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It's everything I want to tell people when they make small talk and profound talk, but I often can't. Sickness, sex, and the process of dealing with aging parents feel unspeakable and sometimes unreachable, but they sure aren't here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Not clock-bound

Time and I have finally made our peace. Unfortunately this negotiated, undulating agreement doesn't conform to any norm according to the Eastern Standard Time zone or to "business hours," which are highly overrated. I show up for work when agreed, more often than not, and meet deadlines as much as any other person. Yet work may start at 2 a.m., or whenever it is that pain has let me go back to my life in the outside world instead of being trapped inside my skin.

I can't be bound by a 9 a.m. commitment to be seated at a desk because it isn't clear whether neurologically that will be possible. Conceivably, I could twitch, dance, and puke my way to the train station and to an office, but no one will stand near me at the coffee machine.

This is why I hedge often in answering questions about my life because somehow, "disabled professional" = lazy ass. Time flows differently around me. Much like pain, it is always present, always asking, and always waiting.


Blogger Koan said...

The tyranny of a fixed schedule - of having to *be* somewhere geographically distant - and sufficiently compos mentis to be able to contribute - that's one of the biggest issues that chronic insomnia presents me with. Trying to explain to people that, when they stroll into the office at 9.00 am and I don't, that I may have been working since 1.00 am (because I sure as hell wasn't *sleeping*) - I know they don't believe me.

Given the choice of driving an hour to be somwhere remote, running the risk of killing someone on the way there (or on the way back) through exhaustion - or staying in, hoping against hope that a few hours sleep will come at *some* point - I take the latter.

I have to.

Though our reasons for not fitting into the nine-to-five world are different, I suspect I can appreciate how it feels to know that we either find a working environment that can accommodate us - or know that there will always be someone who thinks that we're not "trying hard enough".

1/08/2006 03:14:00 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

It amazes me (and not in a happy way): even though by hours at the end of a week you have most likely worked more than your colleagues, if you can't play by "the rules" of others' circadian rhythms, you suffer personally (e.g., worrying about your health and dragging) and professionally (e.g., dealing with coworkers' judgments).

I'm sorry to hear about the insomnia, Koan. I realize it's a toll on the body and mind, to say the least. You will be in my centering (i.e., prayer, meditation) today.

1/08/2006 04:43:00 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

A general remark to folks: Increasingly I am hearing stories about frustration with the 9-5 work world (or 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with some folks). I'm always opening to hearing people's stories and solutions on this topic: have you approached an employer successively with a plan for flexible hours or a work-at-home deal? Have you proposed and managed a job-sharing position with someone?

I really welcome these thoughts.

1/08/2006 04:44:00 AM  

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