Paper (not) work


I’ve had a frustrating evening. I left the office late, which meant I left for the track late, and then when I arrived (fifteen minutes after everyone else) I discovered the battery on my stopwatch was flat, and though I gamefully put in 4k round the track, I was knackered and wanted to rest. I went home, with too many things to do in the remaining few hours before bed, and began to fill out a long and complicated form.

This wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t filled out the same form three years ago, and mislaid the original submission, so I was now full of worry and confusion that I might fill something out wrong, or with contradictory information to the previous time I filled it out. I kept hunting around on various computers for information I never remembered to store, and then leafing through various certificates shoved into drawers and cupboards, each one usually jammed inside a plastic envelope that stuck to the paper and made it nigh impossible to get out or put away, for fear of ripping or crumpling valuable things. After an hour of petulantly screaming at a plastic document wallet, I realised I could just decant things into easy-to-use paper envelopes, but by then it was too late.

My brain throbbed. My wife phoned up for a pleasant chat, only to be confronted by me having a meltdown over all the disparate pieces of paper. She rang off again. I battled onward, exhausted from my run, exhausted from a day at work, exhausted from not eating properly (I’m sure now that I’ve proved peanuts and chocolate are not a good supper) but things seemed futile now.

As I take myself off to bed, putting away peanuts and chugging down melatonin in the hope it will let me fit nine hours’ sleep into the gap between midnight and 6a.m., I wish I’d kept better filing. I suppose I’ll know for next time.


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