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February 9, 2000

It's tough to be on a diet and depressed at the same time. No, I'm not clinically depressed, but on days when it's dark and dreary out, and the demands on my time and energy are coming from all directions at once, all I really want to do is sleep. If I can't sleep I want to eat. I opened the freezer today and noticed a carton of ice cream that has been there since — well, a long time. I still have snack foods in the house from before I started on the Slim-Fast program (it's only been three weeks). Chips and salsa. Snickers and Milky Ways. Pop-Tarts and chewy granola bars. Jelly Bellies. I'm not tempted to eat any of these things, except when my resistance is lowered by too little sleep and too much work.

Here's the deal: It irritates me when the same people who are keeping me from doing something are the ones who repeatedly ask me when that something will be done. January was devoted to getting W-2s and 1099s out. February is supposed to be my time to get last year's books ready for the accountant, for taxes and financial statements. We're now over a week into the month, and I've been able to do exactly nothing. I have an insurance audit next week, and that took some unanticipated time out of my schedule. We are working with the State to get two new contracts lined up, and that's taking some time. The Boss's son had to turn in an elaborate bid Monday, and that really took time, because he needs help with the paperwork every step of the way.

In between are the usual phone calls and standard interruptions, and every time I'm about to start working on what I'm supposed to be doing, something else comes up to stop my momentum, so that when I've dealt with distraction number 3,754, it takes me so much time to get back in the groove that I might as well have not started in the first place, since it's the same as if I were starting over anyway.

And that's on a good day, which this wasn't.

When the day starts with a phone call from the Boss, and he says, "I think I'm about to ruin your day," you can be sure that he's right. Once again, his trying to get the better of someone has created a crisis, and the burden is on me to solve it. He's put off this project so long that the deadline is two days away, for something that I should have had the whole week to do.

So things that could have been done by mail are now forcing me to get into my car and drive, in the rain, for half a day. And his threats and delays have so irritated the manager of this upcoming project that he's now looking for an excuse to give the job to another company. I get to be the mediator, letting other critical tasks go while trying to get both sides to back off from their hard line stances. It's not all that easy when I'm so exhausted that I'm ready to punch a hole in a wall myself.

Some days the best thing I can do is give up, and deal with the nits and gnats instead of trying to tackle the boggarts and dementors.

If I could only have some time. One hour when the phone doesn't ring. No, two hours, because it would take the first hour for me to believe it was really happening. I could get so much done in an uninterrupted hour of concentrated effort. That's why I work weekends and often give up on weekdays.

My sample ballot arrived today, so I can start getting into the candidates and issues I'll be voting on in a month. Sooner, actually, because I will vote by absentee ballot. As usual in California, there are no less than twenty state ballot measures to ponder. Some of them will require a lot of research in order to know what's right. Others, especially the social issues, are easy.

For example, that nasty Proposition 22, the "limit on marriages" initiative. This is the one that says that your sons and daughters who happen to be homosexual should not have the same rights as heterosexuals. I guess it's telling us that we can still choose to discriminate against members of certain groups, as long as we can get a majority of voters to go along with it.

Pretty simple, isn't it? If you're going to fall in love, make sure it's with someone of the opposite sex. Otherwise, you can't make your relationship legal, and you don't get the same entitlements allowed to your neighbors. You are prevented from being a fully vested member of society not because of anything you've done, but simply because of who you are. It would be no more fair if your rights were taken away only because you had brown eyes, or brown hair. Or brown skin.

We've spent a few hundred years trying to build a nation where the rights of each man and woman cannot be arbitrarily restricted by the government, and where the government cannot bestow privileges arbitrarily without making them available to each citizen. It's been too long a road to get where we are, and we have too much further to go, to allow a step back. All movement should be in the direction of making society as fair as we are capable of making it.

If only all the decisions I'll have to make before turning in my absentee ballot could be this easy.

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