I was sleep-choring the other night - while washing the dishes, I fell asleep standing up. I woke myself when a snore escaped and startled me. I know I snore, a little, but I refuse to think it's worse than my husband's snoring. I used to pray that I would fall asleep before him, otherwise there was no way I was going to sleep. Now the tables have turned, I'm often so tired when I go to bed I'm out long before him.
My last company would send the managers to a conference once a year, and they always paired us up in the rooms. This is never a comfortable idea - forced cohabitation, but for many years, a dear friend and I would share a room. We settled into a rhythm. She fell asleep right away and showered in the morning. I stayed up until she was asleep and showered at night. Sympatico. Inevitably, a year came where I was partnered with someone else. I warned this one in advance that I might snore a bit. The next morning, she not only told me how she couldn't sleep due to my snoring, but she told anybody who would listen about my snoring. Over the course of the next few days, she would joke about it at meals. It was rather humiliating. This conference came less than three months after I gave birth to our last child and my mother's death. It was a bad scene overall.
I was pumping and storing my breast milk, not only so I could take it back to the baby, but also so I wouldn't stop producing milk while away from her. I carried my supplies around with me all day, making trips back to the refrigerator in the room when I needed to drop the little bags off. Picture this: me in a random bathroom in a Disneyworld conference building, trying to furiously pump and not spill a drop in the five minutes before the next session would start. If I hadn't been worried that asking to not go to the meeting at all would have been held against me in the future, I would have done just that. Alas, as progressive as my last boss liked to believe she was, it never really felt like a safe environment to voice my needs. I was always shocked by the peers who would take long vacations or medical leaves when they needed to. I heard stories about those that would leave early all the time, hardly ever closed their stores or helped on the floor or just generally said dickish things to their employees. Didn't they live with that same level of worry or fear about job reprisal or loss that I did - or was their "fuck it" attitude much more developed than mine.
I'm really interested in understanding why some people have a much better developed (or for the worse) "fuck it" attitude. It's not just a generational thing either. I've met plenty of people my age and older over the years who don't care what they ask for or how something will look. Maybe it comes from a loss in faith with employers overall from the mid 1960's on. You used to expect that if you worked hard for years they'd take care of you. When that dynamic completely changed, maybe the children produced after those years were fed on their parents cynicism, with only a few slipping through the cracks. My mother, born in 1944, was afraid all the time - afraid to get fired, afraid to be unable to feed us, afraid to ask the landlord to fix broken things. Her fear was her gift to us (along with a healthy sense of guilt - a story for another time).