Thursday, 15 March 2012


We're in the midst of Climate Week and I'm feeling supercharged. I like to think I'm doing my bit by running off nervous energy. Neck, shoulders and back permanently tensed; mind overactive. Constant disruptions – the telephone calls, distributing post, dealing with customers face-to-face and taking payment. The phone rings again, I grit my teeth and answer. “Blah, blah, blah, Heather speaking.” Energy spent in juggling tasks and ensuring everyone, apart from myself, is happy. By the afternoon, my mouth is dry and my cheeks are rosy red. I'm wired. This is just your average day behind a reception desk.

The job of a Receptionist is forced pleasantness. A presiding tension that lurks in the background. A weird mental feat of preparing your smile and tone of voice. Eight out of ten times this act is genuine, but on other occasions I'm sorry to say it's not. What customers see is a calm upper half, while the lower furiously paddles away underneath. Lunch is a chance to escape; a much-needed breather. Time out for good behaviour. Counting down until I have to race back and open up the hatch, commence the second half of the day. Hopefully the auto-pilot kicks in or I lose the plot completely... CRASH!

It's home time hooray! My body is taut like a rubber band. I've got knotted muscles all over. Stiff and wooden. A stabbing pain in my right shoulder. I'd make the perfect female companion for Pinocchio. I have tender spots in places I shouldn't. On my days off, it will be the reverse. I'll be drained and floppy like an overcooked piece of spaghetti. Mind and body AWOL. Where do they go? I honestly don't know, but they leave a fraction of me far behind them. Disconnected, I hang around in a state of nothingness. A surreal numbness. A dense fog where sentences cannot be formed. Utterly depleted. Who needs prescription or hallucinatory drugs when you can feel like this every week?

Woman down, I'm saving energy. These 'down days' are my body's way to tune up and recharge my batteries. I'm plugged into an invisible socket somewhere. The adrenalin temporarily halted while my circuitry's checked and my energy levels are charged; restored to standby in case of emergencies. The fog slowly lifts, mind and body return from their vacation. Supercharged, it's a new day at work and all systems go again!