Creature Comforts


This is my sixth consecutive blog this year. I was considering a weekend break but was afraid if I skipped a day, I’d quit entirely. It’s tough to form good habits (look at all the times in the past I’ve tried to practice learning a language or start jogging. Or this Blog. Yes. please start this blog), and it’s too easy to just give up once I’m on a decent path.

It’s probably my personality. I don’t like uncomfortable things. I like stuff to be normal. Situations, relationships, schedules, conversations. Normal is good. Nothing too easy: I still enjoy a challenge. But nothing too hard.

One of my first memories when I moved to Oregon in second grade is riding in the cool weather with all the windows in the vehicle down. Southern Oregon’s climate is mild. It rarely gets below 30, and seldom reaches above 90. It rains a lot and, if you are near the coast, it might take a half day for the morning fog and mist to burn off, even on the hottest of summer days. I was born and spent my early years in Sacramento, over 400 miles to the south. For a comparison of their respective climates, I made this little chart.

Climatograph
My little climate chart.  Sacramento is WAY warmer, and Gold Beach is WAY wetter. Not euphemisms.

Sacramento Boy really had a lesson in what he found comfortable and uncomfortable.

  • Driving/Riding: My stepdad always drove with a window down. Let me just state: there’s nothing more invigorating than being hit by a spray of tobacco juice. Riding for long with a window unrolled in the cold Oregon climate made my ears ache.
  • Camping:  Sleeping on the ground with a pebble sticking into your back.
  • Yelling: I hate arguing, people talking over one another, and the general stress that comes from disagreement. I’d shut down and just “go with the flow” to get past encounters like this.
  • Running Laps. Between the ages of 7-11, that was our teachers’ primary form of punishment when we misbehaved. It was also required in P.E. Three laps was for Physical education. Five laps was for punishment. It was torture. I wonder now if I had a touch of asthma and nobody realized it.
  • More camping: Ever had to sleep beneath a pickup because it was raining so hard?

I’m not saying any of this because I disliked my growing up years. I loved camping, when it was sunny. I hated brown spit smacking me in the face. I quickly learned to duck when dad stuck his face out the window. I think I only slept under a pickup one time; maybe twice. I was a good boy and didn’t spend much time running laps. I usually avoided the “getting yelled at” situation with considerable success.

As I contemplate all this, I realize that I was, in essence, a hobbit.  I liked being indoors where I could stay warm, and not be hit by adventures. They are nasty, disturbing things that make one late for dinner.

Thirty years later, I’ve overcome most of life’s little annoyances by being prepared and I don’t like shoveling snow, but I do it anyway. I hate walking around in wet socks so I prepare myself as best I can. I don’t enjoy exercising, or eating a lean, heart-healthy diet when nice, greasy salty food is available. But I’ll do it, for godsake, when the stakes are high enough. I hate encounters where I tell other people they’re wrong, but in my line of work, I have to do it every day, sometimes several times daily.

Lifestyle changes are difficult. And I’ve just spent 500 words complaining. Why? That’s what happens when I haven’t got a blog topic to begin with!  But trudging along is the thing. I hope this brief dip into my psychological makeup doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable. To quote Bilbo Baggins, Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not Today. Good morning! But please come to tea – any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Good bye!

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