I spilled some beans at work today. As in, there was a nearly-full bag of coffee beans sitting on the kitchen counter, minding its own business, when out of nowhere my monster of an arm angrily whipped out and flung the bag across the floor. All I could do was put my face in my hands as I listened to the rain of coffee on concrete. A coworker silently handed me a broom, crunched his way across the floor, and co-opted the coffee-making venture. Fact about life in my new job: I’m kind of a mess. Not really in regards to the job – I have a pretty good handle on that, I think – it’s me, personally. I’m all over the place.

Maybe I’ve always been a klutz and just never noticed, but it has been painfully obvious at work these days. I’m blaming it on the amount of sleep I’m losing in order to get up and look presentable (which, by the way, I learned today is entirely optionalI have so been overachieving with the heels, but I digress). Even if I look put-together, odds are there’s some amount of disarray following me somewhere. Sometimes it’s little things, like running into the “pull” side of a door while a coworker shakes their head sadly on the opposite side. Sometimes I’m lucky enough not to have observers – like the time I was nearly leveled by an errant phone cord. The worst, though, was definitely The Clock.

Can you find The Clock?

The Clock is mounted in the middle of the office, which is to say it is mounted in the middle of EVERYTHING. I was handed the task of changing the time, so I confidently placed a footstool underneath The Clock and kicked off my wedges (have I mentioned the entire time I could have worn flip-flops?). This clock had two faces, which sounds like a bad movie but is really just a design flaw. I had to remove the faces one at a time to access the gears. I changed the first side and clicked it back into place, changed the other side (click), and stood back to admire my handiwork: One side was five minutes off.

And somehow I knew. Somehow I KNEW that going back and changing one face of the clock to match the other was going one step too far, asking a smidge more from the universe than it could handle. But I went in for it anyway, carefully removing the lazier side of the clock to adjust the minute hand.  It happened in slow motion: As I gently placed the clock face back on to its mounting, the other face fell out and made a long, slow descent through empty space. My eyes followed its path as the word I reserve only for worst-case scenarios stretched out across my mind:

There was a resounding SMACK! followed by the scatter of countless shards of glass. A chorus of “ooooh!” rang out and I opened one eye to see heads popping out from cubicles all around me, faces screwed up in similar expressions to the horrified one I wore. But as people dashed under me to pick up the pieces and tend to The Clock, I stood above it all, barefoot on my footstool, breathing a sigh of relief. I didn’t say the word aloud. Somehow I didn’t fling it across the industrial walls, too. And in that moment, that was enough for me.

With a bit of a dusting, some duct tape, and a time adjustment (now I can just stick my finger into the timepiece and turn the hand myself), the clock is relatively back to normal. I’m happy to say that with some adjustments of my own, I’m mostly finding my stride at unboundary. Now and then, though, I trip up a bit (usually literally). Every time I do, I can’t help but steal a glance toward the middle of the office. It’s the little bit of encouragement I need to sweep up the mess, learn the lesson, and move forward. So far, so good.

Although I’ll need to buy more coffee beans.

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