Archive for January, 2009

No, I’m not in the hospital.

January 31, 2009

I was having nightmares that people who read retmeishka are worried about the real me and don’t have enough information. It doesn’t have to be permanently, totally anonymous, it just has to be anonymous from Google’s point of view. So try a search for everything between the capital letters. That’s the name of my non-anonymous blog. It’s got a link in my profile to some other pages.

AeAaAgAlAeAdAoAvAeA9 Wow, that was tricky. How annoying.  It’s not likely to get googled, though, which is the whole point. Pick out everything between the capital A’s. Look for that name on blogger.com, or google it, and that’s my non-anonymous blog. Don’t skip the number at the end of the word. (I tested that. It pulled up some interesting stuff. It found my flickr page too, and comments I’d posted elsewhere.)

Hmm. Make sure there’s no space between the end of the word and the 9.  That got some weird google results.

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ovarian follicle?

January 24, 2009

the ovary theory:

when i get gastroenteritis, perhaps it presses against the ovary. maybe there IS a little bit of appendix swelling, but not a lot. maybe it’s true, the appendix might swell a small amount every time you get a stomach virus, and most people don’t know it, and don’t need to do anything about it, and it takes care of itself.

so it presses against the ovary there and causes pain, which is noticeable at the same time as the gastroenteritis.

here is how the idea got in my head. i glanced at a page mentioning several other things that can cause pain in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen, and the ovary was on that list.

there are some symptoms that might suggest i have problems with my ovaries, but they’re not quite the ‘classic symptoms’ of polycystic ovary disease. still, it might be milder than some other people’s cases. i have whiskers, but i don’t take that as an absolute guarantee of a hormone problem, especially because i have had TWO trips to the doctor where i’ve gotten blood tests done and they said ‘All of your hormones are normal.’ Both times.

i also take the position that the modern lifestyle contains chemicals that act like hormones, which affect some people worse than others. xenohormones, xenoestrogen, etc. i am a feingold-diet kid, which indicates that i do benefit from avoiding certain chemicals.

since this is on retmeishka, i will say this. i’ve been hesitating to talk openly on my other blog, because i started getting news articles saying that employers will google people and find their blogs while you’re applying for a job there. and i’ve been rejected for several jobs. and i had a ‘battle of wills’ telling me to start blogging openly about psychotronics and hearing voices. i’m going to change a couple things and might make my other blog temporarily anonymous. that could be making employers not hire me.

so, anyway, it was one of the voices that called my attention to ‘ovary’ as being a theory i should think about.

since it was a voice, my instinctive reaction is to reject it, except for the fact that it’s in one of those areas where i DO accept ‘advice’ sometimes from the voices and the hackers who send me relevant news articles.

if i were writing songs, then i WOULD be very angry and reject all forms of ‘advice,’ and i would be in direct conflict with them, because writing songs is a CREATIVE activity that involves expressing emotions, and it is very unique and personal and can’t be done ‘collaboratively’ or ‘cooperatively’ with the voices in your head trying to put their two cents in. but in the realm of medicine, i do accept alternative viewpoint suggestions, and this ovarian cyst theory is one of those times.

here is the rest of the ovarian cyst theory. i felt sure that i hadn’t ovulated this month. my cervical mucus texture didn’t change. i hadn’t felt the tiny sharp pain that i sometimes feel in the area of the ovary.

i had read an article saying that the circadian rhythm, using visible light, can trigger ovulation. they related it to the full moon. they said that sleeping with the lights on for three days, as though there was a full moon, would trigger ovulation by affecting the circadian rhythms of the body, whichever gland it is, the pituitary gland.

since i was sick anyway and feeling awful and wanted to be able to see the pathway to the bathroom if i had to go throw up, i slept with the lights on for a couple nights. then, there was the ‘something ruptured in my abdomen, and it wasn’t the appendix’ incident.

the next morning i bled a little bit and i thought i was starting my period. but then, the bleeding stopped. it was vaginal blood, not rectal, and it had nothing to do with my appendix.

that spot of vaginal bleeding would be blood from the ovarian cyst that ruptured; apparently it was a worse-than-usual cyst. i don’t know if it’s proper to call it a ‘cyst’ or just a normal ovarian follicle.

there are some fights going on with the other personas, voices, attitudes, and beliefs. one attitude says that there is something to disapprove of, to frown upon, if you misdiagnose yourself, if you make a mistake. something to be ashamed of if you mistakenly believe one idea, then change your mind about it afterwards.

