I’m on vacation, y’all.
Not vacation from work. I’ll be at my desk 40 hours a week, pretty much the whole summer, and straight through till Christmas, and that’s fine. I don’t need a vacation from work. I’m on vacation from studying, thinking about studying, complaining about studying, and sacrificing fun for studying. I am vacation from sitting long hours indoors, eating food standing up at my kitchen counter so that I can get back to sitting down and staring at engineering texts, making flash cards, grinding my teeth, and neglecting chores. I am on vacations from the words HVAC, mechanical systems, plumbing, acoustics, lighting, sprinkler risers, and electrical transformers. I am glad all of those things exist, and that someone knows how to use them. I will never ever ever be thinking of any of those things again.
Unless I have to re-take the awful exam I took Thursday in six months. I studied for 90 hours, and I was as ready as I could possibly get myself, and it was a wretched experience. Thirty hours more or thirty hours less of studying would not have changed anything. Said wretched experience was made worse by the fact that Fletch had doggie digestion issues the night before my exam. We were up a dozen times in the yard between 10 p.m. and 5:45 a.m. Two thirds of those times he was just frolicking in the yard. On one colorful outing, I was still dazed from being woken out of a sound sleep, and he bolted for a roaming cat across the street. I stopped him, but it was an unpleasant full-body experience, and I towed him back to a quieter corner of the yard and let out some unladylike and unwholesome language.
“Katherine?” I heard from the porch next door, where my bartender neighbor had just gotten off work. “What…are you DOING?
I did not have a good answer for that.
He’s fine now. We put ourselves back together after the exam and the sleepless night, but it took tequila, a four hour nap, and a good cry. And the next day I got my hair done for the first time in three months, and drank some more tequila over in Durham with my friends, and we went to see Chatham County Line over at Carolina Theater, and that was mighty fine. The next morning Julia and I got up and pulled a Thelma and Louise, and we went to DC for 18 hours to see the Old 97s.
I’d bought the Old 97’s tickets months ago, the day I scheduled this last exam, because I knew it would be wretched, and I knew it would take being shaken apart and put back together by raucous mischievous alt country rock and roll to start feeling better. Their latest album is perhaps the worst behaved album I’ve heard in a decade. And so I love it. Right now I have a punk attitude, and although I am not personally behaving all that badly in the big picture, it sort of makes me feel better to think that others are. Even if it’s a little bit made up. Julia is one of the few people in my world who shares my deep wellspring of love for the Old 97’s. She gets it. So we went.
And so did these two. I can’t say Fletch was, like, easygoing about his first big city trip, as he finds everything SO EXCITING, but he got the hang of it. They had a fantastic time. The city dogs wore them out at the dog park, and then Julia and I went to dinner at hipster central, then hit the 9:30 Club.
Wanna feel just a tiny bit cooler than you really are? Have tickets for a sold out show at the 9:30 Club. It’s pretty badass in there. It’s my new favorite. I want to re-do the Lincoln Theater now so it’s the 9:30 Club. It could totally be the 9:30 Club.
And then, you know, Old 97’s.
See the backdrop? The flaming cactus that was lit to look like the end of the world all through the night? And there were guitar pinwheels and stage jumps and honky tonk songs and he did that falling-back thing he does when he really MEANS what he’s singing. Which he always does- they all do. They leave it all on the stage, every single time, and that’s worth a trip to DC any time.
It was over way too fast.
We took the back roads home today and found some oddities. There was a “variety mart” behind this chainsaw art display. I looked at the serial-killer signs and the disturbing carved vultures taunting a giant wooden bear and told Julia that yes, I had traveled solo around the world, and am not scared of all that much, and I was still unwilling to get any farther away from the car than required to take this photo. I was definitely not calling the number on the handwritten sign on the roof to let the proprietor know we were there so he could come up from the basement and greet us. Other than that, it was just road snacks and girl talk and farm towns and a complete absence of studying.
So, this photo here is what we’re doing now, and what we’ll be doing for the next month. Fletch told me he’s on board with the vacation plan. When we’re not at work, we’ll be on the porch drinking fizzy water with frozen strawberries I picked from my front yard, and I might learn a song or two on the guitar, and tidy up the house and do some reading. I’m trying to finish The Goldfinch, and I love it, but I’m too darn worried about that kid to get very far. I’m switching to beach reads for the summer. We’ll do a lot of dog park time, and I might try to get back to my Zombies, Run! app and pick up where I left off before this last test derailed me. I plan to accomplish very little in June, other than an increase in music attendance and leisurely walks to work and maybe a little attention to finally staking the tomato plants in the garden.
The National Council of Architecture Review Boards can send me all the testing score reports they want to, but they can’t make me look at them. Hell, I have to take three more exams before October and I can’t see how it makes a difference whether I passed or failed this last one until I’d have to start studying for the re-take in November, anyway. Doesn’t change anything for the next, oh, five months, and it’s not going to ruin my lovely test-free, study-free, boring-and-tedious-arcane-textbook-free June. People are placing bets on how long it will take me to cave in and check my scores. I’m thinking that long about September I might take a peek. Until then, I’ll crank up the music, open the windows, stretch out on the couch with Dawg, and read some fashion magazines before I hit the books again in July.
May your June be likewise pleasantly raucous, and restful, and full of exactly what you need.