Sudden Onset Melancholy Part 2

I have posted before about what I call Sudden Onset Melancholy. It comes and goes. Sometimes I know what brought it on. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it goes away quickly. Sometimes it lingers. I am in a bit of a prolonged state at the moment. I think yesterday was the worst day so far.

I was already a little bummed about not going home to Kentucky this summer. Part of me still wishes I had a refundable plane ticket so I could skip India and drive to Kentucky instead. While thinking about home recently, the memory of my mom Facetiming with my kids(the last time they would every talk to her) popped in my head. I went from general melancholy to real sadness.

I have seen my son a lot more over the last few weeks than I have in a while. He still lives away from home, but he went on our trip with us last month, so I saw him every day for two weeks. He’s been home a few times since then for dinner. It’s been nice spending more time with him lately. Now, we look toward heading off on a family trip to India without him. He will be heading off for a work trip to Virginia the same week. I’m sad that he is not coming with us and, as always, anxious about the actual trip. It has not helped my mood.

I also have what I will call the summer time blues. That part of the summer when all I really want is to be able to be home, sitting on my deck reading a book. Or, at my brother’s house by the pool. Anywhere but in an office. Summer is when my “I really want to retire” mood hits an all time high. I miss the time of lazy summer days. Now summer is just a stressful time at work trying to staff the library when staff is on vacation.

My trip anxiety will obviously end at the very least when we return, but then I will be looking toward the next big event that will make me sad: my daughter moving away to college. Maybe I will be better mid-autumn.

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Why my Sports Teams are My Team

I was watching the Braves play the Cardinals yesterday and one of the Cardinals announcers said that he had always followed winning teams, so his fandom changed based on who was good. When Lebron signed with the Lakers yesterday I’m sure they picked up new fans who just follow wherever Lebron goes. I think the idea of changing favorite teams is weird. I can see having new interest in a team based on a new player, but not changing teams. Same with a personal move to a new city. I do have an odd collection of favorite teams. Here they are and why I’m a fan:

College Football and Basketball – University of Kentucky Wildcats – I grew up in Kentucky and attended UK for both undergrad and grad school. I watched the basketball games when I was a kid. I attended football and basketball games as a student. As a student. I had multiple classes with players from both teams. They will always be my team no matter where I live.

MLB – Atlanta Braves – I’ve always been a baseball fan. There is no team in Kentucky. I think a lot of people are fans of Cincinnati or St. Louis because they are the closest. I didn’t really have a team until TBS arrived and started airing Braves games. We started watching the Braves because all of the games were on TV. They were really bad, but we watched anyway. I was finally rewarded for my loyalty when they went through a stretch of being one of the best teams in the game. I stuck with them when they got bad again and am now enjoying a season where they are back in first place.

NFL – Baltimore Ravens – I didn’t really get invested in an NFL team as a kid. I don’t even remember watching much football. When we moved to the DC area, nothing about the Redskins made me want to change that. I didn’t start watching the Ravens when they fist came to town. It took a few years for me to start watching and then I was hooked and I’m now a season ticket owner(though I am trying to sell them)

NBA – Washington Wizards – This is the one where I can say I started watching because of a player, but at least they are local. I am a basketball fan, but never really watched the NBA. Since Calipari has been at UK there have been a lot of UK guys in the NBA. One of those is John Wall who was my favorite player on Calipari’s first team. He was drafted y our local team. It still took a while for me to become a fan of the team, but I’m there now. I have no idea if my interest will end when Wall leaves.

NHL – I just can’t get in to hockey. I don’t know why.

Those are my teams. I don’t expect it ti change. If Wall leaves Washington it’s more likely that I will watch less NBA than it is for me to pick a new team.

Too Close to Home

I will start by saying that I am not trying to claim any real personal connection to the shooting in Annapolis yesterday. None of my friends and family(that I’m aware of) were at the location where the shooting occurred. I didn’t personally know any of the victims. I didn’t know the shooter. I was safely removed from the actual events. This one though, was too close to home for me.

The newspaper office is 15 miles from my house.

It is across the street from the mall we would go to all the time back when we did things like go to a mall.

It is next to the hospital where both of our kids were born.

It’s within walking distance of a restaurant we eat at regularly.

The shooter apparently attended the high school 5 minutes from my house.

The shooter lived near where I work.

I’ve always been aware of the fact that this type of thing an happen anywhere. I’ve been through active shooter training. I have a plan for what I might do if it happens at work.This one really hit home the point that it could happen to e or to someone I love.

From a Savage to an Amazon?

