Thursday, May 29, 2014

Diaries of a workaholic

Hi my name is Dina and I’m a workaholic.

I wake up every morning to go to work. I set the alarm at 7:30 and end up snoozing 3 to 5 times until I actually get out of bed, and the first thought I have is “I don’t want to go to work today.” But it stays as a thought and eventually I get out of bed and do the morning rituals. I don’t do this because I lack sleep. I usually sleep my 8 hours give or take an hour or two. Sometimes, I’m awake before the alarm rings; I just can’t get out of bed. I’m usually thinking about my to do list throughout the morning rituals, and I’m usually overwhelmed. Lately, I have had to deal with unpleasant situations or people which make it even harder to know that I have to go through that horrible meeting with those obnoxious people. But it’s a living, and I’m a workaholic.

I arrive at work, drag my feet, turn on my machine and, as we say in Egypt, “Spray the water” (which is a metaphor for the first thing shop owners did in the 19th and early 20th century when they were open for business) and make coffee. I do the morning chats and depending on the energy I get, I start the day. A call here, an email there, a discussion on the side, and my daily computer crash, and we’re already rolling. The to do list gets bigger and I try so hard to check something off without adding 5 more in its wake. I do the runs between the different team members and the different teams; best part is the running about, I can never sit for so long at my desk anyway unless the sky would fall on my head if I didn’t. I remember that I forgot to eat, generally because I start to feel a bit dizzy, so I grab a chocolate bar, or coffee or something with lots of sugar. Let the sugar rush begin! It’s 6 pm already, which is a good thing because people should start leaving the office and the emails will be less and I just might get something done in the end. I live close to work so I don’t worry so much about traffic anymore, and I always have this one more thing to do, one last sheet, one last email, one more task, and before I know it, it’s 10-ish and my mom is freaking out.


Sounds terrible right? My friends are all mad at me, I work too much. My managers are telling me two things: get a life, or get a vacation, but I know that I’m just not ready for either.

The truth is, I get a fix out of it. That moment when I get something done, or help someone at work, or even send a status report; I end up feeling satisfied, even just a little bit. I don’t always enjoy it, but sometimes I do. I know it’s killing me, but I can’t help it. If I don’t go to work, I get a sour taste in my mouth. I’ve actually come to the conclusion that I hate weekends, but I don’t work on weekends as much as I can because I end up resenting myself and suffering from self-pity (as if I don’t already). That moment when I think I have to go home now because I can’t stay at work any longer is not because I miss home, it’s because I know deep down that I might OD and die or something. Going home has become a chore of its own, because then I will have to stop thinking about work (as if) and I have to engage in normal day to day activities. I have to remember that I have problems that I need to deal with or worry about, and that I have been too busy working to give them any room in my head. I have to be a part of a family and do my duty as such. I have to meet my friends and hang out to talk about boys and old bosses and how our parents still treat us like children. Again, please don’t get me wrong. I love my family and my friends. I feel blessed with a wonderful life and I am grateful. But somehow, it’s harder to be a normal person living a normal life than just being at work with all its glorious stink.


And for that fix, I have been doing my MBA! I’m still going through it, with all the assignments and projects and team meetings and classes. I love it; I’m learning, I’m meeting people, and I’m keeping busy. What is even more important than all that is that I get to always be thinking that I have more stuff to do. I will think about the next assignment instead of having to go get a medical checkup. I will complain about this team or that instead of wonder how big a space all those people who died actually left in the world. All the while, I’m learning, I’m adding lines on my resume to tell the world that I do stuff and I am not just a cog in some company’s wheel (because I’m actually a cog in several wheels at the same time; now THAT is multitasking), and I’m keeping that brain of mine that enjoys overloading itself with existential questions busy! Finally, if at a time I go through that list of people I call every time I feel like I miss my friends and no one answers, well who needs them, I’ll call someone from work and get a status instead!

The naked truth is this: I have had it drilled in my head at a very young age that there is always more that can be done. In the 10+ years I have known my dad, I actually knew him for a total of 2 years because he was always working. If I’m not working or studying, then I’m wondering why I exist, or why I’m alone or lonely, or why I feel like my chest will implode. When I’m working or studying, I’m not remembering the bad things, I’m not even remembering the good things which can be a blessing as well. When I’m working, I’m my job or my degree because I don’t have to think about broken cars and law suits and betrayals and lies.

