Prompt 277-Grinds My Gears

What grinds your gears and really annoys you?

For a self-proclaimed “super laid back” chick, I certainly find myself in a state of annoyance more often than I care to admit. Maybe it’s a hyperawareness thing; I recognize when I’m annoyed more because my mental image of myself is serene and imperturbable and then it stands out when something grinds my gears. They were sure grinding today.

I wrote about my thoughts on road rage once before, and how I find it to be overrated. Everyone is always in a hurry and everybody else be damned. I do my best not to let other drivers rile me up with their reckless weaving or their tailgating and horn honking. If they do manage to get under my skin for a moment, I am usually pretty quick to let it go. But this morning I witnessed some incredibly inane maneuvering on my commute that just had me yelling “really buddy?! Really?” at the back of their white Denali as they cut me off. It didn’t get very far before getting stuck behind a much slower vehicle going roughly the same speed as the car they were passing. It had me shaking my head the last few miles to my exit.

Because of the holiday on Thursday, I can’t get OT this week for any extra hours I work. (I’ll still get paid for them of course, but they won’t be at the higher rate and therefore not really worth it.) I was stuck half an hour late yesterday, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to leave early today, so I decided to recoup that half hour by going in late this morning. I have a 7:15 meeting tomorrow and Friday, so I can’t recoup the time either of those days, but my first meeting today wasn’t until 8:10 so it worked out.

Or so it seemed it would work out. I am very set in my routine, and I do not like when a wrench is thrown into it. I got stuck late again. Doing work I don’t normally do because my earlier schedule doesn’t leave me with enough time for it. Because the guy who usually runs the report is off getting married this week (which, congrats! That is exciting and he deserves a break!) and I got shanghai’d into being his backup. Which meant I got stuck in traffic and home late for the second day in a row.

Now, “late” is incredibly relative here. I was still home an hour before my husband, and it was no later than your average white collar worker’s dinner time. But it is my time of day to decompress after the stress of the office before I start into my evening routine. That time was cut very short tonight. And so the gears, they grind.

I get that when people are out, the rest of the team picks up the slack and makes sure the work still gets done. I don’t really have a problem with that as long as it has been communicated to me ahead of time. It was sort of sprung on me last minute yesterday. Basically, “oh by the way, this week you’re covering that afternoon report that starts running when you usually leave.” It’s also a file I am not all that familiar with yet, although it is one I will be getting to know over the coming weeks as I fully transition to my new role. (Another role I do not particularly want but am once again left with little choice—but that’s a gripe for another time). There were others who could have run it. It wasn’t necessary for me to stay late on a holiday week where I won’t get the benefit of extra pay for those hours.

“But it will be a good opportunity for you to learn now.”

Sure, but I’m gonna be annoyed that it is cutting into my personal time.

“It’s your job. It’s why they pay you.”

I applied to this company because I liked their culture (and yes, the pay). I never signed up for my current role, was transferred out of necessity, and they do not quite follow the company culture that drew me here (i.e. the flexible scheduling and core hours).

“Then quit. Get a new job.”

I’m not the type to burn bridges (which is exactly how it would go down if I left now), though I’ll admit the proverbial match was in my hand today and only broke out of frustration with myself.

I know I should be grateful to be employed. I am. I know that “being an adult” means putting up with unpleasant things like working late and dealing with obnoxious coworkers. But I don’t want to. I know I am a petulant child, “30 going on 12” I jokingly tell myself. Half-jokingly. What grinds my gears is the same old boring adult shit that everyone experiences. I know my feelings are irrational. Does that mean I shouldn’t be allowed to feel them?

As I talked about in my grief post last month, writing is how I cope with the overabundance of emotions in my head. Today I was full of a general rage with nothing to direct it at except the page. When I got up this morning I had thought I would write a short story about someone experiencing a road rage incident. After my morning commute, I was further convinced that would be the topic tonight. Instead my anger just built up over the day until it reached a tipping point and I needed to shout it all out. Yelling into the void is its own catharsis.

At the end of the day, once I’ve sufficiently yelled into the void, I really am that super laid back chick in my head, and I will look forward to tomorrow with new optimism. Speaking of which, on the bright side, tomorrow is Friday #1. I have Thursday off, and then Friday #2 and then the weekend! I’ll still be here though, writing every day. This week’s prompts haven’t been very story-inspiring thus far, but maybe I’ll get something going for Thursday.

Your turn! What grinds your gears? Rant away! You’ll feel better after! Have a great night!

PS-Like these prompts? Like the short stories I write based on these prompts? Want to show your support? Give the blog a follow! Leave a comment! Buy me a coffee! I put a lot of time and effort into these posts and your support means the world to me! Ok, now go out there and write!

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