To the Day.

It’s been exactly one year to the day since I arrived back on U.S. soil. I can’t believe this time has shot by so incredibly quickly, and it’s little anniversaries like this that make us take stock of our lives and watch the progression perhaps with more scrutinizing eyes, adding up all the little victories and defeats while trying to make some sense of path and goal alike. I think I made the right decision to return back here, as often as my preoccupied little mind may lead me to believe I’m missing out on something in another land far away. Another life far away. That notion, really, is for fools who must look outside their own climate for joy and solace, and daily, I try to make happiness for myself right here. I feel that I have every provision available to do just this, but my stoicism and work ethic sometimes get in the way of consciously delineating my long-term goals – though the short-term ones are always sought out, identified, and efficiently taxidermied and hung upon the wall. I’m spoiled that way, really, and that’s why I often tiptoe through the possibility of disappointment in so many aspects of my life, never sure just how I’d deal with it, but rarely having to face such despondency and regret with frustration and some measure of meekness and humility.

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A lovely fire and and an empty house (exception: Torgi) help me put it into perspective here, and it’s nice to take a moment after incessant energy spent outside myself considering options, plans, and the paths I must traverse to reach the goals I’ve established. With all this goal-keeping, one might think I maybe should have joined a local field hockey or football team, yet I find it the single most common thing I think about these days, taking all ideas as possibilities and all signs as portents. Still, sometimes every word is a struggle, especially when I haven’t been keeping mine very good company of late. Some of those disgruntled words are now burnt in the ashes of the hearth, quickly immolated and scattered to the fog; others are caught in the fibrous ropes of my detached locks, mournfully keeping watch over my books in the study. I do believe there are even a few under the cat right now, cursing me under their collective breath that I have not been using them properly and to good effect. When words fail, we hang our heads and weep, but when we fail words, all is truly lost, from within and without.

My words lately are envious, restless, dreamy, and thankful. I pretty much let them have their way with me, and give up little resistance…

I’m in the midst of a Sisyphean grind at the game store, slogging out endless strings of long days and nights with very minor monetary compensation. Even now, in our off-season ‘downtime’, the space is abuzz with geeky punters and joyful youngsters, wanting to be a part of something incredibly fun that we’re carving out of midair. This extra work that Andre and I put into the place is not repeated elsewhere, and it would not be there without us. This is not to say that the locale would crumble without our presence, but it’s clear that we’ve strongly resuscitated the confidence and clientele of the store to a point that now we’re constantly understaffed and enjoying record-breaking numbers in the past few months. Yet Christmas is right around the corner, and all this good work serves to truly exhaust me in so many senses of the word. I’m extremely underpaid, and considering I have some sound marketable academic and managerial skills, struggling to get out of debt and to get by is a frustrating thing with which to deal as the years roll by. It’s a huge gamble, staying here, all for the likelihood that the store might be ours someday soon. My intellectual clock is ticking, I’m not making any money at all, but I stay quiet and humble because to some, I simply have a dream job – and I’m thankful.

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There’s something amazing going on at the store every night of the week, and we know everyone’s name when they come in. We cultivate an emotional connection to fun, relaxation, and a respite from the doldrums of mundane life. There’s always good music and a comfortable atmosphere, great conversations and good suggestions. Welcome engagements and invitations to celebrate community. We straddle the line between geeky and cool. And really, what other game store serves strawberries with whipped cream, dark chocolate, and lemon-peel Stilton at evening gaming events? Yet we reap no reward but that of customer and community appreciation, and the fun that comes along with engaging in these activities. My life and time are suffering, and so is my pocketbook. But silly me, the stubborn Taurus – I’ve already made the commitment to myself. I’ll stay until it’s mine or I know that it won’t be, and hopefully that will happen in the next couple of years. I can’t wait much longer, I fear.

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My most sincere and heartiest congratulations go to hermiston, whose great scholarly talents have earned him a PhD programme candidacy at the University of Aberdeen. This man is my brother, a wise, like-minded, passion-infused shit disturber with a reverence for the past and an eye to the future. I so very much look forward to calling him Dr. German and seeing him in the flesh once again. We indeed shared some of the most salient and prophetic times of my life, all condensed into a short period; I look forward to much more of the same. To receive his good news after a day spent in deep deliberation over the weight of my calling in life only cements what I surely already know. The store is a holdover until the Ivory Tower opens its doors to me again. If I let it go… Even if I never see the mottled light of a fluorescent-bathed classroom or smell the ink of a freshly-printed book that carries my surname and a heartfelt dedication to my grandmother, I know I must pursue that fabled doctorate. I know my heart will be fuller and brighter because of it, and then another journey will start – with more options than before.

