Holy moly! My stress level has skyrocketed this past month! How do people live like this on a regular basis? Despite two trips to the Apple Store and hours of e-mailing with various people on why my iMovie won’t open when connected to VGA (the only connection that nearly all of the libraries I am presenting at this month have), this issue remains unresolved! The first time I went to the Apple Store, one of the workers Googled it because he had never heard of that problem before (something I had already done on my own…). He told me there was no reason it shouldn’t open and that if I could get it to open on my laptop, there would be no issue on getting the screen to display it.
I headed out to my next presentation hopeful that it would work, but feeling confident that there would be a back-up plan if it didn’t, as the IT person there had told me they had a portable projector with an HDMI connection. We connected my laptop to the VGA cord and sure enough, the same problem occurred. iMovie wouldn’t open due to a resolution incompatibility with the internal settings on my laptop! The extremely relaxed and super nice librarian got out the 2 portable projectors, one of which did have an HDMI connection. However, they could not find a connecting cord for it! The audience streamed in and the clock ticked closer and closer to seven. She asked if I had my presentation on a flash drive that we could use on her computer. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the quicktime movie I had made onto my flash drive that I had bought for this purpose. It kept giving me the same error code! (I later learned this was due to the slideshow being too many Gbytes for the setting of my computer to transfer). I went to use the restroom, staying as calm as I could, knowing that something would work out.
Earlier that day, upon stepping out of the shower, I received a call from my landlord saying that the carpenter was waiting outside to get into my apartment. He was supposed to have come an hour and 45 minutes later to look at two windows that had broken seals and were collecting moisture and mold between the panes. I hurried to get ready and then let him in. My landlord had told me that they would need to come measure the windows first before coming back to install them at a later time. I headed down to Cambridge to teach yoga and then drove back, expecting to have some time to do a home yoga practice or go for a walk and practice my talk before driving the hour to the library. When I arrived home, I was shocked to find several men in my kitchen and bathroom, talking like construction workers do, and making a mess of my apartment! I had not expected anyone to be there at all! My sense of peace was non-existent! I wondered how long they were going to be there! I no longer had the opportunity to do yoga, or even be able to use my own bathroom! How was I even going to get changed? Despite the forecast calling for rain, I decided I would head out for a quick walk to get some space. I looked for my headphones on my dining room table, where I always keep them, to listen to some music on my walk, but I now I couldn’t find them! I swept over the entire table and then searched my pockets of the clothes I had worn the day before, knowing that I had brought them on my walk just one day ago. They were nowhere to be found! I wasn’t happy with the fact that all of these guys were in my apartment unsupervised! I hadn’t expected them to be there at all and my landlord had told me that his mother would be around to watch them when they were doing the work, in case. I didn’t want to accuse anyone of stealing anything, but after spending a good deal of time searching for my headphones, I didn’t see any other possibility! I always put them on my table when I get home from my walks. And how could I ask if one of them had “accidentally” taken them? I told my landlord’s father and he came up and looked around and said that no one would have a reason to take them aside from “the thrill of it.” His wife agreed. She told the leader of the group and he showed no signs of caring. Now, I had lost all time for a walk at all. After they left, I got changed and was about to head out when my landlord came over to talk to me about it as I was typing the address into my GPS. I was falling further behind and worried about being held up in rush hour traffic.
Moments before my presentation was to start, a kind woman in the audience went out to her car to bring in her laptop. She said she was going to link it to mine and then it would act as the intermediate between the projector and my laptop. When it came time for my slideshow to play, I stood in the back, cringing the entire time. Because this additional information source slowed down the time it took for the images to reach the screen, only various parts of my photos were shown. It was as if the computer was quickly trying to paint my photographs, but before it had time to finish, it was time for the next to be displayed. Luckily, my host was the sweetest, most delightful woman on earth, and she loved the slideshow despite the problems! I finally had to relax a little and surrender to what was happening. There was no other choice. I told the audience that it was an “extra” artistic display and that fortunately, they could fully see the photos on my blog if they wanted to. The energies of each of my audiences have been different, and this one was a sweet group. They were very kind and supportive of me, which I greatly appreciated.
The next day, I headed back to the Apple Store, where I was initially told that I would likely have to have my hard drive wiped! Frightening! I was able to get an appointment at the Genius Bar an hour later, and within 20 minutes, the woman seemed to have fixed the problem! She was able to fix the interface between the second display and my iMovie after rebooting my laptop. I felt so happy! I thought I was saved! For several weeks now, I have been thinking that I might need to buy my own projector- a huge expense!
