I use to treat the State of the Union Address like my own version of the Super Bowl – an excuse to eat, drink, and be merry while consuming the massive amounts of information being beamed directly into my head from the well of the House and a few well-selected news sites. It was good times, even with the understanding that what was being delivered live on television was, at best, a wish list of ideas rather than any definitive statements of policy.
Politics for the most part has joined the increasingly large number of topics that I mostly lack the interest in dealing with on the wholesale level. Yes, there are a few areas I care passionately about and pay close attention to, but the broader discussion of how many times a speech is interrupted by applause, or who did something stupid 25 years ago, or gods forbid, said something that someone, somewhere might find in poor taste. I’m sorry, but the field in which I grow my fucks is desolate and barren. I have not one more to give on “issues” like those.
So, like the actual Super Bowl that preceded it, I will not be tuning in to hear the president’s remarks on the State of the Union tonight. I know I can rest assured that by the time I wake up tomorrow morning Twitter will be sure to tell me exactly what I’m supposed to think about it. I’ll read the highlights. Probably.
Congress and the president have their own agendas and I have mine. Between the three, I’ll let you be the judge of which one I think is the most important.
There’s a lot going on in the world. Between the incredible imploding generals, John Kerry’s name on the short list for Secretary of Defense, Israel chomping at the bit to bomb its enemies further back into the stone age, an impending fiscal disaster of biblical proportions, and a few dozen other odds and ends that are making the news today, you’d think I could gin up something pithy to discuss tonight… but in thinking that, you, gentle reader, would be exactly wrong. No matter how earth shattering or sensational, my official response to most of the day has been a rather disinterested shrug coupled with the occasional “Meh” for emphasis.
After several minutes of in depth analysis, I’ve determined that the harder I look at the world around me, the dumber it gets… and the higher my blood pressure soars. Perhaps it’s best for the world, and for my long term cardiovascular health if I just start ignoring everything that’s going on around me. That approach seems to work well enough for the masses, so maybe if I stick my nose in a book and pretend that civilization isn’t actually doomed everything will turn out just fine in the end. I mean it’s the approach that works for the inevitable 6 out of 10 who can’t find their state on a map or are more likely to follow news for Justin Bieber than Joe Biden.
So in this new spirit of apathetic mediocrity, I bid you all good night. I’m sure I can find something perfectly pedestrian to take my mind off the world. If a good book doesn’t work, I’m sure one of the 87 channels of reality television will fill the bill nicely.
I’m not generally given to bouts of fear, but sometimes, lying in bed, late at night, I think some moments of trepidation are unavoidable – a product of a brain churning through a 100 different scenarios each more unpleasant than the last. Perhaps that’s the curse of the educated class; that we know the things we know and are thereby unable to live lives of oblivious happiness.
There are hundreds of possible “bad things” that one can reasonably fear. There are the perennial favorites: war, famine, plague, pestilence, dogs and cats living together. Then there are the more personal fears. Is tonight the night the “big one” is going to hit the New Madrid Fault? Is Uncle Sam going to open his doors on March 5th? And what could I have done to be better prepared? While those are quite real possibilities, that’s not the one that wakes me up at night.
The one that gets me every time is the fleeting notion that this 30-day hiring freeze could easily be extended through the end of the fiscal year – or beyond. Even more vexing is the thought that I’d then be sidelined here in Memphis indefinitely. It’s not an unreasonable thought. Should Congress pass a Continuing Resolution at or less than the funding level during FY10, I fear it’s altogether possible that the human resource managers at echelons above reality could decide that hiring and transfers are not currently in the best interest of the government due to the costs involved and in an effort to attrit the workforce into its desired size and composition. That would mean another six months marking time awash in a rising tide of disinterest and discontent.
To have gotten so close only to be turned away now would be a hammer fall. Even my self-confidence has its limits.
I was always under the impression that taking a vacation was suppose to leave you refreshed and ready to take on the world again. At the moment, though, all I am feeling is pure, unadulterated ambivalence. I can’t get back into the routine… and worse yet, I really don’t give a shit. Forgive me… this is kind of a new experience for me. Usually, I want to run a hundred miles an hour with my hair on fire, but lately all I really want to do is sit in my big comfy chair and watch Buffy on DVD.
I’m not going to lie to you people… I’ve been doing the bare minimum to scrape by at work and really not even doing that for my class. And I find the whole experience a little disturbing. I want to be the guy who has lots of fire in his belly. I want to get back to knowing the all the answers before anyone gets around to asking the questions. I’ve got to get my head back in the game. Balance has never been my forte and once the stress level cranks back up a few notches, I think things will sort themselves out.