This has been my longest Mellowcat hiatus since I started up about eight years ago. So what the hell happened? Got real busy at work, that’s what.
I’m usually pretty busy (or trying to look busy), but this time was different. I was involved in this big project over the last year and a half, and it finally came to fruition a few weeks ago. During the final month or two I could think of little else besides the Project, so Mellowcat fell by the wayside. The Project included lots of participants, many tricky technical problems, and a high-risk, high-reward payoff. But it’s finally done, and not a moment too soon. I doubt that anything like this will come my way again at work; my current project is to make myself easily expendable. But I might as well take a moment here for reflection on how it got the upper hand.
Actually, the past project was prologue to my current plan. If this big thing worked out, then it would make it easier for me to disentangle from the stuff I’ve been working on and move along without leaving behind a big mess for somebody else. I’m all about “leave no trace” in the outdoors, and much the same in all other aspects of my existence. So now this critical first step is done, and I have a few other things lined up that need work, but once completed will make things a lot easier for the next person.
But I didn’t care for the way this thing took over all of my waking and dreaming thought processes. I couldn’t think about anything at all with the damn Project elbowing its way in. I did make a concerted effort to elbow it aside, but never did quite figure out a good technique for that. Many was the night that I tossed and turned for hours thinking about one thing or another that would likely cause a catastrophic failure. I can’t recall the details of any of those imagined disasters now, but they were a pretty big deal at 3am on some random Tuesday.
A key problem to solve in the marathon is that you have to keep going much longer than your selves will allow. There’s a lot of back and forth, with physical shutdown processes initiated that you have to over-ride with mental strength. I tried to tap into that to turn off the work-related thought control, but had limited success. The best I could come up with was a stalemate. I maintained a semblance of normalcy in my day to day activities, but the Project Demon held sway.
We’re on the other side now. The Demon released me today. I was able to walk unhindered by troubleshooting, problem solving, and contingency planning. We were just out there with the birds, beasts, land and sky. There were a lot of White-crowned Sparrows today, and this one pretty much captures where I am at right now.
You know how they say an ant can lift 5000 times its own weight? That’s how this Project was for me. It was a big lift. But to other people, it wouldn’t be a big deal. I mean, c’mon. How much do 5000 ants weigh?