i was talking about this to peter and i observed that there were some situations where i had originally dismissed people’s claims about things, only to change my mind over a period of years and gradually come to agree with them. for instance, the best example i can think of is that long ago, some woman told me that reheated foods made her sick. i forget who it was. i thought that she was making a mistake and she was misunderstanding something. but now, i’ve come to agree. reheated foods DO have chemical changes that reduce the quality of the foods. the fats and proteins DO change when they’ve been on heat for a long time, or are reheated over and over. so i agree now that reheated foods could make people sick. her observations and her knowledge were probably right. she may have observed it on her own, and also read it and researched it.

so it seems humiliating or bad to think that i have appendicitis, then change my mind about it – and worse yet, to have it happen because the voices in my head were talking to me about it.

there is also something disapproved-of about female hormone problems, polycystic ovary syndrome, and things like that. it’s hard to explain. i have conflicting attitudes. one attitude is that i am a natural hair lover, and i don’t see it as ‘wrong’ for one woman to have more facial hair than some other woman (or for some particular man to have more or less hair than some other). most people immediately think that there is something wrong with female facial hair.

i think it shouldn’t be taken as a sign of illness right away, unless there are OTHER symptoms that really are causing problems. and you shouldn’t strive to get rid of the hair just for the sake of getting rid of it because it’s wrong, and you shouldn’t judge the success or failure of your treatment based on whether or not the woman still has facial hair afterwards and is therefore still having a ‘hormone problem.’ ‘getting rid of excess hair’ shouldn’t be the one and only thing you’re trying to do whenever you treat a female hormone problem. you should get rid of undesired symptoms such as fatigue and infertility and cramps.

but i like to accept variations in hair patterns and i like ethnic and genetic variety, and ‘excess’ female hair is part of that.

plus, the other thing i just thought of is that the vast majority of women who have facial hair HIDE it, so that you can’t even be aware that this ‘symptom’ even exists. it’s very, very common, but almost everybody shaves it off, waxes it, or bleaches it, or has it electrolysized. (i’m not sure if i spelled that correctly.)

if the symptom exists, but it’s hidden, because people are doing external cosmetic things to make it invisible, then you can’t know whether it’s a common, ordinary phenomenon, versus an extremely rare phenomenon that indicates a problem. in our society, doctors aren’t familiar with the normal variations in the patterns of body hair, because so many people shave almost everything off of their bodies, and they shave and pluck their eyebrows, and they cut their hair. nobody has any information about what people’s hair variations would look like if they were left alone. how many people would grow floor-length hair? (my furthest point stops at just above the knee, where the hair is tapered off to just a few hairs remaining, but most of the hair stops around the waist level. i call it ‘classic length.’) how many women have mustaches and beards? how many caucasian people’s eyebrows cross over their nose bridge? (that’s seen as a bad thing in the usa, partly because it’s associated with arabian or middle eastern ethnic groups.)

we don’t ever SEE the normal variations in hair patterns because people remove all of their hair. so you can’t just look at me, and say ‘she has a mustache, therefore her hormone problems must be really bad.’ there are dozens of other women with mustaches who wax them off, but they haven’t all been diagnosed with hormone problems. the government maybe would start requiring all cosmetic products intended to remove female facial hair to have a cautionary warning saying that female facial hair is an abnormality and a sign of disease, and if you are using this product, you are hiding an important symptom, and so you should go to a doctor to get your hormones checked if you feel the need to use this cosmetic product.

(and i’m a libertarian/anarchist, so i’m NOT advocating that the government should do that.)

i don’t have much time left to write. but i’m pretty sure now, after changing my mind, and hearing the opinions of ‘the others,’ that i think i ruptured an ovarian follicle in a worse than usual way for some reason. and that i am now ovulating, or attempting to ovulate at least.

(on another topic which i don’t have time to get into, i also noticed that i liked the way i smelled for a day or two before that. it was in the ‘perfume’ category of smell, which i guess is described as ‘musky,’ but i’m not sure if that’s the correct word referring to it. even though i am no longer using any perfumed deodorants, shampoo, or soap, i still sometimes have a perfume-like scent. it’s definitely noticeable in the past couple days, along with a sharper smell which is probably related to the foods that i am eating or the stress of being sick. i had to mention it.)

appendicitis?

