Rushing away from work

Oct. 3, 1994
My daily rush begins in the morning as I snatch up a pile of clothes for the wash machine, wake up my daughter and pound on the bathroom door to remind my son to get out of the shower before I head for work.

Recently, as I rushed by another person they said “You always are in a hurry.”
Guess I am. I usually have a lot to do, but lately it has been even more so. I am heading for another appointment right now. Tomorrow there is a piano lesson right after school and then drama practice at 6.

Every day overflows with things to do and places to go before, during or after work.

For me, life has moved into overdrive and stayed there. My after-work work hours are so full that if we have an evening with nothing planned, I refuse to leave the house to even go buy a burger. Peanut butter and jam is fine with me if I can just stay in one place – please.
I think my all-time height of ridiculousness in running errands was a 24-hour period when one car was in the shop and the other needed estimates for repairs. Getting people to and from work, their activities and mine, plus getting estimates, I drove 154.7 miles, going absolutely nowhere but into and out of El Dorado.

I realized how crazy my life style was recently when my credit card company called.
“We would like to verify a few charges on your account.”
I froze. We had been using a lot more plastic money recently, “What’s the matter, have we maxed out our account?”
“No. I simply need to verify some charges. Such as the $15.74 in Fordyce on Tuesday.”
“We had to buy gas on the way back from Little Rock.”
“The $15 charge in Homer?”

“Probably the same thing on the way home from Shreveport.”
He went down through another four or five charges. One after another I identified various charges in out-of the-way places.
When he finished I asked, “If we haven’t maxed out the card, why did you call us?”

“Oh, our computer tagged your file as having a lot of charges in varied locations that looked suspicious. When a file does not make sense, the computer has us check with the card owners.”
Even a computer has seen my life and tersely judged it, “That does not compute.”

All that haste does makes waste. The post office sent me a check I had written to the pay the telephone bill. It had been found on the floor of the Dallas post office. Not only had I not sealed the envelope securely, I had signed the check but forgotten to fill in the amount.
When I laughingly told a friend, she nodded, “Uh-huh, you are getting tired. How many days until you quit working?”

Wednesday was my last day. Thursday I was to drive to New Orleans, Friday to the Monroe area, Sunday back to New Orleans and early this week I have to go to Little Rock. I don’t count the odds and ends of trips into El Dorado.

I have to quit going to work at the office so that I have time to drive to various family members to one event or another.
It will be rather nice to take a deep breath and slowly exhale before making another jaunt to yet another activity.

Work has been fun, but I predict that safety on the road will increase with a better rested, unrushed driver behind the wheel.
(Joan Hershberger is a former news clerk at the News-Times.)