Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Working Vacation for a Library Maven

As you all know, I'm officially in Thesis Hell. I was floating around, Paolo and Francesca-like (no direction) in purgatory before, but I'm for sure in the bowels of hell now (I got direction, and it's pointing downwards).

As such, I'm not taking a "real" spring break, unlike this guy. I'm going to take what I call a "working vacation" to stay with my best friend in Wheeler-Dealer City and work at The Gigantic Neoclassical Library of Everything.

The last "real" spring break in which I didn't bring work along (doing nothing is much easier to accomplish, but I always bring stuff) was back in college. My last spring breaks in Mountainous National Park and Ex-Hippie Hiking Haven were all "working vacations" in the sense that I always brought stuff and did a little bit of work.

This time it's a full blown working vacation--no sightseeing (been there, glimpsed that), just one day allocated to a wedding shower and another day for touring Preppy Patrician Law School with Hipster Law Prof. Other than that, I'll be working from 9 am till 7 pm, and taking breaks at night. It is pretty much the opposite of the archetypal spring breaks in Daytona or South Beach or wherever those young aspiring alcoholics go. Not that I ever wanted to do that, anyway. I am the least grateful Sunny Stater--I hate sunbathing, I can't swim very well, and I only go to the beach in the winter when no one is there to mess up my misanthropic view of the grey horizons. Yeah, I don't think a "typical," "real" spring break is really my style.

Is it that past a certain age, "spring breaks" aren't really an option anymore? When you have work that is always there despite the hour of the day or the day of the week or the week of the year, outside the family holidays can you really afford to take a vacation? Every time I go on vacation I feel anxious about the work I left behind and the accumulation of work I'll return to. Is it a very American (or Asian-American) or Type A lawyer attitude I have about vacations that I just don't seem to be able to relax for longer than one day out of ten? Okay, maybe I can do two. I'm working on it.

Still, it's a strange realization, that at this point I'm already acting like a professor, working through the breaks while more typical students actually take them off to have fun. Without someone making an explicit demand of me, I'm self-regulating, rather than taking my youthful license to go on vacation from reality, work, and responsibility. It's a sad thing to realize, that you are not so much "growing up" as you are becoming more fully the working stiff you always were, so maybe you were never really young and impetuous. That is, I have the occasion and license to be young, have fun, take off and be carefree--but that was never my personality, and so I never did. And now I'm growing older and these occasions will arise less and less, until it's no longer a choice, but a default. I was born into a suit, it seems, with my nose in a book or to a grindstone.

How Gradgrindian. But it's me, for better or worse.

Needless to say, I won't be blogging for a couple of days, but I'll try to get something in for Saturday Afternoon Poet series and I'll blog in hopefully non-obvious ways about the my time in Wheeler-Dealer City, and working while others are playing.