Wednesday, February 02, 2005

running on fumes

Nikki, commenting to a client about my sudden inability to distinguish left from right, said "He has had about six hours of sleep in the past three days". And while that's not entirely accurate, it's pretty close to the truth.

I got to sleep at around 4AM this morning, a few hours after a midnight call from a client with requirements who was a natural owl like me. Then I woke up to the sound of my cell phone at 7AM, with another client who decided to go ahead with a pair of BTL (below-the-line) campaigns, giving me a briefing on the phone. I also had a scheduled morning meeting in the Bay area which lasted until around 1PM. In the midst of that meeting, a crisis struck, concerning one of the placements I reserved and confirmed for another client. Back in the office, I apprised my staff of the horrendous deadlines and read my emails, and my heart sank when I noticed a thick Manila envelope for me, sitting heavily on my desk - from my website client with their ream of changes. Two clients to go, and I still had to do my groceries. I decided to hit two birds with one stone, brought my family to Galleria and met with the Leasing department and smoothed out the knots. Then down to the Supermarket for comestibles and sundry. Of course, my cell phone rings and it's a client wanting to talk about an idea I pitched to them a month ago. Back home with the groceries, I take off my shoes and lie down for a power nap before getting back up and doing some technical writing. Over dinner, another client calls to tell me they'd faxed my office their conforme for a juicy project I've been anticipating. One of the obvious lessons here is that client trust, once gained by good performance, does lead to other engagements - and the belief that I am mutant with the startling ability to multitask beyond human capacity. I've already turned down a couple of projects, just to keep sane.

So it's now almost 9PM and I still have a ton to do, a mix of analysis, writing, project management, campaign planning, collaterals planning, multiple photo shoot shot lists, and fretting about timetables. In the back of my head, segregated from the concerns of helping other people communicate better or improve upon their businesses, is the constant anxiety over the status of my pet store, as well as the concern that I am about to turn into a pile of gibbering mush. And I still have my personal creative stuff to do, in a sad attempt to maintain my discipline of writing despite the magnitude of other things that require my attention.

Nearby, my stack of new pirated DVDs call out enticingly, singing in harmony with all the unread books that sit unloved and ignored on our bookshelves and bedsides - and yes, I do plan to give in, maybe after this post, just to zone out and recharge my brain cells.

These are what keep me sane and going like the Energizer Bunny:

Sage, helping me remove my socks, her features arranged in grim determination to triumph; and later, telling me about all the people she invited to her 3rd birthday party next next Sunday; and again later, telling me she loves me;

Nikki, sick as a dog herself, valiantly hurling herself against the cliffs of copy requirements but managing always to maintain her good nature and what buddha calls "her grace"; sharing a cigarette with me during lunch by the bay; relentless teasing me about my "secret and shameful top 10 movie" (what it is, I'll never tell, because my entire dubious reputation as a person of taste would collapse like a house of cards); and telling me she loves me;

And one of my clients, in a moment of epiphany, who told me just how much he appreciated all my work - before proceeding to recommend my company to his friends.

Plus the knowledge that I'm running a game on Friday, and am having the usual rejuvenating dinner and maybe singing with my friends over the weekend.

While life is not work, work does play a big part in my life. I am nowhere near the point where I can afford to sit back and money just gushes in. I'm just glad that when I feel like I'm running on fumes, I have somewhere where I can stop and rest, even if just for a while - the embrace of wife and daughter, the invigorating clarion call of a new idea for a story, and the sense that somehow, the work I do is not utterly pointless. I am thankful I have no really terrible crutch like drugs, alcohol or self-pillorying to get me through my times of anxiety, apart from nicotine and caffeine.

Do I think about escaping and running barefoot, free from the demands of business and other people? Of possessing a sinecure that provides money for little or no effort? Of course I do. But that's not very realistic. A little too escapist and time-wasting for my taste.

Enough jibberjabber. My thoughts diminish and have become too tangential. The moment of decision has arrived: continue to work or take a movie break?



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