This past Tuesday, I had another presentation. First, I had to teach yoga in Cambridge again. The class was scheduled to be in the auditorium, but when I arrived, a presentation was going on in there! I took my student down to the basement room which has been the back-up room, only to find the door locked. I was able to find someone with a key for it, but when I opened the door, my student wasn’t happy with the space. She suggested we hold class outside instead. I told her that was fine if the other woman who had signed up agreed. We took mats, blocks, and straps outside, and I headed back in to make a sign to put up outside the auditorium in case anyone was looking for class. Then, I hurried back outside. At the exact time class was supposed to start, the second student arrived. I asked her if it was okay if we held class outside. She hesitated and then said she preferred not to as she had not brought a change of clothes and was wearing a dress. I had to tell my other student that we had to go back to the basement room… We got there, moved the chairs and tables, spread out our mats in the tiny space, and then I tried to get them into a calm, quiet space, and then lead them through some shoulder and hip opening. While in pigeon pose, someone loudly knocked on the door. “I have this room reserved in a few minutes and need to know that it will be clear by then,” a woman said. I explained our situation and she said she would see what she could do. Several minutes later, she knocked again, saying she couldn’t get another room and that a team of physicians were on their way and that we needed to be out. I finished off this very shortened class, apologized to my students, and offered to do another session outside for the girl who had originally wanted that. We put back the tables, packed up our things and headed past the group waiting in the hall.
Doing yoga outside for a little while was much better. Still, there was too much on my mind to be able to relax. After taking the props back in, I headed out for a bite to eat and then came back to the hospital to change for my talk. According to my GPS, I would arrive at the library at 6pm- a full hour before my talk. However, I did not realize that it would be routing me directly through the city and what a nightmare the traffic situation would be! I encountered a huge number of traffic lights that were completely backed up with idle cars. Do people really do this every day?! No wonder people want to stay at work! I watched my arrival time move from 6:11 to 6:23, to 6:35, to 6:47… I asked for help in being able to move through the congestion and get there on time. I reminded myself of the things I would later say in my talk…
Finally, I arrived at my destination, but couldn’t find the actual building! How is this happening? I didn’t have a number to call. I rolled down my window to ask a woman who was getting in her car, but she had already closed her door! I headed back the way I had come, looked into the building that my GPS said was the location and saw some books. The library! (there was no sign facing the road side!). I swept around to the other side of the building and heard Taylor Swift singing “Shake it Off”!). Where was that coming from? I turned my radio volume completely down and still I could hear it! When I opened my door, the volume shot up and I felt the rattling of speakers. Some kind of festival was taking place outside of the library! This was actually the perfect song to be playing for me at this moment! It has become my theme song as of late. I opened my trunk to take out my laptop and wished I could stay and dance out the song. But I only had time for one shake before I had to run in! Of course, I had no idea where the room was! I headed for the main desk only to be held up by two people talking to the librarian. “The presenter isn’t even here yet” she was telling them. While I tried to interject, they took no notice of me and proceeded to chat about the Appalachian Trail! I looked around for another worker. Who can show me where I am supposed to speak? I need to be there now! They finally finished and I was pointed to the room. Two men were waiting to connect my laptop to the projector in the back of the room. “I can’t bring my laptop to the front?”
“I need to advance slides for the first portion of my talk.” They connected the cable and my desktop showed up on the screen. They thought everything was fine, but I knew the test would be in opening iMovie. And then- the same resolution error came up again!! Why?! I couldn’t believe this was happening after all that I had gone through to fix this problem! And now it was 7pm and the audience was waiting. I told one of the trustees that I would have to play the quicktime version and that he would have to advance my beginning slides. I looked around for some water. I had left mine in my car. There was none in the room. I asked the librarian if I could quickly use the restroom. I wanted to burst into tears! Everything was going wrong and there wasn’t a moment to calm down!
I didn’t cry, though. I held it together, walked to the front of the room without even the written version of my talk, and proceeded to deliver my presentation as calmly and stoically as I could. I did well. I have now given my talk enough times that it is ingrained in me. After the slideshow, I answered the questions from the audience, and then drove home to prepare for my yoga classes the next day.
