Box, turtle, decompress

During my first internship, I was half-convinced until about August that my editor lived at the office. He was there when I got there in the morning, he was there when I left at night. Rinse, recycle, repeat.

That summer, the 24-hour Tim Hortons by the university was undergoing construction, so I had to experiment with the time I left my apartment in order to still have time to stop at another coffee place. One morning, I was a little bit early on my way out to St. Albert, and as I’m driving St. Albert Trail, I’m looking at one of the cars ahead of me in the left lane (there’s three lanes) and thinking, “That looks a little like G.’s car.” Of course, my next thought is, “It can’t be G.’s car, he’s likely already settled into the office by now.”

After this short conversation with myself, I went back to my own little world, which mostly consists of singing along to the oldies radio. One of the songs that morning was Day Dream Believer by the Monkees, a song I love, so I really was oblivious to anyone who was staring at me bopping along in time to the music at the stoplight.

When I got to the office, only J., the publisher, was there, and as I grabbed the stack of proofs to copy edit that day, J. stopped me to let me know that G. would be in later, he had had a flat tire that morning.

I don’t remember the exact conversation that happened when G. walked in about 10 minutes later, but it went something like this:

Me: Good morning. Hey, what do you mean by this? (points to something in the copy)
G.: So, what song was on the radio this morning?
Me: Sorry?
G.: You passed me on the Trail this morning, but you were pretty into the music.
Me: Oh. You saw that, huh? That’s awkward.

He just laughed about it, and went on to say it was kind of funny because I’m so quiet in the office, it was interesting to see that other side of my personality.

That story is a good way to describe my personality, because I am both — I’m quiet when there’s other, more dominant personalities around, I’m quiet when there’s too many people in social situations and I’m freaking out inside, but I can be more outgoing when I’m very comfortable with the people I’m with or am talking about something I’m extremely passionate about.

Since about August of this year though, I’ve found that I’ve been stuffing myself into a box. Squished down and quiet, it conserves the energy I don’t have at the moment. There have been flashes of times when I let myself out of the box, but for the most part, and for what seems like a couple of weeks at a time, it just seems easier to work within my box.

Just to clarify, my box isn’t the same as my comfort zone. For the digital edition, I’m still playing with new things, taking whatever stories I have to, to make sure I have copy in the e-edition. But my personality? Quiet.

Yesterday started out rough, and it was my own fault – I watched an episode of a TV show I’ve been putting off watching because I suspected it was going to make me cry — but it just went downhill from there. The night before, a friend had informed me of his decision that I don’t necessarily agree with, and unlike some other people I know, he’s pretty in tune to knowing what I mean, even when I’m not saying it. And right now, I really regret that I’m that transparent to him, because I want to be supportive.

So if you’re keeping score — I’m frustrated about that decision, I’m upset because of the TV episode. My best friend and I had made arrangements the night before for a phone date, since we hadn’t been able to meet up over Christmas. I’m so glad I got to talk to her, and we did talk about some good things, but we both have definitely had better Christmases.

When I got to work this morning, I could literally feel myself stuff me into a box. Being quiet, ready to produce one paper and start another today. And while I said it’s something I do to conserve energy, it’s also exhausting.

My office is about as north in town as you can go without actually leaving town, and to get to pretty much anything back in town you have to cross the railroad tracks. There’s an art to leaving the office — you have to time it so you hopefully don’t get stuck waiting for a train to cross. Today though, I got stuck waiting for an engine to spot train cars, and I was actually glad.

The speakers in my little car are nothing special, and I’m well aware that everyone can hear my music if I turn up the radio even just a little bit, but I don’t care. Music and driving is one of the ways I decompress, and today, I really needed it. There’s a group out of Calgary that has a wicked bass singer, and I am a ridiculous pushover for a good bass. So I had their music cranked in my little car, and on my five-minute drive home, decided that I needed a little bit more time — I checked my gas tank (half full) and made a left-hand turn that would take me east of the city. I probably drove around for about half an hour, until I could turn the music down and not need specific songs playing (there are some that just aren’t as good as the others).

Like I said to a friend tonight, I’m trying to decompress in all the ways I know how right now. I hung up all my clothes and organized my dresser, kitchen cabinets, walk-in pantry and purse last night because organization is a good outlet for frustration, but every time I get ahead, something else seems to happen. Like realizing how much energy it takes to stuff myself into that box each day.

On the other hand, my walk-in closet, TV stand and bookshelf could still use a little organizing.


2 thoughts on “Box, turtle, decompress

  1. Do what you have to do to maintain and get through in one piece. I’m an organizer too; you can tell when I’m frantic inside because my house is spotless!

    Hopefully there will come a time (soon!) when you can let yourself out of the box more often. I’ve seen peeks of that, and it’s pretty awesome 🙂

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