The metal doors close behind you. You look back with a shudder. Who puts giant metal doors on an office building? Who are they trying to intimidate? You work for a pillow manufacturing company, not the army.
You shake off your shudders and stroll forward slowly, second-guessing the snack you should buy from the store. Suddenly, something seems strange. The only words you can think of begin with the letter s.
The senior manager said some silliness sometimes occurs moments after sailing.
Yet, you haven’t surfaced a sailboat in some time. So what’s with the s’s? Stressed, you summon the courage to spin back, to the spot you just left. To your surprise, the workspace is gone. No sign of any structure is within sight.
Sudden Swamp Syndrome
For all your sailing, you’ve never learned to swim. Stupid, you know, but now’s not the time for scolding.
Your eyes scan the swamp and land on a small vine, some seven or so inches away. You swing your body towards the savior and grab hold. You struggle somewhat, but nevertheless, save yourself from the stark subterranean depths.
Standing, you work to slow your breath.
“Happy Monday,” you say sarcastically.
So much uncertainty
Your mind starts to clear. Slowly, surely, your vocabulary begins to expand. You’re not sure why, but words outside the s range are accessible to you once again.
Perhaps whatever dream you’re in has started to fade – or maybe you’re in a swanky simulation of sorts – either way, you’re pleased that your language is no longer as limited.
- Where am I?
- What happened to the building?
- Why am I in a swamp?
- Why am I filled with so much alliteration?
You are flummoxed; filled with questions.
The scribbles of your circumstance
You must be in a dream. You have to be. What else would explain the weird wonders of these wanderings? But it doesn’t feel like a dream… it feels more like…
You know what you must do.
You reach your hand down deep, into the internal depths of your cargo shorts pocket. From the abyss comes a note. Hurriedly, you hustle to help open the note from its holster. The message becomes clear as you unfold the creases.
Several sessions in the swamp
This isn’t how you intended to spend your day, but believe it or not, it’s not the first time you’ve landed in a swamp. This kind of thing happens all the time to you. Well, not all the time, but it’s certainly happened enough that you don’t rely on any rigid plan.
Sure, you have an outline for what your day may look like, but it’s loosely held.
After all, there’s no telling when you may randomly end up in a swamp where your office building should have been.
Now, your first few flailings led you to frustration: you are a planner who likes to plan. Who likes to control the chaos as close to one can. So when you first ended up in a swamp by some gravitational anomaly, you threw a fit. Upon the second such experience, however, you became more understanding.
And each subsequent swamping became smoother.
A smart lesson in strategy (and other such matters of planning)
You know you could get a different job in a place more… as they say… gravitationally secure. Really anywhere else on Earth would do. But you like your job testing pillows, plus you get hazard pay for the inconvenience, so it’s worth it… to some extent.
In the process, you’ve gained some valuable truths that you weren’t expecting but have made use of since.
One of such being that life is unpredictable. And that, while it’s good to plan, you need to be flexible. Because one day you’ll be in the office, the next you’ll be in a swamp with mild amnesia, a scrambled mind, and a heavy dose of alliteration.
*Another lesson you’ve learned (the hard way) is to put a note in your pocket each day reminding you of your circumstances in the case of a swamp-like summoning.
Stick to your plan until it stops serving you
Anyways, you still plan.
You still do your best to control the chaos knowing full well that sometimes, no matter the preparation, you may end up in a swamp. It won’t be enjoyable, but it’s certainly easier to accept when you aren’t holding rigidly to your timeline.
You simply make your way home, all the while adjusting your schedule and remapping out your plan for the week.
Life is unpredictable, you know, and sometimes plans need to be adjusted. It doesn’t make planning ineffective though. Because eight of ten times, your plans come to pass just as expected. You get done what you hope and make the progress you desire.
You’re not sick, you’re swamped
For the other two out of ten, sure, you’ll be in swamp and all, but you’ll have plenty of time to adjust your plans on your long, wet walk home. These things happen. It’s what your hazard pay’s for.
You just wish your boss wouldn’t take the absence out of your sick leave.
You didn’t choose to become swamp-bound, after all. But alas, they call it swamp leave and it’s considered the same as sick leave. There’s no point in wallowing though. Tomorrow will be a better day.
Tomorrow is always a better day.
You start the languorous walk back to your loving home with thoughts of a long shower and a hope that tomorrow you’ll be lounging once again amongst the pillows plush.