January 24, 2009

i’ve had appendicitis many times before, every time a virus goes around. but this week i just keep getting the virus every time i go to the bathroom at work. it happened again today. about ten minutes after leaving the bathroom, i started getting nauseated. i ended up being unable to eat anything during lunch break. i was perfectly fine until i went into the bathroom, then i inhaled norovirus. i don’t know if i’m inhaling viruses themselves, or the toxin. i don’t know if maybe it’s on the sink faucet handles. i don’t know. but every time i go there, i get it again.

i almost lost it the other night. i was gently tapping on the right side of the abdomen because of a feeling of gas pain and i knew i had some appendicitis, but wasn’t sure how bad it was. all of a sudden my blood pressure crashed. i felt like i was about to faint and vomit. my feet started tingling due to loss of circulation, within a couple seconds. i got up, took my blood pressure, and it was:

94/44, 63 bpm

almost bradycardia, and borderline emergency low blood pressure. it was very sudden. so sudden, i thought that i had suddenly ruptured the appendix. so i stood up, grabbed my wallet and keys, ran out the door without a coat on in freezing bitter cold, and drove to the hospital (which is conveniently only about a half mile away) and sat in their parking lot, waiting to see what would happen.

but my blood pressure went back up, and i started to feel okay again.

i was having problems with the socks i was wearing, because they were contaminated from the carpet. the carpet contamination causes low blood pressure and bradycardia – i’ve had it happen before. so i was already having hypopnea – not breathing enough – for several nights, and low blood pressure. but somehow when i did something to the appendix, something changed very suddenly in a life-threatening way. i was sure that something ruptured and that i was bleeding internally. i almost lost it.

it didn’t hurt, though. it was just that sudden severe loss of blood pressure.

i bought new socks and immediately felt much better, and am no longer having the hypopnea, low blood pressure, and bradycardia that i had been having for several days.

however, like i said, i got the norovirus again at work today. i didn’t get it as severely as before. but my appendix is hurting again tonight. to make it worse, in the week during and before the norovirus appeared, i was eating unusual foods that probably contributed to giving me constipation. i had indian food, which isn’t usually a problem, but i was eating nothing but white rice for a couple of days, and naan bread, and those are the types of foods that will make digestive problems worse in some ways. i mean, if you eat nothing but that. during the virus, i had constipation, appendicitis, nausea, almost-vomiting and a constant struggle to control it, and salivation. i also had gas and burping.

but that weird incident with the crash of blood pressure was very threatening. if i keep getting this norovirus again and again, the appendix won’t be able to recover. that’s why i am looking at photographs of inflamed appendixes right now. (appendices?) they obviously look VIRAL. there is a certain style of how things look when they are infected with a virus. if it’s lumpy, irregular, multi-colored, and ‘messy-looking,’ then it’s probably infected with a virus. cancer looks the same way, and cancer is connected with viruses. warts look like that. and you see it not just on animals, but also on plants and trees infected with viruses. some of the appendix pictures had that multi-colored, irregular, lumpy look.

i don’t want to REMOVE my appendix. i would like to drain it and conserve it as much as possible. i want it to stay right where it is, and continue doing whatever it’s doing. if it can be drained out or cleaned out, and the pressure and swelling reduced, i want to keep it.

i am going to just wait for the norovirus to completely disappear…

(some people are probably going to think that it’s an ovary instead of the appendix.  that’s something i haven’t researched yet.)

People’s Different Interpretations of Electronic Harassment

January 18, 2009

1. Ghosts
2. Obsessive Thoughts / Psychological Problems
3. Multiple Personalities (This is also, to some extent, a real phenomenon that might not entirely be caused by mind control.)
4. Psychic Ability / Lucid Dreams / Astral Projection
5. Paranormal Phenomena
6. Psychiatric / Mental Illness
7. External, Human Attackers Using Weapons
8. Religious / Spiritual Experiences
9. ‘Hearing Voices’ Movement, where the voices are unexplained, but not a sign of illness

10. Electromagnetic Sensitivity / Auditory Sensitivity

Characteristics of these categories (from their point of view, not mine. I disagree with these interpretations, except #7):

1. External entities. Might be dead people. Might be demons or some other ‘energy’ creature that doesn’t have a physical body.

2. Internal. You can fix it by retraining the mind, taking drugs, or using other psychological methods to fix unhealthy thinking patterns.

3. Internal. Caused by trauma or mental illness. Treated by drugs and therapy, or just not treated at all.

4. Internal. Under one’s own control. A skill, a good thing, a blessing, with some downsides or burdens attached to it. If something happens that seems to be not under your control, then it’s caused by ‘subconscious’ mystical knowledge inside you, or maybe the influence of a supernatural entity or other forces.

