You know that empty feeling an office gets when a long weekend approaches? It begins early in the day, as people call in sick with imaginary maladies in order to stretch a three day weekend into four days. Even for those who are able to resist the siren’s call and show up to work are not entirely immune, as their productivity is sapped by thoughts of what they are going to do on their long weekend, or indeed what they are going to do after work. People search the cabinets looking for tea and find none, and so they make plans to work from home where the caffeine headaches  will not bother them after lunch. For those who are still able to overcome the pull of unproductivity, the dangers do not cease. Frustrations in doing one’s reports or in collecting money owed by others is hampered by the fact that everyone else is taking a long weekend and no help is available. Even at long last, when one is nearing the end of the workday, there are still other frustrations to deal with when is trying to make accounts reconcile so that one does not have to come back to a large and unpleasant amount of work after the holiday is over. In short, working anything close to a full day as a long weekend approaches makes one feel like the last of the Mohicans.
When I said this to the only two people in my entire department to be present at our office after 3PM this afternoon, I got a lot of laughter, as the mental image must have been rather entertaining. My witty comment, though, as is often the case, was not entirely ridiculous, though. The reference, of course, is to the novel by James Fenimore Cooper, from the 1820’s, where one of the last survivors of a nearly extinct tribe of American Indians is induced to take part in the French & Indian War even though he wanted to stay neutral and keep himself out of trouble. The fact that the hero’s name is Natty Bumppo makes it an even more appropriate joke for me to make given the similarities with my own name. Anyway, you can feel like the last member of your tribe when everyone goes home early on a weekend before a holiday, and as someone who tends to be rather sensitive to loneliness and solitude, it is certainly something I pick up on pretty quickly.
So, what did I do after leaving work about on time for all of my efforts at having a slightly longer weekend myself? Well, first I went to the grocery store to acquire some items for tonight’s dinner club meeting, which involved a rather entertaining search for items that I normally do not buy. For example, I feel it necessary to note that ground chicken is not as easy to find as an item of food as one might think. Likewise, the local grocery store tends to be rather thin on the ground when it comes to exotic herbs like basil as well as unconventional sauces. Considering these are the same places that only had a couple of brands of unleavened bread when I shopped there earlier this year, that would seem to indicate that this particular grocery store just does not suit those rare moments when I break the mold and seek unusual and quirky items. I tend to think that the items I am shopping for cannot be all that unusual, but sometimes I grossly underestimate just how unusual my tastes are. I suppose when one spends one’s life trying to pass oneself off as at least an acceptable sort of eccentric person that one neglects to realize just how odd one can be.
After my shopping was done I went home, it still being somewhat early in the afternoon, and proceeded to do some reading and writing. Unfortunately, being somewhat tired as well, my reading was interrupted by occasional catnaps and/or bear naps. At any rate, it was not too particularly late when I proceeded to do the cooking for tonight’s dinner. I suppose, given my fondness for paying people to do my cooking for me most evenings, as well as for eating relatively ready-to-eat meals for lunch, that it must seem odd that I would be cooking much at all. Nevertheless, I find the practice pretty useful and enjoyable, as one must hone one’s skills at cooking at least a little bit from time to time, lest one not have any ability to take care of oneself when all one has is food items and not meals already made. Given my own upbringing, that would be an unacceptable situation. If you want to find out how the dinner went, though, wait for the sequel.
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