When I left the job today at 5 p.m., I made it a point to shut off the weekday and Saturday alarms on my cell phone–your faithful blogger/online diarist does not have to work anywhere until 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. I did set the 8:45 Sunday morning alarm, so I can go to the informal 11 a.m. Christmas service at church on the 25th, but, other than that, my sleep will be open-ended.
The only downside to this news is that Susie is not here to celebrate the holiday with me. Late Wednesday afternoon, she boarded a Southwest Airlines flight to Orlando, so she can spend Christmas with Steph. My friend Steve took us to Port Columbus International Airport, and her flight left on time, at 4:50 p.m. She was due to arrive in Orlando at 7:05 p.m., but, according to Steph, she actually arrived a few minutes early. After I saw that her plane took off on time, I went to the Discovery Exchange and worked the usual 2½ hours. (I had given my supervisor a “definite maybe” about whether I’d be there. If Susie’s flight left on time, I would be in for work, but if it was late, I would not come in.) The last day of school at The Graham School was Tuesday, and Susie will return to Columbus on January 3, the day before Winterim starts.
I won’t be totally alone for the holidays. I will be having Christmas dinner with Steve and his family after the service at First UU, and I am planning to go to the 10 p.m. Christmas Eve service. Nor did I go overboard with gifts. I bought for Susie, and she will open my gifts to her on Christmas morning in Florida.
My period of solitude at work has ended. Due to an organizational shuffle at work, I am in a new department, and I was working alone in its new area on the 10th floor, but my co-workers joined me this week, so now I have other people around me while I’m working, and I am glad to have them. My desk is near the south-facing window, so I have a good view of the Leveque Tower, and a not-so-scenic view of the back of the YMCA.
One of our supervisors has donated a small library of audio books. Currently, when I have been scanning documents, and not listening to doctors’ audio dictations, I have been listening to The Stand (the original edition, although I hope Stephen King decides that The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition should be recorded. (A co-worker has generously reduced this large novel to three optical disks by recording it as MP3 files.) I have that and It (also on MP3 files) at my desk, along with cassettes of Kerouac’s On the Road read by Matt Dillon. The only other audio book I have is an abridged reading of Thomas Merton’s Run to the Mountain: The Story of a Vocation, which is the journal covering the years between his conversion to Roman Catholicism and ending a week before he entered the monastery in Kentucky where he spent the rest of his life.
I was excited when my supervisor sent this email about the collection of audio books she was donating. I went over to see what she supplied. One was To Kill a Mockingbird, and there were some Nicholas Sparks novels (the only one I ever read was The Notebook), and some abridged James Patterson novels, not all of them Alex Cross novels.
However, she did have–unabridged–all of the Twilight novels. I probably will not read them. Except for Dracula, vampire stories have never interested me that much, and my attraction to Dracula was because Stoker told the story in an epistolary format. Susie read the first two novels in the Twilight series, reading them over her friends’ shoulders. Since then, she has come to agree with Stephen King, who so famously wrote that
Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.
Before I worked for the State of Ohio, I worked as a data entry typist (known as a “header entry operator”) at Medco Health Solutions. I had brought my love of audio books with me, a love that began in the summer of 1986, when I was working as a temp for the State, in the Division of Elevators (and Boilers before that). At Medco, enough of us listened to audio books that there was a lot of swapping and borrowing back and forth. Because of this, I read things I would not normally have read, such as Sue Henry’s Murder on the Iditarod Trail and the novels of Clive Cussler. The only time I voluntarily did without was when the only books available to me were Tim LaHaye’s and Jerry B. Jenkins’ Left Behind novels.
Their lunatic theology aside, the books are not that well written. I learned this when I was waiting for a bus, and someone had left behind a copy of Glorious Appearing: The End of Days at the bus stop. (This is apparently Volume XII of the series.) Bored, I read the first few pages, and shook my head and left it behind for the next poor bastard. (I think the person left it behind the same way some people do with the little religious comic book tracts of Jack T. Chick, in a bizarre way to proselytize.) The late Christopher Hitchens (I won’t call him great, because no one who supported the Iraq War is great) described the Left Behind series most eloquently and accurately as “generated by the old expedient of letting two orangutans loose on a word processor.”
I had thought that I would be working at the bookstore tomorrow morning, but a four-, instead of six-hour day. Yesterday morning, however, there was an email from my supervisor, wishing me a merry Christmas and telling me the bookstore would be closed Christmas Eve. So, I am going to stay up as late as I want to tonight, and sleep as late as I choose. With the 12-hour work days I have been logging lately, that is indeed a welcome gift.