5. External. Unexplained. Mysterious, entertaining, exciting (if it’s happening to someone else and not you!). Something that makes life interesting. Hints at the existence of unexplained ‘other realms’ or whatever, perhaps an afterlife or energy creatures that don’t have physical bodies, or hints at aliens. May suggest it’s caused by unknown laws of physics or things that could have some scientific explanation but we don’t know it yet. Avoids suggesting that humans cause the events.

6. Internal. Negative. Treatable by drugs and therapy. Assumes that the drugs actually HELP rather than doing more harm or CAUSING you to hear EVEN MORE voices (which is what happened when I took Prozac).

7. My interpretation. Negative, a crime. Solve the problem by building shields, and tracking down perpetrators and physically stopping them. (Negotiation and voluntarily stopping seems unlikely – if they were willing to stop voluntarily, they would have already stopped long ago after seeing how terribly it affects the victims’ lives. Their behavior indicates that they don’t CARE who suffers.) Goal of getting more social support, more money for research and countermeasures. Educate people. Could be positive if it were being used ethically, with consent, to study and control your own mind and body because you chose to do so, not because some invisible stranger zapped you awake in the morning without your consent. Could be used ethically for other purposes such as putting animals to sleep before killing them for meat, so that they don’t feel pain.

8. External source. Positive. Helpful, friendly, loving guidance. Sometimes terrorizing, if God judges you negatively and wants to punish you. Voices of God and angels speak verbally to you whenever you pray, or they send you positive feelings of ‘goodness’ and ‘light’ and ‘benevolence,’ etc. They also influence your choices and actions and they tell you things you might not have otherwise known about. Similar to psychic ability, but comes from without, not within. Religious people of the modern day aren’t aware that, centuries ago, religious authors mentioned ‘The Voice of God’ in a metaphorical sense, not a literal one, and they were quite clear that it was NOT an actual voice using verbal words and talking to them when they prayed. ‘The Voice of God’ was a metaphorical voice only, an inner sense of knowing what was right and wrong in one’s life, and knowing by feeling what you needed to do in life, and being ‘called’ by God to some activity or service mission. IT WAS NOT A LITERAL VOICE!

9. The Hearing Voices Movement is on the internet and is intended to remove the stigma of mental illness. Hearing voices is said to be a normal event that happens to a very large number of people. They avoid being explicit about giving an interpretation on their website, and they accept the victim’s (or lucky, fortunate, blessed, ‘Indigo’ person’s) explanation for how and why it happens. To some extent I agree with what they’re trying to do. But I personally am interested in focusing very strongly on physical countermeasures and on physically stopping the criminals. The HV movement doesn’t tell us what to DO about it, but they have phone numbers to call for social support. I got the impression that their phones were overloaded and they weren’t able to do it anymore, last time I went to their site.

10. External. Accidental, insentient, non-directed, impersonal. May be natural or manmade. Not directed at you personally. Caused by devices of the modern world, like cell phones, radio towers, and electrical appliances. Some people more sensitive than others. (I partially agree with this interpretation, but it doesn’t account for all of the phenomena.) I think there is some combination of ‘sentient/directed’ and ‘insentient/ambient/accidental’ phenomena, where maybe it’s easier to attack people who are already in a strong radio field, etc. Affected by foods, drugs, and chemicals that may worsen the sensitivity. Goal is to make more laws controlling electromagnetic fields – this is one other reason why I’m not quite comfortable with this interpretation. ‘Make more laws’ is their main approach. Although, actually, #7’s external attackers say something similar, like ‘Hold Government Accountable!’ and ‘It’s All Government’s Fault!’ etc, when I think some of it is government and some of it is caused by other criminals. This approach also focuses on ‘Electromagnetic Fields Cause Cancer,’ which I don’t really agree with – at least not yet, though I might change my mind. Claims that a wide variety of physical and mental health problems are the result. I disagree somewhat because I have other beleifs about what causes some of those things – but again, I don’t disagree entirely, and may change my mind over time as I learn.

Norovirus, then a forced awakening in the early morning

January 18, 2009

this is for retmeishka.

