Thursday, August 14, 2008

On the Eve...

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

...of India's Independence Day

I was craving more of my own independence tonight and burst into tears while on the phone with my sister Deb. Typically, I'm a day-person, not a night-person, and I try to wind down around 10 pm, and prefer not to get phone-calls after 8:30. Now, I remember why; the conversation began with her telling me that she was returning my call, having just cleaned up a flood in her basement.

Feeling survivor's guilt that our house no longer floods, since we installed a sump-pump, I wasn't about to berate her for calling too late. Still, I was frustrated to tears because I had just begged Pat's forgiveness for leaving her in the middle of a "Closer" TV episode, since I was craving some blogging. I had just come upstairs and begun to log on when the phone rang.

Through my tears: "All I ever do is work and study. I *never* have time to myself, it seems, and I know you can't imagine this, since we don't have kids, but it's true..."

As I'm trying to write this, Pat comes in just now and interrupts: "I don't think the cleaning service is using the stone-care products in your bathroom for the counter or floor, so I left a note, since there must be new people, but if I'm not here while you're working at home tomorrow, you need to tell them."

I am not trapped. I make choices. I am not trapped. I make choices. I choose to live with another human being, and to have our house cleaned by people other than us. I choose to work hard and study a lot.

I have to remember all of that because right now, it feels overwhelming. Deb said, "I can imagine and can relate. I bought the September issue of 'Oprah.' Let me read you an article by Norman Fischer, a Jewish Zen Buddhist.

"That other window-fan didn't work, so I threw it out," Pat just called to me as she turned on her electric tooth-brush. Earlier tonight, Pat said very quietly, "I know you got me the cats, since you haven't spent as much time with me, since you've been in school."

"Oh, God, Pat, my heart's going to break. It's true that I have felt guilty about not spending enough time together, and yes, I did get the cats, so that you'd have company in the house whether or not I was here, but I thought it would be nice for you."

"It is...."

"Oy, Pat, I want to keep doing the work I do because it's exciting, and I like studying, but I wish I didn't have to work and we could just play all the time. I do." And then I recalled the e-mail she had sent during the day, asking if I wanted to opt in to a series of four plays in the coming year, and I felt too guilty to say no...but wanted to. Each play represents basically an entire study-day lost. "So I was thinking about the plays I liked from the list, and definitely the one with Mary Louise Parker, and the one with Cynthia Nixon, and probably "A Man for All Seasons," and...I'm trying to remember the fourth one...."

"Fosse's 'Dancin?'"


Now, it all sounds great right now, but I know I'll feel angry that I'm unable to study during one of my weekend days when it's actually time to go to the play. I know this because that's how I felt a few times this spring regardless of how good the play was.

Norman Fischer reminded me to breathe deeply, three times consecutively, and to focus on being more present to my surroundings. The windows are open and I hear crickets in the dark, two bright lamps surround me inside, my eyes burn with exhaustion and I'm missing Pat, who has gone to bed. These are my surroundings. I'm going to go to bed, too.

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