May 5, 2005

That end-of-the-chapter feeling

I've been kind of out for a couple months. The truth is that I'm kind at loose ends. Between my job disappearing - my last day was Friday - studying Dutch, studying the Belgian driving code, trying to catch up in Russian (I'm spending the summer in Saint-Petersburg learning Russian), trying to get my doctorate going (still no progress) and seeing the wife off for most of a month... I've been kinda hard pressed creatively, weighted down by a sense of grand change and uncertainty about how I feel about it.

This sort of thing used to happen to me a lot. I had a... well, a kind of sense for the big transitions. You could say that I could tell when my autobiography was reaching the end of a chapter. It was always a bit of a weird feeling, and it usually involved travel. The crisp memories of my life always seem to involve moments of transition. I can still close my eyes and see the lights of Chicago from I-90 headed east; flying over Newark as I left New Jersey that last time (and flipping the entire state the bird through the window); the bar at Keflavik airport; the smell of my first night in Montreal, in a little hardwood-floored room on the Plateau; Donner Pass out the window of a Greyound bus; customs in Munich a week after 9/11... all clean breaks, where clear lines separate the before from the after.

And this time, no clear line. Months - over a year - of quiet and growing frustration at my situation, ending in its replacement. A slow withdrawal from work, leading to an unemotional last day. The discovery of my impending fatherhood, followed by weeks of having the idea seep in.

Last week, on the way to work, my bus passed by a small sheep farm. It's passed by that small farm every day for over a year. But this time, the spring lambs were out, bouncing around, munching grass. I just about broke down and cried. When I got home, I told the wife about it, ending with "This is you're fault. YOU got me pregnant!"

It's all kinda weird. and I just don't quite know what to say about it. Things like international politics just, suddenly, seem awfully remote and not too important. I find myself unable to write even the most trivial things. Like, I promised to write a recommendation letter for my intern at work, who is applying to Saarbrücken. I've been putting it off since yesterday, and need to get it out tomorrow, but I just can't quite pull it all together.

I'm trying though.

Several people have recently gotten on my case to get back to blogging. Besides, I'm going to Russia for threee months, and I'll be damned if I'm going to do it without saying anything about St-Petersburg. So, starting tomorrow, with the British general election, I'm going to do my damnedest to be back, both here and on AFOE.

Posted 2005/05/05 1:52 (Thu) | TrackBack

Welcome back, and I look forward to hearing about Piter!

Posted by: language hat at May 6, 2005 16:48

Thanks. I've never been to Russia, so this will all be new to me.

Posted by: Scott Martens at May 6, 2005 20:33

Welcome back. You were missed.

Posted by: John Emerson at May 8, 2005 2:56

Thanks. I've been missing me too. :^)

Posted by: Scott Martens at May 8, 2005 11:12
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