Friday, December 20, 2002

The Blue Collar High

The Blue Collar High

There is no place I'd rather be during the holiday season other than Atlanta.

The days fluctuate between the high thirties and the mid fifties, temperature wise. One day a couple of weeks ago, it rained terribly cold and hard, so my fellow Georgians sensibly shut down their schools, drove home from work, and stayed with their families just in case the roads might ice up. I was grinning like an idiot all through the bad storm, because really the day was just like typical New England weather. It was windy and gray and the rain had little particles of ice in it. During the "bad weather", the thermometer never dropped below 20 degrees. Ah, my homeland. I really haven't worn sweaters more than a few times so far this winter - you can get by with long sleeve shirts and a good jacket most of the time here. Hats and gloves are needed on the colder days, but you won't need them every day until we're well into January.

Also, I hadn't realized up in Boston how much I missed Southern suburban lawn displays at Christmastime. Flashing lights, inflatable snowmen, deer with animatronics motion. Down the street from my cousin's house, Santa busily brings Peace on Earth to everyone every night. Nativity scenes here are strangely elaborate, often giving the infant Jesus the benefit of a wishing well or brightly wrapped modern presents in addition to the visiting Shepard and wise men. The louder, the brighter, the more inventive the lawn art, the more I get a kick out of it.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that this holiday season rocks. I'm working again, and I'm truly where I want to be right now. It's not cold, and I feel like - well, like the atheist in me is comfortable here, even amidst all the religious stuff. I suppose in Nashville there was always such a churchy note to the season I got my fun squished, and in Boston I disliked how the town got half-empty between semesters. Atlanta, like with most other things, is just right.

My cousins have set up a rock-on live Christmas tree in their house. It's classic - tiny colored bulbs, toy ornaments and candy canes. Every time I get near it I just go nuts. It's perfect. It's beautiful.

I've been working 12 hour nights, starting with a four hour shift at the theater box office and then trotting across the street to do an eight hour overnight shift at Target. I'm so glad to be working again that I honestly don't mind the long hours, and the constant sleep deprivation kind of gets me high! After the first three nights I had eight separate entirely amazing personal revelations. It was like working all those hours set explosions off in my head, and a chain reaction of new thoughts flooded my head in a bizarre euphoric blast. Only time will tell if these new ideas are going to stick around and alter my personality or if I'll reject all the changes to my personal philosophies once I've had some time to really sleep.

Crazy. Working long nights is like being buzzed - in a way I've never been before - and it really has affected me, maybe permanently. Why wasn't this ever mentioned in DARE? After 1 a.m. I have bloody brilliant thoughts for a couple of hours - my mind races while my body keeps moving. Around 4 a.m. I hit what's called "flow state", and my mind shuts down everything but surface thought and my body moves almost on its own accord. As I shift boxes and display merchadise, I catch the wave of sweet endorphins that almost turn me on. As I type this at 8 a.m., I'm actually a little hyper, but making a ton of mistakes spellcheck will have to clean up. I'm also a little incoherent. I hope this all makes sense...happy holidays, everybody. I'm drunk on the blue collar high.

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