And now the torch
And shadows lead
Were it not so black and not so hard to see
How can it help you when you don’t know what you need
How can anybody set you free?
Would he walk upon the water
If he couldn’t walk away?
And would you
Would you carry the torch
And what if I gave you the key
To the doors of your design…
Lit the corridors of desire?
Where if not so black
And not so hard to see
What use to you then any fire?
–The Sisters of Mercy, “Torch” (Floodland, 1987)
I don’t bare my soul on my web page too often. Not that I’m unwilling to do that; I made a brief career of baring my soul in a newspaper column a few years ago. This weekend, as I visited weblog after weblog, looking for elements to steal and possibly improve upon, I realized that that’s mostly what people read weblogs for. At least the cool thing about Greymatter is I can make my postings in such a way as to serve whatever audience comes this direction. But I’ve become sidetracked. That happens a lot lately.
Very obviously, something’s bothering me, and I’m trying to figure out what. I see the symptoms. I sat down Friday night to write a manifesto. What I ended up with was a shotgun blast followed by a couple of quotable paragraphs. I get irritated easily. I flew off the handle last week about rankings on the Daynotes.com/org/net portals. I get irritated when editthispage.com crashes. I know what service delays do to readership. I know it far too well.
One of my very best friends is moving to Colorado in a couple of months. He’s talked to me, his boss has talked to me, and I kinda sorta understand where each is coming from but not really. Not that my opinion matters. I think the guy walks on water, but it looks like I’m the only one. Both of them want me to understand, and now he and the members of his Gen X ministry are looking to me to pick up his torch and lead. Given six months, I might be ready to do that. I don’t have six months. Meanwhile, I feel for him. He doesn’t feel like his contributions are valued. All of the communication he’s received indicates–to him at least–that it isn’t. I totally understand the desire to be valued. Maybe that’s a Gen X thing.
Another one of my very best friends is moving to Kansas City as soon as he finds a job there. Then he’s marrying my sister. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just really weird.
Another friend isn’t making plans to leave town–yet. She’s alienated. She’s just like my other friend I mentioned before–she feels like no one values her or the things she does, and I see her point. Will she leave? It probably comes down to how good the offers are and how mad she is the day they come in. I want to help her but I know there’s nothing I can do.
I probably shouldn’t be writing any of this because yesterday at the grocery store, I struggled to keep a proper grip on my grocery bags. It wasn’t that they were heavy–it was that my hand just wouldn’t do what my mind told it to do. The startled cashier asked if I needed help.
At work, my department’s getting cutback after cutback. I know I’ll be the last one cut. I’m not popular because I’m not a Microsoft lackey and I’m not a yes man. But I solve the problems no one else can solve, and I solve the normal problems much faster than anyone else in my group. I don’t want to be the last one cut, because the number of problems and the expectations of your clients don’t fall just because your staff numbers fell.
So I guess I know where my recent tendency to always assume the worst came from. None of this is insurmountable. Frankly most of it’s similar to things I’ve dealt with before.
At my worst, I fall into overdominant overanalysis, and I caught myself in there today. Then I realized I’ve been doing it all week. Then the question that song raises hit. “How can it help you when you don’t know what you need?” What’s “it?” Who cares? How can anything help you when you don’t know what you need?
Well, now that I see the problems, I know what I need. I can lapse into poor-me, or I can do what needs to be done and learn what I can from it.
Please be patient with me. This isn’t quite like setting up a two-computer TCP/IP network. Or like setting up Linux, Apache, and Greymatter and forwarding port 80 on my router to it, for that matter. Those things are a lot easier.