June 29, 2004
Damn Fine Mood

The Main Nerdy Geotech Guy approaches the front desk, late in the day, with a couple of overdue invoices in his hand. "Can you mail these for me?" he asks.  He has the good manners to look chagrined about asking  ...  perhaps because he knows that mail went out before lunch, almost four and a half hours ago, and that any last-minute stuff will have to be walked across the street and around the corner to the nearest USPS drop box. (And that *I* am likely to be the one who will end up doing the walking and dropping.)

But it's OK.

I am in a damn fine mood this afternoon, in spite of the fact that I'm stuck in a dark windowless office on a sunny summer afternoon, in spite of the fact that it's only Tuesday, in spite of the fact that I spent most of the morning listening to Engelbert Humperdinck on a tinny overhead stereo while an elderly dentist chipped away at my broken filling with a pick axe. (Or perhaps I'm in a damn fine mood because I spent the morning listening to Engelbert Humperdinck on a tinny overhead stereo while an elderly dentist chipped away at my broken filling with a pick axe.  It means that once the swelling goes down, I'll finally be able to drink hot and cold liquids again.) Lately, I am pleased and relieved to report, my damn fine moods have outnumbered my dark pissy moods by a margin of nearly 43,897,621 to 1. For this miraculous change in outlook I credit a great marriage, plenty of sleep, avoiding sugar and processed carbs, fine-tuning my meds, and reminding myself, each and every day without fail, that things could be much, much, much worse.  (Read this: I could be hungover and mass-mailing knife catalogs right now.)

"No problem," I smile. "Whatcha got?" 

"I need you to mail this" -- he holds up the invoices -- "to this lady" -- he points to the client's name on the top invoice, which he has highlighted with a green Hi-Liter pen -- "at this address" -- here he draws an invisible underline with the tip of his finger, just beneath the invoice address. I see that he has also attached a 3" x 5" Day-Glo Post-It with the client's name and address handwritten in squiggly block letters, plus he's printed out the contact information from his Outlook address book and paper-clipped it to the whole mess ... just in case I have somehow missed the name and address on the invoice. 

"That's fine," I tell him. "Just drop it into my 'In' Box."

Something about the way I say this obviously sets off a warning bell in the control center of his nerdy geotechnical brain. Perhaps my tone of voice and/or facial expression hasn't completely caught up with my damn fine mood, or perhaps he knows that he is being the teensiest tiniest bit oversolicitous here.  

"I'm just trying to be as helpful as possible," he says defensively. "I know how stressed you are today."

Is there anything more annoying than having someone tell you how you're feeling?  Especially when the way they THINK you're feeling is the exact opposite of the way you're REALLY feeling? It's like having a co-worker say 'Ghesundheit' when you laugh, or having your boss comment on how 'tired' you look when in fact you're coming off nine glorious hours of uninterrupted snooze time.  It's almost enough to turn a damn fine mood into something darker and pissier  ...  if you let it. 

"I'm not stressed at all, actually," I say calmly. "I just understand how to address an envelope." 

The Main Nerdy Geotech Guy drops the invoices into my In Box -- "Regular mail is fine," he says, still looking unconvinced -- and then he scuttles back down the hallway to the safety of his office, where he will doubtless report to his fellow nerdy Geotechs that Secra is in another one of her pissy moods. Approach with caution.

(And a pick axe, if you've got one.)

I stuff his invoices into an envelope, scribble the address onto a mailing label and run the letter through the meter. No sense in making a big deal out of this. I've worked very hard, the past few months, to arrive at this place of relative emotional equilibrium. The fact that it's taking my co-workers a little while to notice the change probably isn't all that surprising, when you think about it.  They've grown accustomed to Dark Pissy Secra taking their heads off when they approach the front desk, asking for a last-minute favor. 

Damn Fine Mood Secra is going to take some getting used to, I guess.


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~ nil bastardum carborundum ~
of course, if he'd asked me to OVERNIGHT those invoices after deadline,
i would have handed him his testicles on a plate.