How I Spent My Winter Vacation
I'm at the bar at Rose City at PDX, loving the free wifi (every airport should do that; they'd see a bump in food/drink sales as a result) and I was just enjoying the scenery across the bar. Portland is a hipster capital, and I have to admit I do love that style on the women.
My "vacation," which has been roughly the past week and will run through the 1st, has been nice. I had big dreams of hitting the Y a lot, getting my body prepped for a higher level in 2007, but I'm more like my mom than I admit -- genetics is a real thing -- and so we spent most days perched across from one another at her high-tables working on our laptops, eating pizza and drinking beer into the night. I wish I had a picture. It was nice, but also sort of the antithesis of getting to the gym and hitting the stationary cycle.
On the upside, I did some good work on Chapter Three's first non-client project -- alpha launch coming in early Jan -- and I also started my open-source community service effort for 2007, the Drupal Dojo:
It's basically a place for up-and-coming developers to rub elbows with more experienced types in a less intimidating setting, to help be a middle-ground in the burgeoning Drupal economy. I launched it about 24 hours ago and already we have more than 100 members. Oh boy.
In more personal news, I also made it over to my older half-sister's xmas for dinner with her mom and husband Fabio and my nieces Sarah and Anna, all of whom I love. Her mom Eileen is my dad's first wife, who I hadn't met until I went down to LA for Anna's Bat Mitzvah at the beginning of December. She's great, and so is her current husband Gary, one of those guys with an infectiously positive personality; reminds me a bit of Kevin Kuhlke, the old director of the Experimental Theater Wing at NYU (although clearly less weird).
Anyway, it was really cool to see all of them, especially since the Bat Mitvah and associated party were sort of a whirlwind. I'm constantly reminded of how lucky I am to have such a sprawling and diverse family tree full of so many winners and interesting personalities.
Eileen showed me some wedding photos of her and my dad from 1961. He and I have a different mouth, but from several angles we look almost exactly the same. It gives me some pause. I haven't talked to him in a couple of years, or rather he hasn't responded when I've reached out. Liz and I talk a little about this, how he'd been distant at times with her. It's good to know it's not just me, and it's really sweet and touching to see the photos of him and Eileen (who was a stone fox by the way) and Liz and my other half-sister Nan when they were kids; another side to things.
It makes me wonder. As I said, genetics are a real thing. My mother and I share a similar obsessive-bordering-on-unhealthy relationship to work, among other traits. What do I get from my dad, other than height and a brow-line? Given the loop-de-loops I seem to go through in my love life, it's not just an academic question.
I'm on my way back to New York, a city of women for me. This is undeniably a huge part of what's drawing me back. I don't know what to think of all that. It doesn't strike me as incredibly rational to pursue transcontinental relationships, and yet I don't seem to meet anyone I click with in the HC, whereas in the city...
When I first moved out, I had an unspoken dream of landing some big city babe and dragging her out to my rustic hill-country homestead. It was a very Hank Stamper ambition. I can't fucking believe the internet doesn't have a page I can link to that will explain what that means (so I must make one, later), but basically it's a romantic lumberjack notion, which is to say one that may or may not work out in reality.
See, most people don't have the career flexibility that I do. The femme types I click with in these metropoleis, they don't have much to do out in the country, away from graduate schools and the bigtime culture industry and suchlike. While it's true I'll probably end up living at least part time in an urban setting, for the time being I'm not planning on going anywhere, and where I live now doesn't offer a lot to the ladies I like.
And I certainly don't have any interest in getting with a kept woman of any sort. Not my style.
So all that's sidelined for now; roll with the punches; the most important thing is to stop struggling. I make transcontinental flights for business, but with the thrilling promise of makeout really spurring me on. I embrace this. I'm resolved not to overly judge or self-sabotage if I can help it, but it feels undeniably temporary.
I remind myself, there's nothing wrong with that. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Indeed, I recoil from too much romantic responsibility like no other (just ask, they'll tell you), and while some will suggest it's the dreaded fear of commitment, I just call it not wanting to get in over my head. I'm cagey when it comes to being accountable for other people's feelings. I don't want to let anyone down. Still, I believe that the right thing will come in the right moment. Call me a gambler. I'm holding out for a jackpot.
The heart is a mercurial organ. I can't manage it. I don't know how to turn it on or off. I can't reliably sort out a temporary rush of attraction from true love, and if you pressed me on it I would probably say they're not really different things. One just grows and blossoms, and the other has a more ephemeral life. Nature is replete with examples in this vein.
So I keep plugging away. Some days I feel the underlying belief that "good things will come" more than others, and I try to hold on to at least that little bit of faith. Many great songs have been written about this -- improbably, George Michael and Tom Petty come to mind at the moment, but there are hundreds of others -- and in that I take Howard Zinn's confidence: the poets are on my side. That's something.
It's a long life, and it might be the Jameson talking a bit, but I'm feeling good about next year. The trends are positive, and my personal chi is good. Predictions and resolutions soon, but for now a simple beatific smile and quiet confidence.