Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happiness Is…Being Home

It's hard being away for so long for work, particularly since the days are long too. I normally flee to my room at the first opportunity, but this year I actually attended several convention parties, which is the "right" thing to do for my job, but tough for introverted me after many hours of professional schmoozing. At two of the parties I met some nice people and had good conversations, which made for a pleasant experience. At another, which is known for its nerd debauchery and which I therefore have never attended before, I helped lead the dancing which I'm pretty sure the sponsors appreciated. I find that the older I get, the less I care if I make a fool of myself on dance floor. I just want to have a good time and lord knows I need the exercise.

I also enjoyed the couple of evenings I had to myself wandering around San Jose. While most were spent looking at the structures and lack of people and wishing I were home, I also got to wondering what it would be like if I didn't travel so much. Would I get too settled, incurious, a little fearful of new surroundings? If I only traveled for myself, would my zest for new places be rekindled and would I seek out more activities while away if it only happened once in a while? And/or would I forget how much I appreciate my home and the beings therein if I weren't traveling so much? I took odd pleasure in watering my plants and doing laundry yesterday. Maybe the home improvements are also raising the bar of happiness at being home.

I did come to the realization that one thing I don't get much of at home: people watching. In my usual rut, I'm too busy running errands, driving, working, or hanging around the pad to take in the great variety of my fellow man much. I was thinking this on one of my last nights in San Jose, walking back to the hotel with Thai take-out in tow, and was rewarded with this parade of humanity all in the space of about ten yards: a hardened, middle aged man, much too long in the tooth to be on a BMX bike, followed by two teenage boys, one aboard a skateboard, one on a bike with a board wedged into the handlebars; a pair of sightseeing couples from parts Midwestern I imagine, all khakis and flowered shirts, oohing about the tall buildings; and two Tibetan monks in their crimson and orange robes, shoulders bare, who watched me stare at them but were quick with a return smile when I broke mine out. I was most often armed with a grin on my San Jose forays. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I'm finally realizing that I don't have to have my New York gameface on in every city I go to after all and that expressing pleasure might help others to feel a bit happier too.

In other random news: While at the convention, a dear friend called to let me know she's splitting with her husband after many years of marriage. I think it's best for all concerned and is the necessary course of action for her to be happy again, but there are many sad things about it too, especially the effects on their children. The end of this month is the anniversary of M's Bar exam. Funny how even now he still feels the echoes of relief at not having to take the test again. This is also the anniversary of the last DoJ reunion. I miss you, DoJers, and wish I could be hanging with you at the lake. M is dutifully trying his sleeping mask, which is about as unobtrusive for me as something like that can be, but so far he's not having much success, mostly because the mask doesn't stay on well during the night. He's committed to making it work, however.

Not sure what we'll do today during this caesura of home improvement tasks. Brunch in Bodega Bay, perhaps.


At 6:33 AM, July 27, 2009, Blogger bren said...

What is the sleeping mask supposed to do?

At 8:11 AM, July 27, 2009, Blogger suzanne said...

It forces open his airways so he can breathe and get adequate air to his brain. He still had it on when I left at 5:30 this morning, so I'm hoping it was a really good night for him!

At 7:07 PM, July 27, 2009, Blogger Nancy said...

I've always thought I'd like to travel for work - free travel, that is - as long as I didn't have to share a hotel room. But I've never done it. Maybe I would miss my home and routine a lot. But I think I would like the freedom of being away from my responsibilities.

I'm getting used to a new mask these days, too. There are several different kinds of masks - can he try a different one? The kind I use is called "nasal pillows" - which sounds gross - but it stays on fairly well. I don't roll around much when I sleep, which may help. Good luck. I also got a diagnosis of severe obstructive sleep disorder. I was appalled.

At 7:12 PM, July 28, 2009, Blogger elm said...

Thanks for mentioning the DoJers. It was a wonderful time last year. I remember it so vividly.


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