Tuesday, November 27, 2007

everything needed to be done yesterday; or, how to win $20k and lose it 8 seconds later

I shuffled into the house from work around 8:30 p.m. It was another 12 hour day, one of the many 12 hr days of the six-day weeks I've been working since, oh, August?  I was tired.  I was resigned to spending the rest of my natural life sitting at my desk and getting nowhere.  I've been engaging in the 60-hr a week fallacy for months now.  The idea that if I can just work late for this short period of time, if I go in on both weekend days and work late every night, then everything will be in place and maybe I can work a regular 50 hour week or maybe, if it's a holiday, a precious 40 hour week.  And that day was no different.  A 12 hr day worked, still no feeling of accomplishment or belief that I've actually made a dent in the ever-increasing pile on my desk.  I had 3 hours before I went to bed, and exactly 12 hours before I was to start a trial that I hadn't really prepared because I had 8 other trials also scheduled.
When I walked in, I had two pieces of mail awaiting me.  One, my bank statement, telling me exactly how little my 60 hr week gets paid, which is exactly how little my 40 hr week gets paid.  Two, a flyer with a scratch contest.  If I scratch the right number, I get $20,000 or a 10 day Aruba vacation (I could certainly use both).  I scratch the number.
It matches.
I look again.
They match.
I look again.  There must be a catch.
"No purchase necessary!"
No fucking way.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love that Thanksgiving is an entire day dedicated to eating and watching TV and socializing in a lazy way.  I wonder if there comes a time in your life when spending Thanksgiving with your friends, your family of choice, instead of your family or origin, becomes acceptable, or more rewarding.  I can't imagine not spending Thanksgiving with my mother, as I'm sure she'd be devastated if I told her I couldn't make it back.  She is proud of the fact that we have never once missed Thanksgiving as a family.  I'd hate to be the one to break her streak.  And it's nice to come back home and see people who come back for the holidays, to catch up and hang out, the only time we're all in the same place at the same time.
But.  The hassle of holiday travel.  Lugging the suitcase up and down the stairs.  Wrestling onto the bus / train / plane, stowing a bag.  Sitting in traffic.  Getting the time off work.  Not being able to shake work-related anxiety.  Dreading the return to my house, left in disarray in a packing frenzy, returning to a refrigerator left empty in preparation for the time away, returning to a pile of work that's a week behind.  It seems like just having one or two days off work, to fill my own house with smells of Thanksgiving baking, spending it with the friends in the city who have such limited free time generally, watching football, lounging around, being able to really actually relax - that would be Thanksgiving. 
Ah, the vacation conundrum.  Take time off to keep yourself busy with other things than work, or take time off and sit on your couch doing nothing all day, doing nothing to learn more about the world or to try something new.  After two years of work, it seems that I'm the latter type - as much as I'd love to do new and exciting things, at the end of the day, the only energy I have left goes to uncorking a bottle of red wine and planting myself on the couch.
I'm thankful to be with my family, to have a job that I love so much that it empties me, to have friends who, after all these years, I still see and enjoy and connect with.  I hope that your Thanksgiving is wonderful in the ways that are important to you as well.
Happy Thanksgiving!