Friday, May 7, 2010

I truly hate having a whiny blog.

I'd like to reprise the high points of the week that I missed in the last self-indulgent whine.

Firstly, the day I returned to work was my birthday, and people remembered. People on three continents remembered, in fact, spreading the birthday across several local days. It's not the high art of social reconnection, but it felt damn good.

I received a copy of Clive Nolan's Hound of the Baskervilles CD - the first CD I've bought in many, many years, but Pandora insists on playing track 13 from it at me, and, sadly, I really like it. The full album is great, but I'm not sure it wil substitute for the book

More important, there was a definite birthday high point. My mother called - we'd phoned back and forth, starting before her birthday when I called to reassure her that she was still my mother, I was still her son and I loved her (she has found this whole process very traumatic over the past couple of years) - through her birthday on the next day, through to mine two days after that.

The Polish tradition is to devise increasingly convoluted wishes to convey to the celebrant, presumably as a signalling strategy for their depth of your interest in your life? It hasn't really worked very well in my family, certainly not from my side - I never developed the practice, and don't really know enough about day to day lives, but valiant efforts are, I hope, appreciated nonetheless.

But that's not the interesting bit. The interesting bit is that my grandmother has her 100th birthday in October, within two months of my 33 1/3rd (yes, I'm shelving anything resembling a normal birthday celebration this year - I think it's safe to say I've had enough excitement already; and I need to be happier about the mirror before calling a facewarming), and the original plan was to summon family from Poland for the happy occasion. However, it turns out that this is complicated by demanding schedules and commitment, and only one of my aunts (my grandmother's daughter) could free the time to come - but, at the ripe old age of 80, fears to travel. Where I'd come in with a vague intention of buying tickets for the family, it turns out that the best thing I could do would be to fly to Poland, escort her to Australia through the 24 hours of travel time, and then return her again afterwards.

This is perfect. It's what I do, it's what I can do, with work schedules and finances, possibly uniquely amongst our family. I may even get some quality time at our Krakow office if I feel particularly daring and my presentation at that time doesn't run a terrifying gauntlet in institutionally homophobic Poland. And since it makes little sense to fly so far for a short stay, it's likely I'll come back to the US while she's staying with my grandmother, meaning I circumnavigate the world in each direction within two months. This tickles me thoroughly. Working this out as a birthday gift to my grandmother was far and away the high point of my birthday (and quells my minor concerns about causing her an instant heart attack at my changed appearance - I can hide behind her daughter!).

Friends have really been fantastically supportive. Other than awkward non-contact with nodding acquaintance, everybody has attempted to be positive about the visible changes (which is that cautious enthusiasm which is absolutely the right thing to do, but doesn't necessarily survive the cynicism filter intact).

My one dark cloud on the horizon is the future team situation. I've registered a preference to switch to an NYC based team (but still maintaining a part-time residence on the west coast, meaning lots of videoconference and travel), and the goal is to switch at the start of July (after a train to Chicago, some kind of transport to Montreal, and a Lepage show with my favourite kitern on the way to NYC); things have been somewhat stalled, however. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and for my bandaged and scary appearance to cause complications in communication, but in vain (so far). So I'm hopeful that this will work out well (and the potential upsides are worth a separate post on their own).

Okay, Valium kicking in now. Bedtime.

1 comment:

  1. Also, Valium is remarkable. I remember the *intent* to write this post last night, before taking the Valium, but I have no memory of actually writing it.

    I imagine that the mild amnesiac effect, combined with the discipline to take Valium at the first signs of anxiety, could easily leave one with an internal history of no anxiety in life at all, so assuming an exogenous transient cause, I can see why this works so well.