I haven’t been writing for a couple reasons. First, the snow has covered up all the St. John’s Wort, and so I haven’t been able to make any fresh batches. The stuff that I have is old, which means that it hardly does anything when I use it, except act as a sedative. I’m avoiding using it, because I need it to do more than just act as a sedative. It also sensitizes me to other chemicals, so I’m not gaining much if all I do is get a sedative effect and more chemical sensitivity, without the ‘achievement/ambition’ effects that I want from the antidepressant constituents.

I have been getting a stomach virus over and over. It’s the norovirus and it’s in the ladies’ bathroom at work. People are going in there and vomiting in the toilets. There is no ventilation – the air is stagnant in there. So the vaporized, aerosolized viruses stay in the air for hours, the same way that the smell of cigarettes would linger in there for hours if someone had sneaked in there and smoked a cigarette. But instead of a little smoke, there is instead a contagious vomit virus that causes symptoms within five minutes.

I started salivating within five minutes of leaving the restroom. Sue almost threw up, and it was maybe twenty minutes after going to the restroom that it happened to her. There was vomit in and around the toilet in the second stall. People are throwing up in the bathroom almost every day, I think, because the norovirus is going around town and everybody’s got it.

I have gotten it three times this week so far, and – or, make that four, I guess, if I count last night. Now I’m confused, it’s either three or four times.

I finally fell asleep sometime after maybe three o’clock. They zapped me awake at maybe seven or eight AM. I can’t explain to the managers at work that I got only three or four or five hours of sleep because mentally ill criminals zapped me awake even though I had been up all night with severe nausea for the fourth time this week because the bathroom at work has no ventilation. And because I have no social support (yet, although I will soon) as a ‘targeted individual’ being attacked 24/7/365, and nobody can provide me with an effective shield so that I can sleep in in the morning without being physically attacked and forced awake.

I don’t know how many other mind control victims there are in Pennsylvania. I can find their blogs on the net, and I can find websites made by people that are meant to be helpful, but they don’t have people producing effective shields and selling them. They also don’t have detectives using equipment to detect and track down the type of attacks that happen to you and finding out where they come from and who is doing them.

So I might contact people through blogs, which is one way that I will begin, but local people might be hard to find. And I have been too sick for the past few months to even try doing anything challenging such as contacting other targeted individuals.

I would want to tell my managers at work that maybe, just maybe, I could have gotten over the stomach virus and managed to come in to work when I was scheduled, if only someone hadn’t awakened me a mere couple of hours after I finally fell asleep after struggling with nausea and sickness all night long. And I can’t tell them that, because non-fellow-sufferers have limits to their belief. They can say that I ‘experienced’ a ‘mental phenomenon’ of some kind, but that is the only way they can describe it. They can’t say ‘Yes, I agree: you were the victim of a physical attack, a crime, and that’s why you couldn’t sleep after having a stomach virus all night.’

I did tell them to schedule me on a three day week. I would want my parents to understand that I’m too sick to work, that all of the problems that have happened to me are real, that my observations are accurate, that my apartment really is contaminated with the essential oils of the herbs that I tried to grow, that I really am being attacked by mentally ill criminals and organized crime gangs and unknown people. I would want my parents to understand that I can’t help it that there are economic boom and bust cycles that caused me to get laid off from the only two good jobs that I ever had that were high-paying and comfortable, in an office environment. When I ask for help from them and they help me pay my rent, they are reluctantly giving help to a daughter who they think is merely ‘crazy’ instead of an accurate, logical observer of reality. They think I’m just having another one of my outbursts or attacks or ‘breakdowns’ or something.

he’s back

January 11, 2009

martin showed up a couple days earlier than i expected. i saw him when i walked up to the front for something. maybe it was when i was getting ready to go on my lunch break. i saw him and got an adrenaline rush for a couple minutes. i was excited, terrified, humiliated, and i wanted to cry. don’t know how much of that was my own feeling, a projected feeling, or psychotronic. the adrenaline was real. i avoided looking at him. i saw enough to notice that it looked like his hair was wet. ‘so much for my peace and quiet’ was the reaction, because i had noticed that while he was gone, at least i wasn’t tortured by voices telling me to go up and talk to him or command him to answer my questions and all the other things they said. when he was gone, i missed him and kept looking for him in the checkout lanes, even still recently, especially because i expected that he might be back on a day that wasn’t written on the schedule. expecting the unexpected. but when i started getting the tortured emotions again, i had this feeling that i forgot what it was that i used to think about when he wasn’t there. when he is there, there is a constant anxiety and awareness that he is somewhere nearby, which at the same time is also a feeling of being glad that he’s there and i know where he is. the conflicting feelings. i forgot what i used to think about. when he’s there, i can’t forget that he’s there and just calmly think about whatever i want to think about.

