Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday Musings on Time, and Tunnel Vision, and Typing

I'm on vacation, technically. It began Friday evening at 5:30 local time, when I closed down the windows, lowered my standing desk to normal height -- because I live in earthquake country and am paranoid -- did a last scan around the office for any thing I'd need over break, turned off the phone and lights, scanned the office again (see paranoia, above) and left. The last two weeks have a been a blur. The American Thanksgiving holiday in November is not pinned down to any specific date, but rather falls on the fourth Thursday of the month, and this year the placement of days put it as late as it can possibly come.

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of The Holiday Season, when all the retailers kick into overdrive with sales to entice you in to the stores while you're still digesting your holiday meal or, in an alarming trend this year, in lieu of it. I suspect that many of the Typosphere are cut from similar cloth: if not purely anti-retail, then at least I would expect a lot of us are anti-retail-hype, and would sooner drop a typewriter on our feet repeatedly than sacrifice our minds, bodies, and sanity for the promise of a cheap(er) TV or tablet. All you needed to do was camp out in a parking lot for a few days in advance. Happy holidays!

Well, not me, of course. First because I don't buy into the hype. Second, because I can't understand the mindset of people who do buy into the hype and they scare me. Third, because I'm usually up to my earlobes in work and projects, which was the case again this year. 2013 was a success for us at work, I'd say, assembling something of a working process or pipeline of software out of fairly disparate staff and skills, and producing finished projects with release schedules and test plans and impressive-sounding buzzwords. Sitting, as I do, near the starting end of the pipeline, though, I need to get enough things set up for my peers to be able to do their jobs while I'm out. I've been wearing a face that hopefully conveys something along the lines of "I'm very very busy right now and I'd love to talk to you/blog for you/type on you/stop and eat a meal but ask me again in mid-December." Everyone and everything in my orbit has seen The Face. But as of Friday evening, I packed up The Face and headed home.

As a child, I can remember the amorphous stretch of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas as being interminably slow, making paper chains to count down the days (one link per day) and begging for the tree and the trimmings and the lights to somehow will the holiday into arriving faster. As a parent of children, the karmic wheel has turned, and my own kids are wondering why I still haven't hung the stockings up this year, or when all the bins are leaving the middle of the family room so we can start stacking presents up. (The answer is: I haven't found the bin containing the stockings yet.) Being sapped with projects certainly made the time pass, and maybe now that I'm away from work I can again experience the luxury of waiting, of having nothing better to do than to look forward to something.

I don't believe that for a moment, of course. I have plenty to do, not the least of which is locating that damn bin. I want to pull my 2013 NaNo draft out of hibernation and see how good or bad it went, when looked at as a whole. I admit to a certain level of tunnel vision or selective memory with the draft: the ending was odd, and I recall the last quarter or so, but it will be like a fresh, raw text when I sit down to it. I think making The Face offed a few brain cells. We'll see what that looks like. There's shopping to be done and cookies to be made, and my kids are still finishing up school this week, too. Everyone else gets to stop making their Faces by next Saturday, and then our calendar is blissfully blank and tranquil.

Ah, except for a week after this coming Friday, which Richard "The Mad Professor" Polt has declared a San Francisco Bay Area type-in. I'm excited to attend, since I'm sure I'll need some time away from my darling children and their post-holiday hysteria, and I get to meet what looks like a sizeable chunk of the Typosphere. I've got a typewriter to polish up for sure, maybe something photogenic? We'll put our best faces forward.


Richard P said...

Bwahahahaha, I have lured you into a type-in!

That would be a very handsome machine to bring.

Unknown said...

I've never really bought into the retail culture myself…and I've always had a rather vague view of the holidays which come after Thanksgiving. A few presents, an extremely small gathering (4 people this year instead of 2!), some candles and a tree. Though this year we're calling it Solstice… not in the religious sense. Just in the lack of religious sense. I think I'll have to typecast about it soon. :)

Bill M said...

Oh, the busy shopping season! I say that in fun because I do not buy into the retailer corporate propaganda that I n e e d something just because it has a special price or is the newest gadget.

The bins and boxes of decorations. I used to have those too. Since the move to Florida -- no more. I miss all the decorating, but here the houses are too small to store anything and what does get stored get ruined from mold and mildew.

Hopefully work will slow to a steady manageable pace for your 2014.

I hope to make a trip South if we head to Sacramento over my break.

Scott K said...

It looks like you are right. The typosphere by large aren't silly enough to by into that rubbish. Which is a comforting thought really. Clearly, we'd rather sit at home and write.

Anonymous said...

Or we'll wait years until we do buy a gadget, once the hype and the price has climbed down - as I did recently when buying a "new" 2008 Windows mobile phone. :)

Rob Bowker said...

Looking forward tot he Type-In. Can't make it but the photos will be great. Be sure to demo "The Face" :-)