I spent the day at a company sampling a worker’s exposure to respirable silica. Up early to get there, then the day spent watching him work, and watching my equipment to make sure they did not malfunction.
Believe it or not, watching someone else work can make you tired. Or maybe I was just tired to begin with.
After leaving the company, with my samples tucked safely away, I decided on a late lunch. It was not so much that I was hungry. I could easily have waited until I got home. But it was more of taking a moment alone. To not think of work. To not go straight home and think of entertaining a dog who wants attention, a bird who needs attention even more than the dog, or to worry about Steve, who’s health just does not improve despite the poking and proding by Doctor after Doctor, and this specialist and that specialist, or by taking this drug or that drug.
My normal place of escape is the bookstore. It doesn’t matter which one, Borders or Barnes and Noble. I just could not go into either one of them. I do not have the discipline to leave a bookstore without a book or two tucked under my arm and spending $25 or more. Forget going to look at clothes at the Fat Lady store…I might even come out with more damage to my finances.
So I opted for lunch. For $5.15, I had a tray of guilt. Perhaps I should have followed the directions on the door, perhaps I should have gone In-N-Out before I put down that tidy sum of money. I usually hate fast food to begin with. Burgers and Fries are not my idea of a good meal.
Perhaps I was hell bent on punishing myself.
Perhaps I wanted something else to feel guilty about besides my emotions.
As I chewed on the grease laden burger and as I swallowed a tidy package of oil called a French Fry, I tried to gather my thoughts and emotions that have been consuming me over the last few months.
Little wonder that my Muse was gone so long. She couldn’t bear to be around me. Sure, outwardly, I still try to play the carefree clown of sorts. Cool and collected even down right silly at times. Just don’t look to close.
My Muse had to come back. And she did come back with a vengeance. She came back with a huge project for me to tackle. Something for me to escape into. She was telling me to stop wallowing in those emotions. Or at the very least she provided me with a much needed distraction.
But I ask, how do I handle a situation where a loved one is so ill that he can’t function? Dr visit after Dr visit, including various specialists can’t seem to figure out what is causing his persistent nausea and dizziness. He has no energy, he has difficulty walking and seems to have lost his purpose. I am left…well, for all purposes alone and scared.
My manager at work tells me he has decided that it is my lot in life to be a beast of burden. Carrying this one and that one. I wanted him to take those words back. But as he explained why he felt that way, I wondered if he was not right. It made me think of the poor donkey I took a picture of when I was in Fez, Morocco. Looking at that picture, I hate to say it, I can identify with the poor animal.
Thinking of my manager’s words as I continued eating, the ever present tears that just hide below the surface started to well…I guess I needed some salt on my fries anyways…oh how I hate self pity. But there I was, struggling. GUILT. Guilt for eating such a horrible grease filled unhealthy meal, guilt for feeling angry, guilt for feeling sad, guilt for feeling resentment, guilt for feeling sorry for myself, guilt, guilt guilt.
I thought of my arteries clogging with the saturated grease I was eating, and could eat no more. If only I could end the worries and troubles as easily as I could end the horrible meal. If only I could take the problems and wrap them up in a tissue and throw them into a container and never see them again.
I left the burger joint with my belly of guilt and drove to the office. I sat at my desk for a moment to think and to collect myself before going home to face the problems that awaited me there.
At least my project is waiting for me. At least I can still escape into my beads for comfort.
As for my sense of humor, it is still there, wallowing under a blanket of guilt. But worry not, it will return. Maybe my Muse is stroking it back to good health too.