Tuesday December 2, 2003 11:18 PM
Occupations and Considerations

Long weekends are always nice, but they also always make Mondays just that little bit more Monday-fied.

I watched a few interesting TV shows over the holiday ESPN's World Championship of Poker, some hokey "truck" racing on Speed, The Repossessors on Discovery, and Extreme Martial Arts also on Discovery. I tend to not write about watching TV because I wouldn't want people to think all I do is sit around and watch TV. Just for the record, I read books, too.

Anyway, it was Sunday evening while Isaiah and I were watching The Repossessors ("They're taking that car because the 'deader' killed somebody" "Uh, no, Son, the debTOR stopped paying for the car so those guys are taking it back") and I was thinking about how those guys don't punch a time card. I was listening as the camera rode along with a locksmith who was talking about how every day he got up knowing he was going to be doing something he not only enjoyed, but something that was exciting. We watched him heist not only a Porsche and a semi, but a $118k rotary drill- you know, the kind you see along the side of roads that cable companies use to run fiber optics underground.

He picked the ignition, drove the tank-treaded behemoth off the construction site into the street and onto the back of a waiting rollback tow truck at 2:30 am. Perhaps I'm a little odd, but that looked like a blast to me and those were simple find-and-take operations. The more complicated undercover follow-the-debtors-and-then-distract'em type of operations looked like even more fun.

It wasn't just the repo stuff that looked cool, either. I have no illusions about being an extreme martial artist myself, but it looked like being a motion-capture consultant, digitizing the motions of the martial artists, was a pretty cool gig, too. I also have no illusions about my poker playing capabilities (I've never actually played poker before and don't have much expectation of changing that) but staring down opponents, gambling and bluffing seemed to me reminiscent of the gunfighters of the old west facing off at high noon.

What do all those things have in common? Not much except that they all seem to be outside the mainstream of the day to day 9 to 5 rut I frequently feel constraining me. Sometimes it seems my life is so circumscribed by the requirement that I spend so much time sitting on my backside in the same spot day in and day out. Click, drag, click, type. Create a polygon, move a vertex, edit a text file...

When I was in college and heard a jet flying overhead I'd usually look up and wonder where it was going and imagine going somewhere, anywhere. I wanted to see things outside the mundane realms I found myself plodding across back and forth each day. Needless to say this feeling has not gone away and has not diminished. Quite the opposite in fact.

I have done some neat stuff, and I've definitely been some places and seen some things, but that doesn't change the fact that these days I can count the number of places I might possibly go in a normal week on two hands. Most of the time the things I experience that are outside of the regular old routine are things I'd rather avoid anyway like unusual auto repairs or unexpected non-trivial expenditures.

I guess it's just the price I have to pay for the choices I've made in the past. My life is the result of the decision-matrix of the preceding events of my experience. I don't feel like it's impossible to drag my life out of the well-worn course it's on, but I am aware that the energy and dedication required to do it (without destroying me life as it is) is monumental and of a magnitude that I balk at considering. The cost-benefit analysis produces ambiguous results.

My life is good, though, and soon will be better with an experience that, though not brand new, is still highly unusual and exciting. Ruth could give birth to our second child any day now. I guess instead of whining about having to get up and go to work tomorrow, I should be anticipating the day I can walk into my boss' office and say "Well, today's the day- I'm leaving now for the hospital. Here's the vacation request you signed a few weeks ago. I'll see you next year!"