So the other day a couple of co-workers were discussing (next to my desk) how tired they were feeling. In my usual jocular way, I quipped, “I’ve gotten used to it.” Hey, a little joke implying I find myself fatigued enough that it isn’t something I’d even bother to comment on; it’s merely the state under which I undertake my daily routine.
At least that’s what I thought I meant.
The new co-worker (one who is also a pianist and has written a book she hopes to get published) replied (in a sincere tone, which, as far as I can determine thus far, is how she generally conducts herself; I have seen little evidence of being so dry in her sense of humor that an ironic tone would seem sincere), “Well, you just have your job, and your rowing…” (no one correctly identifies dragon boating as paddling), and continued with the slightly explanatory, “You know how to manage that.”
After a pause, where the other co-worker made a remark back on the general topic of being tired, I came back with, “I’ll choose to not be insulted by that.” However, because of my usual demeanor, my reply was dismissed as ironic in a very dry way, even though I was more or less sincere. It was an instance where I could have deemed the allegation (of sorts) of my life consisting only of work and one recreational activity as insulting, but as I knew that wasn’t the intent I didn’t interpret it as such. It was, at best, a brief summary of what the co-worker knew of my life, mostly because in the weeks she’s been there I haven’t spent every minute blathering on about myself. Merely because she didn’t know how I occupied all my time really didn’t mean my existence was intrinsically less complicated than hers. Sure, she included what could be inferred as a compliment at the end, with the line about having what she mentioned under control, but really, were my life only those two elements, how much of an accomplishment would it be to have it well in hand?
All that aside, when I analyze the moment, I grasp that her remark didn’t even logically follow what I quipped. I clearly implied I was routinely tired, and further that what I do keeps me in this state of regular fatigue. If I was properly handling my life, and if that merely consisted of the time at work (and we’ll even throw in commute time) and a few hours of time on the weekends and Wednesday evenings practicing, how would I not have plenty of time left over to be well rested? Therefore, any response to my quip of being accustomed to fatigue must take into account there must be more to my life to explain the fatigue.
That I don’t have a life that justifies the fatigue is not something she has sufficient information to even inadvertently insinuate, and of course that explains the vitriol of this reaction. Still, she’s not in a position to feel put upon by assuming my life is somehow in better control than hers.
I appreciate the roundabout catharsis of finding some tiny validation for self-pity, but this is a stretch.