Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Opposite of "up"

Feeling fairly down at the moment. I'm dealing with the aftermath of a massive adrenaline spike round about lunchtime, followed by an emotional kick in the goolies during the afternoon.

Today was a co-worker's last day in the team - she's leaving for a more interesting job elsewhere. I've only been on the team for a couple of weeks now but, when I found out that no-one had arranged a goodbye lunch for her, I figured "what the hell, worth a shot".

This is the first time I've organised something like this, so I made a point to cover all bases. I booked the restaurant, sent emails to the group, kept a log of who was coming. I even called in to the restaurant earlier today, just to make sure nothing could go wrong. I got everyone out of the office promptly, made sure they made it to the restaurant, ordered food, and sat chatting while we waited for it to arrive.

And waited. And waited. And waited.

After 40 minutes, we're getting a bit worried. The food hasn't arrived and, although the conversation has been excellent, we do need to be back at the office in about half an hour for a team meeting. It's only a three-minute walk so this isn't a problem, as long as the food arrives now. I check with one of the waitresses and she tells us it'll only be five minutes more.

So we wait. And wait. And wait. And all the time my blood pressure is getting higher and higher as I contemplate the consequences of having invited everyone to a lunch at which no food was actually served.

Turns out that the restaurant next door had closed for the day, so all its business was coming to our restaurant. And, being such helpful fellows, they couldn't possibly turn anyone away...

Eventually the manager comes over to us and confesses that there's unlikely to be any food arriving. He's very apologetic, and offers us a stack of free pizzas for collection in half an hour or so. So at least people got some lunch in the end, but it was still bloody stressful to feel like I'm responsible for everyone going hungry.

That was Act One. By this point, I'm on the boil, out of my mind on fight-or-flight hormones, I feel like the sky is falling, etc, etc. And another co-worker (who hadn't even been to lunch) picks that moment to request that I don't talk to him again except about work stuff.

That's kinda harsh. The worrying thing is, I have this complete uncertainty about whether I did anything to deserve it. I've said nasty things to this guy previously, but only in a well-defined context of mutual bloke-on-bloke teasing. Did I cross a line? Did I go outside that context? If so, why did he wait til now to say something?

Or, more worryingly, is it something I'm not even aware of that set him off? I react very badly to adrenaline. Round about the lunch-induced hormone spike, there are periods where I can't remember precisely what I said to whom. What did I say to him???

My brain is currently frying in its own juices on a mixture of emotional exhaustion and Othello-level paranoia. So no management skepticism tonight. I'll be OK come tomorrow, when my body chemistry is normal and the molehill stops looking quite so mountainous.

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