It’s Friday, and the trains are back up and running, and I’m heading in to work, so I am also writing a blog post for today. Callooh. Callay.
I’m writing this post on my cell phone, if that term is still strictly accurate to describe the modern “smartphone”, because I didn’t bring my laptop with me when I left the office early on Wednesday. This was not an accident; I decided that, even though I had a raincoat and an umbrella, it was possible rain might get into my backpack and damage the laptop if the rain was heavy enough.
That turns out to have been a thoroughly unnecessary precaution. I don’t want to make light of the travails of those who had a worse time of it, but around here, the recent subtropical storm was not that intimidating. Neither power nor internet went out, I didn’t even come close to needing to close the storm shutters, and the rainfall wasn’t all that impressive. We’ve had far deeper puddles from a typical summer afternoon storm.
I guess that’s all good, though the trains didn’t run yesterday, nevertheless. It was probably possible for them to do so, but I respect the decision of those responsible. They can’t know ahead of time how debris and damage might affect the tracks, putting those riding the trains in danger and potentially derailing‒pardon the expression‒operations on longer and larger scales due to mishaps. It was a sensible precaution to suspend service for the day.
I could have made it to the office by bus, but that’s a very long ride, and my boss basically told me just to enjoy the day off. He has commented, in other contexts, on the fact that I’ve never taken a vacation in all the years I’ve been working for him, and that’s true. The only time I’ve taken off has been on the two occasions when first my father and then my mother died.
As I said to him, though, what would I even do with a vacation? I don’t have anyone with whom to go anywhere, and to me, vacations are things one does with other people. I don’t even watch TV or movies with anyone, anymore, nor do I tend to watch shows that anyone else around me watches. The closest I come to watching something with someone else is watching one of the many YouTube “reaction videos” for shows that I have watched. I suppose that sort of situation is probably one of the reasons people like these kinds of videos; it feels like sharing a show you love with a friend who hasn’t seen it before.
Yesterday, during my “day off”, I decided to make use of it by going for a nice long walk (I even jogged about 40 paces during it) and then watching some movies of the sort that always used to get me motivated to get/stay in shape. These tend to be specific kinds of action movies, and the ones I watched yesterday were Hit Man, Man on Fire, and The Equalizer. Good, clean, violent, revenge-type fun where the strength of the hero is at least as much his cleverness as his physical prowess.
These were the kinds of characters I admired most‒of those in action movies, anyway. And though the main character in Hit Man is a sort of born-and-raised, brutally trained and modified to be what he is kind of person, he’s still basically a relatively believable, and very clever protagonist. And of course, both of the latter two movies were made when Denzel Washington was probably as old as I am now, or nearly so, and he’s never been an action star type.
I don’t think any of these movies are realistic, of course, but they tap into a sort of primal motivation that gets me going, and works far better than any thoughts of simply being healthy. The whole “to live a long and healthy life” thing doesn’t push you much if you don’t even want to have lived as long as you already have lived. But the feeling of wanting to be able to be a badass, to be able to carry out necessary violence in appropriate circumstances‒even if it kills you‒that can get even a person like me motivated.
So, I did some extra push ups of three different kinds‒it was appalling to me how few I could readily do at once, especially since I can do 35 dips at a time (and that despite being a fat pig). I guess they really don’t work quite the same muscle groups. I also did extra ab exercises and lunges and some other stuff.
It’s all silliness, of course, but as the writer of Ecclesiastes put it, all is vanity. Still, vanity that gets one up and moving and trying to get in better shape is at least a locally useful kind of vanity.
Anyway, that’s how I used my “day off” which was one of the first I’ve had in a while that wasn’t just because I was sick, not counting alternate Saturdays. Of course, in a few weeks I’ll have Thanksgiving off, but I don’t do anything on Thanksgiving. I don’t have nearby family or close friends with whom to spend it, and if I were invited to join someone’s family’s celebration, I would probably feel too awkward and tense at the prospect to take them up on it.
It’s a bit of a depressing situation, but I don’t really know what to do about it. I used to have family and loved ones around me (these are not mutually exclusive groups), but some members of those groups have ended up distancing themselves from me often enough‒and causing a great deal of non-intended pain in the process for me‒that I find that the sense of risk is greater than the urge to try to connect with anyone new.
Also, it’s led me to the provisional conclusion that I’m simply not beneficial to have as a family member or loved one or close friend, since I am the common denominator in all these situations. So I also don’t want to inflict myself upon other people, least of all the sorts of people who would be kind enough and patient enough to want to be close to me, and to whom I would want to be close. So, I’m not liable to change things on my own.
Most of the close friends and loved ones I’ve had in the past were either family, who were forced by blood to have me as part of their “in group”, or people with whom I’ve been almost randomly and fortuitously (for me) put together in school or university or work, or who, in a way, sought me out because they found me interesting. I’m not as interesting as I used to be, though, and even those who most thought me interesting, such as my now-ex-wife, eventually found me intolerable. She’s a smart woman; I have a hard time faulting her judgment in this.
Anyway, speaking of Saturdays‒and I did mention them not long ago‒I am apparently going to have this Saturday off; my coworker with whom I alternate Saturdays asked to switch and take this one over the next one, so I said yes. Thus, I won’t be expecting to write a post tomorrow. If something changes, well…you’ll know because I will have written a blog post.
In the meantime, I hope you have all had pretty good weeks, and that things are going well for you, and that all your potential disasters have turned out no worse than tropical storm Nicole turned out for me/us in south Florida. Thanks for reading.