A SAD Train of Thought

4153402_origWell, here we are again. At work. In the cube. I've got so much shit to do.

But it's hard to type and eat my peanut butter oatmeal simultaneously. I'll just look at Vulture while I eat, then I'll get to work.

Oh, look, Parks and Rec GIFs. Man, I love GIFs. I could look at them for hours.

Holy shit, it's already 10:45. How long was I looking at that page of GIFs?!

I should transcribe this interview so I can write that article. It's due by Friday, so I should really get a start on it. I mean, I should not procrastinate; it'll just stress me out.

God, my fingers feel so heavy.

What if I hadn't gotten out of bed today? That would've been great. I love my bed. Even if it sags in the middle. I love it. I love my blankets. I love my pillows. Is it legal to marry an inanimate object?

You'd think that would be an easy question to get an answer to via Google search.

Turns out, no. However, I now know that there exists a woman who claims to be married to the Berlin Wall.

I wonder what their children would look like?

I wonder what their sex life is like?

I'm not Googling that.

I wonder if anyone would notice if I curled up under my desk and went to sleep.

Okay, seriously. Do some work.

Ohhh, that in-the-works all-lady Ghostbusters movie has been cast!

If I could just sleep for, like, a month, I'm pretty sure I'd be all right.

Is it February yet?

Is it the end of the day yet?

Is it possible I'm depressed?

"It's normal to have some days when you feel down."

Thanks. I feel normal.

"But if you feel down for days at a time and you can't get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor."

I don't think work counts as an activity I normally enjoy.

"This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you feel hopeless, or turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation."

Wait. Isn't that what alcohol is FOR?

I could go for a drink right now.

Actually, I could go for a nap right now.

I'm going to close my eyes. But just for two seconds.

Maybe I'm just not getting enough sleep.

Everyone on Facebook is SO FREAKING HAPPY.

Twelve hours is probably technically enough, right?

Okay. I'm going to open Word. I'm going to type for at least five minutes.

Three minutes.

Transcribing interviews is my least favorite thing to do. I can't get motivated to do THIS activity. Ergo:  SAD.

One and a half minutes.

I wonder how much a SAD light costs.

Holy shit.

I wonder if lying in the floor near my open oven would have the same effect as sitting in front of a SAD light.

I just need a three-day weekend. When's the next one?

February 16. Elizabeth Peratrovich Day. Or President's Day, if you live anywhere in the U.S. other than Alaska.

That's, like, eighteen years away.

If I were President of the World, I would declare a mandatory three-day weekend for everyone once a month.

If I were President of the World, I would allow humans to hibernate.

Have you ever read about hibernating bears? It's insane. Bears can turn their own pee into protein, which...does something. Helps with hibernation. I could Google it.

Or I could close my eyes. But only for like two seconds.

I wonder if the glow from my computer screen counts as therapeutic light.

11 a.m. I could reasonably eat lunch now.

But then what would I have to look forward to?

Should it be "laying in the floor near my open oven"?

I could Google it.

Or I could get to work.

Or I could warm up my lunch.

Or I could sit here. With my eyes closed. Just two seconds, I swear.

A message from Overwriters Anonymous

man_looking_at_stack_of_papersMy name is Jamey, and I have Word Count Anxiety. Right now, I should be writing an article about preparing older siblings for a new addition to the family. I am 431 words into an article that needs to come in under 600, and I've only gotten about halfway through all the helpful hints and pieces of advice I've gleaned from my sources.  How do I know I'm 431 words in?  Microsoft Word tells me.  The Word Count feature takes up less than a centimeter at the bottom of my screen, but it might as well be as big as that billboard in Times Square that's featured in every movie that's taken place in New York City, ever. I type, "Include older siblings in planning and preparing," but all I see is YOU'VE ONLY GOT 150 WORDS LEFT, YOU FREAKING WINDBAG.

I'm aware that I could turn off the Word Count feature. But tell me, if you can, how I turn off my brain. The most prominent symptom of Word Count Anxiety, sadly, is a persistent paranoia that reminds you every word you type is one word closer to hitting your max, and no matter what it looks like on the screen, you've probably already gone over. I start a new paragraph and cringe. I look at my notes and launch into the next subhead, and I physically squirm in my seat:  Hooooooow am I going to keep this thing under 2000 words, much less 600?!

Knowing that I can edit a piece down doesn't help. The second symptom of Word Count Anxiety is the certainty that whatever you write is there for eternity. No matter how many times you go back through your article, no matter how ruthlessly you cut, the Word Count feature will always, always read 610, or 605, or 602, or 601 -- but never, never, NEVER 600.

Common side effects of Word Count Anxiety include dramatic sighing; hair pulling; frequent consultations of the thesaurus to confirm your suspicion that there exists no single word to convey the suggestion that mothers breastfeed their infants while simultaneously allowing their toddlers to sit by their sides, reading pictures books, so as to make said toddlers feel included and attended to; and procrastination (hence this post).

Early warning signs of Word Count Anxiety include the apocryphal stories your parents tell about how you were SUCH a jabberbox when you were a small child. I can border on downright taciturn now, but to hear my parents talk, I never shut up before the age of ten.

There is no known cure for Word Count Anxiety.  There is, however, blame to be cast upon others. For instance, in high school, I had an English teacher named Mr. Mason; I consider him my enabler. When he would announce to the class that our papers examining symbolism in The Catcher in the Rye had to be at least five pages, he immediately followed this requirement by looking my way and saying, "Keep it under ten, Bradbury." As a teen, I was nothing but grateful for his leniency. As an adult person who writes articles for magazines with limited space, I want to throttle him.

If someone in your life suffers from Word Count Anxiety, please be understanding. Don't scoff or laugh or make comments like, "I WISH I had that problem!" Though your intentions are understandable, you don't know what the fuck you're saying.

The only treatment for Word Count Anxiety appears to be massive amounts of alcohol.