Thirteen years

I’ve been keeping this blog for more than a quarter of my life. Which is a hell of a lot to think about. Sometime next year, I will have spent one-third of my life in California. Half a lifetime ago will be 1996 – after high school, after college. Already, I’ve blown off my 25th college reunion, because why would I stop trying to forget where I went to undergrad now? Next year will be thirty years since high school.

It’s a lot of time. And it’s a lot to wrap your head around. Looking back, though, this blog seems to have focused on the same damn things reliably:

* Cellphones should be omni-capable, yet fit in one hand

* The Confederacy won the 21st century and keeps winning

* I wish I lived somewhere with more fog and fewer techies

* The college thing in general – and Vanderbilt sports in particular – will always be a burden

And yet, I seem to be moving toward the ultimate goal. Football is a back-burner thing now; only the autumn ride-around keeps me engaged with the Skins (and with Sonny retired, this could well be the last go-round for that, who knows). When I left DC, my daily carry included a cell phone, a pager, an iPhone and sometimes a Blackberry or PDA along with a pipe, a tobacco pouch, a lighter and a Leatherman. Every bit of that has now been replaced with an iPhone and a bottle-opening screwdriver shard on my keyring.

And the wardrobe has evolved. There were horses for courses, naturally, and the resort shirts and khaki of DC summers have way to cargo shorts and steel toed boots in a secret Apple warehouse, and things have evolved over time. But now, in NorCal in the heat of the ever-longer climate change summers, I find that it’s gotten amazingly simple. Black T-shirt from American Giant. Jeans from LC King. As often as not, those damned black plastic Birkenstocks, of a brand and style that I would have sworn would never be in my wardrobe even five years ago. Basically, unless I have to take transit to work or have something special to go to, that’s the wardrobe every day from…March to October? And after that, the AG work shirt or flannel on top of the T-shirt, and the sandals for as long as I can get away with it. Nothing to lace, nothing to tie, no socks needed.

A lot of the stuff I’ve accumulated in the last seven or eight years has a whiff of the cargo cult about it – that if I only prepare myself for a life walking the Cotswold Way, or cheering on the local GAA team, or watching the waves wash the pebbles on a Scottish coastline, then I’ll somehow be there doing it. Practically speaking, a 55+ trailer park on the coast near fog is a hell of a lot more likely, but hey – that same uniform with the work shirt would probably do for me for about eleven months a year (might need socks and boots in January).

It’s entirely possible that I’m on the upward swing out of the U-curve of depression that characterizes one’s 40s. I was hit hard by the encryption debacle when that happened in 2013, and work was a blight on my life until around 2016. Then politics took over as the thing that kept me from getting right, and I don’t doubt that the next fourteen months are going to be difficult to deal with, but maybe I have a slightly better toolkit than in years past. The things I want in life at this point are simple and quiet and in theory, easily obtainable – except for the ones that are wholly out of my power with no choices but how to cope.

Year 14 is begun. Onward.

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