I experienced the stage of grief known as anger just yesterday. It was supposed to be a mindless day at work, working on a mindless project that would keep me busy and my brain active without over-taxing it. It involved doing a mail merge to create a bunch of letters and envelopes. My boss had asked me the day before if I would be willing to handle this project. The day before I had been out of the house, talking to people from Google (my favorite company) and I was in a good mood. I then spent the night at my girlfriend’s place and that had helped.
Things went wrong when the aforementioned boss had the temerity to question the way in which I had done part of the project. I mean, I had graciously agreed to push all of my work aside and work on this. I didn’t have to. I was a zombie on Monday, dealing with a major client press release, but barely there. Tuesday I was out most of the day and then spent the afternoon dealing with press follow up for the client release. I had not touched the website project, our blog or really any of the other major projects on my plate all week.
Things were fine until the boss showed up. Then she questions my methods. The pot begins to simmer. I start to do the letters. I spend hours cleaning up the bad data from the client. I get approval on the layout. It is afternoon and I print the letters. I quality check each letter. I pull out three that don’t pass muster and re-do those. It’s going OK…and then came the envelopes.
Our printer sucks. We should never, ever try to print envelopes for anyone. Yet, here I am trying to make it work. I try putting a stack in the printer tray and then discover I cannot just get four of the letters in the mail merge to print envelopes. Then I find I have to hit the green check button the printer each time to make the thing go. Then the printer keeps stalling. Then it won’t suck up the next envelope. I switch to manual feed. Now it won’t suck up on envelope, print it, and then suck up the next one so I can print the next in the queue.
Then I get an email discussing what my aforementioned boss would like to discuss during our company meeting. Half of the questions are about stuff on my plate. You know, the stuff I have not touched in nearly a week? When is the website going live? No clue. Which blog articles are working? Turns out, we have no reporting on that, so I don’t know. The pot that started boiling the moment she had the nerve to question the methods by which I was doing the project now begins to boil over.
The end of the day comes. I feel sick. I know that, in the past, when I had a bad day and went home, Shelby was always there to bark and jump and make me feel better. She would smile at me in her doggy way and show me unconditional love. She reminded me that just because I have a psycho, insane, bitchy perfectionist nutso as a boss, sometimes you just need to give someone a treat to make them happy. The realization that she will not be there to help me this time turns the boiling pot into a Mt. St. Helens volcano.
I grab my bags. I shut down my computer. I storm out of the office. I do not say good-bye. I slam the door. I slam the outside door. I throw the garbage bag into the dumpster with as much force as I can manage. I imagine steam coming out of my ears. I reach the side street behind the office and call my girlfriend. Now, it’s countdown time:
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – LAUNCH
I am screaming, on this side street, at the top of my lungs. I hurl every curse word I can think of toward the back of the building wherein lurks the office I slave in for very little money and MOUNTAINS of grief. At some point I am not even saying words, I am just screaming. I am so angry that I am shaking. My girlfriend fears I am going to punch a wall or something. She tells me to go for a walk and not drive. I almost fight her over that, before realizing she is right.
I go for a walk. I feel sick. My stomach is churning. I am a wreck. I am crying, screaming, yelling. I walk and come back to the car and head home.
I wake up in the middle of the night to one of the worst thunderstorms in Chicago history. I get little sleep. By morning, I am sick as anything. I am sick to my stomach and feel like I have had a complete nervous breakdown. I call in sick.
I know I am probably in trouble, but I don’t care. I just experienced the anger portion of grief. It was an anger more raw and intense than any I have ever felt before. I wanted my Shelby back, dammit, and nothing short of her was going to stop me from exploding.
I miss her. And when my best friend and companion is gone, whether or not I have printed envelopes correctly just doesn’t seem like a big deal. Whether or not the date is in a format that my nutso, psycho, overly-perfectionist, 90-percent-success-rate-isn’t-good-enough boss seems petty. I would rather she just said thanks and went on her way. I would rather not spend two hours talking to her about projects I haven’t had time to work on…because I AM DEALING WITH THESE STUPID ENVELOPES!
I wanted my dog to remind me that it would be OK. That she loved me no matter what. Instead, I had an empty house followed by severe thunderstorms and an upset stomach and stomach pain.
Grief sucks. I’m sorry, but it does.