"What next?"

”What next?” is a question I need to stop asking, because I never like the answer. Sometimes I wonder how much of my bad luck is the result of bad decisions. Last week I expressed concern over growing signs of O.C.D. Yesterday morning, things were going well. I was very happy with the costume I'd come up with this year, and after the encouragement of friends like Curt, I decided I'd enter my company's contest this year. The worst case scenario would be losing and having people make fun of me, but that wouldn't be much different than not winning and having people make fun of me. Perhaps the true loser isn't one who tries and fails, but one who, predicting failure, avoids the tedious middle step of trying and skips right to the inevitable result.

All was in place. The clothes were laid out the night before, as was the key element I'd worked on the past two weekends. I had the other things I needed to remember prepared as well, my gym clothes packed and my digital camera at the ready. The only sign of impending improbability occurred the night prior, when I was unable to post my Phantasmic Links. At the time, it was a minor hiccup, but after all these years I should recognize the beginning of a ripple effect. Nothing worked. Switching browsers, flushing my cache, and even trying to republish the entire blog resulted in the same dead end stall. Sometimes it flashed on 25%; other times I never got past 0%. By 1AM, knowing the day I had ahead of me, I decided to leave the computer on over night. The next morning, I still hadn't published. The clock was ticking, so I finally decided to turn off the computer, and deal with it from work, though I hate to publish from there. It wasn't long before I was out the door, but not before having my mom take a picture of me in costume on the front lawn. I live like a child, but moreso on one of my favorite days of the year.

Soon I was on my way. It was very exciting. I looked forward to everyone's reactions, and how I would present myself. Scenarios played through my mind as I delivered certain lines, and at some point ten minutes into my commute, one scenario delivered a blow to my gut. I was thinking about walking in the lobby as I do every morning, perhaps in full costume, then reaching for my I.D. card to show security. As is often the case, involuntary motion accompanied the scene playing in my mind, and my hand went from the steering wheel to the card hanging from my belt, only to find it wasn't there! As I approached an intersection, my thoughts now diverged into two ways the morning could play out. Already running late for work, I could continue on, have to wear a stupid “visitor” sticker after signing in at the front desk, and have to have someone with me at all times since the keycard is needed to access most of the doors in our building. On the other hand, I wasn't THAT far from home. I made a choice, making a right at the intersection and engaging in a dangerous u-turn a bit up the road. I returned to the intersection and made a left, now doubling back and cursing both the traffic and my own stupidity. EVERY morning I go through a list to the point of obsession, checking and rechecking my pockets, and opening bags after zipping them shut, double and triple checking that I did in fact put what I needed inside. My memory was already failing me more and more, and now even the compulsion that was developing in response to that failure had failed me. More to the point, I was doing something STUPID and I knew it.

It takes me a half hour to get to work without traffic. It was 9:45 when I pulled in my driveway, and at that point I was already 45 minutes late. Some people start at 10, so I had fifteen minutes before the receptionist collected the attendance sign-in book. I was already calculating the mathematics, figuring out that at a steady 60 miles per hour, I could make my 15 mile commute in as many minutes, so long as I ran every single light and met with no traffic. As I raced past my father, grabbed my card, and flew back out the door, I was already dialing Rey on my cell phone to sign me in. I left a message on his voicemail, and prayed he was at work.

I got to work at 10:10, a record 25 minutes, and without getting a ticket. Rey pointed out the stupidity in turning back for the card and I couldn't disagree. Once I commit myself to a decision, even one I know is bad, I'm pretty much doomed to suffer in following through to the end. As for the contest, the judging took place between 9:30 and 10, so once more I didn't enter, for the first time not by choice. I did make the company party, and my costume allowed me to mingle with a lot of pretty girls, eliciting looks of curiosity and intrigue instead of the usual uncomfortable disdain. It was difficult to enjoy snacks the way I was dressed, and I had to take them back to my desk. Meanwhile, posting from work resulted in the same errors, so I took advice from Jerry and sent an inquiry to Blogger. An automatically generated reply directed me to their known issues and help pages, but most of the solutions were things I'd tried already. I wrote back, and throughout the day checked my e-mail for a response.

By the end of the day, after yet another failed attempt to post, I was leaving a comment on my blog in another window while the publish page continued to loop. No sooner did I leave the comment than the other window suddenly achieved 100%. After refreshing my window, there was my new post. At last, after a rough morning, things were back on track. Of course™, the same thing happened last night. I didn't stay up or leave the computer on, but I did try again in the morning, with no success. I tried at work, then I tried to duplicate the “solution” by posting a comment. For whatever reason, it worked. As I type this, I have no idea when my current musings will appear. Hopefully, it will be tonight and I'll get the blog back on track. And if my blog is on track, can other elements of my life be far behind?

Hopefully, I'll have some photos of myself to share tomorrow. And maybe, just maybe, someday I'll stop asking: “What next?”


Blogger Janet said...

OCD is a tricky disorder. I've often wondered how late in life you can develop it, or even shed it. For years I was OBSESSED with weird little things lying perfectly on tables, etc. I don't obsess nearly as much, and I'm not sure I was ever OCD, but every once and awhile I get that horrible feeling, like I left the iron on. Then I imagine that feeling multiplied must be how those people feel everyday.

11/02/2005 8:06 PM  
Blogger Lorna said...

Just wait till you develop signs of DGGGd (Don't Give a good Goshdarn). It's way insidious, and unlike OCD, you never accomplish anything worthy of your talents.

11/02/2005 11:05 PM  
Blogger TheWriteJerry said...

Janet - OMG! I do the table thing too! I'm always putting the silverware and the cups and the plates and salt shaker and everything else in just the right position -- as if there is a "right" position" -- and if somebody shifts them by using them, I have to readjust everything.

Loran - I've got that disease in spades.

11/03/2005 2:14 AM  
Blogger TheWriteJerry said...

uh, I meant "Lorna"...

11/03/2005 9:18 PM  

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