Better Than Revenge

I have to admit–and I know precisely what it says about me as a person–that I love revenge.

I love a good revenge story, in particular. The Count of Monte Cristo–despite the flowery writing and being way too long–is a terrific story of revenge; it set the bar for every revenge tale that has come after it. The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon remains one of my favorites of his fun reads (I really need to go back to it at some point) because it, too, centered vengeance at its heart; my other favorite of his, If Tomorrow Comes, was even more centered on revenge and thus I loved it.

I think it comes from a place of wanting to see people punished for their sins, really; there’s nothing more aggravating than seeing evil flourish and no intervention, no divine wrath, no nothing. Revenge is really about, at its true base, justice; and isn’t that what the point of all crime writing is, really? The search for justice? And I am not ashamed to admit that, while I never really wish ill on anyone who’s done me a bad turn or fucked me over, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it when something bad happens to said person. (I never celebrate death or severe illness; I’m horrible, but not that horrible. In fact, generally, after a smirk and eyebrow raise upon hearing bad news about someone I detest, and after the first adrenaline rush of what a pity, I generally empathize with said person. Empathy is really not hard, you know? I’ve never understood the inability to think, wow, if that happened to me it would really be awful. Then again, if someone’s a sociopath or a narcissist, or a combination of the two…)

Today is my work at home day, and it seems weird that it’s Friday again, and it’s also the first Friday of October. The light changes in October; there’s a more golden glow to it now, and it feels very weird to come home from work on a muggy afternoon like yesterday, after stopping at the grocery store, and within a few hours of sundown have the apartment feel so cold. As beautiful as it is, sometimes the humidity hasn’t gone away completely, so it’s cool but humid–so you still sweat even though it doesn’t feel like you should be, and that dampness makes the after-sundown temperature drop feel even more extreme than it actually is. I was, in a word, exhausted yesterday; I made kit bags for the syringe access program yesterday afternoon, which is a menial task which also requires me to be on my feet, and constantly bending over and so forth, and after four and a half hours of that I am always achy and tired. (I should have stretched when I got home; idiot.) Today I am working from home, trying to get caught up on things, and later on of course will be in the easy chair making condom packs again. But I slept deeply and well and feel rested this morning; once I get my stretches done I should be able to face the world and get things finished and accomplished and get on with things.

Or so one would think and/or hope.

It looks like we got the go-ahead to add another day of clinic services at work, which is fine, even if it means I have another day where I have to get up early. I love working with my clients–that’s always been the best part of my day job–and I certainly welcome the opportunity to see more people. The thought of a third day of getting up at six is, of course, daunting and unappealing, but I have to also get used to it. I think that’s been part of the entire problem of everything since March; as someone who becomes addicted to routine and also draws comfort from it, the constant readjustments and changes to everything in my life on an almost weekly basis has been challenging and also part of the exhaustion/depression issues I’ve been dealing with, particularly in the last few months. As I mentioned the other day when talking about stretching and flexibility, those words also work as a metaphor for my life these last few months. I still clearly need to work on my flexibility when it comes to working and planning and getting things done, and I need to get that under control otherwise I will sink, rather than swim.

Lately I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed it’s been defeating. There never seems to be enough time to get everything done that needs to be gotten done, and there are so many demands on my time that sometimes I get overwhelmed and need to back away and get my head together. I am remarkably self-aware in some ways and completely clueless in still others; but one thing I do know is that when I am drowning and overwhelmed–it’s better to let things sit for a day or so rather than try to put my head down and try to bull my way through; that will inevitably lead to frustration and anger and neither are the proper place to start when dealing with, and working with, other people. I have to finish that essay today, and read/edit another. I need to get those contracts signed, and answer about a million emails at some point. And while it is enormously satisfying to check things off a list and work your way through things–it’s still incredibly stressful, can take a long time, and is, in general, exhausting.

Scooter is doing well. He seems livelier, more alert, and certainly more affectionate since we started him on the special diet wet food and giving him the twice-a-day shots; I seem to be the one giving the shots most of the time, but who realistically didn’t see that coming? I’m more comfortable giving it than I was in the beginning–of course you get used to things the more you do them–but I’m never entirely sure I’ve managed to actually puncture his skin and inject the little bit of insulin he needs into him. Sometimes he flinches, but he doesn’t flinch every time–but he’s also come to associate getting the shot with food, so insulin shock is no longer a concern for me. As soon as he gets the shot he heads to his food bowl and starts eating, so that’s one less thing to have anxiety over, thank God. Although seeing how much better Scooter is makes me feel like a shitty pet-owner; how bad did he feel before he started getting the insulin? It’s also weird that he wants to cuddle even more than he did before, which was already most of the time–and he’s very demanding about it. But with my work laptop and the condom packing, I can sit in the easy chair and let him curl up and sleep between my legs, or in the space between me and the arm of the chair, and of course, is there anything more calming and comforting than a sleeping, purring cat? Not likely.

