Thursday, May 03, 2007

Liberate Me

I'm trying to avoid the spectacle of the Republican debates - which cheerfully included the phrase "the Gates of Hell", a truer warning if ever there was one. Meanwhile, I'm slowly creeping back into Photoland and try not to ponder how and why I completely lost it today. But that's not working so it's full Ponder Ahead.

In the long list of things you are never supposed to say to a major client, somewhere near the top is, "You have GOT to be fucking kidding me!" And yet, these were the exact words I chose earlier today in response to a misguided directive and perceived insult. Snapped, yes I did, completely in two. Emotionally, I landed in a tree somewhere in Boulder and called Gins to talk me down, like a spastic kitten mewing for a volunteer fireman.

Poor guy. He gave me the wrong words at the wrong time and I wasted no time in biting his head off. I rarely work with this person but I'm sure I made a lasting impression. Especially with the swift double play of screaming "I can't even TALK to you right now!" and then hanging up on him. Yup. See, I'm hip to the whole 'transparency' trend. I saw that 'Office' lady on the cover of WIRED; I can see the future. Yup.

Therefore, I felt it was a good time to warble my displeasure at someone who has my exact job, albeit for the Mothership. I fired off an immediate apology - something about my specific rope and being at the end of it. He responded in kind, acknowledging that he knew of my frustration. With Gins guidance (for she is the Mistress of Good Logic) I wrote a snarky reply but did not send; I opted instead to smoke a bowl, practice some guitar and do yoga. Ostrich wisdom works for me in such situations - my head needs to be stuck in dirt to cool it down,

During my unraveling/raveling session, my cell phone rang. I did not recognize the number and instincts told me to ignore it. Later, I listened to the message and it was from the target of my earlier rage. He was outside on his cell phone and I could hear children playing in the background. His voice was gentle, relaxed - I did not recognize it at first. He talked about how sorry he was that we got off on the wrong foot. That after watching his son play Little League, he thought about the day and about how none of the corporate urgencies really mean anything at all. "Sometimes, we all lose site of what is really important," he said. He sounded way off, deep within himself, and mine just happened to be the voice mail to receive it.

He talked for a long time. There were no clipped words, no rush in his voice, only patience and fatique. It actually made a cry a little ... okay, a lot. This is a man I do not even know, have never met and he was talking to me like we were old friends, or maybe someone on the other end of a hot line. "I know how you feel," he said, "you can call me anytime."

Of course, I could get the axe tomorrow (see Par. 2) but it felt kinda good to a) be human and b) have a sporting soul receive my wrath and disseminate it without bitterness and a touch of unexpected class. I know it's not fixing worlds or anything but it's a start. If only we could bottle this and inject it into the political world.

P.S. I'm into photographing my bathroom these days - enjoy!

10 comments:

Kath said...

OMG, honey. I feel for you big time.

The first time I ever said the F-word was to my 6th grade teacher.

I was incensed with how poorly she treated a certain student (made fun of him, ridiculed him) so I went up to her one day after school and called her ' A fucking bitch that I hoped would rot in hell'.

Then, realizing what I had done, I ran away from home. Figured better to face the streets of SoCal than to go home since my parents would kill me.

I made it home after 4 hrs (had to pee, dontcha know) and had to go back to apologize.

I snapped that day too and I'm here to tell ya, it happens to all of us. Glad your co-worker was so kind when all was said and done.

The weekend is almost here honey...hang in there.

susie said...

"Realizing what I had done, I ran away from home."
Snort.
Kath you made me spit water on my keyboard.

Heather - tomorrow is another day. I truly don't mind if someone freaks out on me and then apologizes. Those are often the people I feel closest to because they are my kindred.

When I'm feeling on the verge, which is kind of often, or at least once a month, this is when I call Directv. I've been attempting to connect with someone not in India who can schedule a service call. The people in India? When you scream at them? They're still very polite - it's kind of strange but at this point I'm just looking at it as a venting service because lord knows they aren't doing anything else for me.

Howard said...

Those are extremely rare moments in life and should be savored like the first spoonful of Chunky Monkey.

Oh, yes, I'm old and wise since yesterday now. I'm commenting from the top of a mountain and already have two people outside my cave in what I just know will be the beginning of years of "What does it all mean?"

Like you, I made a choice and now have to live with it.

Okay, that was the attempt to lighten your spirit. Now my attempt at understanding.

I think Gins is a keeper for sure. I do exactly that all the time. The Monkeys know it. When upset I will write the nastiest, emotional note and then promptly delete it and then write something from the heart AND the brain.

At least you went off on someone who understands.

Love the picture, too, btw.

ClizBiz said...

Once again, totally impressed with the hilarious support of ya'll. Kath - your story was precious! Susie - glad to know the emotional backbone of an entire continent is at your disposal, we should all have entire global regions to turn to in times of inordinate stress
Howard - nice to hear such hard-scrabble wisdom from the the old man who is ... er, younger than me. Ack!

Jeff C. said...

Boy, if I had a dollar for everytime I said those exact words in my office, I could retire from my office. I usually say them after I hang up with a client, though. Maybe I should try it "The Clizbiz Way" and actually say it to the object of my scorn while s/he is on the phone. See what happens.

Actually, I once had a client leave me a message that ended with, "Do your fucking job!" I called him back and left him a very calm message that said something like, "I'll do my fucking job when you get me the fucking information I need to do my fucking job." And we never worked together again.

Fang Bastardson said...

I melted down this week, too, but I did it like a man and - in the absence of a handy USA Today newsrack - took it all out on my wife (and my internal organs - probably shaved a good few months off the end of my life).

More to the point, I'm sorry to hear your nemesis didn't have what it took to take it to the next level. They just don't make nemeses like they used to (remember Jonathan? Now there was a worthy opponent!).

Anyhow, feel free to drop me a line if you want and we can talk about all the stuff that led up to the explosion that this unworthy opponent touched off. If you're like me, you can trace it all back to my mother...

ClizBiz said...

Wow, I'm more human than I thought - everyone has a good meltdown story.

hotdrwife said...

I'm just going around mumbling "What a wiry fuck!" and I feel better already.

Love you honey, and you can always call and unload this direction when necessary. :)

Muchas smooches.

Flea's Thoughts said...

Thursday I walked into my boss office and told him a) I was taking a comp day Friday b) I was leaving right then (2 in the afternoon and 3) that if they didn't get me help with my current project that had been draining 90 plus hours a week out of me and not to count the amount of sanity I would never get back that I was going to call the whole thing a failure and he could explain it to the suits. Probably not the best thing to say after they laid off 1/3 of the work force but I couldn't take it anymore.

I hope both of our ropes don't burn out and everyone just chalks it up to bad days (which we all have)!!!

Anonymous said...

Heloooo! Can we please focus on the issue at hand here please?

Heather, I am besotted with the notion that you have an icon of homage to MOI in your terlet!

Good on you!
Ms. Liberty