coffee

January 11, 2009

woke up feeling like a train hit me. finally got some coffee started. it was the last in the bag – it was all i had. after i started it, i heard a strange hissing noise, but i thought it was just some vehicle outside swishing on the snowy wet roads or something. when i went back into the kitchen, i saw that i had not put the coffee pot underneath. the hissing was the sound of coffee falling on the boiler and burning.  i put in the coffee and the water and started it, and the coffee had filled up the filter basket all the way and was beginning to overflow. the basket has a button underneath that stops it from flowing if there is no pot under there, but only for a few minutes till it fills up and overflows. that happened. i at least still have the coffee that’s left in the basket, so i put the pot under it and let it drain down.

i hope the rest of the day goes better…

Multitasking, Scapegoats, Labor Laws, and a Bad Brain Day

January 3, 2009

This was a bad day, but in some ways it was funny. It’s funny if I assume that I’m not really in trouble. I got reprimanded for something that happened yesterday. I don’t know whether they just needed to vent their frustration at a scapegoat, or whether they all really believe that I did something wrong.

Yesterday we had to make a whole bunch of salads in preparation for a sale going on today. I had to make 30 salads, and do my usual cleaning (which takes about 2-1/2 hours if I’m lucky) between 2 and 6 pm, when the store would close early because of New Year’s.

Well, I should have said no to that right away. I should have known that it is not possible to make 30 salads, and do the usual cooking, and helping customers, and cleaning up, in four hours.

In fact, my manager offered me a choice between doing the 30 salads, or doing some other sandwiches and things for the case. She said she would do the salads herself before leaving that day, while I did the sandwiches.

But I had a feeling that what would happen is that she would start the salads, then have to go home, because she was trying to get out on time without going overtime. There was not much time left before she had to leave. So the salads would be left sitting out, and I would be in the middle of doing sandwiches, and then I would have to go finish the salads, or do something with them to at least get them into the refrigerator for the next day. Basically she didn’t have enough time to complete them before she went home, and she would have had to abandon them, partly done.

I am inserting a paragraph here because I want to mention that I don’t blame the manager for what happened. In fact, I feel sorry for her too. Our department, and all the departments, got our hours cut, so we don’t have enough people or enough time to do anything. It’s hard to find people who can work in the evenings, too. And we all get in trouble for getting overtime. So when it was time for her to go home, she had to go. She couldn’t stay any longer to work on the salads. And it would have been a long, long time, too – not just five minutes or something. She would have had several hours overtime. No matter what choices we made, she still had to leave, and I would have to finish the salads by myself.

Well, instead of saying no, instead of questioning the entire plan, instead of telling her that I had a bad feeling about this, I said something like, “!!!YES!!! I HAVE SUPER POWERS!!! I CAN DO ANYTHING!!! PILE IT ON!!!” Actually, I was much less enthusiastic than that in real life. I just calmly said ‘okay, I’ll do the salads,’ as though this was normal. So I started working on the salads, while she worked on the couple of sandwiches for the case, since I knew she could realistically get those done in the short time before she had to leave.

She left, and I worked on the salads, and then did my cleaning and everything else. By the end of the day, of course the salads were not done. They were partly done, but still had a long way to go. Neither one of us would have had time to get them done. If she had started them, she would have had to go home before they were finished, leaving them for me. And when I did them, I had to abandon them in order to do the usual cleaning and shutdown routines.

Well, I put the unfinished salads into the cooler, and suppressed my feeling of anxiety. Then I did the cleaning and went home. I told myself that somehow, by some miracle, she would be able to finish them in the morning. I thought that maybe I would call her on the phone and tell her what had happened.

I did call her later on and left a message. But I didn’t know how to explain it. It wasn’t like anything unexpected had happened. ‘Um, well, we got a bus, and all these people came in and they wanted ten pizzas, and the rest of them wanted sandwiches, and by the time they were gone I had to leave and I couldn’t finish the salads.’ It wasn’t like that at all. It was just a normal day, but very short. And I had foreseen that it would be impossible to finish the salads.

So I just said something vague about how there wasn’t enough time, and I somehow made it sound like this was an unexpected surprise, as though it had never occurred to me that the salads might not get done. But I had felt all along that it was impossible, and for some reason, I hadn’t protested. Maybe I blamed myself, or maybe she blamed herself, I don’t know. But I should have said from the beginning, ‘Whoa, hold on, we can’t get this done in this amount of time.’ Neither of us could. Nobody could. But I said yes to it and then took the blame when it didn’t get done.