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Can I do both? Most people are lucky enough to have found one thing that they’re good at – and which they love. Two full-time, all-encompassing passions are a godsend, then, yet I am open to both and wish to scatter the element of mutual exclusivity that they warn. One, then the other. One, then the other. The mantra. And if all goes according to my plan (which has always been my plan), the first will afford me the temporal and monetary freedom to do the next. Right now, I’m saddened to say, I have a chilling dearth of both of these things in my life. And it’s hurting me, but only for now. It’s a risk that we take to be who we wish to be, to do what we wish to do. Live Big. Live Well. And hope that the risk will beckon and be well worth the reward.

It’s been a year, and you’re brave to have read this far during your own, undoubtedly-rare downtime.

24 Responses to “To the Day.”

  1. kimmaline Says:
    October 17th, 2005 at 3:06 am

    That notion, really, is for fools who must look outside their own climate for joy and solace, and daily, I try to make happiness for myself right here
    That, darling, is one of the reasons I adore you so.
    You are correct, I didn't read it all…mainly because it's THREE IN THE MORNING, and I have class in a precious few hours. But have no fear, I will return.
    How much to you remember your teachers from your time at COM? I'm dead curious as to whether or not we have any in common yet.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 18th, 2005 at 9:57 am

    I remember them all. Without doubt, Victor Minasian is the man with the plan. He's the reason I'm complaining about withdrawal symptoms from my skooling here, in fact. Perhaps you know him?

  3. kimmaline Says:
    October 19th, 2005 at 3:40 am

    I don't know him. What does he teach?

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 19th, 2005 at 9:04 am

    Why, History, of course. And other sundry Humanities courses. He will change your life.

  5. kimmaline Says:
    October 19th, 2005 at 10:28 am

    I wish…wishwishwish that I had some time in my schedule for history. It is just plain not needed for me to transfer…but I love it so.
    Actually, when I was considering majors…I seriously thought about history. I mean, I'm the one who used to sit down and read my history textbook at the beginning of the school year. 🙂 But, at the end of it, I would be left with teaching as my option for supporting myself, and in this body…not so much.
    This body is good for lots and lots…but long work weeks is not on the list.

  6. lekvar Says:
    October 17th, 2005 at 8:54 am

    I can't help commenting. I love the pictures. How I'd love to walk around barefoot on that gorgeous wooden floor and feel the toasty fire.
    If what you're doing with the game shop is anything like what your photos do, I think you're well on your way to success.

  7. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 18th, 2005 at 9:58 am

    This is really a lovely thing to express, and I thank you. Maybe one day we'll own the place – for now, we're just borrowing.

  8. jacesan Says:
    October 17th, 2005 at 9:25 am

    The gaming store that's been around here since I started playing in the late 70's/ early 80's closed recently. I look forward to visiting your store someday. 🙂

  9. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 18th, 2005 at 10:00 am

    I hope you'll come in sooner rather than later. But then, too. 🙂

  10. dirtbaby Says:
    October 17th, 2005 at 10:14 am

    Reading your words made me think of a quote that is something along the lines of, "it isn't the destination doesn't matter, only the journey," but for the life of me I couldn't remember the quote or who said it. So I did an internet search and found this page http://en.thinkexist.com/quotations/journey. All those short term goals are stepping stones to the destination, which reminds me of something some other person said, "you may not end up where you wanted to be, but you will end up where you should be." Maybe I should go buy a copy of Bartlett's…

  11. jacesan Says:
    October 17th, 2005 at 10:29 am

    Another quote, albeit more crude…
    "Sometimes the rainbow, baby, is better than the pot of gold."

  12. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 18th, 2005 at 10:59 am

    Re: Another quote, albeit more crude…
    "No matter where you go, there you are."
    – Woody Allen

  13. dirtbaby Says:
    October 18th, 2005 at 3:56 pm

    Re: Another quote, albeit more crude…
    I could have swore it was Buckaroo Bonzai who said that.

