While I sit and piss away the hours on irc and facebook and e2 (definitely gonna go to bed at 10, definitely gonna go to bed at 11, definitely gonna go to bed at 12), it hits me.

I've turned back into a useless jackass.

For the longest time, my weekends were filled with meaningless wank (both figurative and literal). I didn't hang out with my friends much and I didn't work on many of my own projects much. I just sat around on irc and whacked off. But at some point during mid-2009 I realized (with a little help) that if I wanted my days to not suck, I'd need to fill them with something other than watching anime and feeling bad about myself. So I got a life. It wasn't an impressive one, but at least I was hanging out with people I liked and doing things I enjoyed. At some point during early 2010 I realized that while sitting around the bonfire and making dick jokes was fun, it wasn't really accomplishing much. So I started to work on my own projects. I cleaned out my bedroom, got started on my pile of unread books, started making Russian flashcards, and generally learned a lot about the world I lived in.

And I don't know when that stopped. It might have been when I moved back to my dad's house, fully ten miles away from anyone I knew with no reliable Internet connection. It might have been when I fulfilled my graduation requirements at the high school and started getting up at 9:00. All I know is that I've spent the last three weekends sitting idly around the house, reverted fully to the malaise of 2008.

I used to write ten-page term papers in an hour, and now I struggle all day with a ten-paragraph node. I used to memorize twenty Russian words a day, and now I pause for a minute and a half while I remember how to say "twenty" in Russian. I used to get up at 6:00 every morning and drive to a school I hated by 7:00, and now that I genuinely want to show up at 7:00, I lose track of time and stay up until 1:30 am every night for a week. Including tonight.

God dammit.

The light creeping through the curtains of the hotel room was golden, and the downtown street several stories below was raucous with man and machine. I woke up in the late morning, just in time for room service. I had a shower, and sprawled across the bed, trading jibes with coworkers, trading stories of going cross-country. It was a beautifully slow afternoon, but around two o'clock, I was bored, hungry, and twitchy.

I left my hotel room, retrieved my truck, and headed down into Burlingame via 101. Burlingame, to all appearances, is this strip of land between freeway and ocean. The residents are few: the hotels and restaurants are many. Down that way is a motel I've stayed several times before, the Vagabond Inn, and next to it is a decent chain burger place with a pretty damn good view of the bay and one of the landing paths info SFO.

Idyllic. It was a peaceful afternoon in my booth at the burger joint, which is rather more upscale than I describe it. Jungle plants, gold fittings, a pretty good bar - huge, plush booths with a great view of the water.

I curled up into my booth for the two hours it took me to finish reading Palimpsest. While reading, I thought about the archetypes and images of cities, and about what San Francisco means to me - both as a vacation spot, as a goal, as the place one of the great loves in my life was partially set.

San Francisco will always be full of magic for me, and love.

As I was to learn later, it's not somewhere I could ever live. Living there breaks the spell - there's nothing to quest for. San Francisco - or the dream of it - is best approached by never quite arriving and settling down.

I got my burger, I got my hefeweizen. Feeling fat and happy, I spent the next two hours reading in a seaside booth, alternately finishing several chapters or watching planes land. Finally, I left, hitting a gas station on my way out of Burlingame.

It felt early. I headed south, pursuing the idea of San Jose. It was a beautiful day to take side streets, dodging the traffic until about halfway down to the city. Late afternoon sun set in, green-golden and balmy. I found parking in downtown, and commenced wandering, searching in vain for an independent coffee shop.

Finally, at Starbucks, an idea struck me.

<cassparadox> So anyway, Zeph, which part of the city are you in? We should do dinner, or snacks, or coffee, or tea. Or something. Generalities are fine, toss out something near you and I'll look about.
<cassparadox> I'm trying to buy her food and/or some form of drinkable. I'm terrible.

After some convincing, I followed the instructions of my GPS on down to the Starbucks across town... which was closed. A bit puzzled, I peered around the parking lot, spotting a lone car with what looked like Zeph's mother and a rather frazzled college-age student.

Some discussion ensued. A short time later, Zephronias and I were ensconced in a booth at Denny's eating breakfast chow of dubious virtue.

Zeph was understandably wary of me. Perhaps still is. I understand random visitors from the Internet is a bit unnerving.

She is a very quiet, very calm, badass.

Conversation mostly centered around E2. But in a good way. We discussed various life minutiae, story-telling, and other such things, and a while later, I dropped her back off on a dark residential street.

Yawning a bit, and regretting a lack of caffeine in my blood stream, I packed up and headed back up 101 to San Francisco. There was another day ahead...

Today is my last weekday morning that is an off day from work.

