Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Now What?

What am I going to do with myself after next week? Granted, my interest in politics has been tepid this time around but I still kept up on the election year antics, dipping into a blog here, casting my eye on a t.v. program there. (As computer people say they "surf the net", my Mom calls what she does "cruising the channels"). NASCAR will go into its off-season after the race next week in Homestead, turning the immediate future into a sea of unrelieved apathy.

I'm a reader but geez, you can only read so many books. Already my favorite authors can't keep up with my demand so if I kick up my reading level anymore, I'll get to the point where the only thing left is Harlequin Romances. I have nothing against romances but I am not a romance kind of person. Love has its place in books but I like funny, can't-quite-get-to-the-finish line kind of love (Janet Evanovich) or sad, you-can-see-its-not-going-to-work-out love (Declan Hughes). I like my heroes to remain footloose and fancy free a la Jack Reacher (Lee Child) or immune to love altogether (Trevanian's Jonathan Hemlock of Eiger Sanction fame or Myron Bolitar's friend, Win, in the Harlen Coben series). If true love has to be part of a book, then I want it to be a secondary part (Susan and Spencer in the Spencer series or Stephen and Teddy Carella of the 87th Precinct).

I wouldn't exactly say I don't believe in happily ever after love. I have known a few couples who seem to have captured it but generally, I think that kind of fairy tale romance is found in about the same ratio as you would find a gold nugget versus a stone if you went panning for gold in the average creekbed.

Perhaps I'm cynical because of my own experiences. The great love of my life was more like surfing than a sweet ride in a horse and carriage - from the exaltation of riding the biggest wave to falling into the trough of near-drowning. In the end, I rode it out until it played itself out onto the beach. It had its moments but enduring bliss definitely wasn't the end result.

Or I might have become hard-boiled because of my work life. First, I worked in law enforcement and then the prosecutor's office, where you frequently dealt with love turned vicious, and now trying to find free legal representation for people who have their lives in a mess, often because of what they thought at one time was love, true love.

So, if not reading, then what?

I could plunge into really deep-cleaning my house, I guess. It could use a thorough top to bottom scrubbing. That idea certainly doesn't spark much enthusiasm although I may yet drag myself into it one reluctant room at a time. The biggest downer I have about cleaning is clutter. It seems hopeless when you have to put all the stuff Mom and I have accumulated in our 17 years in this house right back where it started. But I know she'd fight me tooth and nail about getting rid of anything. She's been known to remove an almost completely burned candle from the trash where I put it on the grounds that there is still a little bit of wax down there in the bottom of one corner. On her piano bench, she has "saved" about four years worth of her favorite magazines - Archeology Today and Biblical Archeology. So far as I know, she has never looked at them after she read them the first time. I have suggested throwing them away but she says they are "too good" to be garbage. So, they continue to mount into towering piles, threatening to actually become the source of an archeological dig some day.

Of course, I am as bad about my own things as I careen from one passion to another. When I worked at the Sheriff's Department I became a collector of all things law enforcement (especially sheriff items, which are fortunately rather difficult to find or God knows how much stuff I would have). As it is, the top of my desk/hutch is filled with painted replicas of jails and sheriff's departments and sheriff figures made out of gourds and cups and candle-holders. My memorabilia shelf contains various and sundry items of huge sentimental value - like Dallas' gold badge tie tack and Randy's undercover-at-the-high-school i.d. badge (I was his Mom and got to call the school when he was going to be absent) and the antique #14 Wabash City Police Department badge. I also have clocks and one of the old 85 Sheriff's Department license plates and a Sheriff's Department die-cast car from back when Indiana's uniform colors were still dictated by the Sheriff's Association.

Now, sharing space beside the brown and tan sheriff's car is a miniature Lowe's 48 Chevrolet and nestled against a wood-carved sheriff's department (that is really a flower arrangement) is a pink 48 baseball hat. The gourd sheriff now stares at a Jimmie Johnson Team Chevy beanie baby. I can't say they've really bonded yet but perhaps in time.

So, you see, I'm not being fair to Mom to complain about her hoarding tendencies when my own are equally as bad.

I would love to spend one of NASCAR's down weekends going to one of the casino's to play the slot machines but it takes money to try to win money and right now, for me, it would have to be the other way around.

I remember I used to play a few computer games but I lost them and even though I followed Real Arcade's instructions to the letter, I was never able to get them back. Somewhere upstairs in the closet is a video game player. I forget which one, whatever Nintendo's latest version, or maybe next to the last version, was. I bought it and a Mario game because I loved Mario back when Nintendo first came out. Unfortunately, while video games progressed in graphics and levels of difficulty, my skills did not progress along with them. In the game in the closet, I was never able to get beyond the first world and then I was just stuck. So I left it out until John finally made it to the very end and then, sadly, put it away. Maybe if I could find the oldest game and the oldest Mario......

Of course, I could continue to write and probably will but once you have four complete, unpublished novel manuscripts in the computer, you're not quite so excited about hopping back into another new idea. I've told the kids these manuscripts are the only inheritance they are going to get. Maybe they can sell them posthumously.

So, there you have it. I'm about to be cast into the off-season doldrums, wondering what to do with myself for the next couple of months. If you have any ideas, feel free to let me know.