Scenes from a bygone year…

It’s a new year (thank goodness…) Since yours truly has the day off, I thought about relating some of the quirkier aspects of yesterday, the last gasp of the bygone (and best forgotten) year…

Gentle snow, working in a near-deserted municipal building, with very little to do. My schedule for the day has been pared considerably, which means I’m free to work (and lollygag) at a leisurely pace, disappearing up my own nose thinking about all sorts of things, impressions and micro-moments that vanish almost as quickly as they come.

Started the day at an outlying substation. Heaviest work of the day, people still in and out. I can’t believe I get my work done in two hours, everything seems so slow at 8:00 AM in the snow. Some guy rapped on a closed door (the place is only accessible by badge) to come in. I indicate that it’s only badge-access by grasping the one around my neck, and he walks off. Five minutes later I see him coming down the ladder via the roof-access door in the janitor’s station. He’s with the roofing crew working on the still-under-construction, and he’s after a bathroom, which I’ve just cleaned. C’est la vie. I feel dickish for not having let him in and start on the floors…

I have grown accustomed to working to one of my iTunes music playlists (not the streaming, but from music I’ve already bought.) Some days it’s indie/alt. Others it’s all Bach, or all Classic jazz, and still other days it’s electro-ambient or more EDM. Today it’s all what I call the “420” playlist–Tom Petty to Snoop Dogg, Fats Waller to Peter Tosh to Cypress Hill. The vicarious (and, to my thoroughly vanilla mind, deliciously subversive) pleasure of having music so completely at odds with the place where I’m working. Snoop is with me cleaning the locker rooms, while Tom is cleaning the floors, so on and so forth…

..the day will end early, although I still have two hours at a public-works building in another city, normally a four-hour job that (owing to the approaching holiday) will likely be truncated owing to being closed and the reduced traffic. That said, my ‘breeze-through’ is still two hours…

…in the midst of all this, there is a question or two: What are my resolutions for the new year? Will I be able to get back to doing arts more full time? What will lie ahead for me personally? I find myself indifferent to resolutions. They carry less weight the older I get. I can’t answer the second question, since nobody knows when we get to a place where we can go out and see shows and performances. My own situation was already complicated by burnout before COVID-19 was even a thing. There’s no going back to what my normal was, and this is right even though it feels like I have no inner security blanket. Go forward! You won’t know what the answer is until it hits you. The same could be said for the last question…

Eight-o-clock and the illicit (and probably illegally homemade) fireworks have already started. Everyone is ready to be done with 2020, no matter who. There is, I suspect, more relief and pent-up frustration within these displays of celebration more than any kind of joy. Everyone has spent the year worrying and shouting and mourning and being scared out of their wits. Everyone is tired, battle-scarred. As for me, my last abode for the year is the downstairs couch in front of a christmas tree, watching Youtube videos of Siberian Huskies and playing Gardenscapes. I drift off, only occasionally jolted out of semi-sleep by the odd explosion or two as the evening dies down and the calendar flips a page…

…as I get ready for bed within the newest hour of the year, I get that moment where I meet my hiraeth, as the Welsh term it. That place you long for that perhaps (and most likely) never was. A glimmer: I accept that it never occurred outside of my own experience. I accept that my perception of whatever it is that still beguiles me about my long-departed childhood never actually occurred in any place or in any one person or event. It was (and still is) the product of a very complex and intimate geometry that evolved slowly within my soul and my senses. I can’t bring back the moments of potential I felt and felt excited by all these years to any place or time, but I can take one small note of consolation: it is still with me, because it’s Me. That has been (and always will be) with me, and so this thing is my inner kith-and-kin, an ongoing quiet epic–Lawrence of Arabia sans the desert…

My mind is still spinning, so I head off to sleep doing my version of counting sheep: gamecasting the most boring football game in the off hours between two 0-5 teams, where all they do is punt. Off to sleep! On to the next chapter….

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