I believe there may be a kind of exhaustion which cannot be cured with a few good nights’ sleep. This exhaustion leaves you largely functional and provides you with just enough energy to make it through day after day after day, but once the social demands of the workplace are shut off, so is your whole affect. It’s like you crawl into yourself but can still drive home, pick up a few groceries and be sure to check the mailbox before going upstairs. It’s an exhaustion that leaves you soggy but without the evidence of how you got that way. You feel put out because of so much physical, mental, social output. The consequence for your organizational mind is a low-level havoc: nearly missed appointments, paperwork submitted a day late, lost items that turn up a week later when they’re no longer needed. You forget to hydrate. Yet you appear fine. You teach your classes, manage groups of kids with a degree of routine and detachment that for them feels like a relief that you’re not so easily bothered by their noise or interruptions or resistance to listening. It’s an exhaustion that seems well-fed, adequately sheltered, sufficiently nondescript so that no suspicion is aroused. At home the functionality remains – it’s ok, keeps things running along. There’s food to eat; dishes and clothes get washed. The child is not left entirely to his own devices. Only when bedtime is within sight does your patience appear quite frayed at the edges. Once you’ve decided that the bed is your definite next destination you make quick dispatch of everything and anything that might stand in the way. You retreat under the covers, stretched out, still soggy-feeling yet safe. You pick up whatever book is on top of the pile and read until you stay stuck on the same sentence. You put the book down and let sleep collect you. For a few hours you’ve won. You know rest. When you wake the next morning you know that rest is only incomplete but enough to start the whole process over again. You’ll be fine. You know how this goes. It’s Tuesday then it’s Friday and then Sunday again. You’re done and you’re beginning.
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