So yeah, I’m sick. Thanks.
My year, 2007, was punctuated by eleven days off; holiday work closure encompassing seven working days and two weekends. I planned to use this time for loafing, for projects, for doing what the hell pops into my mind; then my mother called to tell me she was coming down for a visit, to which I agreed. It was nice having family come visit me for a holiday for once; enough of going to visit them every year. I love that woman to death – I mean, c’mon, she’s my mom. But I don’t know how to tell her to not stay so long. Seven days. I asked around trying to divine what kind of protocol there is for telling family that they are welcome but only for a certain time. The answer comes back, resoundingly, that nobody knows how to do it. There is no protocol.
She says she’s a homebody; she’ll be fine just sitting and watching TV and that I can go out and do whatever. I can come and go as I please because it’s my house. I say bullshit to that. If I were to have done just that, I would’ve heard no end of it. “I come to visit, and you hang out elsewhere.” It won’t work. When I have a guest, my sole duty is to entertain the guest. I’m always on set. Little down time. People don’t understand that about me. If you’re in my house, I am your host. What I have going on has to be suspended. Maybe that’s an immature way to look at it. Maybe I’m taking the role of servitude. I don’t know. But that’s how it happens.
I learned an apt phrase a decade ago. “The hardest thing for a man to do is to disguise his feelings as he puts a load of relatives on the train for home.”
So she left friday morning, travelled safely, and got back home. I rested. That evening, I sat at Epoch and had coffee. Tried to get some work done; tried to pick back up where I had left off a week prior, and had no luck. I couldn’t think clearly, got a little angsty. I left there around 10 and started driving because I clearly didn’t want to be in the four walls of my own apartment. I drove around town, ended up on Highway 290W, and drove out to Oak Hill. I kept driving.
Seventy minutes later I was in Fredericksburg, Texas. I had no suitcase, no toiletries, no change of clothes, but I rented a room and spent the night. It was really nice to get away. To punctuate the stressful week with my own diversion. Complete seat-of-the-pants. I didn’t care. That’s the kind of shit I wanted to do the entire break; completely live without schedule, without demands, and finally I was able to do it, but damn did I do it big.
I got up that morning and did the tourist thing. The downtown area was kinda neat, but in a 1960’s crafts fair kind of way. Tons of middle-class white people dropping money everywhere. I had a nice wurst sandwich, got a taste of the local German culture, walked around and took pictures. Sort of went around as a floating eye and soaked it in. I left after it all got too white and made it back to Austin at 3pm.
Spent the remaining days of 2007 just doing what felt right. Completely relaxed, turned off to necessity. Tried to regain myself and my own initiative. Took a right turn on my main website project and decided to backtrack and retool, but it’s still not so successful.
I should learn by now that I can’t get any work done at Epoch. It’s fucking impossible. I can sit down, open the laptop, and hunker down for work. And then someone will stop by the table, say hi. Someone will walk by and decide to chat, or join me. And out the door goes my attention. Programming is a tough task; takes focus. And there is no focus when someone visits; it’s broken and not so easily retrieved.
So last night, I got called out to a New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s place. I obliged. Took the remains of my rum bottle, a bottle of cola, and headed out the door. Had a great time at the party. It was quiet, mild. We had a ton of fireworks but because of the red flag warning we chose to stick to firecrackers and roman candles. Well, the roman candles were a bad, very bad idea. It took two stray flaming balls to prove to us what a tinderbox the tall grass next to the road actually was. No sooner did the balls land in the grass and start going out, the grass burst into flames. We were sober enough, luckily, to stomp it out and decide to not do roman candles again.
I didn’t get drunk; didn’t even get buzzed, but I got relaxed. That’s what counts, really. About 4 shots of rum, a lot of water, and a glass of champaign and I was still sober. Went to bed around 3. An alright night indeed.
But this morning; fucking hell. Now I’m reminded why I shouldn’t drink. The alcohol was just enough to kill off all the germs that were keeping the bad germs at bay. When I woke up, my throat was on fire. I’m all scratchy, phlegmatic, and getting stopped up in the head. Fucking hell. An ok end to the year leads me into the lair of the illness dragon to start the new year off in the worst of ways. And now I have to go back to work tomorrow morning. Damn.
Happy effing new year, dammit.