It has been a day for me. They sent me home from work because I was not able to function properly. I couldn’t smile and when you work for the famous mouse, I ain’t saying name except for he-who-must-not-be-named-for-company-policy reasons, smiling is the only thing that matters for most managers. So there I was, at home sitting at the table with my laptop trying to give birth to ideas despite the headache, the fatigue and the dreadful feeling of hopelessness over my shoulders.
Astrid sits at the opposite side of the table, opens her journal and starts dragging out different colored pens out of her bag. I’m writing on my laptop so I pay no attention at first. After one minute I see her pacing around, the journal still open and about ten pens and five markers laying by its side.
She starts mumbling something about a red pen but I’m still doing my thing when she asks me “Have you seen my red pen?”
“No. But why do you need it? You have like a thousand pens right here.”I pointed at the messy table.
“NO! It has to be red. I started with red.”
I glance and see a half paragraph written in red, such a horrible anxiety-inducing color. Who in their right minds would use it? why, Astrid of course. Anyways,
“Loca, just use whatever color, what’s the big deal?”
“It. Has. To. Be. Red.”- She scratchs her hair in exasperation.
I stare at her with my poker face “Okay.” and keep writing.
“A-ha found it.” she says after a few minutes.
“Where was it?”
“In the bag.”
She starts writing and I eventually hear a loud thump and a parade of curses.
“Five minutes looking for you so you could die on me. ” she says with a fine voice, the kind actors have when they’re about to lose it in the movies.
She looks at me, and we start laughing while she keeps trying to write with it. Not a drop of ink comes out.
“And on top of that I don’t have any other red pen- she yells while searching through her equally messy desk and looking in her collection of unusable pens- ASK ME ANY COLOR I BET HAVE IT BUT NO, NOT RED!”
“Linda, calm down, I have about 20 red pens I’ll give you one.”
I give her one and she starts writing. After a minute I hear more curses.
“¿Qué?”- I asked.
She shows me the inkless tracings on the white paper.
“Ay, give me that.”
This is one of the situations when you don’t trust the other person knows what they’re doing and think you can actually make it work.
“Think I don’t know how to use a pen?”says while laughing.
I was able draw ink out of it to her surprise. “Yeah, apparently so.”
“It’s me. It’s just me”
After a minute of writing, even more beautiful words come out of her mouth.
The pen started out fine in the first sentence and it slowly faded away until it became nothing. She gives an exasperated sigh and throws her hands up while laughing about it.
“That’s it. Screw this, at least I tried.”
I join her laugh and we forget the mental fatigue and anxiety for a wonderful moment.
And this is everyday for us: a constant unending struggle. Being underwater in a sea of worries while breathing through a straw.
We’re outside walking on a tightrope barely making it to the other side because the strong wind threatens our balance and sometimes, just sometimes, we tumble and hang on with one hand holding onto that rope we call life waiting for someone or something to bring us back on that rope.
But we never walk on solid ground, not because we want to but because we can’t.
And we fight it together with some quirky humor because what the hell.