Living With a Ghost

There was a line in Grey’s Anatomy this week that prompted this post. I can’t recall exactly how it was phrased but the character says he “doesn’t want to live with a ghost — who he might have been if he had been brave enough to try.” That line struck a chord with me because I feel like that describes me in some way.

When I went away to college I went in thinking I wanted to be a teacher. I started on that track from the beginning of my college career and only once did I consider anything else. I took a journalism class with the thought of possibly changing my major. I liked the class, but I took the easy path of sticking with my major I chose as a high school kid. I muddled through my education classes and then, when I actually went to the classroom, I realized I hated teaching. My advisor saw that and advised that I change my major. I was working at the university library at the time and enjoyed it. It seemed the easy thing to do was to follow my advisor’s advice and work toward an MLS. I changed my major to communications and worked toward a BS for the sole purpose of going to graduate school for the MLS. I really enjoyed my communications classes. I mostly took classes in small group and mass communications. I especially liked my mass communication classes. I should have considered moving forward in that field, but, once again, I had tunnel vision and went straight on to the MLS program after graduation. While getting my master’s, I worked at a market research firm. I was very good at my job. I didn’t, however, consider that as a career either. I stayed focused on the library thing and when we moved to Maryland I applied for multiple library jobs. Now, here I am 23 years later working in a library in Maryland.

I don’t hate being a librarian. I like my job and I’m at the very least adequate at doing said job(most of the time) but I think a lot of my dissatisfaction over the years has been the side effect of living with that ghost. The ghost of Alan who didn’t go in to college with an open mind. The ghost of Alan who didn’t at least take a 2nd journalism class. The ghost of Alan who didn’t consider a career in communications. The ghost of Alan who didn’t look in to market research careers in Maryland. The ghost of Alan who would never attempt to write more than a mediocre blog post. The ghost of Alan who has always done what is easy and safe.

I like my life. I just feel like I missed out on some opportunities by playing it safe. Learn a lesson from me. Don’t spend your life living with a ghost.


Thinking About Snow Days

It’s day 8 of the Month of Tater. The gift that no one wants, but keeps giving anyway.

The heat at work was broken yesterday. They made the decision to close down right when it was time for me to go home. I was rewarded for working in the cold all day with leaving work later than planned and an almost hour commute in the rain and the dark. Yay me.

Today is my late day.  I work 1-9. As I sat at Panera eating my free bagel and reading a book, I tried not to get my hopes up that I might get a bonus day off due to the broken heat, I failed. I thought about how nice snow days are. Waking up to a text that schools and libraries are closed. Drinking coffee while watching the local news coverage of the snow while everyone else sleeps. Watching a movie or playing board games in the afternoon when everyone else is awake.  The overall goodness of having that unexpected day to just push pause and relax. Was it possible that I could get one of those days without snow?

No, it is not possible. I kept checking my phone while cleaning bathrooms to see if there was an update about the heat. I finally got one and it was good news for the branch. The heat is on. We are open to the public and I will be heading to work in a couple of hours. There will be no unexpected day off for me. Good news for the public, disappointing news for a tired, middle-aged man who wanted to relax. I think it’s time for my wife to admit that she makes enough money for me to quit my job and stay home.

Tater the Wandering Drunk

On day 7 of my month of Tater I’ve decided to tell two stories of the time I wandered off while intoxicated. One of these came up while I was at my high school reunion in the summer and the other is one that pops in my mind every now and then. The first one is just an amusing story. The second one sometimes pops in my head as a possible crossroad in my life.

Story one takes place on New Year’s Eve. I was at a party at my brother’s apartment. I knew most of the people there, but I was very much not a part of the group. I was just the weird little brother who was invited by the host. I really don’t remember a lot about the party besides feeling out-of-place. At one point that combined with everyone else pairing off in to couples became too much for me so I walked outside. I was sitting outside alone in the cold when one of my brother’s neighbors saw me and invited me to come to their party. Apparently, in my drunken and depressed state of mind, going to a party with complete strangers seemed like a good decision, so I did. I don’t know how long I stayed, but I wa gone long enough for my brother to notice I was missing. I eventually wandered back and slept on the couch at my brother’s place. Nothing really exciting happened. It’s just an “interesting” story about me.

Story two takes place at college. I had been at a party at a frat house. I never joined a fraternity, but I was welcomed and invited to parties at one particular fraternity even though I never pledged. I would go to the parties, drink, and hope that one night I would get up the nerve to actually talk to some of the female party attendees. That never happened, by the way.  So, one night, I was at a party and still too shy and nervous to approach a girl to dance or talk so I wandered off. I ended up at the McDonalds off campus, bought some fries and sat there alone. While I was there, a group of punk looking kids came in to the restaurant. They were either my age or a year younger and still in high school. I’m not really sure. Anyway, they saw me eating alone and invited me to join them, so I did. I don’t remember anything about the conversation, but they were very nice and friendly. When they were heading out, they invited me to come with them to a party. Unlike the story above, I declined and went back to my dorm.  That night pops into my head from time to time and I think that marked a crossroads in my life. I had two options. I chose the go back to my dorm option which led to me sitting here in Maryland.  The other option of going with them could easily have just lead to one odd night at a party with strangers and I still end up here, but it could have led me in an entire different direction. Assuming they were not planning on murdering me, I could have gone with them, had a great time, and spent every weekend hanging out with them. This would have lead me away from the campus based activity where I would eventually meet my wife. Life can move in different direction based on one simple decision.

