Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Cumulative Amplitude

Slow and steady does not win my race. I work myself into a frenzy of activity in which I become intensely productive and detail-absorbent, dashing off dozens of email messages and going through paperwork and checking out reference materials or websites. Many years ago my then-officemate commented on how frantic and fast I type when I get going, and it's true -- I've been known to work myself into a ventilating sweat simply sitting at the keyboard.

I do this for work projects, and I do this during Morris Dance season when I am serving as Squire, and I do this when I am arranging travel, and I do this for irregular assorted projects like, for example, chairing the Minnesota Winter Shapenote Singing Convention. I can usually accomplish a lot this way (not that I have any choice in the matter, as this is apparently how I work and there's not much I can do about it at this point), but it is definitely true that I can't work at the pace I set for myself on a continuous basis or I'd explode. Perhaps I already have exploded once or twice. In any case, I work in sine waves of activity.

Because of this aspect of my nature, I am at the moment in a bit of a tizzy because of coinciding amplitudes. I am leaving on Friday for an 11-day work and play trip to California. This alone usually drives me to my edge as I settle my work projects that I'm leaving behind and prepare for my work meetings that I'll be having while traveling and clean up my email queue and arrange my travel and get my packing done and put my apartment in order. Plus I like to get all the various social aspects of the trip scheduled before I go, which is something of a house of cards but well worth the effort because then the trip itself takes on a delightful inevitable momentum and I have no actual concerns of planning after I arrive -- which would be hard to do anyway without email access (and this way I can best use my time away to see the most of the people I am traveling to see).

But Houston, we have a problem. Morris dance season starts up in a couple of weeks (on Jan. 31 this year), so this is the time of the myriad emails arranging first practice and team meeting and getting various details set. The Midwinter Convention is February 11-12, which means that this is one month out and the precise time to get out the announcement postcards and set the committees and make sure I drop by all the local shapenote sings to encourage enthusiasm and generally ensure that everything is on track. All of this happens right now, and none of it is the sort of thing that can be done any earlier. So I'm a little bit frazzled. A small car issue that required taking my car in for a bit before work this morning nearly sent me into an hysterical spiral, at least for the first hour or two after I realized I needed to add this task to my week.

I admit that this is a whine, but it's not a complaint about other people. For everything I am doing here, including work, I have ample support and help. Plus my friends in California are being wonderfully hospitable and generous with their invitations. It's just that to serve well in my role as squire/chair/project leader I need to be in a position of coordinating details so that there is one place where all things are known; I find this makes things run smoothly and enables me to respond in seconds to last-minute concerns (this is how my parents ran their folk festival, I realize in retrospect). This isn't the same thing as doing everything myself, but it is not trivial.

Nor am I complaining about any of these tasks, specifically. Some of them, obviously, are only and directly for my personal pleasure and benefit, but even the ones that involve work and projects and activities bring me great personal reward. In fact, last night, after getting caught later at work than I'd hoped and then getting mired in traffic, I made my way to the Tuesday night shapenote singing to discuss the upcoming convention and try to inspire enthusiasm. I was fatigued and panicky and feeling overwhelmed but the part of the singing I caught was the best I'd been to in ages and everybody was so wonderfully happy and supportive about the Convention that I remembered why I do this in the first place. (I got an email message this morning from a woman I don't know particularly well thanking me for my work in helping to put on the convention! And the mailing party at my apartment on Monday was a lovely evening with good friends who themselves had done most of the actual work -- my job had been to arrange for the party and provide half the food and all the beverages.)

No, my complaint here probably comes down to the fact that I don't control time. Damn it.
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