Sunday, July 13, 2008

Seasonal Changes

Used to be that every spring I'd excise my Protestant work ethic -- intuiting the warmth of May and the crazy flower smells as instant signals to taper off -- and head to the beach, spending what I'd saved on living (as opposed to dying, piecemeal and grimly, with the most toys -- I still haven't figured out that "lifestyle" choice).

As the years have rolled on, however, for a variety of reasons, I've not only maintained a sameness of work hours when others are taking in their shingle for July-August, but have even upped the taking on of indoor mole-hours, thinking and computing and planning. The best racing heats up in the summer -- full fields of horses at Del Mar in San Diego, Saratoga in upstate New York, the (in so many ways) excellent meet at Arlington in Chicago, Toronto's Woodbine, New Jersey's four month Monmouth fare, and even the third-tier tracks of Presque Isle, Ellis Park, my beloved Hastings home site, and others. Pick Four possibilites multiply exponentially, and I emerge from my den past midnight some days with refridgerator-white pallor, glassy stare, mumbly demeanor, and quizzical approach to the open air beyond the computer cubicle.

I've talked with many others who're self-employed, and they all say the same thing: "I'm working harder now than when I had to show up for the Man!" It's worth it, of course -- no overseeing bastard satraps with glowering astringency; no mind-numbing routine of other-engendered stimulation; no political gamesmanship (ah, the "good ole days") -- but when one is motivated, the clock not only is not watched fanatically, it evaporates. Hours seem like minutes, to turn the Led Zeppelin song "Tea For One" around, and the realization sets in that intellectual stimulation has run amok in place of walking, talking, hiking, biking, watching cloud formations and enjoying slow hypnotic libations.

Ahhh, summer, I remember it well ....

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