Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dog days of summer

Dharma wants me to go out more...

I rarely watch television, but there's a 'Merlin' marathon on BBC America. And if my previous tendencies prevail, I'll write about half a paragraph in a span of several hours if I continue watching it. I'd like to think of this weekend as a condensed version of my childhood summers, except without the slim sliver of a social life. Essentially, it was a lot of sleeping, television, and time with the dogs.

...because he really wants to sleep.

I'm selling myself a little short. My parents usually had a remodeling project around the house from fixing the deck to mending the backyard fences. And throughout my years in high school, I jogged a few miles in the evening with the cross-country team. To be completely honest with you, summer wasn't necessarily better than during the school year. But when the house didn't need any repairs and I happen to miss cross-country practice, I attempted to savor the sweet flavor of mind numbing boredom. I was a romantic. Logically, I thought that I would grow bored of doing nothing and I would be motivated to be more productive.

Unfortunately, I didn't take into account how good it felt to do nothing. Personally, I think I'm exceptionally good at doing nothing so it's not only relaxing, but it builds my self-esteem.

All kidding aside, I believe there are two forces struggling in our brains between relaxing and being productive. And even though we want to relax, we know that it's probably better to be productive.

Between coming into work for more training and driving my mom to the airport for my parent's vacation, I had about six hours of sleep in the span of two to three days. On the ride to the airport, my mom recalled the circumstances of their trip. A few months ago, my step-father had surgery on his one remaining eye, and for a few weeks leading into the surgery, my step-father was depressed that he might be blind for the rest of his life. One night, my mom walked in on my step-father staring at his motorcycle. Throughout the years, they've had several ventures across the country from the rolling hills of Texas to the air balloons in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And he was afraid that he wouldn't be able to drive again; that part of his life would be completely over. Fortunately, the surgery went well, and they planned for another excursion in South Carolina. It was a second chance, and it's a reminder that we all have our chances daily.

Afterwards, I watched television. To be completely honest with you, I don't remember anything particularly interesting, but I watched a few Wimbledon matches, sitcoms, and cartoon shows. After a while, I started playing Bioshock, one of the most critically acclaimed video games of all time. Unfortunately, my gaming skills weren't particularly good enough to fully appreciate the game. It's very atmospheric with amazing sound design, pacing, and story-telling. And even though it's dark (literally and thematically), it's a video game that transcends its FPS genre into an immersive form of art.

 Believe it or not, they're easier to kill with rocket launchers...
like most living things.

On Sunday, I slept a lot. Honestly, I don't remember what happened, but I would assume there was an excess of television and video games. Sometime in the afternoon I transitioned from sleeping on the couch to sleeping on my bed, and along the way, I must have taken off my contacts. I guess that's modern form of self-preservation.

Yesterday, I went to Grapevine Mills Mall for business and pleasure. The hospital where I work is enforcing a new dress code, and Grapevine Mills is one of the very few malls with a uniform store. Also, they have a theater that's playing an independent film that I wanted to see. Let's not kid ourselves, I was primarily there to see the film. I always feel self-conscious whenever I walk around a mall alone, and even though Grapevine Mills was full of spectacles from grand department store signs to giant advertisement screens, I wasn't planning on randomly take pictures by myself.

Just imagine these stores with a lot more people.

While I walked around, I thought a lot about pictures and which fleeting moments of time that we choose to remember. I watched families roam from store to store and groups of teenagers straggle along benches and store fronts. And even though it's hard to deny the merits of a vacation or concert, these simple moments seemed worthy of being preserved. But no one was posing for pictures or hiding behind digital screens. Instead, they were living their lives and taking everything around them for granted, which was great.

I don't think it really matter how we spend our time as long as we appreciate its short and unlimited potential. When I was younger, there were times when I never thought a long summer day would ever end, and even now, the dogs have been literally staring at me in hopes that I'll do something to entertain them. Actually, they might need water, but I digress. Whether we're lounging around the house or casually grocery shopping, we can only hope to somehow make our short time here seem meaningful and savor it as long as possible.

And if you're currently on summer vacation, enjoy it. It goes by quickly. 

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