During the drive into Cambridge, red brake warning lights came on in my car several times. A few months ago, I kept having dreams where I was driving and no matter how hard I pressed the brakes, they wouldn’t work! I had been worried about this happening in real life and now my car was indicating this was a real possibility!
Meanwhile, every morning and day back at my apartment for the last 2 weeks, I was awoken and rattled by men scraping the paint of the outside of my apartment! There is no insulation between the inside and outside of my apartment, so all of this banging and scraping has been quite jarring (and men are looking right into my windows!) Also, in the last three months, someone has turned up the water pressure so high that whenever my neighbors flush the toilet, it makes a tremendous noise in mine and shakes the pipes. And this happens many times throughout the night, waking me up from my sleep! I have told my landlord about it, but his plumber is not calling him back!
Because the conference room in the hospital that I was supposed to teach in on Thursday was booked, my classes were canceled that day. I decided I could take that day and drive up to the White Mountains to hike Franconia Ridge, which I had hoped to do the weekend of my talk up there, as a last (second) hike for the year. However, with all of the accumulated stress over the past few days, I felt so drained that I was not capable of gathering my hiking things together on Wednesday night. I decided to see what I felt like in the morning. I would have to wake up at 5am, which is something I never want to do. At 1am, when I was still awake, I knew I wouldn’t be getting up at 5.
By Friday, I kept looking forward to a double session of yoga classes with my teacher, Todd. He had just picked up the 4pm class in addition to his 5:45. Several times in the past several months, I tried to make it down there for his 5:45 class, but couldn’t because of the ridiculous amount of traffic. I figured it might be a little better earlier in the day. I kept saying to myself, “Todd, take me away!” (instead of Calgon, you know?). But wouldn’t you know it, the traffic was horrendous earlier, too! The last 4 miles was completely jammed. And when I finally arrived at the studio, there was nowhere to park! All of the streets had signs saying “Tow zone” due to construction! So, I couldn’t even get to my de-stressing time!! Just unbelievable! Eventually, I did park somewhere and got to class 15-20 minutes late. At least I got a full class in afterwards!
Again, my warning brake lights were coming on during the drive. I had hoped for a final attempt at hiking on Sunday, but after looking in my car manual to see what those lights meant, I knew it wouldn’t be a possibility. It said that I was supposed to check the level of brake fluid, and if high enough, I could drive it with “considerable caution” to the nearest authorized dealer. If the fluid was too low, I could have it towed!!
On Monday and Tuesday, I need to drive to Cambridge to teach, and then drive to libraries at night to present! I also need to drive it on Wednesday and Thursday to teach.
By the time I got home from grocery shopping after my yoga class on Friday, I finally understood why people feel the need to drink! This stress is way too much! (Because of the new iphone coming out, I wasn’t even able to get another appointment at the Genius Bar until next Tuesday!) And never mind the fact that I still don’t have a means of making a basic living!
It has taken me several days to reach a state of more balance and understand that I can only do one thing at a time. I will have to get up early tomorrow and bring my car to the repair shop to at least be looked at first thing in the morning. Then, I will have to figure out what to do about my classes and how I will be able to get to my talk.
Somehow, someway, everything will fall into place.
Thanks for sharing your experiences. Living in society, trying to earn a living, and use the high tech devices causes so much stress. I wish there were easy answers. Leaving the system seems to be the answer. But how to do it is the question. The good part is you seem to be able to relieve the stress and anger using nature and yoga.
Western Digital has a media player for tv, that should work with a projector. But I do not know the details. I use it for tv. It needs an external hd. Cost is 100 dollars. External hd about 50 dollars that can be used as a backup, for the computer. They both are very small. Western digital has a website and best buy carries them. Then there is no need for the computer with the media player
and external hard drive. The problem is I do not know if it would work with the library projectors. I just assume so.
I identify with your struggle and spirit having worked in and lived around Boston for 40 years and then trying to find solace in nature.
Since most of the society is about money, especially Boston, trying to do things without enough money becomes a nightmare and trying to earn a lot often seems very difficult and meaningless.
But your value system is more valuable then the norm. Do not despair, keep on trying.
I constantly look to nature and scenery for meaning and solace and peace and life. and follow websites of others who try to do the same.
I worked all of my life as a bellman so I could compose music and hike and kayak and experience the natural world. I am 70 and have financial problems, I consider the job financial problem almost like a war. The music and nature are salvation. I do not make any money with the music.
Earning a living is the problem.
Do not feel alone. Many are trying to find a more meaningful way of life. I love your writing.