Friday, November 12, 2004

Weak Spots

I think that Satan and his minions use electronic machines to try to undo me. I'm actually serious. I've thought this for years now. Big problems, crises, catastrophes--I actually do pretty well, considering, in those circumstances. One Thanksgiving, my father almost chopped his finger off with a carving knife. The entire household, especially my mother, were running around frantically. I was searching through the turkey to make sure there wasn't a large chunk of finger in it. My father finally held his bloody hand up in the air and yelled, "STOP! Ellen is going to take me to the hospital." So I calmly drove him to the hospital. I still sometimes wonder if I should have been a nurse.

However, the little irritations and roadblocks will eventually wear me down to tears. This week was a prime example. My computer crashed more times than I can count. I've been in a spiraling approval war with our parent company through email because of a little tiny worm on a logo (literally a worm, like as in earthworm, not computer virus.) It took me two full days to print out one document because my design program was refusing to speak to my operating system. Then the printer problems started. It jammed so many times today, I finally just sat on the floor in front of it, pleading with it for cooperation. There were font problems and frozen screens. This evening put me over the Tears Edge. I came home and tried to download some pictures from our digital camera and... nothing. I felt so hopeless. I just gave up and cried.

This afternoon, after my fifth computer crash, I wailed, "Why? Why why why?!" and buried my face in my hands. My boss thought about it and said, "You have a lot of machine problems, don't you?" "Well, duh." I said. "I mean you have more than a normal person." It's really true. The copier jams if I even walk by. The Help Desk knows my voice. But it's not just at my present job. It's always been this way, at every job. Every machine.

I think Satan discovered one of my weak spots early on, and knows the days to sock it to me. He tries to wear me down, little by little, paper jam by paper jam. Until everything, not just the machines, feels like it is out to get me.

For instance, I'd been feeling okay about "not looking pregnant." But today, after my awful week, I found myself at a coworker's Going Away party with three other pregnant women, all due within a month as me. They are all really showing, even the girl due two weeks behind me, and I'm just not. I have a few outfits that might make a stranger stop and try to decide if I was with child or not. But I guess I wasn't wearing "pregnant pants" today, because a coworker was admiring one of the other pregnant tummies and then pointed at me and said, "And then you've got Ellen, who doesn't look pregnant at all." Then at Walmart this evening, an old family friend blinked in disbelief when I said I was 27 weeks. On another week, I would've blown it off, but not today. I'd been worn down too far.

I'm praying that next week is better.


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