Today I begin two weeks’ annual leave. Somehow, don’t ask me how it happened, I scored both christmas and New Years off. What are my plans? Well, so far, they are limited to sitting up in bed to type this, drinking coffee and listening to the lovely rain.
I am so tired. And SO sunburned. Two days ago, I was on a pistol range doing a mandatory shoot in (wait for it) 49.2 °C temperatures (that’s 120.56°F folks!) for five hours in short sleeves with no head protection. I’ve been heatstruck before, and I wasn’t quite there, but I was definitely close. I was a little woozy on the drive back to work, a little fuddled in my thinking, and speech-confused. My score of 93% was equal highest on the day, however, which I find gratifying given how affected my eyesight has become with age. Good to know re: future zombie apocalypse headshot tally. After several scored sequences, a range instructors said ‘Nice grouping. Centre of body mass is an easy target, isn’t it.” So I put the next six into the target’s head. Shut the fu*k up, you flat-topped mother-concubinator! Gun nuts, they’re always pissed when somebody shoots as well as them! Maybe that’s why they didn’t pull the plug despite the infernal heat.
I’m still getting used to the bizarre weather variability that anthropogenic climate change has wrought upon us, and two days of +4o °C temps have been followed by two days (so far) of temperatures in the mid 20’s and constant rain. I bumped into one of our range instructors yesterday, my last day at work, and commented that he wasn’t out in the weather. ‘We cancelled the shoot due to rain” he said, without a hint of self-conscience, staring into my boiled-lobster face. I walked away bemused, to say the least, but too tired to take him up on it. Some of my workmates have stridently declared that I should ‘put them on paper’ meaning to lodge a formal complaint in writing against the instructors for subjecting us to hazardous conditions. Fu*k that. I happen to agree with their mentality: you have to train for the worst and hope for the best. It’s a natural extension of the Boy Scouts motto into adulthood — to be in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty — be prepared.
This segues nicely into the main thrust of this post: there’s all different kinds of heat, especially at work. You can’t slap on some SPF50+ to protect you from a delegative workaholic boss who drives you to the point of exhaustion. You can’t protect yourself from the blistering death-ray eyes of a paranoid and hyper-competitive peer who suspects you of undermining them. You can’t avoid being spit-roasted and turned over hot coals of disapproval because you made an innocent comment that some witless fu*ktard has taken out of context. Workplace relations are exhausting. Working long hours is fatiguing enough, but at least you can sleep and recharge. But sleep doesn’t recharge the emotional battery you need to deal with these people. Only physical separation does that. I left work by stealth yesterday because I could not find the will to speak another word to any of them.
So it seems appropriate, given that I actually look how I feel at the moment, to conduct a strategic self-debrief to identify why the year was so harrowing. What comes immediately to mind are the changes to my team, with additions that have eroded team cohesion or morale. Now we have schisms and cliques that make me wonder who I can trust. “May the Lord Jesus protect me and all devout souls from your contagion and your company!” is what I wanted to scream, more or less, in one of my more Lutherian moments, at the daily displays of hypocrisy and self-interest. But I guess that’s just the peeps doing what they do. I’m not above a little hypocrisy myself, but at least I try to be subtle. I guess maybe that’s what gets the rage firing — the lack of finesse: “Such loose, lame, empty talk, set forth on the basis of your own reason and idiosyncrasy, would lead me to believe first of all that your opinions amount to nothing!” Ah, that’s better. And while it’s probably too early for New Year’s workplace resolutions, but here’s one anyway: in 2017 I am going rogue.