Last weekend, we went out of town for the first time since the pandemic started. I had been looking forward to it for some time, but it took me a while to really understand why.
We have an annual tradition of going ‘apple picking’ each fall, where ‘apple picking’ is code for going on a weekend road-trip and exploring the area a couple of hours from where we live. We have some favourite haunts, but we’ve been finding over the years that we’ve been doing it that we enjoy a little more variety in the locations we visit.
Which brings me to last week.
As I said, I’d been looking forward to our trip, but had had difficulty articulating exactly why. I’ve always looked forward to the trip, a vacation away from the cares and maintenance of daily life & work.
I had realized (and managed to articulate) that I needed a vacation, somewhere around a week or two before the trip, but it wasn’t until we were on the trip that I realized why it was so incredibly important.
The title of this post comes from the computer game ‘The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion’, where long-suffering guardsmen say it as a commentary on the sameness and tediousness of their existence.
While I likely enjoy my job more than they do, I understand the sentiment, especially through the endless samey ‘now’ of the work from home grind. I didn’t realize until halfway through our trip, I think when we were talking about the day-by-day ordering of our schedule. This being small-town Ontario, the trip takes on a very different character, depending on which places we visit on the Saturday of the weekend, when things are still open. Even in a pandemic, this character is very different between Saturday and Sunday.
It was this difference from trip to trip (I think) that highlighted to me the real reason why I so desperately needed to ‘get away’ from town/home. It was the sameness, the day-to-day sameness that was so grinding me down. Even though I asked that we spend our most valuable Saturday on visiting what we knew were our ‘old favourite’ places where we normally travel, it was still really different from the day-to-day at home, and even very different from each of the other times we’ve been out there. Some of this difference was because of the pandemic, because we didn’t eat inside any buildings, or stay inside any buildings with other people for longer than necessary, but also because when you’re that much more conscious of it, and it’s such a scarce commodity, each moment inside a bookstore is a rare and special occasion, and even now, I remember them more acutely than many other trips to many other places.
I’ve always found our brains’ natural filtering ability fascinating, how the trip back is always much shorter than the trip there, how one is able to focus so intently on one thing, even outdoors. But the downside of this automatic filtering is that if one day is pretty much the same as the previous, they will start to run together, and it will seem like one amorphous mass, and like that nothing has really happened, or that one hasn’t really done anything, even though a large amount of time has passed…
You may or may not know that this was the main reason I started this blog (or perhaps why continuing to write it ‘stuck’).
Since we got back, I’ve taken action to improve a few things in my life, cleaned my room, etc…
I may or may not be out of my rut, or the ‘lockdown mindset’, but I’m feeling a lot better, and a lot of it is because I trusted myself and my ability to interrogate my feelings.
Winter is coming, and now is a good time to look for and bring out the sun inside yourself, to help others find the sun inside them, to warm and entertain and provide variety during these long months ahead.
 I had never realized, but the original song feels a much, much darker commentary on modern patriarchy and capitalism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Another_Day,_Another_Dollar
 Yes, I understand my incredible privilege of being able to work fully remote in a situation like this.
 Also, this post you’re reading…
 And, of course, a partner with whom I have a trusting relationship such that I can express and explore this interrogation. <3 🙂