Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sleeping Like a Jock in Econ 101

MY TWO-DAY STREAK of insomnia broke last night. I avoided taking a nap over the course of the afternoon after I posted yesterday's entry, for fear that this might further disrupt my circadian rhythm (irregular at best). By about 5:30, my mother called, to update me on some medical goings-on, and to reiterate the plan she and my dad had to dine out. She asked if I wanted to accompany them, and I eagerly accepted. Since going on a small-but-frequent-meal eating plan, I have barely had any meals out. I knew an evening meal, particularly the chicken parmigiana I knew they had at the place they were going, would knock me out. So I hit the town with my parents, gorged (at least by recent standards), and by 9:00 was slouching around the apartment like a drunk ape. This time, I fell right to sleep. Delicious.

I didn't take any sort of heat at work over taking the day off. I am fortunate enough not to have needed large blocks of sick time, and for planned absences, I always give a couple of weeks' notice and ensure that my work will move forward without me. I did get a couple of more jobs in while I was gone, which Murphy's Law could have predicted. No matter. Staying busy is important, what with management's occasional snooping about to determine how much we are accomplishing.

I was sad to miss the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. I have never been there live, but when I worked in Midtown, the blocks surrounding Radio City Music Hall would pick up a distinct vibe on the day the lights were to be lit. Couples and families, either from other districts of the metropolis, or from out of town, would fill the streets, decked in their holiday regalia. Children there for their first viewing would be in abundance. Regardless of the weather, the holiday spirit would fill the streets.

There's not as much of a Christmas feel in Chelsea yet, or at least none that I could sense. I recall some lit windows from last year. Some of the retailers may also decorate their storefronts, though none so grandly as Macy's. Starbucks has of course filled their outlet in our building with holiday ads and knick-knacks. Our department usually stages a Secret Santa around this time, but the organizer is at home, awaiting her own nativity scene in the closing days of her pregnancy. Also, there's no good place for us to set up our tree as we had in the last building (right next to my desk, actually). I don't participate in Secret Santa (mutual ignorance of what I and my coworkers might want), and most of the holiday confections folks brought in for the occasion in the past are things I am trying not to eat. So it remains to be seen whether our company will decorate or otherwise denote the presence of the holiday season.

One way in which they used to do so was a bonus. The first year I was there, 1999, the company was evidently flush with enough cash to hand out two American Express traveler's checks: a $25 one at Thanksgiving, and a $50 one at the end of the year. This was in addition to a lush Christmas party in the revolving restaurant and club atop the Midtown Mariott Marquis. Two years later, the dot-com crash and 9/11 combined to make that year's party the last. I won't hold out hope for this year, despite rosier economic news from the bigwigs. Employment, it seems, might be the better reason to be cheerful.

I can't believe we've been in the new digs for two weeks short of a year. It went by alarmingly fast. I intend to make better use of the fantastic resource that is my location — near the Village and close to the PATH for easy escape — when I have the chance to stay later than usual. Even just for extended afternoon walks under the crisp winter sky. The commute home is going to take an hour one way or the other. I can slow down the rest of my day when I need to. And I should.

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