For the past month, I've been dealing with an enormous amount of stress at work. I've had a constant migraine. My hair feels like it's falling out in bunches. And even the knots in my shoulders have knots! If I were to visit a physician, he'd probably tell me that these knots were Gordian in nature (actually, that diagnosis would probably be better left to a Macedonian philosopher, wouldn't it? Hmm, I wonder whether my health insurance covers co-payments to Macedonian philosophers. Doubtful. Fuckers won't even cover the cost of my therapy!)
To make a long story short, instead of giving myself a big bonus at the end of this year and taking a long vacation on a nice beach in Tahiti, I'll most likely be giving my beloved employees bonuses out of my own pocket and, instead of Tahiti, BossLady, Peanut and I will probably be spending the Christmas holidays at the Vince Lombardi service station on the N.J. Turnpike.
If any of you are travelling on I-95 over the holidays, please stop by and say hi!
Once, when BossLady and I were driving cross-country, we actually spent a night at the Vince Lombardi rest stop sleeping in a cargo van. Based on that singular experience, I'm thinking that there are probably worse places to spend the holidays (like my in-laws' house in Texas. Don't get me wrong. I love them IMMENSELY but they have no cable TV, no internet access, and no alcohol. It's like vacationing with the Amish.) On the other hand, Mr. Lombardi's rest stop has ALL of those things. Plus a Taco Bell, a Bob's Big Boy, and a Roy Rogers! Shazaam! A perfect Trifecta!
This reminds me. A friend of mine owns several Arby's in Chicago. Since he actually inherited all of them and looks very young for his age, we used to call him Abe Frohman, the sausage king of Chicago (if you're under the age of 30, you're probably not going to get that joke.) Anyway, "Abe" has always told us that we should avoid Arby's whenever possible. Apparently, the meat is not always 100% beef and they paint the grill marks on the ribs so it looks like they were actually cooked on a bbq. I won't even discuss what's in the horsey sauce! Anyway, "Abe" also told us that, as bad as Arby's may be, studies have shown that the Roy Roger's Fixins Bar is a disgusting repository of germs and bacteria, some of which have probably yet to be discovered. Awesome!
What the fuck was I talking about again? Oh yes...stress.
Life used to be so much easier, didn't it? Remember those halcyon days of yore? When the toughest decision of your day was what to put on your pizza? God damn, I miss those times.
Now, everything is so complicated and stressful. Career. Work. Mortgage. Tuition. Retirement plans. Taxes. Credit card bills. FUCK ME!
Sometimes, I feel like quitting my job, selling our apartment in Manhattan, moving to Jamaica and buying a little tropical shack on the beach. I could be a coconut farmer. BossLady could sell trinkets to tourists. And Peanut would be the cutest little Korean Rastafarian on the planet. Wouldn't that be lovely?
But then I remember that I love central air conditioning, foie gras, wireless
internet service, Frette sheets, sushi, cashmere sweaters, and German
cars. Also, I'd look absolutely ridiculous with dred locks. Fuck! Back to the salt mines!
Whenever I get this stressed out, I like to employ one of my favorite relaxation activities. You know, the one called GIANT GLASS OF SCOTCH! (God bless you, Dr. Johnnie Walker! You're not only the best therapist I've ever had but you've also done more for me than Prozac ever could!)
Now, I'm man enough to admit that I'm pretty miserable to be around right now and am really not suitable for adult company. This morning, the Boss Lady innocently asked me to throw away some of the twenty New Yorker magazines that have been by the side of my bed for a month and I almost bit her head off. I think my exact words were, "GOOD LORD! STOP NAGGING ME, WOMAN, AND LEAVE ME ALONE! I HATE MY LIFE!"
If only I were kidding...
I witnessed first-hand how my father's daily stress affected my relationship with him so I've always sworn that I would never allow that to happen with me and the Peanut. This is something that's very important to me. At the end of the day, I can always apologize to the BossLady for being a pain in the ass. But young toddlers don't really understand it when Daddy's getting his ass kicked at work and is just not himself.
So tonight, I decided to have a special Father/Daughter date night. When I picked The Peanut up from daycare, she wrapped her little arms around my neck and gave me a giant bear hug. The two of us held hands and took a long walk around the neighborhood. Then, we ended up at our favorite sushi restaurant. It's a local joint where everyone knows us well and the whole staff always comes over to play with the Peanut. We both love this place. Peanut loves their miso soup and Agedashi tofu. I love their enormous sake collection and the fact that they fly their fish in from Japan on a daily basis.
The two of us had a great time. There's nothing like spending quality time with your child to make you forget all your problems. A few hours talking nonsense with the Peanut and having sword fights with our chopsticks was the best therapy in the world. How stressed out can you be when your daughter is feeding you soup? If you don't have kids, there's no way in a million years that I can even begin to explain how life-affirming the whole experience was.
But if a picture says a thousand words...
Updated 9/22/06: You know how lightning never strikes the same place twice? Well, I shouldn't have pushed my luck, my friends. Last night, we took the Peanut out for dinner. Whereas the night before, she was a dinner companion nonpareil, yesterday she was the model of vexation. I'm talking total nuclear meltdown. The lie-on-your-stomach-and-flail-your-arms-screaming type of meltdown. You know what I'm talking about, right? Fun times. Anyway, thank you all for your words of encouragement. As always, I'm humbled by your kindness.