(That's a David Bowie reference for all you pop culture-impaired people)
OK, OK, I guess you folks do care that I've not been here in a few weeks. Sometimes, circumstances just force a break. And I'm not going to lie to you, dear readers (well, those of you who are left and haven't just deleted this URL from all recall in disgust): the break may not be completely over yet.
Change is good, and good for you, and keeps things from getting boring... but it also can be tough to cope with, even in small doses, and I've been getting whopping big doses of it lately.
The big one is that I'm technically no longer a hobo, having signed on full time with the Rocky Mountain Energy-Reporter. While this doesn't really change my daily M.O. - I still work mostly from home, mostly on the telephone, etc. - I'm no longer writing in my immediate area of expertise. It's kind of pathetic that I, who as an elected official/lobbyist type, spend so much time spending and arguing over spending so much money that comes straight out of the ground via minerals extraction, really at bottom know so little about the process and the politics by which that money actually comes out of the ground. Well, that's changing...
Of course, what this means right now is that for every story I work on, I have to do a LOT more background research and make a lot more cold calls to people I've never met before.
On the one hand, I dig the challenge, but on the other, there's a bit more stress involved.
Nor is the end to hobo-dom the only big change. I met someone kind of special and we're still in the early stages of seeing how we fit together. It's nice, but slow and frustrating because he lives in another county and we don't see each other all that often and, well, he's going through lots of changes, too.
Plus, I'm having to get my travel legs back. I've been on the road a lot lately and find I've completely lost all tolerance for hotel rooms and the weird, fleeting, transitory friendships that form and dissolve quickly in hotel bar/restaurants as we watch baseball on a big screen TV. A perfectly friendly conversation between a Red Sox fan (sigh) and a Yankee friend can quickly chill over when the pair discovers each other's odious allegiances. But what a lot of bullshit, really - what difference does it actually make? I'm SO not a baseball fan; it's just been nice to see the team I used to watch bumbling around of a Thursday evening at Fenway actually doing well. But then, I never was a real Bostonian.
And there's more, like my other new job, substitute teaching, made extra weird when done in my own former elementary school, packed now with the children of people with whom I attended that school, many of whom know me as "Auntie Kate" but are now expected to call me "Ms. Sherrod," a form of address until now only employed by the Sewer King when he sought to greet me or catch my attention. Strange, strange, strange. And annoying; I'm enough of a traditionalist to be more comfortable with "Miss," but I know I would be bucking an unbeatable trend and unnecessarily confusing my temporary students if I mentioned this. O'well.
So anyway, you see that I'm dealing with a whole lot of stuff and I don't yet have it all straight in my head yet, which, well, makes it hard to write (I'm not doing too hot on my articles right now, either, but I never do until just a few hours before they're due).
But I'm trying very hard to get back on the horse.