Vacation Status Report

"Nobody's ever who they were."
- The Echo Maker

Sneaking a post from the vacation home, with just a few days left until I'm back into the usual swing of things.

Under the bed, the undisciplined husky - Maya - is sleeping, trying to burrow under the way my own dog does. My father is snoring, two rooms away. He and I spent the evening drinking beer and watching football and bad TNT movies until he feel asleep, after asking me about the blanket I had a child. There's a picture long missing from the hallway that used to lead to my room that had my hands at age five and a picture of me in the only Christmasy sweater I could ever stomach that was just found. Nostalgia comes for us all tonight. Beware. In the other direction, my mother sleeps in a recliner, ill beyond the usual soreness that comes from life. I've still no proof of the alleged grand-niece, though I hope this will resolve itself in the last days home.

I'm two and nine-tenths sheets to the wind, having fallen short on a request to drunk dial a friend from home (yes, people do make that request - perhaps I'm a charming drunk. You don't know.). I've spent the time home reading and visiting with friends. Yesterday, I taught a friend's 3 year-old about the sunglasses that turn her invisible. Last time I was home, I helped her learn just how fun blowing bubbles could be. We also flew kites and played peek-a-boo. She's the older of two children and is enthralled with Disney "Faeries" which ordinarily I'd find appalling, but somehow made me curious enough to read many books and to ask many questions about who was who and such like. The younger one and I spent several hours sticking tongues out and learning to pull up on things (I won't say which of us needed the help - use your imagination). Nightly, I check voice-mail to see whether there's any word from the many schools I've applied to, but otherwise, I've refused all communication from things northward (unless it was about my dog, which none have been). I think I've decided on the "classic" work of literature that my best friend N. and I will be reading (we choose one a year, and this year was my pick). I'm happy that the choice is about to be (any day now) "The Bell Jar" which I've never read.

I've spent much of the vacation coming to grips with the Relationship that Failed (aka the Last Days of Paris) which I thought I'd moved beyond only to have it come up at the Worst Possible Time (as a side note, I like the use of capital letters a la A.A. Milne which somehow seem oh so appropriate here). Home has been good for that sort of reckoning among other things (for example, the easy ability to find Mexican food and barbecue that didn't taste like someone dumped a bottle of cleaning vinegar into the sauce).

Life feels like two steps forward and three steps back.

But I miss things here. On the drive home from the kite-flying, invisi-sunglasses trip, my oldest friend remarked how good I was with the two children. Off-handedly, I suggested that it might suggest something about my maturity level. There but for the grace of God (and/or student loans), go I. Or maybe there I'd go. Then he and his girlfriend both asked when I was coming home for good.

My former boss - from roughly 10 years ago - ran into me at a bar last week. She offered me a similar job for more money (both than I made before I departed for grad school and than I make now). I could total up large chunks of this trip which have boiled down to the following statement: "I think I'm good at what I do, but I don't like where I am, and I'm paid poorly. I should at least be decent at what I do and like one other thing at my existence, and hence, the approach to this year." But I don't know what to make of this beyond that I miss having a bar that old friends could find me at even if they'd only offer me Devil's bargains.

I've received many CDs as gifts and also a sweater and some socks. I'm tired and should probably sleep, but I have one more road trip to make tomorrow.

That's the trip in the briefest of nutshells.


3 Responses to “Vacation Status Report”
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adjunct whore said...

this is very sweet....nostalgia and drunkeness becomes you.

i want to hear more about the Relationship That Failed. & you do seem cute with kids, i confess.

January 7, 2008 at 9:57 AM
ash said...

home, and the familiarity of the surroundings and old friends,can be comforting...but it's almost always more than three steps back.

in case you were having doubts about this: you are a great academic. you are a wonderful and inspiring teacher. your research is relevant and important. i know these things from firsthand observation over many years. and while i admit that i adore you, i think this is also a fairly objective assessment.

where you are is bad. but it IS temporary. your skills are needed in our field and it is only a matter of time until the right place scoops you up. and they will be *lucky* to have you!

don't bail out yet! (p.s. i miss you!)

January 7, 2008 at 12:13 PM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

Well, now I just can't sleep, and since tomorrow is largely a sort of clean-up day before the return to the frigid wastes and the pup, a little comment won't hurt.

I don't know how I'd comfortably sum up the Relationship That Failed for blogging consumption, so I won't try. That's not the sort of thing I'm generally comfortable talking about, and so tossing the real details of my private life out onto the 'net makes me more than a bit queasy. And while there's ample detail that'd make my case, I also know that few relationships really end up with the villains that I'd likely make her out to be, so out of respect for the good bits, I'll try and chew quietly on the bad and keep them to myself. It's probably enough to say that it's sitting dead center of the road, so to speak.

As for the rest, well, isn't it just the nature of life to test your conviction? Having come to what I thought was an iron-clad solution: I'd go someplace I liked for the same money and similar duties, or someplace I didn't like for more money and maybe different duties, or - best of all - someplace I liked for more money and similar or maybe different duties. So naturally, the universe would need to check to see where the rubber really meets the road for me. And what better way to do it than to toss a position for more money someplace I like doing something I know I hate?

All of that said, thanks for the warm words. I'll have more tails of the visit home shortly. In the meantime...oh, I've nothing to offer for the meantime. It's so clearly bedtime that I must try again.

G'night (I hope).

January 8, 2008 at 3:01 AM