In case the symbolism of my last post was lost on you, I'm really busy.
I find it tedious to write laundry list posts detailing my to-do's and distractions-- needless to say, there feels like a lot of them at the moment, from the overbearing (manuscripts and proposals) to the more banal (taking out the recycling). Besides, when life gets particularly crazy, it ceases to feel like a list, and more like one giant inseparable bundle.
So when I received last minute notice that an assessment I was scheduled to do today was cancelled, I was happy to have some spare hours in my back pocket. While I scammed a few moments to catch up on laundry and to grab lunch under a burst of sunshine, the bulk of my time, several hours in fact, was spent editing a friend's thesis.
My friend is in a bit of a frenzied state. Due to a number of circumstances, both in and out of her realm of control, she has fallen behind her schedule, and is desperate to defend her thesis by the end of the semester. I have become a one-woman support team of sorts, fielding calls regarding statistical analyses and ways of framing results, as well as editing proposals and other such documents. Sometimes I will feel frustratingly bombarded, but she also makes a point of repaying me in other ways, such as inviting me over for home cooked dinners.
Knowing that she has been especially frazzled lately, I slog through her thesis. It is an aggravating process, in that it feels as though she hasn't sent me her best work. When someone asks for my spare time, I kind of expect them to be providing me their first-rate work, so I can focus on bigger issues of structure, rather than correcting grammar and formatting, something they can easily do themselves-- especially when it has supposedly already went through at least two rounds of fierce edits.
I finish in the afternoon, and send it to her, less than 24 hours after her initial request, and move onto to my pile of readings.
A few hours later, my phone rings. Caller ID reveals it to be her, and I expect that she will ask me some clarification questions as she usually does. It turns out she ostensibly looking for advice on an unrelated matter, although it really looks like an excuse to rant. After she has apparently met her catharsis needs, she casually says "Oh, thanks for sending me those edits! I actually already spoke to *post-doc* about my intro, though, so I had already sent it on to *supervisor* by the time you got back to me."
She continues to chatter on in another direction, but I stop her.
"Did you say you had already sent it on before you even got my edits?"
It is only when I tell her that I spent the bulk of my day so far working on it, and clarify that she had sent it to me less than 24 hours prior that a tinge of guilt seeps into her voice.
My short answers elicit more apologizing, claims of stress induced lack of consideration, getting more frantic as the conversation proceeds. When I don't rant or rave, she actually asks me if I will edit her methods section tomorrow.
I am proud to say that Princess Doormat (that being me) said no.
I hang up the phone, and the restlessness I have miraculously managed to avoid so far today returns. I feel both angry and defeated. I actually spent hours editing a paper on the behalf of a friend, who, despite reassuring me yesterday that she understood how crazy things had been for me lately, didn't bother to even sent me a two second email to tell me she didn't need my help anymore-- as though my 18 hour turnover was too long for her to wait. And she had the gall to ask for my help again the next day!
It makes me think that all along she was simply wiping her muddy boots all over me.