On the way back last evening from a freewrite at a local Mexican restaurant, I passed a place which used to be an urgent care storefront and is now some kind of mysterious medical office which performs “fatigue assessment.” I found this particularly intriguing because I have been quite unable to assess my own fatigue. And I wonder what questions they ask during the assessment.
Are you tired all the time? Are you tired right now? Are you tired of everything or just certain things? Does just thinking about some things make you tired? Does your weariness seem marbled through your flesh, like fat through a porterhouse steak? Are you so tired that when you take a deep breath, the air seems drained of oxygen?
One thing I have learned from the past few years of toil — corporate job plus grad school plus writing — is that no one responds to fatigue with sympathy. Mention to a work colleague that you are starving (which of course you are not) and she will offer a spare banana, yogurt or granola bar. Mention that you are so, so tired and you might, at best, receive the suggestion of a cup of coffee or, at worst, the exasperated question, “Why are you so tired?” as though you receive the same allotment of rest as the rest, so why should you need more? As though I’ve been squandering my sleep time on nefarious activity.
And maybe I have. Notice, above, the order in which I listed the demands on my toil: corporate job plus grad school plus writing. I would have that list in the exact reverse. But the effort to get there is exhausting.