Archive for the ‘frayed ends of sanity’ Category


In frayed ends of sanity, humor, Office Romance, work stress on March 25, 2013 at 03:12

Life is all about second chances. If it weren’t we wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t be here to talk about it, boast even. Show off; on bumper stickers, fridge magnets and wallpapers.

Dexter Hannah quote

Learnt, borrowed or forwarded, wisdom is everywhere these days. From a blonde girl’s t-shirt to your boss’s e-mail sign-off, from a coffee mug to a random tweet. Even fellow slaves have caught the message bug, their mundane cubicles proclaiming life’s profound truths. ‘Success always hugs you in private but failure always slaps you in public’ says one. ‘To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people merely exist,’ says another. Then there are the outright rebellious kinds: ‘Silence does not always mean yes. It means…


You have always been suspicious of anything that is in abundance from credit cards to carbohydrates. So you have kept your rowing station practical and without frills. But some wisdom would have helped today, even a tit-bit. For you sure feel stupid today.

You ought not to. Today was a day you got more work than on most days. Concurrently, today also turned out to be a day you questioned your existence the least. It sure took a lot of tunnel vision to finally finish that confidentiality agreement that looked like it would never end. It took that and a lot of saying no. No to taking coffee breaks, no to seeing that funny video everybody has been forwarding and no to answering the perpetually blinking phone. And it would have all been worth it too. All the effort would have been worth it if you had only pressed one small button. But you didn’t. And now it’s all gone. Into a black hole of disappointments never to return.

I didn't save

Relieved that you had finally wrestled the document to the ground and annoyed at the number of different versions you had created in the process, you go on a deleting spree, saying ‘Do not save’ to anything that pops up, including your day’s work. It takes some time for the stupidity of it all to sink in. When it does, you are so cross you kick everything in sight. You come to close to smashing the computer too. But if you were that impulsive, you wouldn’t have lasted this long in this job.

So you sit back, take deep breaths and try to figure out why you were born. Colleagues drop by, some sympathize with your sob story; others can’t stop laughing, especially after looking at the harrowed look on your face. You know you should sleep over it to keep yourself from killing someone. And if you can’t laugh at yourself, you should at least take some positive out of this guffaw. So you take a size-40 font print-out to finally join the message band-wagon. It says:


To err is human, to save is divine

Ctrl+S to err is human

–          J.

The Tetris of Life

In Commute, frayed ends of sanity, humor, music system, Office humor, work life balance on January 17, 2012 at 12:20

You know what you should be doing: sticking to a beat, keeping it simple, staying calm and being patient. But the options always seem too alluring.  You take another dash at it, ignoring the torrid past you have had with lady luck. No sooner do you take it; option 2 suddenly starts looking as bad as option 1, if not worse.

You are stuck on the freeway on the way back from work. Option 2, off course is the lane next to you. Like the story of your life and your career, the route you take turns out to be the longest. The lane you change to starts running slower than the one you left. If you could meet Murphy some day, you would break his condescending neck!

You remind yourself to stay calm and non-aggressive. There is green light at the end of the tunnel and you need to concentrate to get through this signal. The radio you have kept on to keep from feeling lonely is now getting on your nerves. The RJs constant jabbering sounds like a Duracell bunny high on Valium in front of a Karaoke machine! So you yell STFU at the radio forgetting momentarily that these things are conveniently meant for one-way communication.

As you hurtle towards the fateful green light along with others competing for the same prize, you can’t help but wonder what this must look like from top view. A high stakes game of Tetris perhaps, with the odds already stacked against you. The designated jerk in this pile-up (there always is one) makes an ambitious swipe from your right to make it through and ends up running it for everyone.

The ominous red flashes on your face. Another 15 minutes of your mortal existence written off. You hit the steering wheel, yelling in a murderous rage. To the onlooker, it may seem like you are singing along your favorite 80s power ballad (Love Bites…Love Bleeds!).

If your day dreams consist of getting all green lights,

If you compulsively check your dash board only to be disappointed every time,

If all can you do after reaching home is sleep; only to begin another day…

…you know what you should be doing: Pitching a tent in your office parking lot, you don’t have much of a life in the outside world anyway.


The Cribber next Cube

In duracell bunny, frayed ends of sanity, geographical sense, Health, humor, minute periods, Office, violence and bloodshed on September 16, 2011 at 03:21

It is the same tedious movie over and over again. Only the actors change, the characters remain the same. There is the squealer, the cribber, old man Jack, the almost good-looking receptionist and the Duracell bunny high on Valium. You would like to think of yourself as ‘caught in the wrong job’ type but that is not very niche, is it?

In every galley you have served time in, you seem to attract the most stressed species. Off course, when you say attract, you mean in a geographical sense: same department, neighboring cubicle, shared printer.

In your current slammer, the character of the cribber is played by none other than Mrs. Saldana. Loud and within earshot, Mrs. S is a cure for deafness and a malady for sanity. With planetary precision, she starts her record soon after 9. She quiets down by 4 by when she has already started packing. But it is too late by then. You are at the frayed ends of sanity and your to-do list seems to be defying many laws of physics by simply not ending.

Though cribbing audibly seems to be at the very top of her KRAs, Mrs. S does some other work too. She attends exactly 3 personal calls throughout the day that may last in multiples of 30 minute periods. These are more peaceful times as her tone of voice undergoes schizophrenic changes when on the phone. Almost alchemically, she reverts to the slow grinding cribbing as soon as the receiver of her phone clicks ending her call.

Any question or greeting directed at her invariably meets with a complaint about how overworked she is and how the work sucks and how she is just gonna die doing this! It is not very eloquent but it gets the job done. Like a construction site next door or an alarm clock that you can’t locate in your cupboard, Mrs. S’s voice speaks to your most primeval urges of violence and bloodshed. There have been times when you have almost gotten off your not-so ergonomic chair, stepped into the cubicle next door and told her to put a sock in it, or two. But frustrating civility keeps you in your chair. The only thought that comes to your mind is: ‘Where is your gun when you need it the most?’ It keeps you up at nights. There have been times when you could have sworn you heard Mrs. Saldana’s baritone outside your window. On most occasions it turns out to be a cat but it is disconcerting.

Following months of bombardment, a different day finally dawns. On a rather peaceful Monday morning, your train of thought is broken by the piercing sound of silence. Amazed, you stand up to check on Mrs. S. She finally took a day off, you think. Next door Joe seems to have read your thoughts.

NDJ: Mrs. Saladana won’t be coming in for a while.

You: (only manage a ‘what gives?’ expression that barely contains your joy)

NDJ: You see that young man over there?

You: (still the same expression)

NDJ: That is her son, he has come here to collect her things. Mrs. S suffered a heart attack over the weekend. So she won’t be coming in for a while. Doctors say it was stress.

You: (only manage an expression that is a mixture of shock and guilt)

Sympathy is long dead and empathy is in short supply. It is every slave for himself.

– J.