I’d like to think it was only this political season, something that’s always interested me and even more so this year. Maybe that, and throw in the Olympics. That makes a busy middle of the summer in terms of things to keep an eye on.
Or it could be the weather. After 25 years here in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve learned a fair amount about delayed gratification (not enough, obviously, and a quick glance at my life will provide a pretty decent laugh in this regard, but in this specific case, yeah) — we endure darkness and clouds and blahness because come August, we get a couple of months, maybe more, of drop-dead gorgeous stuff every day. The shades get pulled and light creeps into the corners and we sit up straight up and say, “HEY! It’s freaking BEAUTIFUL HERE!” And it is. If you’ve never been in Seattle on a sunny day, you don’t know.
But August came and now it’s done gone, and I note it’s been kinda…cold. Wet. KInda unusual. Kinda usual. Kinda…November.
I say all of this, of course, with the knowledge of what’s about to go down in the Gulf. Still, this is the flaw with empathy. Someone keeps poking you with a stick while across the room somebody’s hitting the other guy over the head with a hammer, and you want to say, “I have it pretty easy” but it still hurts.
There’s been a lot of that J-stuff here. We’ve had a peaceful summer, for a lot of reasons but mostly financial, as ordinary as that sounds. And while cheese and milk prices are soaring and gas is doing what it does and I still haven’t figured out how to get a new back deck without spending several thousand dollars I don’t want to spend (if it were possible to build a deck out of drywall, I would have done it already, but I don’t think you really can), there’s been a persistent feeling of our noses being above the water level. OK, enough said about money, but that’s a huge thing.
But I notice things. I’m supposed to; I’ve been trained well, by legions of people with similar experiences who said it might help. I’m not supposed to let things simmer, to develop habits and patterns that I can be amused by down the road and then fix. This is a dangerous thing for me, not paying attention, so I work hard on a daily basis. I take a little inventory, not only of what I may have said or done, but some sins of omission, too, and then I just watch out for little things.
For instance, I noticed something odd the other day that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, and finally figured out it was that my face felt scratchy. Because I hadn’t shaved in three days. Yeah, you scoff, you laugh, but alarm bells should be ringing.
And I look at my journal and note that I have a big fat zero under “exercise” on three days out of the past 10. Again with the scoffing (stop, it’s getting old).
There’s no mystery here, just blinking red lights. I work at home, I have it easy, I pretty much get up when I want and do what I want, if I feel like making extra money I can, if I don’t I won’t, etc. I have freedom and no coworkers with hygiene issues and no parking problems at all. It’s good.
But I’ve acquired new responsibilities, and looking back I see that since June 10 I’ve worked every day save one, and attrition is a real thing. I’m wearing down. How old am I again? (Everybody say it at once.)
I also have a feeling that the majority of my calories are coming from ice cream. ‘Nother story.
So, September. Regardless of the weather, news, deckishness and dullness of razors, it’s time to make more changes. I have the luxury of a spouse at home until late in the month, when classes start again, and a son who seems to be getting out of his long slump. There’s an upcoming wedding to dream about, a compressed campaign to observe and some gutters to clean, and in between I resolve to take care of myself better. Starting tomorrow.
I hereby resolve to shave every single day. And no more missing my walks/runs, not even once. I resolve not to dwell on the silly season, or even mention the fact that Sen. John McCain thought long and hard about his first major president-like decision and picked as his running mate Barney Fife. Not a word.
I resolve to find George Carlin and Richard Pryor videos and watch them, just in case I forget how to laugh.
I resolve to share, listen, donate, serve and shut up when necessary, and sacrifice something. Something. Something…
No ice cream, starting tomorrow. Until September 24. Then maybe. I’ll explain when the time comes, but for now let’s just say that life without sugar is worth exploring every once in a while, and good for the soul. It feels like discipline, and discipline is always what I’m lacking, and of course at the end pretty much everything will taste sweeter, and I can pretend that there’s sun, I’m used to that.