Thursday, September 07, 2006

Back From Ohio

Today was my first full day back from my Labor Day adventure to Ohio, the buckeye state. Final analysis: good trip. Disclaimer: if you read on, you will find only pedestrian details of my trip; expect nothing profound.

I flew in late Friday night and on Saturday a.m. my brother, myself, Uncle T., and cousin N. trucked it down to Columbus for Ohio State's season opener. Unfortunately, picking up the uncle and cousin caused a relatively large delay in my arrival to Columbus and thus affected my meeting-up-with-friends timetable. That led to wholly unsatisfyingly short encounters with my old-old-old friend M. and my college buddy A. Since 90% of my reason for going to the game was to meet up with these friends, I was annoyed. Every time I go home, I end up feeling trapped and helpless in one way or another. Baff, I guess my judgement on A.'s not-so-new-anymore boyfriend will have to be deferred another year or so.

Upon return to my brother's homestead late Saturday, I was reminded of a key aspect of the Ohio lifestyle I left behind so many years ago: watching Sportscenter. I've come to believe that watching Sportscenter is a gigantic crutch for lack of the stamina or will or ability to engage in prolonged conversation. Television, in general, acts as this crutch, but my brother's particular flavor of choice is tuning into sports. My sister-in-law made the profound assertion that she hates football season. This is because my brother basically ignores her from Thursday through Monday throughout the five month football season. My brother is the kind of guy who will watch Sportscenter over and over; seeing the same highlights each time. Why is this? Clearly he's hiding from life. I like football. I watch football. My brother uses it as a mechanism to hide from life. For five months out of the year, he's got a really solid excuse (in his mind) for not doing a damn thing all weekend and especially not having a meaningful conversation.

On Sunday, I made it over to my parent's house for the first time. They, of course, use Fox News and professional golf as their social shield. My mom was very upset this weekend because the next door neighbor filled in the ravine behind their house with a hundred or so trucks of dirt. This was actually relevant enough to my mom that she spoke to me about it outside the confines of the TV room. It was a good visit.

Monday was fishing day. Because of the hurricane residuals affecting the area, there was much doubt about the go, no-go status of the trip. In the end, we decided to brave the elements and fish. Okay, there were actually no elements to brave; the weather was quite fair, but apparently the fifteen foot waves the lake experienced on the prior three days left doubt about the quality of fishing ahead of us. That question was answered quickly. The six of us caught the legal maximum number of perch over the course of about four hours. I thought I was doing pretty well in Key West when I caught two fish and didn't throw up for the first two hours. Here we caught two-hundred forty between the six of us and I didn't even get queasy. Good times. My younger brothers were even mostly sane and human on this trip; except for when G. dropped his pole in the water where it promptly sank to the bottom of the lake -- that was classic. Fortunately, G. later successfully threw a bass at a seagull thereby redeeming himself.

I'd be remiss if I did not mention the nephew. Holy crap is he cool. At age one, he handles his own food, he can walk, he laughs at silly things, and, most importantly, he does not abuse the crying card. I find it absolutely amazing that a healthy living being sprang from my brother's spooge and my sister-in-law's uterus. Absolutely bonkers. I thought about being preoccupied with my job stress or my new company, but it became pretty obvious to me that hangin' with the nephew was a tremendously precious opportunity not to be wasted by attending to other affairs. If only all of life's decisions were that easy.

Tuesday, I pledged my labor services to my mom. The garden needed attention after being ravaged by post hurricane flooding and the neighbor's landscaping faux pas. It has been several years since I was enlisted in my mom's gardening corps. I've developed a strange idea of what gardening means. In my experience, gardening involves digging up plants, cutting down trees, and building stone walls. This time around I was actually allowed to replant several plants too. That was awesome and a half. I had recently been exposed to the idea of the restorative effect of nature. Mounding the dirt up on a freshly replanted hostas brought about an acute restorative feeling. Note to self: get a plant for the apartment.

And that was that. I had exhausted my four day maximum visit and it was time to return to the desert land I call home.

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