Sleeping late is a curse, seduced by surfing with the Android tablet, wasting countless hours at night before napping; a bad idea before snoozing, the mind having images of website glimpses before slumber comes, haunting dreams as a way to forget the drudgery of work. The week had a cold snap, lowering temperatures all throughout the Deep South: a strange occurrence of ice in Myrtle Beach, or traffic jams in frozen Atlanta highways, a light snow falling in a Tuesday afternoon, below zero temperatures in the night. I had finished setting up the curtains, again wondering about the silliness of it all, the mind forever comparing the properties of friends; now what would they say about this color or fabric, a social creature though one wants to escape and be alone in solitude with more fulfilling things like reading books and listening to music, drinking vodka cocktails as one falls asleep in the sofa after a heavy dinner while trying to watch movies borrowed from the library. It reminds one of the songs - ‘slip sliding away’ as one would say, declining in his old age in comfortable surroundings, with fear lurking beneath, of losing it all in some legal tangle, living in ‘quiet desperation’ as in TS Elliot’s poem.
Working on the curtains delayed my reading of several books and magazines now overdue, still rushing to read them or pay the small fine; one likes to eat his cake, too. One is glad the Sunday lunch is coming, too face again the crowd with thoughts of deficiency, trying to put a brave face when one realizes it is all a game, one does not need to act all the time but relax and now is the chance, with hosting activities shouldered by others; one can now just coast along after being the organizer and initiator of past social events. This is the middle class dream, though jolted by reading Dave Eggers ‘Zeitoun’, thinking that it could happen to you, the descent into a hell of mistakes like an absurd and deadly play, amongst the hurricane destruction of Katrina. All is not well as one could see with this story, the antidote is Philip Caputo’s ‘The Longest Road,’ the ultimate road trip to affirm the vitality of the dream, by driving along highways from the Southernmost tip of Key West to the Northern regions of Alaska, to look for a sign that the vision of the founding fathers is still alive. But one begins to wonder after seeing the reaction of conservative members of congress to the President’s uplifting state of the union speech on Tuesday night.
There is still too much thinking, of taking care of the house, doing home improvements, dispelling the inherent depression of winter, fighting the cold, working from 8 to 5 with the challenges at work. One sees the main challenge is planning, to organize work in a way that is productive and meaningful not only to the person but to the rest of the department, realizing 2014 is a key year with the change of department managers; attention will be drawn to oneself if one is not up to the task. Daily debates with a co-worker, between libertarian and liberal policies, the bitter politics between the right and left wing, a microcosm of the partisan divide in the country, a meanness slithering along the country’s byways, like a sinister snake looking for victims among the good. It’s tiring but lively and educational discussion, a way to spice up work while one labors on the many tasks faced in the daily grind in the office. More is required from you: from work, from the family, from the house and car; all demanding time and focus or all hell will break lose. Is it something that one can just throw away or drown with vodka? Surely exercise, swimming and sleeping for eight hours a night will cure all.