Monday, February 16, 2015

Getting sick on a holiday—The Boredom, Dispatch 7

If you're new to The Boredom or just forgot what's going on in my life, the previous dispatch is here, or start from the beginning with Dispatch 1.

Sunday, Day 31 of The Boredom, was a calm and relaxing day.  I mostly did research, did some prep work for the side business, and then I went to evening service at the First Baptist Church.  The pastor was preaching from Exodus.

Monday, Day 32, was hectic.  I hit the gym, showered, and then went out to do some more last minute Christmas shopping.  It’s freaking uncanny how every year I keep telling myself I’ll do the shopping earlier next December.  Then next December comes and I’m totally taken by surprise at how it’s December 22 and I still haven’t finished my Christmas shopping.

Luckily I’d made a dent in the holiday shopping the week before, so there were only three or four places where I spent ridiculous blocks of time in line.  Thankfully, I didn’t have an Auxiliary squadron meeting so I felt relieved to have that extra time to just rest.  My teenage nephews brought home a bug from school and had passed it around the family—jerks.  By Day 32 I was definitely feeling a cold coming on.

Day 33 was much of the same, though I had to carry tissue everywhere with me because my nose started doing the drip-drip run.  I went to bed early that night.

Day 34 was Christmas Eve.  The stress was on that day.  I must admit, no small part of that was due to family drama.  For starters, the father of my nephews—an absentee runaway coward who hasn’t seen his children in over three years—had recently called up and made promises (like he does every year) and then broke them (like he does every year).  Every time that S.O.B. does that, my niece—eleven years old—becomes an emotional wreck, her feelings of abandonment become renewed, and then she starts acting up.  Worst of all, being the only other male anywhere near her father’s age, she channels her hurt and rage and lashes out at me.

The other thing is that one of my siblings—who will not be dignified with name recognition—has been hanging around a lot.  When she’s not mistreating me, she finds ways to loiter and become a nuisance, which annoys my dad to the extreme, and the next person he sees is the lightning rod for his charged up, pent up frustration.  Guess who’s that lightning rod?

I hate to say it, but I’ve always been the soft target for my family.  It’s because I’m the quietest, the kindest, and the most patient.  Well, I suppose my mother’s really the kindest and most patient.  But I was always the quiet, well-behaved one.  (I misbehaved now and again; I just found ways that didn’t cause collateral damage the way Nameless Sibling’s shenanigans did.)  So people found it easier to lash out at me because I wouldn't do it in return.  Well, I got opportunities to surprise everyone during The Boredom.  I won’t go into detail, but I didn’t let anyone walk all over me the way they did in the past.

I love my family, but I often feel like they don’t understand me.  I’m not whining or feeling sorry for myself in any way.  I’m at peace with the things about me that my family will never understand.  But the more time I spend playing war with the Army, the more aggressive I become, and the more cold, calculating, and analytical I feel.  Whereas I used to despair at major problems, nowadays my line of thinking is “Okay, first I need to survive this crisis, regroup/rearm, and then kill the people responsible.” 

That’s an excellent way of warrior’s thinking, but it sure as hell don’t fly when it comes to jackasses on the 10 freeway, or with those in my own family who are practically begging for a broken jaw—but I can’t, because I can’t stand domestic violence.  It’s in these moments of frustration and isolation that I feel a burning desire to find strength and direction in my walk with Christ, and from libertarian thought.  The Golden Rule and non-aggression principle are truly hard to obey at times, but I must adhere to them if my honor, reputation, and conscience are to remain clean and clear.

Anyhow, Christmas Eve was upon us and the stress was there.  The entire month, Nameless Sibling did absolutely nothing to help get ready for the Christmas Eve family get-together, other than insist that she pick out the Christmas tree, subsequently leaving the work of hauling and decorating the tree to our mother (who became annoyed and cranky at being ditched, and guess who was the next person she saw).

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen that day, cooking early-to-mid afternoon so my dad would have the kitchen freed up for cooking his dishes in the late afternoon.  I also moved the furniture around to accommodate a banquet for the nuclear family and all the other relatives joining us.  Then, as my dad started cooking, I finally got around to wrapping all the gifts I’d bought for the family.  I managed to shower and put on slacks and a collar shirt (for my mother).  I don’t play that ugly Christmas sweater game crap.

Dinner was delicious and it was good to have our big family seated around a large table for this holiday.  After dinner we ate pie to our heart’s delight—it’s all about pecan pie and New York cheesecake—and then opened all the presents.  Frankly, I didn’t appreciate the unorthodoxy of not waiting til Christmas morning, but I wasn’t in charge.  It was still a great time.

Family’s important.  Because of that, I gave in to my older sister, Dee, when she insisted on including the Nameless Sibling in our evening plans.  I’m very close to Dee and visit her at her house at least two or three times a week.  She insisted that because it’s Christmas, we should include Nameless.  So I extended the invite.

She never made it to Dee’s house.  I thought she’d left with Dee, and Dee left without Nameless thinking she was coming with me.  We ended up putting two and two together that Nameless was off getting high somewhere, which is why she disappeared for a stretch of time.

After Dee’s house, I came home and racked out.  I was feeling that cold and desperately needed sleep.

I awoke at 7:30 on Christmas morning, Day 35, glad about the reason for the season and that we’d gotten presents out of the way the night before.  During the daytime I read, played Lord of the Rings Online, and hung out with Dee.  As the evening drew near I finalized the evening’s plans.

Havok was to come with me to see the advance screening of American Sniper in the dome at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood—mind you, not only did I LOVE nighttime trips to Hollywood with my friends, but this was also three weeks before the movie’s general release.  Then evening came and the exhaustion, coupled with the complete loss of adrenaline after the Christmas gift exchange was over, turned into a nasty cold that knocked me on my ass.

It was 9 PM and I felt like death warmed over but cooling off fast.  I still had an hour-long drive to Hollywood and a possible outdoor wait in line, on a cold winter night, for a two-hour movie that starts at midnight.  American Sniper wasn’t happening.  Havok was very understanding—turns out the rat bastard already saw the movie in a secret advanced screening for the Navy.

I spent all of Days 36 and 37 resting and getting my body back from the abyss (but I was royally pissed the entire time about missing the advance screening I paid for).  It wasn’t until several days later that I realized Day 36 was December 26—my two-year anniversary since I quit drinking.  Cutting booze out of my life and reforming myself were monumental tasks, but I’m very proud of those accomplishments.  I’m even more proud that getting my life together has made me feel worthy of the people I care about.

All in all, the holiday wasn’t bad.  With Christmas over, I was looking ahead to the new year.

* * *

Shoppers photo courtesy of the New York Post.  Shooting silhouette courtesy of Cricuit Crafts on Pinterest.  Santa in the sky image courtesy of Both images used according to Fair Use.

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