I first woke up around 5:15 and, recalling that it is an off day, happily drifted back to sleep in the warmth of the bed.

If there is a greater pleasure common to the human experience it would need a 12 step program.

A little before 7Am I awake again and I snuggle up close to my wife. Burrowing my face into the curls of her hair, I take in her scent deeply and slowly.

She turns on the radio in time for "The World News Roundup". I tickle her back tightly with a light slow touch of my fingertips. Her skin is soft and warm.

Malcolm is standing up in his dog crate, ready to start his day. Teague is burrowed all the way in the back of hers, sooo not a morning dog.

After a bit, I let them out of their crates and give them whole body scratches before I let Teague jump into the bed. I help Malcolm up into bed too. I pull the covers over them and let them snurffle and tussle under the sheets.

I get myself dressed and put on a pot of coffee. I go outside with the dogs. It is cold this morning. Again. The ground has frozen. Again. After chasing the dogs about for a bit, we go inside and find Virginia preparing her lunch for the day. I fill the dog's bowls make them take their pills.

I make myself a bowl of cereal (become someone ate the cinnamon roll that I was saving) and an espresso and settle in to watch the season finale of Shameless on the DVR before Virginia has to go to work.

All this is what I am going to miss most when I return to an eight hour, MON-FRI work schedule starting tomorrow.

For the past year I have been on a twelve hour, seven day a week, rotating shift at work. In a two week period my schedule looked something like this:

work work off off work work work
off off work work off off off

I am an industrial controls technician. I work in a hand cream tube factory.

It takes a lot of high speed automation to make hand tubes. The next time you look at a tube of goop from the sundries aisle of Walgreens and notice that the flip top is aligned with the artwork, know this my fresh faced friend: that feature is a pain in the ass to repeat a hundred and twenty times a minute. And do you care? Someone corporate twit cares, but as a consumer, I don't.

Last year my company was awarded a large multi-year contract with Bazillion-Dollar-Pharmaceutical-Corporation. One of the stipulations in the contract was that my company invest seventeen million dollars into new equipment and to pass some of the cost savings to BDPcorp. This is how manufacturing works in the majors.

Pervious to that installation of the new machinery, we had to go onto a continuously running 24-7 operation to keep up with the orders.

The twelve hour shifts were usefull in some ways. Last summer, on the weekdays that I had off, I was able to spend ample time in the garden. Last summer was the first year that I was able to really keep the weeds down to a high level of satisfaction. I took lunch to my wife and hung out with her at her shop for her lunch break. I took the dogs for long walks.

But when winter set in, I felt house bound and restless for most of the day. As I wrote in this daylog already, I overindulged in my love for sleeping in, and suffered from insomnia for this indulgence. Having to work for twelve hours after sleeping for less than six hours makes for a looong day!

At the end of these long twelve hour days, when most of the salaried management had gone off to their families and their dinners, I would hang out at the tech desk computer if there were no maintenance calls to attend to.

One evening last summer, I discovered E2, while searching for information about a Bhagavan Das autobiography. I lurked on the sight for some time before joining on to make a record of a service trip that I made working for my previous employer.

Much of my idle time during this time I spent on E2.

All things bend and sway to the almighty Dollar Yuan. United states labor laws require time-and-a-half overtime pay for any hours over forty total hours worked within a week . Working four shifts, seven days a week means that half of the people make eight hours worth of time and a half each week. For all you bean counters out there, THIS, reduces the bottom line.

And so tomorrow I shall return to an eight hour work shift, five days a week.

I will now be able to live like a normal human being.

I will work from 7AM to 3PM.

I might actually get more weekends off, (but I doubt it.)

I will come home and help my wife cook dinner and sit down to eat with her on a regular basis

After dinner, I will then be able to walk my dogs every evening if the weather is nice or tend to my garden, or rehearse with my band or any thing that I cannot do when I get home at Eight and have to be in bed within an hour.

But now I am going back to a traditional schedule and I am glad for it. I never felt like that I was really here at work and at the same time, I never really felt like I was gaining any real time when I was off. I felt like I was just "holding my place" if that makes any sense.

Tomorrow I start my new schedule. But today I will enjoy one last work week day off! The air is bracingly chilling but the sun is shining!


Postscript: Since writing this daylog, my factory worked M-F for about 15 months and then returned to a 24/7 operation for about two years. Somehow, I stayed on an 8 hour schedule, even though I worked every Sunday in return for Tuesdays off. I actually enjoyed this schedule very much. It was very nice not to have to work not more than three days in a row while still going home at 3PM AND having every Saturday off. The best of both worlds. Eventually, productivity outstripped sales and we returned to a M-F operation. For the time being.

republished at request July 29, 2014

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.