Friday, September 01, 2006
The Internet is Just Weird
Starting from Wednesday morning, I have now been at work for a total of 13 hours - not counting times at home while on-call - without a single work-related thing to do. Getting paid for not working is not as fun as I might have once thought it would be, back in the pre-kids, pre-lost-professional-drive days.

Though, to be accurate, I'm not completely certain that I actually lost that drive. I think it's more of a suspension of priorities. I still am fascinated by a lot of the same things I was fascinated by during grad school and before, I just don't feel that pressing need to achieve a set list of goals on a carefully prepared timetable. Someday, I will want to get back into the world of forensics and psychology and criminal law and all of those other things that are so much less glamorous and yet so much more visceral than TV makes them appear. Someday. Just, not now.

Anyway. I had to go to work, because we were broke and without health insurance and I didn't get the internship I applied for so I was out of other options. So I found a job with a laid-back atmosphere (and when it's not laid-back, *I* still am, so that's the same thing... right?) and really good hours for family life, and here I be. I've worked through my resentment of preferring to be home with the kids and I'm enjoying the paychecks.

What does not thrill me, though it is simultaneously the aspect of the job which I most enjoy, is the unpredictability of my work. I'm in the Emergency Services department, which means that I respond to crisis calls and go hang out with people in the Emergency Room (oh, dear me, so sorry, I mean, the Emergency Department - "It's more than just a room") while they decide whether they can get through the moment without being hospitalized. That part is great. It's sometimes fun, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes absolutely heartbreaking, and I love those moments. I don't know whether I'm touching people's lives, but they're touching mine.

The down-side is that unpredictable also includes long, loooooong quiet spells. Like now. Just waiting for a call to come in. I know it makes more sense to have me in the office so that I can reply or move quickly, but on days when nothing is happening I just listen to the clock. And get older. And build a neat little cairn of resentment over the minutes I could be spending somewhere else, better, worse, productively, bored, just different.

I don't surf the web well, and I haven't gotten into the habit of bringing a book to work with me yet. I will. Soon. I have been bringing knitting in, but really, how long can you knit without something else to occupy the brain? How long? 'Cause for me the answer to that can be easily converted to seconds.

So instead, lately, I've been blog-hopping and winding up in some very weird places. Some wonderful. Some stupid. Some worthwhile. Some NOT. In following through a chain of blogs and links I landed on my husband's ex-girlfriend's website, there's a blast from the past. I've not yet landed on any of my exes... but then, dear sweet lovely Willem, I just don't HAVE quite as many exes, now, do I?

And in reading strangers' blogs, I end up in a very odd mental space. It's like attending a big cocktail party and meeting dozens of people all at once. I'm juggling names and dates and facts and trying to sort everyone out, to decide who I'd like to spend more time with and who I'd like to lie to about my own name. And to add to the overall confusion, there's none of the traditional cocktail party talk. Instead it's immediately learning about people's sex lives, their religious beliefs, their politics, their innermost conflicts and secret wishes and gnawing regrets.

And while I appreciate that instant intimacy, and contribute some of my own shtuff out into the world every day, I still find it overwhelming and claustrophobic after a while. There's a limited amount of room in my head, and suddenly all these new people are clamoring for space and time in there too.

I went home Wednesday with a crushing headache and characters swirling around in my head like one of those weird dancing scenes in the Matrix movies. And yet here I am again on Friday, blog-hopping and filling up my head space again. I enjoy it all, even when it's not pretty - I just don't exactly know what my capacity for it will be.

Just -- weird.