I was on the verge of freaking out earlier today. I don’t know why today has gotten me so close to the edge, but I had to take a walk to get out of the office. I spend most of my time at school torn between frustration and guilt. I am frustrated by my inability to communicate effectively with anyone, but I feel guilty because a few of my colleagues try hard to help me understand what’s going on around me. I have done a good job of hiding my frustration and keeping a smile on my face as I struggle through basic conversations, but lately it has gotten harder.
I almost reached my boiling point this morning as Mr. Kim tried to help me with my bills. My utility bills have been piling up for two months, and I have absolutely no idea how to pay them. I have asked Mr. Kim how to pay bills about once a week for a month now, and he finally understood what I was asking yesterday. He told me to bring all of my bills to school today.
Mr. Kim: Do you bring taxes?
*taxes = bills
Me: Yes, sir. Here they are.
Mr. Kim: Hmmm. Internet taxes too big. Last month $21. This month $42.
Me: That is because I did not pay for two months.
Mr. Kim: Yes, it too much.
Me: No…it is two monTHs. Not too much.
Mr. Kim: I think too much. I call talk company.
Me: The bill is correct. I did not pay last month. This bill is for two monTHs….eight weeks.
Mr. Kim: No, tax only for four weeks. Each tax only one month.
Me: …….ok. Let me know what you find out when you call.
*30 minutes later
Mr. Kim: You no pay last month. $42 is for two month. $21 each month. So two month $42. $21 plus $21 are $42.
Me: …….Yep….can’t argue with math.
I had to get up and take a walk so he wouldn’t see how frustrated I was. Obviously, it’s not a big deal, but it becomes increasingly difficult to have these conversations every day. As isolated incidents, they are funny and easy to handle. The cumulative effect of spending every day in a place where you can’t have a meaningful conversation with anyone is the part that is so difficult. I would pull my hair out if I had any.
Fortunately, my walk helped a lot. Getting out of the building and spending a few minutes alone is often the best way to get myself in check. I have to remind myself that it is equally frustrating for my colleagues who try to help me. I imagine that they are getting sick of trying unsuccessfully to explain simple things to me. With any luck, we will continue to improve as the year progresses.
Until next time.