about increasing amounts of homework and the rising tide against it. There’s some absurd piece about space and time not existing that I still don’t quite grok (which is odd as I already didn’t believe in time). Aerial footage of Lefthand canyon sits open next to a video of a man playing piano in his flooded house. There are satellite photos and articles about Lyons, followed by a half dozen recipes for gluten-free coffee cake (that one being my favorite, but it’s only single serving). And that’s just the inspiration I’m finding outside my life. In the last week, I’ve had serious discussions about politics and gender with fourth and fifth graders. I’m starting to worry that my mouth is simply acting as a dumpsite for an overflowing bevy of thoughts and ideas.

Instead of delving into these, exploring them, and trying to slap keys until the words coalesce into something at least tolerable, my eyelids are sagging and my mind zoning out. My reading has slowed to a crawl. My house is slowly deteriorating into a slovenly junkheap, and I find myself procrastinating even the simplest cleaning tasks. I keep forgetting to charge my phone. I’ve started dreading my “fun” evening plans, wondering if I’m even good company.

Somehow, I seem to be dealing with it all, possibly even with aplomb. I’m not the only one, and I’m certainly not the best. I can’t help but speak highly of each and every person I’ve seen grinning, bearing it, and dealing with the strange and sudden shift in reality. One of my coworkers tells me that she’s stopped venting because every time she does, someone one-ups her. I completely understand; it’s the starving-children-in-Africa argument in a strangely localized context.

Crestview is estimated to reopen October 4th. We all share knowing looks, wondering if that’s a realistic estimate. Those people who work for the school, who have been over to see the progress, speak highly of it.

I hope they’re right. I want a light at the end of the tunnel.

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  • Jess Newman

    I’ve been replaced by another Jesse? You’ll pay for this.

  • Ben

    As if. I would never replace you.