May 1, 1999
How I Spent My Cyber Vacation

Hi. Remember me?

I'm back from my self-imposed cyber exile, Dear Reader ... and unlike other *vacations* I've taken in the past two or three years, I'm actually returning from this one feeling better than when I left.  There are no leaky bottles of hotel shampoo in my suitcase! I still have all of my jewelry!  AND I don't require any antibiotics!

I needed the break. It had gotten to the point where the mere thought of having to come home from work and produce a journal entry was causing me to grind my teeth down into little pointy stubs.  And -- as David is so fond of saying -- "That can't be a good thing."

So for the past seventeen days I have kept myself distanced, literally and figuratively, from the cyber world in general, and from *FootNotes* in particular. No sneaky midday hit counter checks. No behind-the-scenes rewrites. No outlining future journal entries in my head during Admin Dept meetings. Except for adding a few new photos to the Tots pages (I couldn't resist: we FINALLY got the &$#*&^$@ scanner to work), I've pretty much left the website alone for the past two weeks.

For the first few days it was tough. "Well, I did it," I wrote mournfully in my [handwritten] journal, a day or two after the vacation had started. "I shut down the website for a couple of weeks. Part of me is relieved. Part of me is afraid I'll never go back. And part of me worries that no one will even notice that I'm gone." I would come home from work in the evenings and automatically sit down in front of the computer ... and realize that there was nothing I needed to do.

It felt like something vital had been amputated.

But you know what? As the days went by, I found myself spending less time thinking about my life in terms of potential journal entries, and more time simply living it. I didn't do anything world-shakingly interesting or important or journalworthy: mostly I just got out of bed at 6 a.m. every day and went to work and came home and goofed around with David and went to sleep at 10 p.m. every night. I mailed my child support. I talked to the Tots on the phone. I taught myself how to use the new scanner. I ate strawberries. I read library books. I went to Amoeba Records with David and bought an old Bee Gees CD. I spent some quality time with Miss Clairol. I i.m.'d with Mizzle and Shell Pile. I met with my supervisor to discuss career goals ("Can I be the CEO?"). I took a couple of spectacular bubble baths.

I mourned, with the rest of the nation, when news of Littleton first swept through the office that Tuesday afternoon ... and through all the days since.

I wrote a letter. By hand. With an actual PEN and actual PAPER.  And then ... I mailed it. With an actual STAMP.

I learned how to say "octopus" in Japanese. (And it sure as hell isn't "taco.")

And I had absolutely zero dreams about HTML coding.

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So why, if this website is such a source of stress and anxiety, do I even bother? Why not make the *vacation* permanent and be done with it?

Why not just spend my online time surfing the Internet for groovy True Type Font downloads?

Why do I torture myself this way?

I dunno. [Shrug.]

Because I love it more than I hate it, I guess. Because I'm proud of what I've accomplished here, and I want to see how far I can take it. And because it forces me to do things that I need to do, even when I don't feel like doing them. (Like writing. And thinking. And communicating with people. And humiliating myself publicly.)

And because I vainly cling to the hope that maybe somewhere, someone may read something I write  --  about my struggle with alcohol addiction, for instance  --  and actually get something out of it.
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Having said all that ... I'm back. Did you miss me? Of course you did. And I missed you too, Dear Reader. (Insert warm & fuzzy emoticon here.)

Now go away and leave me alone. I have groovy True Type Fonts to download.



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