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January 4, 2012

Dear Reader,

It’s hard to remember what day it is when each one seems so much like the last and, most likely, the next.  Since I’m on break from my college professing, I’ve not got that much to do from day to day.  This will all change in about a week when I really have to start prepping for my upcoming classes, but for now, my days are very empty.

I choose the word “empty” because that’s about how I feel when I’m not working, when I’m out of my routine.  It’s not that I’m a workaholic or super-routine oriented, just that I prefer to have some work each day, some leisure, and some play.  Right now I’m inundated with leisure and play.  I know, it sounds like a good kind of problem, and it is; I’m not complaining about having so much free time, just letting you, dear reader, know where I’m coming from.

I’m spending many of my hours swapping between Skyrim and Star Wars.  I want to write a post about what I’ve done in Skyrim that I found particularly fun, but I’m hesitant to inadvertently “spoil” various missions and locations in the game.  I also wanted to keep a diary of the game, but failed miserably after the first few levels, and piecing back together what I’d done has proven very challenging.  I may, after it’s been out a few more weeks, go ahead with the “spoiling,” but not yet.

So for now my routine is to get up later than I want to – every day – feel like I wasted the morning, grab some food for lunch, watch whatever my wife wants to watch at that day and time (which has alternated between finishing The Wonder Years, season 6 of Rescue Me, Star Wars movies, and – ugh – Style TV).  She works a while and I play Skyrim, then I try to meet up with my buddy (Steam Friends list has been acting up recently making that harder than usual since you can’t get him on a phone and he doesn’t think to randomly check vent or SW to see what’s up) so we can play so Star Wars, dinner, more TV, and then bed.  Weekdays my buddy has to get up at 6 a.m., so we can’t play SW at night.

When I’m teaching – and this is one of my favorite things about teaching – every day is different.  Even within the same lesson, you get variations from class to class and day to day, so each moment is different.  You can look back over the week and say, “Wow, I did a lot of different things!”  Without that “routine,” (odd word choice since its anything but, except for the timing of classes) I’m having a hard time remembering what I did or even what day it is.  It’s a bit mind-bending.

When I was younger, my parents, aunts, and uncles (my mother’s family is quite large) owned a cabin in the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia.  They all put in together to afford it, and we vacationed there frequently when I was growing up.  Once, when I was in college, I was supposed to meet my family there; we frequently did Thanksgiving there since it was more central to a lot of the family than any one person’s house.  I got there very early, turned the power and water on, got the fire going to warm the place up, and took a nap.  When I awoke, it had gotten dark outside; I assumed my parents should be there, but they weren’t.  This was before cell phones were common items, and we didn’t have one, so I couldn’t find out where they were.  The only clock in the cabin, which was battery operated, was stopped, so I didn’t know what time it was or how long I’d slept. It was extremely disorienting; it could have been 6 p.m. or 9 or 11; I didn’t sleep at lot at school so when I took naps, they were often of incredible length.

I sat and waited, not sure if I should be worried, not sure what time it was, not sure exactly of when I was.  Eventually, my parents showed up; everything was fine, they’d just gotten a late start and hit traffic around Columbia, South Carolina.  My father wisely pointed out that I could have simply gone and checked the clock in my car, which was an obvious solution, but one of which I hadn’t thought.

That feeling, that disjointed, floating feeling, sometimes strikes me during these breaks.  It’s not a bad feeling necessarily, but a somewhat scary one, like being detached from your own life.  In a way, since I’m not teaching in a public school, not playing WoW, and not even working at the moment, I am.  But it will pass, like all things, and I’ll be grounded in a week or two.


Stubborn (and floating)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kierbuu permalink
    January 4, 2012 2:45 pm

    Did you catch last night’s “Daily Show”? Charles Barkley was the guest and he was asked at one point about his brief retirement from the NBA before returning to provide commentary on the games. Stewart asked Barkley how long he had to spend on the golf course before the boredom just made him want to start hitting people with the clubs. Barkley’s answer: about three months.

    I know when I’ve been between jobs the first response is always along the lines of “well I’ll finally be able to do all those little things I’ve been putting off”. About a week later, “well, that’s done. Now what?”

    Hang in there, Stubborn. Hopefully something interesting (and good) will happen soon.

    • January 6, 2012 2:15 pm

      His tolerance is far greater than mine, then, as I start to get bored after a week or so. My wife says (and most likely rightly) that if I had more interests, I’d be less bored. I just don’t know; things that require going out seem beyond my interest, and the games of chance I play once a month sometimes annoy me (due to the chance over skill factor), and my schedule doesn’t really permit me starting long-term things during downtime because I’d just have to quit when the semester starts back up. Maybe those are all just excuses, though.

  2. January 6, 2012 4:40 am

    “I’ll be grounded in a week or two”

    I am currently waiting to be grounded – if it’s gonna take half a year, I will feel lucky.
    as relieving and creative as such states can be, I think we’re clearly beings made for ‘frames’ – we need something solid to hold our picture together. no frames for too long is unnerving.

    • January 6, 2012 2:25 pm

      I agree; all the people that say that they want total freedom are deluding themselves. People want routine; they don’t want to be trapped or smothered by it, but they want to know there’s a place in the world. I hope you find your grounding, as I keep looking for mine.

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