Thursday, August 10, 2006

Awakening the sleeping dad

After complaining about my own lack of consistent posting in my other blog, I've now gone over a week without posting at either of my blogs. It's not like I have a big enough audience of regular readers that I really need to explain myself, but I guess I personally feel the need. Plus, it gives me a chance to vent and complain, which we all really enjoy don't we? Or is it just me? (I noticed a few years back that I am actually entertained by the rants of people who seem to complain all the time. Whether it's an unexplainable personality quirk of mine or whether hearing other people's complaints makes me feel better about my own life, I don't know. I've always said that that's why I enjoy listening to The Smiths, who, for those of you not familiar, here's the lyrics of one of their biggest hits. I pop in an old tape, and the more pathetic Morrissey gets, the more cheerful I get. Go figure.)

Anyway, the thing that's getting me down is just life in general. As I'm sure I must have mentioned, I'm working two jobs right now, and it's wearing me out. I like a good solid eight hours of sleep, but tend to get four most nights these days. It's not fun making just enough money to get by while you don't get sufficient sleep or time together with your family. The way it's affecting my blogs is that I don't seem to have the mental energy to think coherently enough to write in a manner that feels proper to me. I actually have several unfinished posts stored up in this blog, and one in the other, but when I go to write on them, it doesn't sound right. For now, writing a little post of personal complaint, I feel more accepting of sloppiness, but the post I was working on this Monday seemed like an important one, and pretty much every post on my other blog is one I consider important. (And anyway, Exodus 21 is a really tough chapter to comment on!) The random gibberish that I type in a half-sleeping haze just doesn't seem sufficient for some topics.

Perhaps the worst of it for me personally was Tuesday. Blogs aside, which in the grand scheme of things are of course nothing, I got up before the sun, and came home after dark, never seeing my family at all. That sucks. I remember the one thing I worried about when I got a second job was that I'd turn out to be like my father.

Time for personal disclosure here. When I was two, my parents divorced, and so I really have virtually no memories of my parents together. (I do have a few, which surprises me, as I don't know that many people remember being two years old.) Most of my early childhood was spent with my mom, with something like twice-yearly visits to my dad's house. My dad at that time worked as a nurse, pulling the graveyard shift at the hospital. He always told me that doing graveyard was a great opportunity, because he was able to pull down lots of hours, since nobody wanted the shifts. However, on those twice yearly visits, he didn't often take time from work, and I would sit and watch television while he slept off the night shift. I wanted desperately to spend time with my dad, and grew to dispise his work and his dedication to it. Oddly enough, as an adult, I get a feeling of comfort rather than unease that most others feel when visiting the hospital; somehow I associate it with something warm and parental.

When I was discussing with my wife whether or not to get a second job, it was something I mentioned to her: the fact that my dad was someone who, from my point of view, seemed to sleep through my childhood. I didn't want to be that for my children. I wanted to be someone who would hear "Yay! Daddy's home!" rather than "Shhh! Daddy's home." and have my children wonder who I was beyond a snoring lump in the master bedroom.

The thing is, this is the sort of thing that I hope people only do because they have to, while I suspect my father did it because somewhere inside, he valued money more than relationships. This is the part where I start to feel sad about other people's problems rather than enjoying hearing complaints, because the people with the real problems in life hardly ever seem to be the ones complaining; they're too busy working to dig themselves out of their problems. I can complain, but in the end, this is only a temporary thing. My wife will be going back to work soon part time, as my childen are now old enough to start preschool. I'll drop my second job, and get some training to start a new career that will bring me more income. I've got a Bachelor's degree, and am looking to get a Master's in the future, and I have a lot of opportunity for upward mobility, even though my present situation is far from ideal. I'm not looking to own a big house and a fancy sports car, only to live my life with my family with some savings in the bank for emergencies and knowing that I will be able to send my children to college some day if they choose to go there (which I hope they will). I really think that I'll get there some day, maybe even within the next year or so. I also realize that there are many, many people who are not only not there, but will never get there.

There are people out there with families to support that they have to work two full-time jobs at minimum wage in order to do so, and their children must hardly know them. They sacrifice having the sort of personal relationship that (I hope) we all want to have with our children, not for a brighter future, but so that they don't starve. Sometimes it seems like one of the biggest injustices in life: that there are people who are trying hard to make life and families work, and are contributing to society in an irreplaceable manner no doubt, but never quite make things work out for themselves. Call me an anti-capitalist, but I have a hard time stomaching people who make millions of dollars who are doing it only for the purpose of making tons of money while there are others making next to nothing who only want to feed their children and put a roof over their heads.

So, depressed over my blog, depressed over my own problems, depressed over other people's problems, and even depressed over other people's successes, I take a moment out to complain. I hope I have entertained.

No comments: