Filed under A for ARRGH!

I’m becoming too damn efficient.

Friends and co workers have separately commented on how organized I am (despite the chaos of my desk).

Friends ask to borrow books, and instead of taking the book on a two hour drive, I look up the prices of the book online and realize it’s cheaper for the friend to buy the book than for me to pay the gas. (And that’s before I drive down to pick up the book again.)

A friend suggests a gift for a friend, and I offer to pick it up, and find it for $15 less than originally thought.

My first reaction to any suggestion is "how can we make this better. Is this the best way to do it?" Unfortunately, that snap reaction is less than friendly, no matter how rational it may be.

I'm the same way with myself though. I find the "best" way to solve my immediate needs, because I'm so damn bad at addressing my core wants and needs.

Example: I have a pair of pants that are machine washable and dryable. Well past their prime, but they're always an easy choice. Only problem is the pockets slowly dissolved in the laundry.

The "addressing my wants and needs" answer would be to find a pair of pants that meet all the same great criteria these pants meet. They don't hold onto cat hair. They don't fade over time. They don't need to be ironed.

But I can't find another pair of pants like that. All other pairs need to be dry cleaned or at least ironed, or don't have pockets, or hold onto cathait like velcro. So I replace badly worn pockets. And then, when they don’t turn out just right, I somehow find the exact same pair of pants when I'm out scouring the sales. Yes, three years after they were stocked in stores, I somehow stumble over the same pair of pants in my size in the deep discount racks of a mall I rarely go to. And they're on sale of course.

If I can have that kind of luck, why can't I be lucky enough to find a different pair of pants whose pockets won't dissolve in coming months?

If my life was so damn perfect, I wouldn’t have piles of crap in the front hall, laundry on the floor of my closet, and a dishwasher full of dirty dishes.

Pardon me for a moment.

That’s better. Now the dishwasher will be ready to empty tomorrow morning.

So what’s the problem with this focus on efficiency, you ask? Why do I rub it in your face, as if to say “look at all I have at my fingertips” “look at all I can accomplish.”

I’m not having any fun doing it. In fact, it’s totally stressing me out.

I schedule multiple stops on the way home on different days, which means many days I don’t get home before 7:30. If my boss asks me a question, I generally have an answer and an explanation at my fingertips – because I’m terrified I’ll lose my job if I can’t immediately answer how much it cost for us to do a tiny ad in the some province no one lives in.

I can’t resist the urge to leave the house every damn day, weekend or no weekend. I’m always shopping for groceries, or picking up something to fix something, or trying to find a present for someone. I have damn lists all over the place. I have a killer spreadsheet at work, so on the last day of every month I can tell you how many projects I completed that month, who paid for them, and the average amount of time it took to complete each project.

This is insane.

One of my co-workers say I’m a machine. I don’t wanna be a machine. I want to be able to sit and fucking think for a moment rather than managing from crisis to crisis. Spontaneity is nice. Spontaneity every 5 minutes is a serious lifestyle hazard.

Almost every file at work has a checklist stapled to it, which is cross-referenced to a master active project list, which also cross-references a master spreadsheet of all the projects I worked on the fiscal year.

The majority of my pseudo free time is spent watching TV. Frequently it's while making dinner or folding laundry. Aside from that, it’s working out, making dinner, doing laundry, cleaning house, and finding some stupid excuse to leave the house and spend money. What a ridiculous existence!

I prefer a regimented life, which means I have to schedule things or I end up wasting all my time. So all my organizational controls have put my life out of my own control. Go shopping for clothes? Gotta make plans. And then I’ll try on things only if they fall into the list of needs. Saw a jacket I kinda wanted. Didn’t even try it on because I don’t want to want something I can’t have.

I don’t want to want something I can’t have.

Hmm. That’s pretty poignant. That’s the type of insightful stuff I come up with when I take the time to think. When I have no time to think, I say silly things like “I have to employ middle finger management with these people.” Which sounds pretty witty but really says nothing at all.



kat@adchick.com