Rainy Days and Mondays


There’s something weird about the way rainy days effect us. I’m sure you’ve felt it. Everything becomes a little harder to concentrate on, a little harder to complete, a little easier to put off. Days like this, I pretty much only feel like reading, staring at TV, or making love.

Of course, there are some who have the exact opposite reaction. For these people, falling rain seems to trigger some sort of manic nesting urge; they plow through dishes, laundry, sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming – hell some don’t stop with just cleaning up things as they are, but go right ahead and rearrange the furniture. The worst thing about these energized types is that they tend to assume everyone else is one as well – my mom was that sort, while I was growing up, and there was nothing I hated worse than being stuck in a house with her, with rain pouring outside, and mother rushing around inside demanding that i collect my dirty clothes, put away my clean clothes, make-up my bed, and fold laundry.  There was no escape, and it was guaranteed to end badly: her cleaning frenzy would run smack into my unmotivated sluggishness, she’d get irritated that I wasn’t doing things quickly or thoroughly enough, and I’d be irritated that she was saddling me with things to do when all I really wanted was to nap on the couch. Before long there would be bitter words bandied about, and she’d threaten me with one form of corporal punishment or another, forgetting that she’d never spanked me in my life, and I was perfectly certain that she wasn’t going to be starting this day…

Now that I’m all grown up (and then some) things are a little different. Now it’s my boss who’s the over-achieving fanatic, and rainy days are the days he customarily chooses to start new projects. One day he wanted to rearrange a storage area, another time it was re-arranging a computer lab. My colleagues and I have begun to dread rain, and find various excuses to keep out of the boss’ sight while water falls from the sky. That’s the critical thing to know about people who experience rain-frenzies:  the entire phenomenon is opportunistic, and impulsive. Anyone who is seen can be dragooned into service, but he never seems to want to call people in or track them down.

So it becomes about stealth. There’s a zen to it: one must channel one’s laziness into action … there are several proven techniques (and somewhere in America, some lazy bastard is inventing new ones):

1)  The “Hide in plain sight” strategy – you must know what the boss’ priorities are … choose something high on that priority list, then do just enough that it appears that you are busy with it. The boss, energized by the rain, will see you, but likely won’t pull you off your highly important work, to foist make-work on you.

Drawbacks:  Most of the time, the boss won’t remember why he didn’t make you work on re-arranging the store room – but every once in a while, he will, which means you need a good reason why you didn’t get further with that high priority stuff you were doing … depending on the nature of the task, your excuse can be physical illness, someone else not being on the ball, a rival department getting in the way, computer failure (my personal favorite: it’s my job to fix computers), or a one in a million dire catastrophe. (If you go with the last one, it must be something the boss won’t know is false: alleging a tornado destroyed your work-station, for instance, will not work with even the most stupid of bosses. A chance cosmic ray, damaging memory and deleting all your work, on the other hand, will be difficult to disprove. Better still, you can allege a momentary power glitch – “you didn’t notice that flicker of the lights? It dumped all my hard work!”)

2) The “Ninja” strategy – where the previous strategy involved being seen apparently doing important stuff, the ninjutsu (‘way of the ninja’) approach involves not being seen at all! At the same time, there must be ample proof that you were, in fact, at work, or you could get docked a day’s pay … the way of the ninja is difficult … you must develop the ability to know at all times where the boss is, and keep a mental map of your surroundings in your head … if you can do these things, it becomes a simple matter to simply not be where the boss is … you can become a perpetual rumor … a whisper … a myth …

In fact, there are people who have so mastered the art of the shadow-worker, that they are always out of the boss’ sight – except when it’s time to dish out raises and promotions. The premier ninja can be passed in the hallway, with an exchange of good mornings, and forgotten almost at once … all that remains in the memory is the encounter itself, no face, no name. The ninja must blend with his surroundings, dress exactly like everyone else, only speak to leave evidence of his presence, never disagree, oppose, or opine about anything … if possible, his voice must be soothing and boring at the same time, lulling the listener from attention, and making the entire encounter almost totally forgettable … “Oh, yeah, he stopped by my desk a little while ago … don’t really remember what he said, but he’s definitely here, somewhere …”

Drawbacks: the most successful ninjas can blend so well, that no one can put a face to the name … soon, they may get to the point of having to introduce themselves, in order to leave evidence that they were at work. Worse, this sort of thing tends to bleed over into your social life:  you become the date she can’t remember, or, if you’re already married your wife and children may lose track of what you look like … indeed, one master of ninjutsu was so successful, that he became the guy his wife was cheating on him with!


~ by dourscot on February 11, 2013.

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