Quality of life and AS exhaustion

AS Exhaustion after social interaction
AS Exhaustion after social interaction is a real thing – from Alis Rowe – the girlwiththecurlyhair

I just came across this pertinent graphic. Seeing as it’s Friday, and I’m pretty well wiped out from the week, it’s very much on my mind. I start to run out of steam by Wednesday evening, so Thursday is often a “wash” for me, and Fridays are nearly useless.

Like many of my colleagues, I work from home on Fridays. It lets me step away from the social interaction — as well as the noises around me and the activity that comes with being in a bustling office.  Just a few of the things I have to contend with:

  • Conversations in nearby offices and cubicles
  • A high whine emitting from a thermostat near the coffee maker
  • An automatic paper towel dispenser that comes to life at irregular intervals and dispenses its waterfall of white with a groan that sounds like a roar to me
  • The sound of the coffee maker grumbling and spitting water and coffee into cups
  • People standing outside my cubicle talking
  • People putting empty binders onto the “free” shelf in the book case beside my cube
  • Colleagues interrupting me to chat about sh*t they care about, but I don’t
  • Ringing of mobile phones
  • The loud hissing and clanking of a liquid oxygen truck that hooks up to the equipment under my window, several times a week, all at irregular intervals
  • Heat from my west-facing windows in the afternoons
  • Solar glare on the windshields of cars parked across from my window
  • People walking up and down the hallway that leads directly to my cubicle entrance — they walk directly towards me before they turn left to follow the corridor across the floor, which means I hear the constant sound of approaching footsteps behind me — yes, it’s distracting
  • The smell of people’s lunch when they heat it up in the microwave just a few meters from my cubicle entrance
  • The sound of the microwave turning on and off
  • The depleting light and annoying hum of overhead fluorescent bulbs
  • The scent of deodorizer in the ladies’ room
  • The shower of diffused deodorizer that sprays into the air (and covers you, if you’re nearby) which gets released at intervals I have yet to time out properly
  • Variable temperatures, depending where you’re located in the building
  • Variable lighting, depending where you are in the building
  • The shaking and bouncing of the floor, as groups of people walk by

That’s pretty much the roster for my daily dose of sensory input. There’s more, of course — especially on days when the A/C is on high, or it’s not on at all. But that’s the bare minimum that I deal with on a daily basis. Most people aren’t troubled by it, from what I’ve seen. I guess I’m just more sensitive.

And I get more sensitive as the week goes on.

So, today, I’m chillin’. I can stim to my heart’s content, and no one will know or notice. I can lie down on the couch and do my work, or I can sit up, or I can pace around my living room in the air conditioning. I can drink as much water as I like, and I can use the bathroom whenever I like. It’s good. It’s freeing. It’s wonderful. And it’s very dark and cool in my living room, with just the side light on and the glow of my computer screen.

I get much more done when I’m at home. I had an early call, and I responded to some emails, and I’ll be able to make some headway on work that I’ve been trying — but failing — to get done in the afternoons (when I’ve been too tired to concentrate properly). Hopefully my 2:00 conference call  will be cancelled today, because then I can have the afternoon — and not be interrupted by having to talk on the phone. I hate talking on the phone. The worst part is, I have to listen carefully, so I don’t miss anything, but much of what’s being discussed may or may not have anything to do with me. I often just check out and look at my email, do other things, or check the latest news, to take the pressure off. But it’s dicey, because I don’t want to give myself away. So I have to keep half-attentive — which is even harder, because multitasking isn’t easy for me.

Well, anyway, I think the 2:00 will be cancelled. And then I can focus on my “big picture” thinking about my job. Planning. Planning. More planning — probably my favorite thing to do, actually… because my plans haven’t yet been thwarted by the realities of politics and resource constraints.

For today, anyway, I can dream…


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