Saturday, December 27, 2014

After Christmas Bitching from the Shore

There really is no time like the days between Christmas and New Years, especially when the calendar conspires to put Christmas on a Thursday. That said, this is a particularly busy time for me, as I have serious deadlines in two weeks and a debate to prepare for.  This means a lot of time in the ManCave bathed in the luminescence of my computer.

I had a nice chat with Brother Jim while visiting our ancestral shrine in Clayton, NC before Christmas, in which I complained about talked about the joy men must feel who leave their work on Friday afternoon and then do not again contemplate it until Monday morning, or Sunday evening at worst.  I realize that that men such as this are increasingly less common as computers allow many of us to be mobile in our jobs, and I also realize that men enjoying this kind of life are in many cases not terribly well compensated for their work. I realize that this discussion also involves women, but I spend very little time wondering about what women's lives are like.  I do find myself wondering about how other men live theirs.

That said, there does not exist a time in which there is not work to be done.  Always.  It never goes away.  I slip out to the movies yesterday to see "Unbroken" and find myself thinking about what I REALLY should be doing with the time.  I wake to the early breaking light at 0630 and hope against all hope that I can sleep for another hour, only to begin to plan my day and lay it out.  Once the fire is lit, there is no extinguishing it.  And so I drag my beswollen corpulence out of bed and head here to the ManCave, where I now find myself wondering why it is that I am writing this instead of working.

I simply cannot wait to be retired, to wake and have little that HAS to be done.  Rather my day would consist of a number of choices.  Do this?  Do that? Do anything?  Don't get me wrong, I think I have fifteen or so of the most productive years of my life ahead of me, and I have a lot to get done in that time.  But when it is time to hang it up, hang it up I will.  Some people who think they have visibility into my soul like to say, "Oh sure.  Keep talking.  You'll never stop working--you'll always be doing something".  They could not be more wrong.  I will be a spectacularly successful retiree.

I am become gigantic, like some kind of stuffed 19th century robber baron.  The orthopedic man's good deed in quickly scheduling my hip replacement (2 February, for those planning to attend the bedside vigil) caused me to say "what the hell" and commence a no exercise, yes eat plan that has me this very morning 1.2 pounds from the magic 200lbs mark, something I am avoiding like the plague in order not to give Brother Tom the one bullet he most desires.  I started another "Big Fat Bryan's Diet" yesterday, thinking that if I continued on the path I was on, a special surgical platform might be required for my impending procedure, which would invariably be covered by the local news and Ripley's Believe it or Not.

Not only am I fat, but I am also lame. My left hip grinds and stings with every movement, as if crying out for more attention in anticipation of its departure.  There is a noticeable hitch in my get-along, and most movements of any degree cause a wince.  A brutal movie, going to see "Unbroken" yesterday did give me some special diet inspiration, as the men's 47 day drift at sea reinforced the notion of losing weight without movement.  Perhaps I'll ask the kitten to rap me in the teeth with a large bamboo pole now and then to achieve even more of the diet's impact.

The big winners in my house this Christmas were the dogs, recipients of far too many doggie toys, most of which emit annoying whines under the pressure of canine canines.  Our kitchen currently looks like some kind of grotesque Jonestown massacre, with reindeer, mice, squirrels,  and other mammals splayed about in various states of defilement.  It is not enough to limp about in this space with dogs who take pleasure in jabbing the back of your knee with their noses; no, the added bonus of toy-like landmines waiting to ensnare the unsuspecting ankle only increases the fun.

New Year's Eve approaches, a night my father wisely refers to as "amateur night", and a night that I have taken little pleasure in over the years, though Prague 2000/2001 was memorable in a "not for family reading" sort of way.  We generally tend to gather with a couple of couples for dinner and then await the bewitching hour as our eight communal children wreak havoc around us.  Around 2200, I have been known to take my leave and head home to bed, though I occasionally make it into the New Year.  Our companions on New Years are great people, and I wish we spent more time with them.  One of them was in my dorm first year at UVA, and it was through his tipsy wife (also UVA) at the June 2007 UVA reunion that I came to be introduced to The Kitten.  The other couple has UVA in their pedigree too, as he went to law school there.  Their meeting is Obama-like, in that I believe he was assigned as an intern or first year lawyer at a firm in which she was already established.

I am not yet ready to make my 2015 predictions, or post my 2015 resolutions.  Perhaps tomorrow.  I do know that my "E-Sabbath" idea, something I practiced through the first half of the year and then abandoned, is likely to return in 2015.  Logically speaking, if there is always, always work to be done, then not doing it for a day really shouldn't matter, right?

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