Diary of a Week - Part III

Tuesday, 4 July. Weight: 8 st 6 (must stop with white chocolate crunch eggs), Calories: 2500, Cigarettes: 500 (not good), Alchohol units: 1 (am obviously now addicted to daily beer, and will develop sagging paunch)

7:20 a.m. Have finished translation, must now switch gears to attack Mountain Project. Have decided there is no need to bring anything to tomorrow's meeting, as is simply planning session for September launch and seafood luncheon. Must remember not to eat much today, as now-shrunken stomach is no longer able to hold a full meal every day.
White chocolate crunch eggs obviously not considered a full meal.

7:40 a.m. Is naturally difficult to immerse self in other project immediately upon completing other. Will read through previous notes and prepared research material to regroup.

8:00 a.m. Perhaps is better to detach entirely for short time and clear mind, rather than attempt to dive in full-force immediately.
Will catch up with online journals instead to give brain a rest. Half hour of leisure reading will help recharge batteries, and will thus be energetic and dedicated for Mountain Project.

10:00 a.m. Aargh! Completely lost track of time while reading! Also forgot disruptive presence of family members, who are now up and about, preparing to go into Bologna. Is useless to attempt any serious work until after they have left; will instead chat with sister and adorable nephew to show am not deliberately avoiding them.

10:20 a.m. Am now alone and can get to work. Feel fresh and rejuvenated, ready to become finely-tuned, productive work machine. Remember Olympic athletes: focus and visualization.

11:35 a.m. Mario phoned; must bring multiple checklists, schedules, etc. to luncheon meeting tomorrow, to show client that am working hard on project already (when actually have not yet begun thinking about it as too busy with other projects). Feel panic begin to take root in pit of stomach.
Fear is excellent motivator. Will now be able to concentrate completely on project at hand.

1:45 p.m. Dario came home to change and eat lunch before leaving to pick up family members in town, and drive them around a bit. Had battery-recharging hug without fear of embarrassing adolescent nephew. Will now be able to immerse self in work.

2:45 p.m. Have made very little progress on project; cannot seem to find focus. In panic, ate entire bag of tortilla chips with Chi-Chi's salsa brought by sister.
Feel slightly ill.
Maybe white chocolate crunch eggs will prove to be antidote to salt-and-salsa-induced nausea.

2:50 p.m. No.

6:00 p.m. Finally hit groove in Mountain Project, despite continued queasiness, only minutes before family returned from Bologna outing. Doing best to maintain focus and ignore distraction of hearing tales of other people's fun.
Remember there is a time to work and a time to play. Now is time to focus on potentially fulfilling career path; can make time to play later.

6:02 p.m. Unless, of course, one dies tragic early death due to bizarre eating habits, smoking, stress and lack of sleep. Would be ultimate irony.
Will not think about that right now. Must work.

9:30 p.m. Sister prepared dinner of beef cubes in spicy pepper sauce; v. tasty. Intended to have only one piece, out of politeness, but ended up eating all that was left in pan. Nephew unable to have seconds due to own selfish, stress-induced binge eating. Am depriving growing boy of essential nourishment.
Also feel even more nauseous. Must come up with appropriate excuse at tomorrow's luncheon for not partaking in elaborate meal. Serious medical condition? Religious fasting? Obscure American post-Independence Day custom?
Hmm. Will think of something.

1:17 a.m. Time for bed. Mountain Project still proceeding slowly, but better. Must not force right brain--or is it left?--as will enter creative stride only if allowed to do so without constraint.
Will get up early tomorrow and prepare something official-looking for meeting.



Wednesday, 5 July. Weight: 8 st. 9 (gah!), Calories: ??? (have no idea of calorie counts for cappuccino breakfast and extravagant seafood luncheon washed down with several litres of prosecco. In the millions, certainly), Cigarettes: approx. 1400 (v. bad), Alcohol units: stopped counting at 6

5:40 a.m. Dario has taken relatives to train station for three-day trip to Rome. Will just put together a few pages of this and that for today's meeting, return in mid-afternoon and complete final sprint on Mountain Project. Am feeling competent and efficient, though slightly nauseous. Will politely decline food at luncheon, citing vague digestive ailments, always held in high regard by Italians obsessed with state of liver.

5:10 p.m. Have just arrived home in slightly tipsy state from meeting and huge lunch.
Spent over two hours baking in car at Venice exit, crowded with German tourists in caravans, and unusually high number of old Fiats with furniture roped to roof. Perhaps mass exodus from Venice area as locals flee Jubilee tourists?
Finally arrived at air-conditioned client office, where was able to appear moderately competent with professional-looking checklists of required materials, made up at 3 a.m. this morning. Client then treated us to fabulous luncheon at fancy nearby restaurant, where common courtesy made it impossible to refuse food, or lovely prosecco as perfect accompaniment.
Conversation with charming client was sparkling and lively, though at one point risked medieval-style duel as jokingly compared Italy to Rifondazione Comunista party (cannot quite recall context, memory shrouded in wine-induced haze). Discovered that client is descended from Turin nobility and has centuries-long tradition of dueling and similar.
Is best to avoid topic of politics entirely, even in jest.
Must take nap to sleep off luncheon effects. Have never understood national preoccupation with liver combined with regular food and drink orgies; am certain own liver is currently shrieking in indignation.


