November 16, 2017

Brains, Bowels and Babies




I’ve been having a hard time at work. Holding the rail on the bus, weighing celery at the grocery store, and walking home I catch myself muttering:

“But we had agreed…”

“The problem with…”

“If…then…but…”

To discover the audience for this monologue extends outside my head is like sitting in a library and hearing coffee move through your bowels. Everyone looks alarmed while managing not to look directly at you.

So I’ve been trying to compartmentalize. Put things from last hour into a box and shelve it until it has to be revisited. It’s surprisingly difficult. It’s not so much about shutting down that area of my brain as it is about drowning it out. They say the best way to reduce pain from a cut is to pinch yourself somewhere else. I’ve found the best way to override stress is divert my energy to something creative, like making holiday cards, hemming pants and icing cookies.

My neighbour had a baby. I saw her bump a month ago and since I’ve heard some screaming in the hallway…from the baby, of course. So I wandered over to the department store and bought something unisex, cotton, organic and for a three-month-old,  just in case I got the timing wrong. I wrapped the yellow onesie, placed it in a bag with homemade cookies and waited until late afternoon (I assume this is when babies are awake?) to ring her doorbell. What could go wrong?

“What if she’s vegan?” says my husband.

She opened the door. Her lips were chapped, her hair frizzy and she was standing in bare feet, alone. She took the bag, thanked me, and then promptly closed the door.

It appears I’m not the only one having a hard time at work.

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