Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Rambling no rose

It was warm enough to leave the windows open last night but it sure is cold this morning. I had to get up out of my warm bed and close them because I have to start work in a couple hours and I find it a little difficult to type when my fingers are blue and cold. Just a quirk really.

I mailed off the last of my holiday cards yesterday and a package for a friend. It was cheaper to send the package by Priority mail and ask for delivery confirmation than it would have been to send it regular mail and wait three or four days for it to show up. Sounded like a bargain so I went for it. I paid the rent and the bills and now I'm broke but that's the way it usually works. At least I got food last night and a pot of homemade vegetable beef soup is simmering on the stove filling the house with that herb and food scent that makes the mouth water. I forgot an ingredient so I have to track back to the store to pick it up today so I can make another cheesecake and freeze it. It will be a gift for someone, maybe one of you. How do you feel about key lime cheesecake? Or do you prefer plain or maybe chocolate raspberry swirl?

This is one of the few times I wish my family lived closer because I love to bake and cook and give the results as gifts, although I'm sure my mother wishes I were back in Ohio to help her and the family deal with everything my father is going through. Carol seems to have picked up the ball and run with it so maybe me being here is a good thing since other people are doing what I've always done--handle things.

I haven't had much time to read lately and I'm going to have even less time to read since I have to work even longer hours than before. It's all part of the grown up thing that I really don't like very much. There are days when I wish I could run away, just pack up the car and hit the road and drive. I've even thought of packing a few things, stowing them in a back pack and just start walking. By the time I reach the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail I should be in shape to through hike either or maybe both. There's something so soothing about a walk in the woods with nothing on the mind but putting one foot in front of the other. I'd stop every once in a while to pick up a day job or two or work for a week or two to get enough money to push on but it would be a simple life with no bills and no responsibilities and no pressure. I wouldn't have to sit in that chair for 12-16 hours a day and I could stop and walk into a public library and read for a few hours without worrying about all the chores I need to do. I'd be close to nature and I could stop and make radio contact with my backpacking rig and chat with people all around the world and across the country. To meet new people and hear different stories I could write and submit at those libraries would be heaven indeed. That is the life I would choose.

It's a charming thought and one that pops frequently into my mind a lot these days when I'm feeling pressured and harried and worried about paying the bills and having enough money saved for the future. But it's the pipe dream of frustration. I don't need to run away to be free. I am free now. I go and come as I choose--most of the time. I do have to work and sometimes it seems endless, especially in a job I don't like, but what's to say there are other jobs that would be better or less endless. On the road I wouldn't have beds to make and kitchens to clean and trash to take out. I would have camp to make every night, dishes to wash out, food to hang, trash to dispose of, clothing to wash and things to air out. I'd still have to work some time at manual or unskilled labor for a fraction of what I make right now and the work would be mindless drudgery, albeit something new and different. I'd still have to buy shoes to replace the ones I'd wear out and clothes when my own were too threadbare to keep me warm on arctic nights and days. I wouldn't be able to bathe as often and the smell would probably keep me out of public libraries where it's warm and cozy and full of chairs and tables and books.

Whether its' the open road or my comfortable haunted apartment, it's a trade-off. It's like the stories of running away to join the circus. You think it's all painted faces and popcorn and animals. You don't know about the back breaking labor of putting up and taking down tents, practicing hour after hour after aching hour to get a trick right or washing and scrubbing down smelly elephants or mucking out cages or the thousand different tasks that need to be done for two hours of play time and entertainment for the masses. I know about what makes a circus run because my father ran away to the circus when he was younger. When he had his fill he joined the Army.

As Erma Bombeck said, "The grass is always greener over the septic tank." The trick is to be happy in whatever you do or wherever you live and if you're not happy to find what makes you happy. Whatever you choose, it will mean work and probably a lot of work, but you get to choose the work so choose wisely. No road is easy to walk but some are more worth the effort than others. The good thing about roads is that there are lots of them. All it takes is a change of course to find the one that suits you and takes you where you really want to go.

That is all. Disperse.

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