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19 August 2003

I have honed the art of procrastination to a fare-thee-well.

Before my accident, I could put off doing things forever. Like the old saying says, "I love work; I can look at it for hours." My transcription load wasn't excessive--I did much more of it every day when I worked at it in an office, but I could turn a one-hour job into a 3-day job just by giving in to the distractions that come up when one works at home.

As a result, I was constantly either going to sleep at 2 a.m., or getting up at 4 a.m. when the deadline was right there and I had run out of excuses.

The result of that was that I was always sleep deprived. It would take me, generously, 10 seconds to fall asleep whenever I became immobile. Unfortunately, this included sitting in a theatre seat. Walt's function as my companion at theatrical events was poking me to keep me awake so I could remember what I'd seen to write a review. Even shows that I liked would find me nodding off at some point because I was so sleepy.

When it came to writing a review, I went through the tortures of the damned because I doubted my ability to actually produce a review. I would pace, wring my hands, and end up getting some sleep, thinking I would write better when I was rested. I did, but it still wasn't ideal. I was always surprised to read the review later in the newspaper and realize that it wasn't as horrible as I thought it was when I turned it in.

Things all came crashing to a halt on June 8 when I landed on my head and shoulder within blocks of Raley Field.

All the work stopped. Even the reviewing stopped for the first couple of weeks. The office work and the transcription stopped completely. Dead in their tracks.

Well, what happened is that I started sleeping. All night long. I actually began to see TV programs past 9 p.m., would fall asleep during the 11 p.m. news without any alarm being set, and wake up, naturally, at 6 or 7 a.m.

And a funny thing happened. As I began to go to shows well rested, I began to stay awake, to notice everything, to feel confident as I sat down to write my review. Where I review might have, pre 6/8, taken several hours to write, I could now write one in an hour or an hour and a half. I didn't press the "send" button, sending it off to the newspaper, wondering if I'd done a good job or not.

It was a very nice feeling.

Not only was I feeling more confident in writing things, but I also started looking at things around the house and thinking "I should clean that up...." The limiting factor was how much use I had of my arm, but as the arm started feeling better, things started looking better around here too.

And I was still getting a full night's sleep.

Then Dr. G called. He wanted to hire me to do a web page for him. A fairly simple job. He also asked if I could do his transcription for a couple of weeks while his new transcriptionist is out having a baby.

Suddenly, I find that I'm procrastinating again. The web site is all but designed, with just a few "tweaks" to be made. Have I made them? No. Transcription could have been polished off Saturday morning, but there it was Sunday night, with it due in the office on Monday, and there I was, looking at what is still left to do, and wondering when I'd get to sleep that night.

I thought about this a lot, and I realized that the problem is not, as I've always assumed, that I am a chronic procrastinator. It is that I've burned out on transcription (and I suspect I've burned out on Dr. G as well). I'm so tired of typing the same thing over and over and over again for the last 20 years that I resist doing it until I absolutely have no more room for escape.

I suspect the secret to effective income-generation is finding something that I truly enjoy doing (like writing) and finding a way to make that work (like doing more special stories for the newspaper), with the eye on ultimately giving up transcription completely.

I've discovered that I like feeling like I'm rested. I enjoy theatre again. I'm feeling better about writing. If it took a trip to the emergency room to learn that, it was a good thing. Now I just have to figure out how to keep this feeling.

I dropped transcription off at the office today.  When I drove up, I could see Dr. G's car in the parking lot and I was surprised at the sommersaults my stomach did.  I did not want to see him, so I went to the store, bought some pita for my lunch, and then walked back over to the office, by which time Dr. G had left for his regular Monday meeting.

Mrs. G was there chatting with Replacement #2.  Replacement #2 is thinking of quitting...for all the same reasons.  Mrs. G and I told her some Dr. G stories, and as we all talked about his idiocyncracies and how they affect us, I realized that there is no way I can ever go back there.  He wants me to come to work 4 hrs a week after I return from Australia.  Not only would several people reading this come through the computer lines to choke me if I did, this little experience doing his transcription for only one week (and I have 2 more weeks to go) has convinced me that I can never go back.   Ever, ever.  There are more emotional scars from the experience than I dreamed were there.

And I thought I had been handling things so well, too!


Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on you.

~ unknown

Today's Photo

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(I no longer feel like I'm at the bottom any more!!)

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