When I came in this morning, there were cold shoulders all around. Apparently everybody had heard about the incident, about how my manager had had to finish the 30 salads herself when she came in, while trying to do all the other usual morning procedures, by herself. Everyone seemed cold. No smiles. Just an ‘Oh, it’s YOU’ kind of feeling. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but that’s how it felt.

My manager reprimanded me for not getting the salads done. I had left a message on her phone the night before, thinking to myself that maybe, she would receive the phone message and try to come in early, or something. I really didn’t know what she could do about it. But I hadn’t actually spoken with her. So she talked to me this morning and told me that I needed to learn how to ‘multitask.’

It makes me wonder what HER managers are saying to her. And what are THEIR managers saying to them? Our hours are cut, and it goes all the way up to the top of the company, because they keep track of profits and sales and expenses and all that. And it goes even higher, up to the Department of Labor, in the government, because they’re the ones who require companies to pay time and a half for hours worked over forty. Because of the time-and-a-half law, our employees can’t work a couple extra hours here and there to help out when business levels vary. Instead, we have to hire lots of new people when sales are high, then cut their hours when business is slow, leaving them under-employed.

Well, today it went differently than yesterday. They called another co-worker in to help. It was her day off, but she came in. She wasn’t close to forty hours, so she wouldn’t get overtime.

When she came in, I tried to convey the message to her from my manager. She had told me to tell her: just make ten each of the Asian and Southwest salads, and five of the Caesar. But the other manager who was there sort of butted in between us and told her to make 19 of something (I didn’t catch which one it was) and 15 of the other one, and I didn’t hear how many of the other one. I think it was five Caesars. This was confusing. It was like I wasn’t even allowed to convey a message from one person to another, because I was THAT incompetent and untrustworthy.

When we walked away, I told her that the other manager had actually wanted only ten, ten, and five. So she went back, looked at the situation by herself, asked the other manager what was going on, and then came back and began to made 19, 15, and however many of the last one.

She began at a little after 2:30 and did nothing but the salads all afternoon, with no interruptions.

An hour went by. She had barely begun. She was still setting up the containers, filling the little cups with chips and croutons, and filling the other little cups with salad dressing. (Note, I’m not complaining, this is normal for making salads. It takes a long time to prepare those items and set everything up. I was not surprised that an hour went by and she was still working on that. Salads just take a long time. She is a good worker.)

In my head I was shouting, ‘Come on! It’s been an hour! What’s the problem! Multitask! Multitask!’

Let me point out here that multitasking is something you can do IF: one of the tasks has a waiting period of some kind, during which you would have done nothing but stand around. For instance, if you have to put something in the oven, and it takes four minutes to cook, then you can do something else during those four minutes while it’s cooking.

You cannot multitask if both of the two tasks involve constant work. ‘High-density’ or ‘compressed’ tasks, so to speak. You are already working constantly without standing and waiting. For instance, doing the dishes cannot be multitasked with mopping the floor. You could, but it would be pointless. You could stop doing the dishes, then mop a little bit of the floor, then go back to doing the dishes. You’d have to walk a couple steps from one place to the other, which would waste more time and energy. It would have the same ‘density,’ except it would take even longer because of walking back and forth.

Another hour went by. I looked at the clock and it was 4:30. Yesterday at 4:30, I was at the stage of getting anxious because it was time to start the cleaning and shutdown routines so that I could get done by 6:00. That was about the time when I abandoned the partly finished salads and began the cleaning.

My co-worker right then had only gotten a little bit more done than I had done yesterday. She got a little more done because I was taking the customers and protecting her against interruptions. She had finished filling the containers with lettuce, had cut up the chicken, and was putting the rest of the ingredients on the Southwesterns. I think she had already done the five Caesars – I think it was five, just a small number. They’re the quickest and easiest.

She had said that she could work from about 2:30 till about 6:30. It was informal, since she was here on her day off. But she was getting about the same four-hour period in which to do those salads… except she spent the whole four hours doing NOTHING BUT SALADS. She did not do all the cleaning and shutting down and all the customers and all the hot foods.

At 6:30 she was finishing up. She did more salads than I had to do, and she got all of them done. She did almost forty, while I had tried to do thirty. But she spent the whole four hours doing that, uninterrupted. And, again, I am not complaining. That is a normal amount of time for such a large project.

