It doesn't happen often, thank goodness. But Friday was one of those fortunately-rare-but-still-quite-nasty Very Bad Days.
It's hard to explain, but since we all go through these sometimes, I probably don't have to explain it much. It was a Very Bad Day. It's not that anything horrible actually happened - I didn't have an accident with the car, I didn't get some devastating diagnosis, and I didn't end the day with fewer fingers than I started it with - but it was a Very Bad Day nevertheless. See, it doesn't take a tragedy to drive me off into the Forest of Crazy; in fact, I'm one of those who totally gets the Dorothy Parker quip that it's not the tragedies that kill us; it's the messes.
And what a mess.
All I wanted to do (the lament of the unsuccessful) was take this Powerpoint I'd made for my upcoming online class - and made with love and care, mind you - put some narration over the top of it and then gently drop my baby into the online platform we use for such classes so my tender birdling students could be fed from its wisdom. Easy, right? A couple of clicks of a mouse, right?
Ha, she said bitterly.
I couldn't figure it out. Like, at all. I had the same chance of coming through this experience unscathed as (to borrow from the magnificent Douglas Adams) a whelk in a supernova. I couldn't get the microphone hooked up properly. I couldn't figure out how to start recording. I couldn't figure out how to save the recording. I couldn't figure out the search terms that would help me figure out the answers. I yelled at the computer. I yelled at the microphone. I yelled at Bill Gates and, just to be thorough, I roundly cursed Steve Jobs.
I am deeply ashamed to say I lost my temper and yelled at the dog.
Literally hours of that madness, and I was still not one whit closer to figuring out the answer than I am today at forming the Grand Unified Theory of Everything.
I was reminded of how lucky I am. I have friends who listened to my wild-eyed rantings and told me it would be okay. Who made me feel better that I was even trying to figure out tech stuff (probably needless to say at this point, but it's NOT my strong suit. Hell, it's barely a card in my deck). I have friends who took one look at me and suggested that I just stop for a while. (Great wisdom is in these words: "When nothing you're doing works, do nothing.") I eventually figured it out - it may not be the quickest, more elegant solution, but duct tape can hold any number of things together as well as a weld. And tomorrow, one of my lovely and learned friends has agreed to meet with me and take a look at the patch-job I've come up with. She probably won't even laugh - she's that good.
The lesson in here? Sometimes the day just doesn't bend your way. When that happens, it's okay to quit. Walk away - the problem will still be there once you cool down (and if it isn't, so much the better) and you won't seem like such a raving crazy person. I didn't learn that and I had some apologies to make later. I also threw my good eating habits to the wind, because it seemed like cream sauce and cupcakes were a better choice than committing a string of Class A felonies. (Which is true, but it's far better to not get in that place to begin with.) Scarlett O'Hara was right - tomorrow is another day and you can always take another run at it then. Go a little easy on yourself.
Oh, and the dog forgave me. I swear, there are days when I don't deserve that critter.