Thursday, 7 July. Weight: 8 st. 12 (!!!), Calories: 150, Cigarettes: approx. 8000 (v. bad), Alcohol units: 1

7:40 a.m. Have decided is useless to attempt to force artificial order on natural chaotic sequence of events. Must allow self to relax and ease into the Flow, become one with the Universe and the Natural Order. Will dedicate self to achieving inner poise and allowing life to happen, without imposing unrealistic demands. Relax, and life will show you its rewards.

11:30 a.m. Have discovered key to serenity and productivity! Natural Flow frees creative energy, and brainwaves magically connect directly to typing fingers. Project coming along beautifully.
Am One with the Universe, in postmodern, communication analysis drone kind of way.

1:15 p.m. Flow has suffered severe interruptions, as graphics become mysteriously squished when moved from charting program to report. Have almost finished draft, but must redraw and resize all charts. Will stop answering phone altogether and immerse self in Oneness.

1:20 p.m. Have lost sense of oneness. Perhaps white chocolate crunch eggs will help.

1:30 p.m. Am still disconnected from Flow. Will phone Cristina for help, as symbol of Oneness in Earth Mother, circle-of-life manner.

2:00 p.m. Cristina not helpful in rediscovering Flow, as less Earth Mother than cranky, frustrated, sweaty nine-months-pregnant woman with swollen feet.
Will have to relax and find Oneness in self.

2:00 a.m. Flow or no Flow, is time to take one-hour nap before resuming printing. 


Friday, 8 July. Weight: 8 st. 9, Calories: 600, Cigarettes: 46 (better), Alcohol units: 1

9:15 a.m. Had only one hour of fitful sleep in vain attempt to look human for Mountain Client presentation. Printed 101-page opus, inserted in binder, v. snazzy looking. Decided to print miscellaneous charts on large cardstock for added impact, like in movies.
Printer obviously going through adolescent growing pains, as refused to cooperate: sometimes would fail to print half of drawing, jam in middle of page, or simply blink annoyingly. Pressing all available buttons had no effect. Somehow managed to shower and dress while trying to complete printing. Called taxi so would have extra time to finish work without having to adjust to bus schedule; finished printing last sheet while taxi was waiting and honking downstairs in courtyard. In taxi, kept reminding self that crusty Mountain Client is unable to show appreciation, and must not let own sense of self-worth be affected by others' attitudes. Decide to consider primate-like grunting response equivalent to highest praise.
Hope client at least grunts.
Arrived at office at 8:40 a.m., with only secretary present to unlock door. Set up conference table and stood waiting for Mario. Hoped he would not arrive after Mountain Client, as would not look good for own presentation. Worrying was futile, as Mario arrived at five to nine and Mountain Client is not yet here. Perhaps is stuck in traffic.

9:20 a.m. Client's mobile says number is "currently unavailable". Phone call to office reveals has not come in; is obviously on his way and unable to phone for some reason. Will be here any moment. Am feeling primed and ready, like thoroughbred before important race.

9:40 a.m. Client called... from office. Had forgotten entirely about today's meeting! Tried to reschedule for next week, but thankfully Mario said was impossible. Client agreed to drive down immediately.
Situation does not bode well for presentation.
Must now spend another hour or so sitting around office doing nothing, when could have slept. Feel like extra in Night of the Living Dead.
Will all be over soon, no matter what. Must try to relax and maintain focus, without nodding off and drooling all over conference table. Will go over presentation with Mario so he may at least appear to know what it is.

10:03 a.m. Mario impressed with special diagrams and illustrations prepared for presentation. "Why don't we have the software to automatically produce these here in the office?" he asked me. "What's it called, so we can buy it? It could be useful."
Had difficulty understanding that no such software exists, that each was prepared and drawn specifically by self. Could actually see light bulb over his head as he finally began to realize why had been working so hard these past weeks.
Mario has also decided to learn English and asked for lessons. Laughed when said he couldn't afford rates and should go to language school. Thought was joking. Was not.

1:30 p.m. Hurray--it's over! Presentation was astoundingly successful; Mountain Client extremely interested and pleased with results. Man whose normal expression is permanent sneer actually showered self with compliments and thanks for work done!
Mario is of course ecstatic, and am now once again elevated to star status at agency. Much hugging and hand-shaking and praise. Stayed longer than was necessary to soak up as much of latter as possible after weeks of pouting and anger. Have been designated agency's "secret weapon" and key to future success; must find way to be materially compensated for same.
Now, however, am heading home for a lovely bath and nap until family members return from Rome at 9 p.m. Can finally become gracious, accommodating hostess rather than snappish automoton.

Have never had a week like this before. Hope will never have another.