Deadlines and Worries

16 February 2002

Yesterday I forced an essay out of my head. It needed to get done yesterday. My brain had gone into neutral. If I had to type what my brain was doing, I think it would have come out as, "Nyaaaaaaaaa...." So it was major carrot and stick time. I kept telling myself, "You're going out for dinner with Mark no matter what, so you can either have fun or worry the whole time about finishing this essay. You're taking the guys for lunch with Robert and dinner with Zak and Sharon tomorrow. You will be miserable if you're fussing about this essay." That worked a bit. I also promised myself one of my chocolates to get the brain rolling (if I waited until afterwards, I'd have just sat there thinking about chocolate) and time on the nice couch with the nice Timprov watching the nice Olympics and reading the nice book Evan recommended. It sounded nice. So I managed to get myself working.

The "nice book" is BOBOS in Paradise. (It's in all caps on the cover but appears in the text as Bobos.) And it's fun. Brooks is talking about travelers who have to go to the most painful places they can imagine, and he says, "In the midst of such soliloquies I used to wonder why these North Face Folks didn't just take their two-week winter vacation and go to Minnesota to join a road crew. If they wanted brutal conditions, a tough challenge, and team camaraderie, at least in Minnesota they could have filled in a few potholes and had something to show for their misery. But of course, the trekkers aren't lugging their carabiner belts halfway across the world for public service. They want the aesthetics. They want the full in-person IMAX experience." That would sum up my view of Mount Everest type vacations...except you don't do roadwork in Minnesota in the winter. That's the other seasons. There are two: winter and road construction. I can assure Brooks that summer road construction would be just as miserable, though.

There are other parts of this book that I find pretty funny, too. The beginning of the chapter on Spiritual Life is hysterical, and the bit about Bobo sexual mores: "There are so many academic theoreticians writing about sexual transgressions that orgies must come to resemble an Apache dance at tourist season, done less for the joy of it than to please the squads of sociology professors who have flown in to quote Derrida." I also liked REI as a Norman Rockwell sort of place. This is a good book that Evan recommended.

It's been a pretty good week for books, and now that I'm done with the deadline stuff, I think it's going to be okay for writing, too. Problem is, I don't know what I'm going to get done. The grands and the aunts and uncles get to town tomorrow, and I have very little idea how much time I'll be with them and what that'll mean for the time I'm not with them. Usually I have more of an idea of how a week will go than this, but I'm pretty much up in the air.

The bad news of the moment is that my great-grandmother is not doing well. When she fell, she hit her head, and evidently the head injury is worse than they originally thought. She's not recognizing my aunties at this point. The doctor ordered an MRI. Don't know the results yet. We're hoping, but...she's old. We know better than to hope for too much.

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