Saturday, December 22, 2012

Breathe. Or Else the Pink Will Get You.

Are you holding your breath? It is that time of year. I may have forgotten to breath several times recently. I've been head down up to my eyeballs both hands in feet buried in several big projects. Although many people go on vacation or disappear at this time of year, some people find that the approaching end of the calendar year means more than the possible end of the world. It means deadlines. From the people at the brokerage houses frantically trying to push through online trades before the so called fiscal cliff throws us all over the edge and for some people slams them with tax increases on their assets to the people employed in the retail stores at the pink pink pink colored malls who want your credit card and dollars in an ever so desperate way.

I found myself in a large mall recently and was overwhelmed by the PINK. My eyes, my brain, were registering screaming pink everywhere. Not red mind you, but PINK. Unfortunately for me I was wearing a pink sweatshirt so I blended in just fine. The keyboards behind the computerized cash registers were slick with greasy finger oil from sweating not terribly cheerful sales personnel.  Just buy the darned thing otherwise don't bother me. And I had a conversation with someone who works in the financial industry who sounded like they were about to pull their hair out (alas, I do not have to worry about any enormous assets) as they told me their computer was responding slowly that day. I'm sorry, it's a busy time of year, can you hold while I transfer you? Push 1 for our hours, Push 2 for online services, Push 3 for tech support... Push 14 for a Representative (followed by: I'm sorry but all of our representatives are busy. If you would like to leave your number we will return your call and you won't loose your place in line. Promise.)

I tortured a colleague by having him test an online Java tutorial today - he was gracious enough to spend part of his Saturday on it. I'm not sure if he was actually in his vacation hot tub in Arizona at the time but it is a distinct possibility.We had a video chat afterwards and I wasn't quite sure if the steam was coming from his head or from bromated water.

Meanwhile, my external hard drive went kaput. Shortly after I backed up years worth of pictures and data onto it, and deleted them from my computer - it died. Fully and completely died. I sadly retrieved it from the repair guys (a woman actually) who told me they had done their best but the data is DOA. I saw more women than men working at the Geek Squad today. Techies. Made me want to ask them about their professional interests in computing, but I was too preoccupied with the demise of my records. From the tight feeling in my chest later, I think I may have been forgetting to inhale much of the time.

Although the world did not come to an end yesterday, some, like House Speaker Boehner, may have felt that it did. I don't believe he can lay it on a computer however. Or the Mayans.

Crazy things happen at this time of year. You learn things you never expected to learn and you see things you never expected to see and people tell you things you never expected to hear. And sometimes you don't.

Impermanence. All things will inevitably change. The year will come to a close. The PINK will (hopefully) recede somewhat into the retail background and the dented keyboards at Macy's and Nordstrom and The Gap will have a chance to recover their shape or at least to dry off. The stock market computers and all the computers tied into them will prepare for the next hair raising economic and political upheaval. Projects will move on to their next stage of life. People will too.

Breathe. It is the holidays and the end of the year and perhaps a vacation of one sort or another or perhaps not or perhaps it is just plain crazy time. Breathe.

Sometimes we just forget to stop moving and breathe. And do it again.


As one friend of mine likes to say:

Now take

three deep breaths.

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