But it’s Friday, which means there will be a new episode of Ted Lasso tonight–the season finale, alas, but it’s been renewed already–and right now I feel like I can untangle all the Gordian knots and get things finished that need to be finished; at least in time before the next set of knots arrive on my doorstep.

And on that note, have a lovely day, Constant Reader.

Why Can’t We Live Together

Wednesday! What a lovely day, as the countdown to my long birthday weekend begins. Just one full day at the office today, and then a partial day tomorrow, and then it’s vacation time for me. Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

It’s funny–I am doing this Facebook challenge, where you share the cover of a book you enjoyed reading every day for seven days, with no comment, review or explanation. I am doing books I loved the hell out of reading, and started with Valley of the Dolls (of course) and The Other Side of Midnight, and yesterday’s was Grace Metalious’ Peyton Place, which is long overdue for a reread. (For that matter, I should reread both Valley of the Dolls AND The Other Side of Midnight as well; I’ve not read a Sidney Sheldon novel since the 1980’s–I think the last of his I read was Windmills of the Gods.) Another book due for a reread is today’s choice, Thomas Tryon’s The Other, which is, quite simply, superb and remains one of my favorite books of all time to this day (maybe I’ll treat myself to a reread this coming long weekend?).

I wrote nary a word yesterday–not one single word, unless you count yesterday morning’s blog, of course. I never count the blog in my daily writing totals, by the way; I always see it as more of a warm-up exercise for writing, any way, a tool I use to get the words flowing and forming in my head so that throughout the day I can, whenever I can, scribble some words down. I slept deeply and well again last night–huzzah!–and with two successful night’s sleep, should be able to get home and write tonight after work (I was exhausted again last night–the twelve hour days are becoming a bit much for my aged self, methinks). Paul and I relaxed last evening and watched “The 60’s” episode of the CNN docuseries The Movies, which is a very interesting decade of America history, particularly when you look at, for example, the path of American film in that decade. (I also recommend Mark Harris’ Pictures at a Revolution, which is about the five films nominated for Best Picture in 1967, a true turning point for American film, where the last vestiges of the studio system were finally being swept away and a new, uncertain era for American film was set up.)

It’s an interesting journey from the days when Doris Day’s was the biggest box office star with her sex comedies to seeing Midnight Cowboy win Best Picture.

This morning, after I finish this, I need to do the dishes and I need to run get the mail on my way to the office. I have some books arriving, thanks to cashing in my health insurance points (it’s a long dull story; suffice it to say that my health insurance has a program where doing healthy stuff and taking care of yourself properly earns you points, and you can then use those points for gift cards; I chose Amazon so I can get books.) Some have already been delivered, others should be arriving today and hopefully will be there by the time I head down there–I got another copy of Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, because I want to reread it and write an essay about the sexually fluid Ripley–along with the new Silvia Moreno-Garcia horror novel, Gods of Jade and Shadow, and Richard Wright’s Native Son.  I read Native Son when I was in college for an American Lit class….and I’d really like to give it another read when I am not being constantly bombarded with foolish professorial pronouncements about its meaning and symbolism from an old white man and a bunch of racist white students.

I also need to read more James Baldwin, and I need to read these Chester Himes novels in the TBR stack as well. I also need to finish reading My Darkest Prayer. Perhaps today between clients? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Heavy heaving sigh. There’s simply never enough time to read.

I was thinking the other day that, in a perfect world for me, my days would be get up in the morning, answer emails and do other on-line duties, write for the rest of the morning and the early afternoon, run errands, go to the gym, and then come home to read. Doesn’t that sound absolutely lovely? It certainly does to me. But alas, this is not a perfect Greg-world and I have to go to a day job Monday through Friday, but at least my day job is one in which I help people every day, which does make it a lot more palatable. I can’t imagine how miserable I would be if I had a job that I hated. I actually don’t hate my job, and consider myself lucky as one of the few Americans who don’t; my only resentment is the time spent there could be time spent reading or writing, which would be my preference.

And on that cheery note, tis back to the spice mines with me. I need to get Chapter 23 written and be one step closer to finished with Bury Me in Shadows, and I’d also like to get some words written on “Moist Money” today–“The Spirit Tree” can wait.

Have a lovely Wednesday, all.

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