As Yet Unsorted

Writing to get where I hope to be.


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Yes, I Did Call That Spider “Dude”

I am an oddball, and I don’t try that hard to hide it. I mean, I can fit in pretty well when I really need to, but I find that those instances tend to be the exceptions. Yesterday I was putting words in my friend’s dog’s mouth, repeatedly. And I not only speak for animals, I also speak to them, as when I was trying to shoo one of numerous spiders which had jumped down from an overhanging tree branch onto my paperwork off of the table, and I called it “dude,” out loud, in front of other people. I’m not a skater or a surfer, but I was born in a major surfing town, so I’ve long claimed the word as part of my birthright, but that may be beside the point. Or maybe that just reinforces my point.

I have four fingers on each hand and three toes on each foot, there was no way I was ever not going to be seen as odd, so a long time ago, I simply decided to fully embrace my quirky nature. I am who I am. I do my best to be kind and thoughtful, but I also don’t feel particularly pressured to conform too closely to the laundry list of social norms most people regularly check off.

I don’t know yet how all of this minor non-conformity is going to affect the leaps I’ve taken lately, but I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. I have one more day to be the weirdo in the registrar’s office, then I’ll be free-range weird while I figure out exactly what the next thing looks like.

If you’d like to have a conversation with your dog, or your turtle, or that black spider that just jumped out of the tree in the meantime, I’m sure I can help, and we can all laugh at me while I do.


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Dread, or Confirmation of a Good Idea

I am nearly at the end of my job, and because I chose not to forfeit any of my paid time off, the remaining days in the office have been spread out. I haven’t been in the office since Thursday, but I go back for two days tomorrow. 

This morning, I woke up knowing I had another day off, and was relaxed, until the thought of having to go into the office tomorrow popped into my head. At that moment, my chest clenched with anxiety, as it is again now, just thinking of trying to cram as much as possible into the day, since, as far as I know, there is still no replacement for me, and fit an hour-long, completely pointless performance review meeting in at the same time.

I have no concrete leads for July yet. I haven’t heard back from the editor I contacted yesterday, but I’m still less anxious about what happens in July than I am about what happens in the three days I have left in the office. If that’s not an indication that leaving was the right decision, I don’t know what else would be.


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It’s Good to Travel, and It’s Good to Come Home 

I’m on Amtrak from New York to Lancaster, riding backward on this first leg, which means I’ll be facing forward when I reach the city I call home. The trip was good, but I’m ready to be back.

I saw a lot of beautiful scenery, ate some nice food, walked and cycled for miles, made some terrible (but fun) sketches, took some less-terrible photos, and met some interesting people. I even learned a couple of phrases in Irish, while I was at it. 

I’ll carry the experiences and memories forward, and will continue to write about the things I didn’t get down in the moment, but now I have things to do, and people to see at home. I have that new leap to take, and I’m still working on the logistics of that, in addition to tying up as many loose ends as possible at the job I still have, in my remaining eight days at the office. And, on the less-exciting side, there is laundry to be done and a time zone to readjust to.

Travel broadens and deepens me, but home is where my friends are, and where my life is, at least at this moment, and I’m looking forward to picking up where I left off with all of it.


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A New, Old Piece of the World

 

It’s just after 9 pm in Ireland, and this is the view from the upstairs great room at Tigh Ruari on Inis Oírr, the smallest, least populous of the Aran Islands. The land you can barely make out across Galway Bay is Ireland’s mainland, where we were until this morning. There are only about 300 people who live here regularly, and most of the houses are set on the side of the hill above the pier and the beach. The ferry was full, or very nearly, this morning when we came over, and until a few hours ago, the beach was thronged with kids (all speaking Irish), and we passed other people everywhere we walked. The bike rental was brisk, and every place with outdoor seating had customers enjoying drinks and sunshine.

Inis Oírr is mostly rock: massive fissured sheets of it line the shoreline, immense piles of smooth gray stones are heaped on either side of the coast road, and the number of stone walls that have been built from removed stone is staggering. There are hundreds of small paddocks quilting the hillsides, and each of them is surrounded on four sides by walls several feet high, all built of stacked rock, without mortar. Many of them let a lot of light and air between the individual slabs of limestone, but some of them are constructed much more precisely, with barely a chink between stones. At one point, we had reached an area where the houses had disappeared from view, and all we could see were walls surrounding green grass, in every direction.
We have an entire day tomorrow to continue exploring, and I’m sure we’ll take full advantage of it. We’ve walked down into the 10th century church that sits mostly below ground level in the center of the cemetery, but we haven’t yet walked up to the castle ruin at the top of the hill. No matter what we get to, or what we have to leave for another visit, I know the memory of those hundreds of walled paddocks, and the effort and determination they represent will follow me for some time to come.


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Somewhere Over the Atlantic 

I’m watching When Harry Met Sally either in the middle of the night, or early in the morning, depending on which time zone you’re looking at. The person behind me pulls very hard on my seat whenever he stands up, and I worry that the next time I’m going to end up lying flat in his lap. I don’t fly much these days; the last time was on the flight back from Ireland last year. I don’t mind flying, but, except for the in-flight entertainment, it doesn’t feel much different from riding a bus.

This trip will be a little different from last year’s, but the staying up for 30 hours or so on the first day will probably hold true, because I don’t generally sleep on planes, whether I’d like to or not. Hence, watching this movie in the middle of the night/early in the morning while the moon shines in through my window somewhere over the Atlantic. 

      


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Embracing the Unexpected 

Sometimes things work out in unexpected ways. Too few keys, and suddenly you’re climbing down a fire escape ladder. When it’s that or take a subway 30 blocks each way, the choice seems obvious. 

I’m doing my best to go with these moments, to go along with the thrill-ride life can be if you take the squiggly lines, rather than the straight ones.

I can’t wait to see where the leaps lead on this vacation, and in the months ahead, when the full-time job safety net is no longer ready to catch me. May I be willing to take the risks that present themselves as solutions to dilemmas.


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Oddly Anxious 

I live to travel, and am generally pretty carefree about it, but this afternoon as I was packing and organizing, I was hit by a huge wave of anxiety. I think it came from being so focused on trying to tie up loose ends at work for the past week or so, and not devoting much thought to this trip until yesterday, when I wrote up my packing list.

It probably didn’t help that I got out of work a little later than I’d planned, and had a few things on my mind after I left.

A lunchtime conversation with a friend kept it from being even worse, I think, because I definitely felt more relaxed by the time I headed home than I had when I initially left work. The subsequent anxiety was a blip on the road to a carry-on full of clean clothes, and a flotilla of charged electronics.

The trip is exactly what I need before the last push toward the door, and tomorrow I’ll be ready to pick up my bags and be on my way, anxiety banished in the process.