  14. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 18th, 2005 at 10:58 am

    This is quite true. And it says a lot about a necessity to slow things down and look around for inspiration and contentment. I try to keep this in mind daily, but sometimes the knowledge that we're on the *right* path makes a delightful journey all the more possible. Me, I try to affirm that fact constantly, which perhaps takes more energy than it should. But then, I worry about my path holding my weight and the footprints after I'm gone.
    Thank you for this link.

  15. dichroicynosure Says:
    October 17th, 2005 at 10:24 am

    YOur writing is so sensual and luxurious to read. It somehow matches the interior of your abode. It feels gourmet. I love how 'present' you are in your life, how you can see the value in what you are doing at the moment even if it isn't lucrative. I too have been reflecting a lot on my own growth over the last year–since it has been over a year that I have been in Turkey now. I'll have to post about my own discoveries.
    Please consider writing books. 🙂
    Yours,
    Selene

  16. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 18th, 2005 at 11:05 am

    This is genuinely high praise. Thank you so much.
    Amidst the act of discovery itself, it's a very intrepid individual who can recognize, collate, and express all of the intimacy and intrigue one may pull out of life's experience. It's easier and perhaps more timely when work doesn't take up so much space, but then, we might be overwhelmed by sheer sensory stimulation were we not looped into a mundane rote now and again.
    And sometimes, it isn't until after we emerge from our experience that we learn the true value of it. That's precisely why I look forward to your reflections on Turkey after you've moved on to other climes.

  17. thistlelurid Says:
    October 17th, 2005 at 12:31 pm

    "I can (still) see the red tail lights"
    <small>wow……WOW……its been an entire year?
    Without the usual markers by which to
    measure time…days slip through the
    fingers yes? I know Ive been "markerless"
    this past 365….time has been flying.
    Its graduation day mr. plaid…you are
    awarded a degree in "getting back
    into it and at it"
    , this year you
    will pursue credentials in "sorting it all
    out and getting on with it"
    and then to
    our dismay youll be on to receive accolades
    for "better and greater things!"
    Brave? Oh my know, Im always afraid Ill miss
    something important if I skim or skip! :)</small>

  18. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 18th, 2005 at 11:10 am

    Re: "I can (still) see the red tail lights"
    Such a support you are. There are always better and greater things to follow; my concern is that I always want to be on the paths that lead to them. Sometimes, this means ten at once – overwhelming. In this case, it's only two – but they are wholly disparate and perhaps mutually exclusive. Is the year a waste? Certainly not. Could I be closer to my proposed goals? Always, yes.
    We all have them, right Kat?

  19. angledge Says:
    October 17th, 2005 at 1:41 pm

    I am homesick
    ….
    how fortunate that I will home tomorrow then, yes?
    (I'll call you when I've got the flight details.)

  20. fraulein_doktor Says:
    October 17th, 2005 at 1:49 pm

    already a year has passed since you left! It has gone so quickly! I always expect you to show up at the Monkey whenever I go there, sit down with some alcohol and engage in some wonderful and deep conversation about those little, big things that make this silly life and sillier world worthwhile…
    I miss you so much.
    Love.

  21. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 18th, 2005 at 11:12 am

    What a sweet vision, which I hold dearly in my heart. It won't be too long until we do this again. Thank you for stirring my ghost in the Monkey – it's one of the places and feelings that I miss the most. Being with you dear people, most certainly.

  22. kittynitro Says:
    October 18th, 2005 at 8:55 pm

    Some people never find even one thing they feel passionate about. To have two things is an absolute blessing. Speaking of twosies: You have a monkey in Edinburgh (full of fabulous, smart and gorgeous friends) AND a monkey at home (fabulous, smart and a complete dorkwad). Some people never even get one monkey. And for some, one monkey is more than enough. In either case, you are the luckiest man I know.

  23. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 19th, 2005 at 12:27 am

    To have two things is an absolute blessing.
    I know this inherently, and while it's an astounding principle, it's also keeping me complacent and sedated regarding some of the larger choices in my life. In that sense, it's both a blessing and a curse. But of course I'm earnestly thankful.
    You're my favorite monkey – anywhere. But I see you about as often as I see the other Monkey. Which is to say never. We shall have to remedy this.
    Eep! Eep!

  24. Anonymous Says:
    October 19th, 2005 at 11:30 pm

    ooh ah ah!

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