This demonstrates that it would not have been possible for me to do thirty salads, while also doing everything else. It is not because I am slow, stupid, incompetent, or unable to multitask. It is because it was impossible to do.

If I was to blame in any way, it was by being unassertive. I should have said something right away about how this was impossible.

I thanked her several times for coming in on her day off and helping. I had told her how humiliating it was to walk in and notice that everybody seemed angry at me. I needed sympathy. She said, ‘I’m sorry you had a bad day.’ She was nice about it. I wanted to give her a hug, but didn’t, because I felt shy. She understood that the salads just couldn’t have been done.

I told her: I made a mistake by saying yes when I should have said no. I said yes to doing something impossible.

So, the salads got done today.

I don’t know whether I’m really in trouble for failing to get them done the day before.

***

I had a Bad Brain Day on top of all that, which was not what I needed. I made several bizarre mistakes and I wrote them down on a piece of paper. They were strange mistakes, silly things, and I didn’t even know that I was making mistakes until after it was done. Sometimes I catch myself, but not today. These were clueless mistakes. Several of them were almost the same thing over and over again.

1. I made some hoagies to put out in the case. I used today’s freshly made bread because it was on the rack right next to me. It never occurred to me that we might have the previous day’s bread in the drawer and that I should use that bread first. I was all done with the hoagies, then noticed there was day old bread still in the drawer.

2. I ran out of lettuce while making the hoagies. I opened up a new bag of lettuce and used it, only to find that there was already some lettuce in another tray, and nobody had used it because it was in an unusual location. It was turning reddish-brown. Apparently I’m not the only person who accidentally forgot to use that lettuce, because it was already going bad. So that wasn’t really my mistake. I wouldn’t have used it anyway. But it’s the principle: I should have at least found that old lettuce first. I only found it after I was done.

3. I ran out of onions. I went back into the cooler to get a new bag, and I opened it up and dumped some onions into the pan. I folded the bag shut and put it underneath in the cooler cabinet… only to find that there was already an opened bag of onions under there.

4. I ran out of tomatoes. Guess what I did. I went back into the cooler to go get new tomatoes. I used the new tomatoes on the hoagies, only to find out afterwards that there was already an unopened new container of tomatoes in the cabinet underneath.

5. This last mistake is different from the other ones, but just as silly. I opened a box of frozen pizza dough. I am supposed to label the doughs with a date that says three days from now, which is when it will expire. Today was the 2nd, so I should have written the 5th. Instead, I wrote today’s date on every single dough. I noticed the mistake when I took the tray of doughs into the cooler, and saw that a couple doughs already in there were labeled January 3rd, expiring tomorrow. That didn’t make sense, because all of my doughs said January 2nd… oh. Oops.

There were no serious mistakes, just silly ones.

****

Why didn’t I protest against doing something impossible? This is what I felt: There is a feeling, an emotion, being passed downwards from the very top of the top to everyone below in the hierarchy. It’s ‘You’re not good enough.’ You’re not fast enough. You’re not competent enough. You’re going to get fired. You’re losing money. You should be able to do this, but you can’t.

And I am sure it goes even higher than the top of our company. It goes all the way up to the national government. The law says that we have to do X, but X is impossible. Don’t blame the law, blame yourself. Our papers must say ‘We Made Profits!’ They must also say ‘We Complied With The Labor Laws!’ If we don’t make profits, our business shuts down and goes bankrupt. That’s where the ‘You’ll get fired from your job’ feeling begins. The ‘You’ll get fired’ feeling gets passed down from manager to manager, all the way down to poor little me.

The other feeling is, ‘Our contradictions are humiliating.’ If you question the logic, if you say it can’t be done or shouldn’t be done (like multitasking, for instance, which couldn’t be done in that situation), they feel humiliated. They know it can’t be done. They feel that they have to say it anyhow. They don’t know HOW you can do this, so they say something that doesn’t make sense. If you ask questions, it makes them feel worse. Questions about ‘How can I do this impossible thing?’ make them feel stupid. And that feeling, too, goes all the way to the very, very top. It wasn’t just my low-level manager above me. She feels that way, but it’s not just her alone. It’s everyone.

Well, today is almost over. I hope that I am just a scapegoat and that this was just a temporary stressful moment during our hour-cutting phase, and that it’ll get better when our sales increase and we can all work more hours.