It starts slowly. You wake up feeling like something is just not quite right. “I’m just tired”, you tell yourself, and continue going about your morning like you do every other day.
You drive to work expecting to have woken up by now but for some reason you feel distracted. Foggy. You double check every intersection, every lane change, just in case. You realize doing this means you don’t trust yourself to be driving right now, but what other choice do you have?
You try to focus on the music, the morning radio talk shows, the beautiful day. The moment you hit traffic, though, it starts. Your heart starts pumping harder and you feel queasy. What is going on with you today? Luckily traffic quickly clears and you continue to head in to work. You tell yourself that once you sit down and have a warm cup of tea you will wake up and feel better.
You get to your desk and go through the usual motions. Put bag down, unlock your cabinet, check the phone for messages, turn computer on. Turn computer on. Why isn’t your computer turning on?
And then the dread sinks in as you realize your laptop is missing. Your laptop that was locked to your desk. Your laptop which has access to the personnel files of every single person in this company. Your laptop that you are responsible for the security of at all times, is missing.
How is this possible? It was locked!
You report to building security to report the theft. They explain that they had a security consultant in over the weekend and if it was unlocked it would have been confiscated. They return it, but not before emphasizing the importance of securing your laptop.
You feel stupid. Not just because it happened, but because you should have known better. Because you DID know better, and still can’t figure out how this happened.
Sometimes that’s all it takes. Your body finally tells you what it was trying to tell you all morning. You’re anxious today. You’ve been on the verge of a total panic for close to two hours and didn’t even know it. You didn’t listen. You knew something was wrong and you chose to ignore it. Because what were you going to do, skip out on work because of some vague feeling you had?
So instead of being home, you’re in the only quiet space you can find in a busy office building, hyperventilating as tears pour down your cheeks. Unable to explain what is going on, too afraid to tell anyone the truth. Too strong to be weak, too weak to be strong.
You mutter something about taking a personal day to your boss, trying to hide the redness of your eyes as you slink past the security guard who set off this whole episode, and hope and pray that no one asks you about this tomorrow because you know you won’t be able to tell them the truth.