Vignettes of Ruin and...

Tedia (the God of Astonishing Mediocrity)

In Pride on July 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm

“Sure you’ll be here for life, like me! But Eve? There’s no way she is going to stay. What with her degree and all! No way. Sure she is wasted here…”

My blunt instrument of a colleague prattles on as I grip her initial assertion with white knuckles and bleeding fingertips. Life? Here? The rest of it? Really? Is that how people see me? A lifer?

I would rather die soon than live long if that is my fate. I feel a powerful impulse to show them all, to rise above my perceived mediocrity, one I am going to act upon as soon as I wound my colleague with a barb of retort; one that will hopefully prevent her from talking shit for the rest of our time together. Especially if we are to spend the currency of our lives working here as she would would have us believe.

How dare she assume I am just like her: average. How dare she assume Eve is better than both of us!

She has hurt me with her stupid words, words she thinks she can say because we share a similar past. I am still young, but in her eyes I have moved beyond the realm of potential to become one of the speechless, faceless women. Women who have lived through unprovoked abuse and have had their spirits whittled down to splinters and now seek the passage of a steady ship, sailing through silent waters without torrent or tumult.

But the weight of these experiences are like feathers, compared to the destiny she has mapped out for me. Because the past is finished, and what she says has yet to come- there may be truth in it. That is a burden I cannot bear.

Thankfully, I can change this. I have some small talent! I can rise above this. All I have to do is apply myself. I am going to finish that story I have been working on, the one for children, I am going to polish up those sketches and storyboards and paint them. I can see it all now, it’s possible!

I spend my lunch break buying a tin of artists pencils and paper. I feel excited, like maybe something really could happen on the back of this. When I drift back to life, there are messages waiting for me.

The human resources department wants my public service number for some forms I filled out to cover sick leave.

The bank has called to inform me a lodgement was left short.

My mother wants to know if I have purchased car insurance yet, as the tax forms need to be sent off.

Vincent has asked have I sent off my passport application yet as my old one has now gone well past the expiry date.

My loan application has been postponed pending receipt of further information.

A new electricity supply bill has arrived.

The dogs pet insurance is up for renewal.

I feel overwhelmed by it all. The ridiculous bureaucracy of existence has it’s red-taped hands around my throat and is cutting off my air supply. I won’t get paid without the sick leave form, I can’t drive without forking out almost a thousand euro for the right paperwork, I can’t leave the fucking country without a new passport because for reasons I am too weary to fathom, they expire, like food. As I start to worry about all the paperwork and money I will need to validate these apparently important actions in my life, the colour from the impulse of creativity I had earlier has started to leech out of me.

How can I possibly spend my time drawing when I know I will be spending my free evening tearing the apartment up looking for a driver’s license that wasn’t on the shelf where it was supposed to be when I went to complete my car insurance application? And that’s after I make dinner, vaccuum up the dog hair from his summer moult, take him for a walk and put our stinking, sweaty clothes in the laundry.

I sigh and hold my head in my hand, I close my eyes and wish it all away.

It is then I hear laughter from close by. I look up in surprise: I had thought I was alone in the office. But there is a strange woman sitting at the desk across from me, leaning back and spinning around in her chair. She stops spinning and stares at me. She is not pretty, but then, not unpleasant either. Her age is difficult to discern. Her clothes are featureless and faded.

She is decidedly very, very average.

“I am Tedia,” she says and suddenly I understand everything. She is the God of Astonishing Mediocrity. The deluge of paperwork makes sense.  “When you are finished searching for your license and getting nowhere, I have a feeling you are going to be pretty worn out. I think you should take some personal time. Watch TV for a few hours…have some tea…eat an entire packet of cookies. You could have a few drinks…it’s been a while since you had one of those, hasn’t it? Everything else will be too much effort…”

I struggle with her suffocating words, she is trying to undo the chains I strung about the gates to vice. Yet in some kind of grey way, what she says makes sense. It would be so much easier, to just accept life as it is, to be carried along at the whim of its river until the vastness of the ocean’s oblivion swallows me.

Desire is cancer. And I desire so much.

Tedia continues.

“…What is wrong with a perfectly ordinary life anyway? The answer is nothing. Nothing is wrong with it.”

“But there is nothing quite right with it either, ” I say sadly, logging in to internet banking to reconcile the electricity supply bill.

I forget to bring the pencils home that evening.

  1. I love the fact that you are trying but Tedia have to leave you alone… the bad news is that the only thing that will help you is you desire. You will have to take out your pencils after you did everything else and that demands a lot but it’s the only way. Focus on your desire and you’ll do just fine if you don’t listen to Tedia. She is a drag. 🙂

  2. By the way where is that story you are writing??

  3. She is a total drag, but she never hangs around for too long, I’m glad to say!

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