I wonder if it’s hereditary; my dad was a workaholic, and when he wasn’t working he was making sure to keep busy with something! Some argue he worked himself to death; too much work, too much coffee, too much stress, too much cigarettes. Did he also feel empty? Did he feel overwhelmed? Did he hate his life outside of work? Was his family not enough for him? Was it too much? Did he just need that fix, regardless of anything else? I will never know.

At the end of the day, I work, therefore I am real. Everything else is just one of those exhausting dreams where monsters chase us and we wake up more weary than before we went to bed in the first place.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Some People are Cool

Some people are there when you need them, every single time.

Some people don’t answer the phone, but you always know they’ll call back.

Some people you can talk to about probably everything at any time and it never feels off or awkward.

Some people don’t change when their circumstances change, they stay open, don’t hold grudges, treat you now the same way they treated you 3 years ago, 10 years ago, 17 years ago when you first met them.

Some people smile when they see you, even if the topic is sour or if they are sad or down or upset, or if you are sad or down or upset, and that smile is never out of place.

Some people are kind of moody, but then again that fades next to your mood swings, so it’s fine really.

Some people can gossip about everything and anything, make fun of you to your face, don’t need to ask for subtitles, and know more about hair products and make up than you ever will.

Some people read you like an open book, understand your flirts when the person you’re flirting with is totally oblivious, and say that he’s stupid for not getting it, even though you are a geek after all and geeks suck at flirting.

Some people can tell you that you look fat without actually telling you that you look fat and you will never feel horrible about it, not even in retrospect.

Some people are just way too decent in the way they act and the way they talk, it makes you feel like you’re in a PG-13 movie.

Some people have a very sour comeback to other people, or at least they did. I don’t think they still do it, but you know deep down they can.

Some people make you feel like you haven’t grown a day over 12, and that they haven’t grown a day over 12, despite sounding very much their age.

Some people amaze you by actually caring!!! And it always always shows in the little things.

Some people read your stupid blog without tagging them in it or posting it on their wall or asking them to. Some people say they like it too J

Some people are all the above and are wise as well.

And sometimes, talking to those some people in that once in a blue moon event, you always feel like the conversation ended smack in the middle with so much left unsaid. To be continued when they, or you, pick up the phone again in a year or so.

Makes you happy that some people are in your life, even if it is once a year that you talk to them or something.

Some people are just 1 very special person: Mostafa Esmat Sheba (who despite me calling him Sheba lately is known in my house as Mostafa Esmat).


I have a message to some people:

Please don’t allow me to keep you at arm’s length, or to drift, or to think twice before calling you in my next car accident (God forbid).

Please don’t let the world get too much for you that you stop smiling as much as you do.

Please know that you are an important person in existence.

Please take note of the happy moments in life, no matter how few, and of the bad moments because that’s when you make your best jokes.

Please stay honest, with yourself and with everyone else (even though you can be so vague sometimes, you should work on that!)

Please hold on to yourself for me because it’s handy to have someone like you to remind me of who I am, and you know how I have a terrible habit of losing sight of things and people.

Oh, and please don’t wear pink shorts ever again!

Till your birthday (which is probably the next time we’ll talk)

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Monday, May 12, 2014

A Haphazard Bundle of Inconsistent Qualities

“For thirty years now I have been studying my fellow–men. I do not know very much about them. I should certainly hesitate to engage a servant on his face, and yet I suppose it is on the face that for the most part we judge the persons we meet. We draw our conclusions from the shape of the jaw, the look in the eyes, the contour of the mouth. I wonder if we are more often right than wrong. Why novels and plays are so often untrue to life is because their authors, perhaps of necessity, make their characters all of a piece. They cannot afford to make them self–contradictory, for then they become incomprehensible, and yet self–contradictory is what most of us are. We are a haphazard bundle of inconsistent qualities. In books on logic they will tell you that it is absurd to say that yellow is tubular or gratitude heavier than air; but in that mixture of incongruities that makes up the self yellow may very well be a horse and cart and gratitude the middle of next week. I shrug my shoulders when people tell me that their first impressions of a person are always right. I think they must have small insight or great vanity. For my own part I find that the longer I know people the more they puzzle me: my oldest friends are just those of whom I can say that I don’t know the first thing about them.”
--Excerpt from A Friend In Need By W. Somerset Maugham

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