Secret Shame

January 19, 2009 at 11:13 pm | Posted in Life | 4 Comments
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I am, and always have been, a member of the gotolunch society. Our organization stands in vigilant opposition to our arch-enemies, the scourge of the American office, the bringalunch gang. The bringalunch gang is vicious and evil, their weapons of war not as obvious as the sword or gun, but instead the subversive tupperware, the sneaky microwave, the shifty plastic fork.

Worse yet, in this time of economic uncertainty, I find that their numbers are growing

In our modern age of electronic communications and conference calls, I often think that the only reason for even going into the office is to get lunch. That hour, that sweet break in the middle of the day, is a sacred thing, dear readers. The company. The conversation. The food. Thai, sushi, Chinese, Italian, Mexican. A veritable United Nations of flavor offered up every day in our quiet little Connecticut town.

Regardless of the location chosen, though, one thing is certain. We will leave the building for lunch. Eat at my desk? Why don’t I just light the American flag on fire. As far as I’m concerned the two actions are analogous.

I provide this rather lengthy preface if only to ground you in my typical behaviors so that you can see how rather atypical my alternative behavior is.  You see, there are days I forego all this, the company, the conversation, the ethnic food, for a different, more personal alternative.

These are the days that I spend my entire lunch break driving around and eating fast food in my car.

I really don’t know why I do this, why I find this act so tremendously comforting. It could be yearning for my days spent in sales, wherein several days at a time were spent driving around in solitude between visiting my accounts. It could be that, because we’re located in such a small town, it is the only absolute foolproof way to guarantee that you won’t accidentally run into a co-worker when you were trying to eat alone. It could be because I probably wouldn’t be successful at convincing the staff at Taco Bell to play last week’s This American Life podcast over their loudspeakers while I ate.

imagesWhile the cause of my bizarre lunchtime ritual may escape me, here is what I do know: driving down Route 10, dunking a chicken nugget into sweet & sour sauce (nestled neatly between the stick shift and the radio) while listening to Arianna Huffington espouse on the virtues of universal healthcare…

That, my friends, is heaven.

This only becomes problematic when you arrive at your 1:00 meeting carrying, say, a Taco Bell soda cup. Three other people have a Taco Bell soda cup. “Hey, we were just at Taco Bell,” they say, “we didn’t see you.”

Really. Hmmm. How odd.

No sleep ’til

January 9, 2009 at 9:10 am | Posted in Movies, Music, Television, Video Games | 2 Comments
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I write this blog while drinking my second coffee of the morning, meant to stave off the exhaustion brought on by a continuing, and increasing, amount of sleep deprivation. I’m getting 4-5 hours a night right now. This is by choice, but when saying that, understand that it is in fact choice brought on by necessity.

I fear that I am suffering from content overload. There is simply too much media available to me these days and I cannot find time to consume it all. Well, I can, but other things (sleep, sanity) are suffering in its wake. I realize that this, on its face, sounds a bit whiny and absurd. I recognize that there are people in the world that can work all day, come home, eat dinner, go to bed and begin the process anew the following day (well rested, even).

I am not these people. I suffer from an overwhelming desire to spend some amount of my time each day doing something, anything, that I find interesting and that makes me happy. I’ve seen studies that suggest that this is some kind of generational thing; Baby Boomers tend to identify themselves primarily based on their jobs, while we Gen X’ers identify ourselves more via what we do with our personal time. That being the underlying assumption of our collective psyche, it’s not hard to make the leap of logic that allows you to understand the following:

If I arrive at my sense of self based almost entirely upon what I do with my free time, I cannot in good conscience spend the majority of that time sleeping.

So I don’t. I work for a solid portion of the day, attend school on some evenings, and then I  consume. Video games (of which there are always new, ever longer experiences available), blogs (upwards of two dozen now), traditional news (NYT, WSJ), podcasts (this deserves a post all of its own), books (both prose and comic), movies, and television (my TiVo has 20 hours of content on it right now – and that’s the lowest level its had for the past four months).

Where you get upside down is when someone introduces some new piece of media to you that you’ve somehow missed. Because now you are behind.

I don’t know that there is a solution here. I may simply be doomed for life. I remember, years and years ago, reading Jack Welch’s autobiography, where he reveals that he only slept about five hours a night and read up to three newspapers a day. At the time I found that concept to be quite intimidating.

Now it seems a bit quaint.

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