Every time I turned around this weekend, there was death. It was in Norway and London. It was all over the local news, with bodies found behind grocery stores and boaters driving into piers. And it was a bit closer to home than I preferred, as a friend of mine lost someone to a drunk driver and a former coworker was gunned down in a murder suicide while leaving work on Friday evening.
For the most part, I wasn’t personally connected to any of these, with maybe the former coworker being the exception, but our acquaintance was rather vague since she worked at a different branch than I did and most of our interactions were over the phone and through help desk tickets. Regardless, all of these events just seemed to mushroom into this huge black cloud of darkness and grimness that has plagued my mood throughout the past few days.
It’s strange because I can’t exactly explain how I feel or necessarily justify why all of this should affect me. It’s certainly not something that I could use as an excuse to, say, call off of work or stay in bed and pull the covers over my head. It’s not personal.
But it’s a grim look into a really crappy state of human affairs and that could have it’s toll on anyone. Sure, we all go on with our lives because they weren’t people we knew but every once in awhile, that reminder of what happened or the thought that there are people suffering because of senseless violence or stupid decisions creeps back into the recesses of your brain and that sadness just settles into a small part of the heart.
It is sad and painful to think of how far that kind of suffering reaches and most of the time, you just don’t let it get to you but then you remember that people are out there grieving and you remember that it wasn’t so long ago that you grieved and you really don’t wish that kind of pain on anyone.
As it is, life has been somewhat up and down. There’s more of way up so maybe that’s why the low moments feel downer than they should. It hasn’t been awful by any means, just a smattering of somewhat mundane and monotonous bookended by some crazy and ridiculously fun weekends.
Life in the South is pretty much opposite from the North. Up there, we hibernate in the winter, locking ourselves inside to avoid the snow and the cold. Down here, Summer’s the time to cocoon ourselves. It is not uncommon for me to not want to leave my nice and dark and cold air-conditioned house to avoid the heat and humidity. Granted, it seems to be hot everywhere and heat is heat – but here, in my personal life and area – that heat combined with the ridiculously high humidity means that I want to spend most of my time in the air-conditioning or in the pool and seeing how there’s no pool readily available, the air-conditioning it is. The only problem with hibernating in the summer is the guilt you feel for not being out enjoying those long lazy days because when winter comes around, it’s going to be depressing when it gets dark at six pm and you find all of that time to do FUN stuff is cut short by long work days and a fast approaching darkness.
In other words, the fact that I left my house maybe twice this weekend probably doesn’t help my grim mood either.
It’s times like these I need a good dreary rainy day, or rainy weekend, to justify the nesting and hibernation need that has settled into my psyche.
It is also times like these that I realize I can only handle so much in one summer. On the way to work, I heard ads talking about back to school sales (kids go back in mid-August here) and the first thought was, “What?! Summer hasn’t even started!” when in reality, it’s pretty much halfway over, despite the fact that it will probably stay warm here long past the first day of Autumn.
But I always seems to feel as if the summer flies by, mostly because I get so engrossed in work and getting things done that I forget to go out and enjoy it. This year, Summer started off on a kind of crappy note and then flipped around into a gloriously fun 4th of July weekend and an even more fun Girls’ Weekend in Myrtle Beach. And of course, while I was out having fun, my to-do list and general day to day chores fell by the wayside because I can apparently only handle doing one or the other – that is, enjoying myself or having my shit together. And if I’m doing one but the not the other, I have this guilt that eats away at me about the thing I’m not doing.
Overall, I feel like I haven’t had my shit together since probably about April, as April is about the month we started having FUN, what with my two weekend long birthday celebration and a various nights spent just sitting on friends decks and drinking booze and playing cards into the early hours of the night. That segued into a Memorial Day weekend spent on the boat and at the beach which then segued into two weekends in NC handling my grandfather’s illness and subsequent death which then meant a week in St. Louis for work and the rest of the free time after that planning for our visitors and the kick ass 4th of July party and then Girls Weekend and finally, it was this past weekend and I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything except sit on my couch and watch crappy TV and drink wine and eat stuff that would have been terrible for me even if I’d gotten up and ran fifty miles after shoving it in my face.
I haven’t grocery shopped and have barely cooked anything substantial in well over a month. We are surviving off fast food and pizza and sandwiches with fresh lunch meat, which I prefer anyway because then I don’t have to turn the oven on and waste another hour of ridiculously expensive electricity since it takes forever to cool my house down to a comfortable level in the evenings. I have vacuumed my floors kind of regularly but part of me wants to give up since two days after I do it, there’s dust balls of Baxter and Sammy fur floating like tumbleweeds behind me as I walk. I have kept the clutter and the messes to a minimum but for the most part, we are just barely functioning, as in we basically work, keep the animals adequately fed and entertained, stare at something stupid on the TV, sleep then rinse and repeat.
I am ready for the fall, the rejuvenation that comes with the passing of each season. I am ready to throw open my curtains and fling open the windows and feel the crisp breeze through my house. I am ready for jeans and sweaters and hoodies.
I am ready for a vacation, y’all! One where no body knows our name, where we don’t have to show people around town or entertain others or visit with people. One where we are not at the house and I can enjoy the time off without letting all of the things that “I’ve been meaning to do but never have the free time” make me feel guilty about not doing them. One where I can sleep in and make a leisurely breakfast and read an entire book in one sitting and take a long bath and sit on the porch and enjoy the peace and quiet.
I am in the midst of making that happen. And that thought alone fills me with enough joy that when that grimness creeps back in, I just come back to this break that I will finally be allowing myself and somehow, it seems to disappear.
Isn’t it funny how that happens? Maybe there’s some truth to that whole Secret thing after all.
Just in case, I’m off to thinking about winning the lottery.
Image found here.