There’s nothing like spending a solid week as a slave to Forces Outside Oneself to make one come out the other end full of piss and vinegar, ready and rarin’ to go. On the other hand, I have so many projects in the works that I’m immediately brought up short, chin in hand, wondering where is the best place to begin.
The best place to begin is simply to blow off some steam and clear away all the little things that lie in your path. So expect a lot of posts over the next day or two.
Stress is when you’re stuck on the highway just about fifty minutes in advance of a wedding that you have to attend, because you foolishly promised to be there. You’ve already been on the road for three and a half bloody hours and now you’re caught in a traffic jam on 495 that’s keeping travel down to a stately five miles an hour (or less) and you just noticed a sign telling you that the town you’re trying to get to is 38 miles away. Oh, and you forgot to bring your tranquilizers with you and don’t have anything to wash them down with anyhow.
That kind of stress doesn’t let up when the traffic jam suddenly evaporates just as mysteriously as it started — because now you’re so late that you’ve got to floor it and zip down the highway at dizzying speeds, hoping to heaven that there aren’t any Pigs about.
(“Pigs” is the ‘60s derogatory hippy term for “cops,” and I must say it is an accurate sort of insult. After the events of last year — especially after one of Those Bastards dragged me out of my house in the middle of the night, physically and verbally assaulted me in the hospital, and more, all for my having committed the Heinous Sin of calling the State Help Line — the notion that The Police Are Our Friends is well and truly banished from my system, and I will never think of them as anything other than Pigs ever again)
The wedding was reached just in the nick of time, and yes, as one of my friends pointed out, it is a Nice Thing to get all of us old buddies under the same roof at the same time for the first time in something like sixteen years — but let’s face it, you don’t exactly get Quality Time with your friends at a bloomin’ wedding, innit?
For me — and I suspect that I am not alone in this — a wedding, ANY wedding (so BC, don’t take this personally fer crine out loud) is just about the only ceremony under the sun that is worse than a Funeral.
After all, sadness and mourning are emotions that I can share in, empathize with and understand — but Happiness is quite another animal thank you very much. The best I can manage is, “I’m really genuinely glad that you are happy. Now get it the hell out of my face.”
Well, I went, I saw, I Did My Bit, and then with four quats stuck alone in the house on a blazing hot day and knowing that it would be seven in the evening before I got back to them even without attending the reception — an event that features even less Quality Time with your friends than the wedding did — I climbed back into the car and did the whole thing over again — sans traffic jam this time.
But it was on the way down that I made my vow: Never Again. Never Again will I go anywhere that far away unless I can get there and back the same day by train. It’s too stressful, it’s too lonely, it’s eight wasted hours out of one’s life that could have been spent in other, much better ways. So… I hope that folks enjoyed seeing me, for the precious god damn little that is worth — ‘cuz it Ain’t Happening Again.
Heading Home, I made one very much needed bathroom stop just south of the New Hampshire border. Unfortunately I made it at the State Liquor Store.
So long as I was a disinterested observer, all was fine: and what I observed was a huge parking lot only a third full — yet still there were traffic jams at the bathroom and a really impressively large number of people coming out of that place with, literally, shopping carts full of booze. I have to wonder if Maine is receiving kickbacks from NH. If not, then the state is Really Missing Out in its otherwise strenuous efforts to exploit and bleed alcoholics for all they can get out of them.
Inside — the prices and selection were really not All That Great. I searched in vain for a nice bottle of Sangria (a delicious summer drink) and found none, least of all the Spanish Yago that used to be Best of Breed. The whiskies were all lots more money than I wanted to spend. Just to Consciously and Deliberately be a Bad Boy, I settled on a small bottle of a better grade of vodka than what I am used to, at about a buck less than what you have to spend in Maine for the crap stuff.
The first night was not bad at all. I was able to drink like a normal person, just kick back and mellow out and let the stress of the day melt away.
But I don’t want to think about the next couple of days, except to remember them as “reasons why I can’t do that anymore.”
Wednesday was the first day that found me both completely sober and suffering no ill after effects from the binge. Which was a good thing, because early that morning it was back behind the wheel of the car and back to the Dreaded Commute in order to fill in for three days as freelance typesetter for a local publisher.
As I’ve written here before, if I have to become a Day Laborer, this is the Camp to be assigned to — but typesetting is not unskilled labour. When mixed with a Bad Commute it is Dead Exhausting, leaving me drained and unable to do anything but Feed the Quats, Clean Up After the Quats, and then veg out for an hour in front of the telly.
It’s No Kind of a Life, just working to make Someone Else’s Dream Come True and sleeping and nothing more. But for me, on top of few days that came before, it did act as a kind of stiffener. There’s the kind of life that I’ve been living during this past week, and then there’s the kind of life that I want to live, trying to make my own god damn dreams come true and not being a Slave to everyone else’s expectations.
After finally getting a good night’s sleep, rising when I was ready and not at the behest of an alarm, I am feeling a good deal more refreshed than I have in a long while, not to mention relieved that something I have literally been dreading for a year and a half is finally behind me.
The chains of various sorts are off, and I am ready to go!
Now — where to begin?