The news reported this morning that Amazon is offering the opportunity for people to start their own business delivering Amazon packages. It’s possible to start with only a $10,000 investment. When I was looking it up just now, I saw that there is also the Amazon Flex option to be a “gig” driver, more like an Uber type set-up. I was just saying recently how much I miss having a job where I’m outside and on the move all day.

One of my first jobs out of college was working for the Cincinnati Post delivering papers to street racks and stores. It was a summer job before I started grad school. I arrived in the morning, picked up my morning edition, drove around the city delivering them, ate lunch and then picked up and delivered the afternoon edition. Instead of driving to each rack, I would park on a block, grab all the papers for that area, and run to each rack or store to deliver them.  I was in very good physical shape that summer. My day ended when I delivered my last paper, so the faster I worked, the more free time I had. I had no benefits, vacation or holiday time, so it wasn’t the best job, but I really did like being on the go all day. Whenever I leave the branch for a meeting and I’m driving mid-day, I miss being out in my car alone all day. So, when I see jobs like the above, I’m always tempted to make the big jump from professional librarian to delivery guy. I would probably find soon enough that this type of job is not great for an old guy like me, but the temptation is still there.  I also think the job seems attractive because your interaction with other people is limited. That sounds really nice.

I’m not going to quit my job and become an Amazon guy. I will continue on as a Savage assistant manager, but for a day I will long for days alone in my car listening to the radio. It was a simpler time.

Living in a Post-Civil World

I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare that people were already comfortable with being rude to others long before Trump was elected president. I will say, though, that having a president who spends his days insulting people on Twitter does go a long way toward empowering people to do the same. But, the lack of civility started way before Trump and extends in to every part of life, not just politics. The political side of it just gets all the news.

Anyone who works with the public has to have noticed that people say please and thank you a lot less than they used to. It’s amazing the number of times I’m on the phone and at the end of the transaction there is complete silence as I’m waiting for the thank you and the other person seems confused as to why I am still on the line. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen the people at Starbucks who won’t end their cell phone call long enough to place an order and act like it’s n imposition to pause for a second to give a drink order and then go back to the call for the duration of the transaction. I was cut off on the road last night because the another driver wanted to assert his dominance and not let me merge on to the road. This happens a lot. Kids are no longer taught how to act in public. Kids run wild in inappropriate places and the parents feel insulted if someone calls them on it and asks them to parent their children. Social media is full of people insulting everyone who has a differing opinion. You know this if you’ve ever read the comments. Never read the comments.

Take all of that, add in hatred of people not like you, add empowerment from your leaders and we get the world we are living in now. A world of people who already decided social niceties no longer matter and now are empowered to go further. We are moving from general rudeness to outright hostility.  Every day on Facebook we see friends and family on Facebook empowered to spew hatred towards others based on religion, race, sexual orientation, politics, etc. I guess that is good. I’d rather know who the bigots are than have them hidden under politeness.

We have now reached the point that a call for civility is met with resistance. We have decided that if one side is rude and nasty, then we should be rude and nasty as well. I’m not saying not to protest, not to speak your mind. I’m not saying not to point out when someone is a racist or a homophobe. I’m just saying try being a little nicer in your day-to-day life. Say please. Thank people who help you. Put your phone away while ordering your coffee Smile at people. We can’t fix the fact that our leaders are terrible people, but we can make the rest of the world a little better.

A Pause on Tradition

We have traveled to Kentucky every summer for as long as I can remember to spend time with family. One of the best days of the year for me is the day all of my family gathers at my brother’s house for a cookout, games and fun in the pool. This year, we will not be going to Kentucky.

We just got back from an almost two-week trip to England and France to celebrate our daughter’s high school graduation. We leave in two weeks for Hyderabad, India where my wife will attend a conference and we will tag along as tourists. That is pretty much the extent of the amount of time I can take off work over the summer. The only way we could have done the trip to Kentucky was for the rest of the family to go without me and for me to fly in for a day or two. Even that didn’t work out. So, I told my siblings that we will not be visiting this year.

I’m sure once I’m in India I will be happy I decided to go. It’s probably the only time I will have a reason to go. Right now, though, after some issues with submitting payment for the Visas and looking toward the looming 18 hour flight, sitting by the pool in Kentucky sounds pretty good right now. My memories on Facebook have also been full of pictures and posts from Kentucky trips, so that is not helping with things. I’ve been a little sad about not visiting lately. Maybe I will try to make a quick weekend trip alone before Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, I wonder how long it will be,with most of the kids in the family being adults now,  before the annual Christmas gathering starts to become difficult.

It’s times like these when I wish I did not live 500 miles away from everyone. It would be nice for a quick weekend trip to be an option.