The “P” Word

I tend to check out our online version of ‘30 Seconds’ a few times throughout the day. OK, so maybe it’s more of a compulsion. I’d like to say my sole purpose is to get a feel for what news topics are sparking controversy in and around our community. But if I’m honest, I read it purely for entertainment.

Sometimes there is some interesting commentary, but I can’t say all that many of the items posted are of the truly thought-provoking variety. (No offense!)

There was, however, a notable exception earlier this week. It read: “If today were your last day on earth, what would you regret most?”

Normally, this might take some careful thought on my part and an intricate rating scale. (After 33 and a half years, I have quite a list.) But not this week. I can say with a high degree of certainty that my biggest regret this week is procrastination.

I’ve always had that tendency to put off that which I don’t absolutely have to do today, but for the most part I keep it well under wraps. Unfortunately, I haven’t done a good job keeping it in check the last couple of weeks and now it’s biting me on the you-know-where.

You see, this is crunch week at The Evening Sun. In addition to our normal duties of putting out a daily newspaper, we are all frantically working on the stories which will fill the pages of this year’s addition of Progress.

If I don’t have all of my required articles completed by Friday’s deadline, Jeff may very well make sure it IS my last day on Earth.

How do I describe what Progress means to an ES reporter? Let me put it this way: Since I was hired some six months ago, I have heard whispers of this mythical beast. It was something discussed in hushed voices, behind closed doors. If I dared ask a direct question about the publication, my co-workers wouldn’t meet my eye as they hemmed and hawed a noncommittal response.

No one dared say the “P” word in Jeff’s presence.

Now, knee deep in my first Progress, I understand. It is the stuff of nightmares if you let it get the best of you. And I have definitely let it get the best of me.

It’s not one thing that makes Progress so all consuming, it’s everything. And I’m afraid I underestimated the enormity of the task.

Even with the specter of Progress looming, I wasn’t truly too worried until a few of my interviews (and in one case, an entire company) started dropping like flies. No girl should have to be stood up so many times in such a short period of time. Silly me, I thought everyone would jump at the chance to have a feel-good feature article in Chenango County’s most important publication of the year.

Now, in the final days of Progress week, with far too many articles to write (not to mention the whole daily news and event thing), I have hit full-on panic mode.

Factor in sleep deprivation and near-overdose levels of caffeine, and the result, I’m afraid, just isn’t pretty.

I will meet deadline. There is no other option. But as I diligently craft each Progress piece, I’m kicking myself for procrastinating. I should have tried to make more, well, progress, earlier this week.

After it’s over, I don’t want to hear either “P” word for a long, long time.

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