Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Somedays are easy and breezy, like so many pina coladas on a slightly illegal Caribbean hot spot, like that one time you have surgery on an infinitely unpronounceable body part and they give you some highly addictive but oh so dreamy narcotic. We all strive for the ease of days. (Those of us who don't thrive on it of course. There are a cursed few who live for it, ER doctors, say, or air traffic controllers, maybe the odd bomb specialist, and of course, the ubiquitous Extreme Sports Guy on an edgy, Gen-Xerish commercial touting yet another way to get caffeine into your system).

And yet, and yet there are times when the Fates -- being the vindictive harpies they are -- conspire to shovel unto your unsuspecting, in full repose self, a mountain of stress. A heaping mountain of Everestian stress. And I'm not just talking about the base of Everest, I'm talking about the whole sack of hammers; even the top where countless numbers of once brave, stiff upper lipped British explorers have left their very courageous corpses.

It is the stuff that builds character. It's the day that's crafted to off you, once and for all. To take advantage of your faulty ticker or hair trigger response to aneurysms.

It's not without purpose, of course. We as a hunter gatherer people are used to stress, it was our pulse, it let us know we were still hunting the mammoth on those primitive plains of yore, or perhaps trudging through bleak and unforgiving tundra, looking for that one bit of shelter to save us from the elements. And, to a much lesser extent, it was the pregnant pause as we watched our fellow cavemen admire and judge our neolithic paintings of ungulates (more than likely made with feces or blood of a downed furry thing). And it was stress we felt when we watched our tribesmen surround a great beast; and use teamwork and a suicidal disregard for the physics of multi-ton pachyderms versus small naked ape descendants.

Stress is the stuff of waiting. Waiting for the other shoe to fall, for the thing-that-we'd-rather-not-fail-horribly to be put through it's paces. Waiting for our lives to forever be changed by the outcome.

For me, that was today. It was the day when we waited for the subjects to be removed from our place (the buyer crossing all the t's, dotting all the i's, struggling with the throes of Buyers Remorse); and also the day we put in an offer to our new digs; and also the day when I decided to email the agent who has a partial manuscript of my book, and who I've been waiting for for a good five months and a bit; and also the day when the Canucks had game seven for the Western Conference quarter finals (admittedly, I have never been nor will I ever be a hockey fan, let alone a Canucks fan, but it's difficult to ignore the outcome of a small rubber disc on ice being thrashed at by grown men in gladiatoresque uniforms when the entire city, as well as a few of my close friends, are positively Heart In Throat about the whole thing (I will never jump onto the Canucks Fanwagon. There are some things that are too sacred to sully with Me-Too-ism. Die-hard fan loyalty for a franchise that has tripped and fallen oh so many times is one of them.)).

In short, it was my version of the hunt for the shelter from the elements, the judgment of my cave painting, and the hush before the hunters were victorious or permanently driven into the landscape by a lethal pachyderm.

It was a day of stress.

But, lo and behold, things went along well. Subjects were removed, our offer was accepted (albeit with a slight alteration, we have a month in which we are homeless), the Canucks won, but of course, the one thing that has my heart going the way of Myocardial Infarction Ville will probably not be settled until much later.

And probably with an equally stressing and all the less exciting rejection form letter.

Ah to be a caveman.


The Nighthawk said...

Hehe, buddy, I feel for you. Being a married man adds new levels to the Stress-O-Meter as you know, and I've just gone through the same ordeal as you (less the book agent thing, but add in a new job instead), some thanks to my wife.

I've just bought and sold a place in the last week, finding out we have to live in limbo for about 4 months, starting in 3 weeks no less, and then to top it off the wife is a massive Canucks fan, and also a Trevor Linden fan, so yesterdays game was some kind of penultimate stress experience for her, and therefore me as well.

My new job is great, but some parts of it I'm not doing too well with. The design and 3D engineering software are all going well, but get this, it's the WRITING I'm struggling with! :( The dry, boring Technical Documentation. Good lord I don't even know why I offered to add it to my job description instead of contracting it out, but these manuals need to get done, and I've been shuffling paper to no effect for a week now.

I think I may have to go to my boss and inform him I bit off more than I can chew.

Thankfully my Boss has been my best friend since we were both 9 years old, so it'll probably go over alright. :P

andrea said...

Ah...the curse/blessing of threes...It's a magic number, I've come to discover. However, you'll probably find that your three stressfull events will be followed by three fantastical events which will block out any memory of the past three stresses and cause unrelentless bliss...at least for the time being, until the next wave of three comes along. So hang in there niteowl and just enjoy the ride. If it had no bumps what fun would that be?!

Niteowl said...

NH : holy cows, 4 months restless upon the green earth without a place to call yer own! Ah yes, the new job! No longer a proprietor and self made business man :)

Ah, yeah, documentation. At least it forces one to parse language, and to cut to the quick, as it were. It's great you cna tell your boss it's too much. Better to let him know than to burn out :)

Andy : Yeah, my natural inclination says that's not the case. I think good things comes in exactly one less than what you think it's going to be. So if I anticipate good things coming in 3's, it'll actually come in 2's, and the third thing will be so devastating as to obliterate any clinging attachment to these silly superstitions on when and how good fortunes comes and goes.

And what fun would life be without the bumps? It would be a nice, tranquil, flat merry-go-round, and I fricking LOVE those things!