Monday, February 27, 2012
The Event: Not Loving the Roller Coaster Today
You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing.
I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.
Love that line, spoken by the grandma in the movie "Parenthood." Love the grandma in the movie "Parenthood," who reminds me of my own grandma. Love the movie "Parenthood," period. Lots of great lines, like this one:
You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming a**hole be a father.
Wise words - and from Keanu Reeves, no less. Also love this exchange between the matriarch of the Buckman family and the Tom Hulse character:
Why didn't you write us when you had a son?
I didn't know myself until a couple of months ago. You see, a few years ago, I was living in Vegas with this girl. Show girl. She was in that show, "Elvis On Ice?" Anyhow, we drifted apart as people do in these complicated times, and then a couple of months ago, she shows up with Cool and tells me, "You watch him. I shot someone. I have to leave the country." THAT's a parent?
Okay, so that one's not packing a high wisdom quotient, but it's flippin' hilarious the way Hulse delivers it.
But back to the roller coaster thing. I am generally on board with the roller coaster metaphor. Life has its ups and downs, but the downs aren't all bad, because they give you a sense of perspective, and a greater enjoyment of the ups. And then there's always the little thrill you get when you weather the bumpy part and emerge, relatively unscathed, on the other side.
Suffice it to say that the last couple of weeks have been a roller coaster, house-wise. The insurance company "forgot" to pay our housing allowance, result being that we had to come four figures out of pocket and double-pay for housing (mortgage plus rent) in February. We got reimbursed, but the parties involved were less than pleasant about it - not that I expect an apology, or even halfway humane treatment, at this point, but, you know, still. Ultimately, Spouse had to conference the CEO's office back in, and we were assured (not for the first time) that the insurance company valued our business, that this wasn't the way that they wanted their customers treated (really? THEN STOP TREATING THEM THAT WAY), yada, yada. We were also assured that a project specialist would be assigned to the file, to serve as a traffic cop and hopefully help generate some forward motion. Still waiting on that call, but Spouse did receive an unpleasant call from one head of the adjustment office hydra, and I was the recipient of a whole lot of spewed venom from another. We kept our cool. We pushed through. We may, FINALLY, be approaching some meaningful resolution.
It remains to be seen if we will be made whole, or close to, but it's likely that I will never get what, equitably, ought to be coming to me (and to Spouse) for HOURS spent trying to get various people to listen to reason and do their jobs. And, certainly, I'm not gonna be getting those brain cells back.
Still, I should feel a little bit exhilarated. I mean, I went into this latest round of "negotiations" kind of expecting the worst, and emerged cautiously optimistic. But I am having trouble mustering any real enthusiasm. Instead, I'm just tired. No, tired isn't the word - emotionally drained is the concept. The same level of emotional drainage that I experienced after the third day of the Bar exam: I had taken a cab to the testing venue ( the car that I owned at the time was having "issues," and I wasn't taking chances - at least if a cab broke down, another one would be quickly dispatched to rescue me), but I didn't feel like waiting for a cab to take me home, and I didn't feel like riding home with a friend, so I walked, from Austin's Auditorium Shores to 31st Street. If you have any frame of reference for Austin, you will understand that this was a bit of a hike: all of the way across the bulk of downtown, and then all of the way across the UT campus. At the time, the walk wasn't that big of a deal, in terms of being an anomaly: after seven years in Austin, I had grown accustomed to walking everywhere, and I actually walked downtown a lot - to the bank, to my internship at the Attorney General's Office, etc.
What was a big deal was the fact that I have very little recollection of making the walk, because I was in a total fog the entire time. The fog did lift when I hit Sixth Street, because that was when two tourists (both middle-aged ladies) approached me and asked if I was "from here."
Ummmm, yes. I mean, I live here.
In that case, did I have any recommendations for a place to have lunch close by?
Ummmm. Seven years, and I could not muster a name of a single restaurant. Bear in mind, that Sixth Street and environs was, at least at the time, the epicenter for all things cool in downtown Austin. All I had to do was LOOK UP and note the nearest intersection in order to give them a recommendation, or four or five. Instead, I just stared at them with my mouth open. For a long-a** time. Until they got kind of disturbed. It's possible that they thought that I was a recent releasee from a 72-hour psych hold at a local hospital. They mumbled vague apologies, and got the heck out of Dodge.
I must have kept walking, because eventually I made it home. My roommates were waiting for me (my other, in-law-school-with-me roommate had beaten me home, on account of how she wasn't a total freak who WALKED THE ENTIRE WAY, and she warned them that the morning exam had been a nightmare - we were all expecting the examiners to zig, and instead they zagged, so no one studied the right material - which turned out okay, because when everyone flunks, well, there's your curve). They handed me a glass of wine, and, if memory serves, took off my shoes and tucked me into bed, and then they turned on a cooking show (my way of destressing back then) and told me to wait for Spouse (who was then Boyfriend) to get there.
Fairly sure that the sound in my head while I was drinking said wine and watching said cooking show was ummmm.
When I got back to the office today, after a meeting at the house with various and sundry parties, there it was again: ummmm. The thought occurred to me (pushing through the fog) that it was really kind of ridiculous that I went back to work at all. Years of conditioning, I guess. But hardly in a mind frame to be of much use to clients. Although, once I was at work, I didn't really trust myself to immediately venture back out in a car. I needed to get lose my ummmms first. Found myself desperately wishing that walking to the apartment was an option. Trust me, it's not. Walking to our house - actually theoretically possible. To the apartment, not so much. Another reason why the house is superior to the apartment. Okay, getting angry now - but the angries clear the ummmms out.
Blogging also helps me focus, and relax - to the extent that "relax" is in the current rotation. So, you know, thanks for listening. And I really do hate to be whiny - but, I gotta say, this is one of those times when the merry-go-round, for all of its sameness, sounds like a not-entirely-bad proposition.
Sorry, wise fictional grandma.
Going home in a few, to hear about the Big Kid's day (heard about the Little Kid's on the walk home from school - the silver lining of a 2 pm meeting at the house is the opportunity for a 3 pm walk to and from the elementary school, something that I used to do with regularity but is a rare treat these days). Probably won't watch a cooking show, but, hey, "The Voice" is on, and, also, "Smash."
Maybe one of my "roomies" will take off my shoes for me. Just like old times.