(I’m in DC for the first part of the week to catch Heat/Wizards with the entire family on Tuesday. Now that I’m at the point in my life where cross-country flights seem akin to something like self-flagellation, I decided to extend the trip a little longer than a day.)
Is there anything more simultaneously mundane and surreal than deplaning at midnight? Everything and everyone is awash in a dim flourescent hue; stalls, restaurants, and gates are cordoned off in gray chains; if music is playing, which it rarely is, it is too quiet and faintly otherworldly. But most of all, the sensation of being in the airport after midnight is identical to the sensation of being in the stage of sleep where you can’t quite tell if its a dream or a nightmare — you know you’d rather be somewhere else.
I wrote a small post about the imagined need for “enthusiam” in the tech industry. After publishing it, someone alerted me to the phrase “missionary vs. mercenary” (as in, an employee who would proselytize the organization’s cause vs. someone who’s just in it for the paycheck). That’s certainly a poetic dichotomy — and props to the recruiter who came up with it! — but, uh, yikes. (I guess you’re working for alms, in this metaphor?)
I’m reading I, Claudius. It is hard to tell if it is literature smuggled in via history or history smuggled in via literature, but it’s quite a bit of fun. (Fun in the sense of, like, if your favorite part about Game of Thrones is the palace politicking.)
I’ve been trying to re-examine a lot of my habits this year, and I think one of my worst ones is my tendency to turn everything into a system. Take reading: I’m reading more (which is great!) and I’m doing it because I set myself a goal of reading twenty pages a day (totally reasonable!) but every now and then I catch myself slipping and realizing that I’m reading less to relax and learn and enjoy myself and more just to extend my streak of reading twenty pages a day (oh no!). Days like this, though, where I’m in a coffeeshop losing track of time and the only things on my to-do list are restaurants and museums, are a reminder of what balance actually feels like — and a reminder that the tinny voice in my head that whines about suboptimal productivity is a dweeb.
Looking at the theoretical things I could have done this weekend is sort of an extremely nerdy road less travelled situation. Yes, I could have fixed that issue with Spoonbill where the diffs don’t render on a certain iOS app. Yes, I could have finished up templating on Buttondown. All of those things will wait for me, though — and they’re fun, and they’re good, but they’re not necessary, nor are they particularly time-sensitive.
I fly back on Wednesday. East coast to west coast flights are magical: I leave at nine and get back at noon and it feels like I’ve used a Time-Turner or something, with six hours of flight time under my belt and not a scratch to show for it. (These are my rules of travel: if you get anything done at all on the airplane then it’s a victory, so six hours of bad-coffee-fueled development and emails followed up by a near-full work day is a solid Wednesday.)
I hope you lose track of time in an old favorite spot of yours.