Friday, February 06, 2009

OFF to the RACES

Off we go! Saturday we drive south to meet a bunch of sports-car friends of the Goat's for a potluck brawl: this comes under the heading of "wearing beige and smiling a lot," though actually it's more of a flannel-and-denim thing. But you know what I mean--the accent is on good behavior and not attracting the wrong kind of attention as I'm introduced to the Goat's two dozen closest friends in the wreck-reassembly business. Well, actually, quietly passing for straight, or at least not making an issue of not being straight, is what I do best: I have years of practice.

Then we veer off to the Big City for a couple of days, and it seems I am about to spend more money in one three-day period than I have ever done before. I am, after all, the guy who saved all his travel per diem so he could buy used books, and basically I'm still a bottom-feeder in the spending department [unless it's discounted at least 20%, I 'm not interested]. But it's the Goat's big weekend in the city, and it means juggling his friends, my friends--those who are still talking to me, at any rate, a couple of Cultural Events, and a lot of bought meals, which is sure to add up over three days...

This is just the run-up, though. Our trip to Vacationland has metastasized as well, and has doubled its cost. Add a two-week trip out West in the summer, and we are talking about serious money. This is exactly why I once thought twice about adopting the Goat's life-style, though I also realized that for the first year or two I would have to accommodate, and think of it less as spending and more as an investment. And I'm trying... I should say, in his Goatship's defense, that some of the more expensive ingredients of the Big City weekend are my doing, even if it might have cost less if I'd been traveling alone and could cut corners and chew on dry crusts in corners to my heart's content as usual... If we wind up having dinner with our Provincetown hosts, as is the plan, we could in fact wind up walking home; they definitely know how to live, and have the wherewithal to do it. I have the knowledge, or something approaching it, but not that all-important wherewithal...

It's the old problem of income and out-go. My current half-time project is drudgery, though the pay is not too bad, and it is a job with some security because it's short-term, and I won't reach the goals set for at least a year--lots of people are wondering where their next check is coming from. I know I'll be there when I do finally get to the goals set out for next summer [or the funding dries up], but in the meantime my main problem is keeping my nose to the grindstone and working enough billable hours to keep myself in the style to which I seem to have become accustomed. And my own work just never seems to get off the ground.

The "steady" work is just boring enough to make me want to do almost anything else but hack away at it. The deadline is so far in the future that it provides no immediate incentive, something I have always needed to get off my fat ass and get things done. I am, alas, a creature of deadlines, and without one I sink back into the slough of ennui from which I first arose. I start by allowing myself so many minutes of Freecell an hour to stay sane, and it pretty much goes downhill from there. And then, when I really can't take it anymore, there are the guy-sites...

I have noted an interesting change in my reaction to what turns up on the internet: there are plenty of guys who show up in various bookmarked blogs whom I find attractive, and some of them I even occasionally Photoshop into "art," but my responses are getting less scattershot and more honed in on what reminds me of the good points of the Goat (in case you haven't been paying attention, there are lots of them). I guess you could describe the difference as resembling that between just "shopping" and heading out to the store with a purpose. Or maybe I could just say that I know much more about what I want. There are still a zillion potential Mr. Rights out there, but they now tend to cluster around the "good points." Interesting...

I narrowly missed meeting one of my e-chat friends over the weekend, and though every chink in the firewall between my real life and my online life makes me fairly nervous (and didn't Isis call that one early on!), this was one breach I was happy to make. Better luck next time.

Hang in there, everyone.
What choice do we have?

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