Or maybe I just watch too many TV shows with time travel and the possibility of alternate timelines.

PSA: I would not recommend drinking and wandering.

Alone Again, Naturally

My family has abandoned me for the weekend. When I knew a weekend alone was coming I thought the same thing I always think, that I’m going to do all the things they never want to do. I always look toward it thinking I’m going to fill all of the time with movies, food, TV, etc. It never seems to work out that way.  Already tonight my plan is to eat leftovers, watch a show or two on the DVR and then watch The Wailing on DVD. Pretty exciting evening there.

Tomorrow I plan to go see It. That is the one thing I think I will actually do. I plan to go to the noon showing, so my thought is that I will go out somewhere and get a good breakfast and then go to the movie. What i more likely is that I will sit on the couch drinking coffee until it i time to get ready to go to the movie.  My thought then will be that I will go get a decent dinner because I didn’t really eat lunch. What will likely happen is that I will maybe get carry out from a convenient place and eat on the couch while watching TV.

Sunday will be easy. I will go to church, go to work and then watch the Ravens game. All of those things will actually happen.

I’m such an exciting guy.

Some Random Stuff from My Recent Days

I’m still struggling to finish a blog post. I either discover I don’t have a lot to say, or what I am saying is too boring or whiny for me to post. So, I will bore you with some stuff from my life over the last couple of weeks.

I went to a pre-retirement planning seminar. I’m still a little less than 8 years away from being eligible to retire, but I wanted to go just to get an idea of what to be thinking about over those years. Unfortunately, I did not find a loophole that will allow me to retire early, so I guess I need stop thinking about it for a while so I don’t get depressed.

We went to our last back to school night ever this week. It was a nice, short night because my daughter has a partial schedule. While I’m not looking forward to both of my kids being gone, I am looking forward to being done with the public school system. There’s already so much drama from the school about students not being where they are supposed to be during “pride period”(a time to go to clubs or get academic help from teachers). I agree with my kid. If they would just punish the kids not doing the right thing there wouldn’t be such a problem. I have never agreed with punishing the collective due to the actions of a few.

I finally finished the book that ended good reading streak. The next book I read, The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, was very good and got me back to where I wanted to read constantly.  Now I’m done and hoping the next book won’t slow me down again. I probably need to take a break between my assigned books. They all seem to have death in them. That can be tough.

Finally, we are one week away from the trip to the Philippines. I’m not looking forward to 24 hours on planes and in airports, but I’m sure the experience will be worth it.

My Weird, Rambling “Live” Weekly Wrap Up

Two weeks ago I decided I would start a post each week called the weekly wrap up. I would schedule it to post on Friday and throughout the week I would add my thoughts on things that happened.  Like pretty much everything else with my blogging, I failed. I didn’t start a post this week and didn’t jot down any thoughts on anything.  So, for this week I will try a “live” type of weekly wrap up.

It’s been a crazy week. We had a weekend of Nazi’s and white supremacists marching in Virginia. A woman protesting them killed when someone drove a car in to the crowd. We have a president who refuses to outright condemn the Nazi’s. On the personal side of things, work has been a crazy week of eclipse glasses hysteria. We handed out our first supply Monday morning and were out 3 minutes after we opened the doors. Most of our calls this week were people calling to see if we had glasses. We are handing more out tomorrow. I’m happy to say I won’t be there for that. I’m also happy to say that I decided a couple of months ago to take Monday off as well. I also got word early in the week that my brother was in the hospital with a “cardiac episode” that turned out to be a heart attack. He has been released from the hospital and says he is feeling good. Not the greatest news to wake up to. So, in summary, I submit that I was way to distracted to do a proper weekly wrap up this week.

Instead of some stuff I was going to write about being irritated with people who tend to post “stop talking about the stupid statue debate” and then proceed to talk about it constantly because what they really mean is that they want people to disagree with them to stop talking about it(I lied. I did write about it) I will end with this – Life is short. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow. Don’t live a life of regrets. Don’t live a life filled with hate. Make the most of every day. Love your neighbors. Make the world a better place. Take the time to spend time with friends and family. No one will say on their death bed that they wish they spent more time at work or that they wished they had spent a little more energy on hating people.

How to Have a Frustrating Day

Start the day at the dentist. Have the hygienist tell you that everything is good and that you should change nothing about your personal dental care only to be told by the dentist that an old filling needs to be replaced and now you have to go back next week for that.

Arrive home to find Netflix not working on your TV because the day before they told you there was suspicious activity on your account and you should change your password. Change password back to try to fix the problem. End up live chatting with Netflix to help you get to the screen to deactivate and sign back in to the account.

Finish all of that just in time to eat lunch, get dressed and go to work.

Receive an email at 2pm that someone has changed your password and it is not the one you  set up. Change password again and contact Netflix about unauthorized use of your account.

Now only about 6 more hours at work and the day will be over.