I'm better with other people. Not more productive. Put someone else in my house and I will absolutely fail to accomplish anything in the way of homework because, for whatever reason, I can't even try to work unless I'm alone in the house. It just ... fails to happen. Imagine flicking a switch that isn't connected to anything. There's no struggle, no sputtering, just a whole lot of nothing.
This is not to say that I'm good at doing homework when I am alone in the house, but at least I can try.
So, productivity caveat aside, I'm better with other people.
One sure sign of that is my pages. Three pages a day, hand written, in a notebook. I stay for a while at Lonespark's and I get my fucking pages done even if I'm smothered under a six year old and an eight year old at the same time while someone in the next room is loudly listening to the news in Spanish (and yelling at it in English. Whatever complaints I might have, bilingual credit where it is due.)
Give me all damn day at my house alone and... I think if I tallied up every time I finished my pages at my home since the start of this year the figure would be so low as to be depressing.
Another is energy. In many, many ways I'm an introvert (all four of the Myers-Briggs types I test as have an "I" affixed to them), but give me the right people and they seem to recharge my batteries in that way I've heard discussed in some places as a key thing that makes extroverts different from introverts.
But it's not just that. It's also upkeep. The human body takes fucking work. You need to eat, you need to drink, you need to sleep, and in general you need to do all three of those things every damn day. When I'm on my own I have a habit of not doing that whole thing all that well.
Elsewhere I stay hydrated basically on my own. Food I understand the reason behind keeping up with it. When I'm not in charge the question of, "When is lunch?" or "What's for lunch?" makes sense and is reasonable to ask. Furthermore it can, simply by being asked, drive progress on that whole lunch getting thing. It doesn't really work the same way when I'm alone.
But all of this is more instances than the overall thing. When I'm alone I have a habit of shutting down and becoming listless. I lose my rudder and end up adrift.
Eating, drinking, writing, getting to sleep on time, restocking supplies, it all sort of falls by the wayside.
Which brings us to today, though I'm not planning on having this post until tomorrow so when you read it it will be yesterday. February tenth.
I shoveled out a path from front door to the street today. Eventually. I should have done it earlier in the day, but that's not the point. I did it well before dark and, since I did it too late to get my mail, that's the big point. Even as I write the colors of sunset are only just appearing in the clouds.
So, I shoveled.
And I was exhausted. Not exactly tired. Certainly not aching muscles. Completely out of breath, winded in a moment. Needed to stop several times just to stand in one place, propped up on whatever was close at hand (several times the shovel) and breathe.
Heavy breaths that would have become uncontrolled gasping if I hadn't given them voice. Giving voice to your breathing, by the way, is a good way to control it. If you ever wondered why certain martial arts have people make sound effects to go with their punches, it's a method of breathing regulation. (Theoretically it's also supposed to seem cool and be intimidating, but it always felt silly to me.) Any sounds will work, provided that you say them. Profanity is practically made for it. What better thing to say when you're completely spent and your lungs threaten to escape from your control than, "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck..." and so on. Throw in a, "Fuckity," every once in a while for variety.
I tend to go for gibberish. Random syllables that feel like they fit the moment. "Shada" saw heavy use today.
But my point here is not to give you strategies on how to control your breathing at times when it might otherwise go awry. (In combat I think the threat is that you'll forget to breathe entirely, doing something that forces an exhale--making a noise--keeps the process going. In cases like me today the threat is that it'll become uncontrolled gasping.)
My point is that I shouldn't have been in that state once, much less many times.
Yes, there is a lot of snow, but the fact of the matter is that I'm barely shoveling it. In years gone by there's no way I would have left my sidewalk covered and I would have cleared the entire driveway. The driveway is longer than a house (it has to be because the garage is behind the house) and wider than a car (for obvious reasons.) The amount I've cleared this year in total is probably less than clearing the driveway after one small to moderate storm.
In times gone by I've had to spend all day, from when I got up to well after sundown shoveling, I didn't get the way I was today.
I'm somewhat out of shape, but not that much. No, I think the problem is probably calories. I don't know enough biology to understand the connection between calories burned and the amount you breathe and so forth, but I do know this: I was, pretty quickly, almost completely out of energy.
That would seem to indicate that there's not enough food in me. Not even close. Hydration might be a problem too, but I don't know. Like I said, not enough biology.
It isn't hard to guess why. There have been several major snow storms in a row. It's also been damned fucking cold some days. Food is far away and heavy. It's a powerful incentive not to restock my supplies. I do have stuff on hand, but it's the stuff that takes more work. That's why it hasn't been used yet.
I'll be making use of it after I finish writing this. It may be more work, but it's clearly work that needs to be done.
So I haven't been eating enough (Lonespark may yell at me, that's probably not true, but she'll be disappointed) I don't think I've been drinking enough either. I've also been failing to accomplish more or less everything I've set out to accomplish.
So, you know, I've just sort of been here, all alone, with snow canceling school (my one regular human contact) again and again.
It's bad for me.
Even if I weren't having trouble keeping nourished and hydrated it's bad for me.
And thoughts always circle back to money. Food money can't be used for prepared food. Money-money is spoken for and then some, I just need to go through the process of getting it to the person it truly belongs to (remember the bizarre accounting gymnastics of earlier in the month) so I might have a thought like, "I could order a pizza and then maybe after eating that meal I'd have energy when it came time to make the next meal," and then have, "But where the fuck would the money come from?" put a stop to that.
I find myself in want of calipers so I can properly measure some marbles. I've gotten it wrong once already.
I find myself wondering how many of my readers might have children who would be interested in custom Lego sets, and wondering if I could actually create ones that children would want anyway.
I find myself needing to just get up, put on some gloves, mix the fucking two part resin, pour it in the mold, try not to fuck up, and just make the damned puzzle already.
I find myself having to pry my eyes away from information on glass-working on Wikipedia because... fucking awesome. (Not wikipedia, that's just an evil I make use of because I'm too lazy to find a moral alternative. Glass working is fucking awesome.)
I find myself wondering if it would be better to create a lathe or a complex drilling mechanism.
I find myself wondering many things, and accomplishing nothing.
It's easier to wonder than to do when you lack energy and drive.