Alas that I can’t drink alcohol in any form or quantity, due to allergies, because there are some days when you just want to finish work, grab an adult bevredge, and slam the door in the face of the world. When I was flying charter (as opposed to medical flights, where we had a set shift rotation), it was not unheard of for someone to keep a can or two of cheap as could be beer in their fridge, so that if they were still too exhausted (but legal-on-paper) to fly, they could take a few swigs and honestly tell dispatch, “Sorry, I had alcohol. I need eight hours.” It was a bit of a last-ditch thing, but it worked.
Last week, I needed a beer. Something to imbibe and mark off the day from the rest of society. “This is the end of the day, leave me alone, shoo, I’m not taking calls/answering e-mail/looking at the screen.” Something (legal) to calm me down and make the whirling thoughts slow at least enough that I could kick a few out of my mind and make them go away. Nope.
That’s one of the worst aspects of the electronic world, at least for peace of mind. It’s so very hard to escape. I’m pretty-much on e-mail call from 0700-2100 six days of the week. If students have a question, or a query, or a complaint, they e-mail. Or parents e-mail, and expect an answer within a few hours.* That’s baked into my job, now. I’m not fond of it, but the electronic leash is no less real than when I was flying and it was a pager. There’s no “Sorry, I had a beer” with Day Job.
It is what it is, and more than once I’ve heard fellow teachers sigh, “I need a beer!” when students are well out of earshot. Sometimes even before the first class started! And we all smile, and commiserate, and continue doing what we do. Every so often, I think about bringing a ginger beer to Day Job, to drink while grading finals, after the students have left. The brand I drink looks like a stubby (thing Red Stripe stubby), and would generate serious double-takes. However, it does look like a real beer, and the problems from the initial reaction (especially if a student or parent were to appear) are not worth the fun.
But some days, when the laws of man, physics, and thermodynamics conspire against you, you just need a beer!
*E-mails that come in between 2300-0400 do not count.