Monday, July 29, 2013

The Bargain


Walking into your office after a week away is one of the most deflating experiences this life has to offer. Yesterday, I decided to do so to prepare for my first day back. My desk was piled with 8 days worth of mail and correspondence, a prodigious mound of worry covering almost its entire working surface. Then I glanced at my phone, saw the blinking red light and the number “22” in the message window. “Welcome back Mr. Dunnevant”

Two hours later, I had plowed through all of it, sorting it all into workable piles on the floor, this pile containing the stuff that must be filed, that pile the stuff that needs some sort of action, and a third pile that I get to throw away. Then I catalogued all of the phone messages. Thankfully, there were no emergencies, no angry clients wondering why on earth I would be taking a vacation on the very day they needed to speak to me. I then set about prioritizing the order in which these 22 calls must be returned. I transferred this information onto my very old school “to do list” on the yellow pad that always sits just to the right of the laptop on my credenza. When I was done, twenty five items required my attention for the week of July 29th.

This is the bargain we make with ourselves every summer. We plan a vacation with the family someplace far, far away from work and the reality of our lives. We go, and temporarily turn our backs on our responsibilities. It’s glorious, and we love every minute of it, but in the dimly lit recesses of our brain, (right beside old high school memories and to the left of memorized poetry), there lies a poorly suppressed thought, the first day back at work is going to be horrible. But we accept it as a necessary part of being a functioning adult. We can’t have the vacation without the job, unless we are members of Congress where one is indistinguishable from the other.

So, back to work, where I will do my duty and begin plotting the details of my next vacation, which lies somewhere out there at the end of a rainbow.