We all live in a world where we have tasks to complete and responsibilities to uphold. At home, at work, in the street, in public places — everywhere we go, we have to abide to certain rules and regulations. We call it law and order, control and regulations. We call ourselves civilized because we follow rules we set upon ourselves.
And it so happens that these rules and regulations are aplenty, and as a consequence we get to prioritize our needs, our tasks based on the rules that we insist on. For instance, I have a task to complete by the end of the day. It’s office work, urgent and my job depends on it. On the other hand, my wife is pregnant and we’re expecting the baby any day now. To cap the situation, my boss is out of town, and wouldn’t know even if I put off the task ’til tomorrow. I just pinged my boss, affirming that I’d finish the job when my phone rings — it’s my wife.
According to the “rules” I should stick to morals, which is to finish the job. Because a) my wife didn’t sound distressed. Yet. And b) my mom’s at home taking care of my wife. It’s understandable if I go home a little late.
But when I weigh my priorities, my wife and child are my life. My job just feeds my stomach, but my family feeds my soul.
In that moment of urge, I drop my work — no one would know anyway — and head home. The baby doesn’t come for another 36 hours. But I was there, with my family, supporting my wife. And that meant the whole world to me.
Which is all nice and emotional.
Now what happens to my boss? He was expecting a reply tonight, and I wasn’t there. He called me, and I didn’t pick up. I knew he would be furious with me. He must’ve tried to contact me online, offline and through my colleagues. And all he would’ve got was an ignoring bastard.
Did I have a choice? Could I have told him how important it was for me to be with my family? Sure I could have, but he wouldn’t have understood. Because his children are grown ups, he was a widower, and had nothing to home to.
His work was his life. And he wouldn’t understand when someone else insisted that their work wasn’t their life.
And so, I ignored him. But I couldn’t ignore my job; I checked in on work from my mobile phone from the hospital cafeteria. My boss had left messages and mails. All he wanted was a response. And all I wanted was my wife to remain strong.
I spoke to a few of my colleagues, asked them to cover for me. They said they would, but I know they wouldn’t hold under pressure — they have families too.
The truth is, my job is vital. I’ll lose everything if I lose my job. I am well aware of it. I have no back up plans. But my family was important too. I was torn between the two, until I decided to choose my family. And now to defend my choice, I have to run away from the truth that keeps threatening my next rise and paycheck.
Don’t we all do that sometimes? Run away from the truth hoping that ignoring it might somehow make it go away?
*Fiction. Really. Replace the ‘family’ with movie marathon, and that sounds more like me.