Monday, February 23, 2009

Clutter in the Attic, and Cleaning It Out

It's a lovely day in Streeterville as seen from the 14th floor, if you like really big slurpees, that is. The entire lake has turned to slush and is sloshing around in a thick manner that reminds one of nothing so much as a slurpee, sans flavoring, unless you like lake trout flavored slurpees. Ooooohhh! It's 27 degrees and sunny at the Mini. Still no word on the wind chill factor. At any rate, it's still winter and don't you forget it.

March is a mere week away and the office secretary at the Outpost is getting ready to remove the snowmen and put up the shamrocks and leprechauns. School secretaries are amazing people really. They have decorations for every occasion, and quite often cookies and candy for said occasions. This one, Mary we'll call her, is a true Southside Irish lady with a cop for husband and all, so she really gets into her Irish traditions. She listens to loud Van Morrison a lot. Not so big on the more current Irish rockers like U2. More of an oldies gal. We went to different schools together.

For people like Mary there is a certain security in traditions and it just seems wrong not to observe them, in the same way you've observed them for the last umpteen years. All of us have our places we go for security really. Linus has his blanket. Others have their own version.

My cat, Sammie (aka Sammie from Miami), likes to play with those little plastic rings that are around a carton of milk and that come off when you open up the milk. He also is terribly fond of a little red stuffed animal of some sort that he bats around and bites and tosses. Sammie, when he's tired, likes to sleep on my bed. Much like Linus taking his blanket everywhere with him, he takes his little milk carton ring and his little red stuffed animal up on the bed with him. He feels safe and warm and secure. This brings us to that other issue. When he feels like he's going to puke, (Cats do that a lot.) he jumps up on that big safe,secure bed with his toys and lets it out there. Ick!

Babs is under a lot of stress right now. She has a book deadline that is imminent and the book must be finished. When feeling stressed and beyond big hugs from the male of the family, she has her security blanket too. It involves a hot bath, a glass of red wine, and a New Yorker Magazine. It never fails to make her feel a little bit better, a little bit more secure in her existence, in her relationship with the world.

For myself, I am not so much a long hot bath kind of person. I tend to think of that as a female pastime. Girls like those things, along with good smelling candles and bath salts and bubbles and stuff. I am more prone to feeling more at peace with the world when I'm in my jeans and a comfy shirt, not in the dressup, gotta work or go to a function kind of mode. When I'm feeling really at odds with the world, the jeans and a sweatshirt, a glass of red wine, and a Cubs game serve as my security blanket. They put me at peace with the world. So what happens when baseball isn't in season? There are other options, usually revolving around stupid television, Tour de France in early summer, Wimbledon in mid-summer, sometimes a little guitar and songwriting, sometimes a run by the lake. These things are routine and put things in order with the world for me.

Everyone seems to have something. Some people meditate. Some people sing. My father in law works with his hands, carving things, putting together elaborate models. He used to build grandfather clocks, and really nice wooden furniture. My mother in law, well she can't sit still, and sometimes I think her meditation is rearranging furniture and making new curtains. Everyone needs something.

That brings me to a guy I know. It seems the guy is really tied to his work and has never had a hobby to speak of aside from reading science fiction. When he retired he had no clue what to do with himself and he had no meditation, no security blanket, and his wife, I suspect was starting to drive him up a wall. He'd never spent that much time in his life with her even though they had been married for something in excess of 40 years. He took a new job and went back to work. In this case, I guess his security blanket is his job, also his identity. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but for me, I like having a life beyond my work. My work, c'est ne pas moi.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go see a guy about a running program and quaff a couple of wines with him.

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