It's the most, wonderful time, of the yeeeeeaaar!
I used to think that this was the greatest time of the year--the beginning of football season. This was my holiday season! For the degenerate combo of couch potato/gambler, nothing is better than making a ton of sports bets and lying around all weekend drinking beer and watching football. It's what my buddies and I have lived for for years. My new job, however, has changed my outlook a bit. Oh, I'm still a degenerate gambler and couch potato, but now my motivation has changed to "I gotta drink from the river of money that flows through this town", so my weekends will be spent working. Weekend tokes during football season are the best of the year, so while I may be able to catch a few of the early games each day, most of my football watching will be furtive glances at the flatscreens while dealing blackjack. And I'm cool with that. This is the first year in a long time I didn't go out and spend a small fortune on all of the season preview issues of all the sports magazines, or spend hours at ESPN.com or NFL.com reading every bit of minutiae regarding the every team and player. Basically, this year there will be a whole lotta room in my brain for other stuff. Maybe I can finally learn to speak Spanish. Or figure out that damn 3rd Card Rule at Baccarat. Anyhow, as much as I love football season, I think it's going to be at arm's length from now on.
Another reason that this was my favorite time of the year was that every September for the past five years, I've gone on a cruise with my sisters--no matter how spread out across the country we are, we've always managed to get together and head to the Caribbean for a week of reconnecting--laughing our asses off, sightseeing, lounging on the beach, shopping, and generally goofing off. Unfortunately, this year we're not able to do it. I'm out here with a new job and being low man on the totem pole, I can't get a weekend off to save my life. My sister Amy had some serious health issues earlier this summer and burned up all of her sick time and vacation time. My sister Cyndi just accepted a new position at a new company this week, so she won't be seeing any vacation time anytime soon either. So the annual "Sibling Revelry" trip is on hiatus for a year. That is truly a bummer.
For us, the annual cruise is bigger than any mere religious holiday. As it gets closer and closer, the anticipation builds and the cellphone minutes get used up in record time every month as we constantly discuss who'd going to bring what, what shore excursions, if any, we'd like to do, and how much money we're not going to spend this time around (which always goes out the window). Stories from past trips get retold and there is truly an air of excitement surrounding us.
Unfortunately, none of that is happening this year, and it makes me sad. Since I can't go until 2006, I seriously have nothing to look forward to for awhile. My life will be all about the drudgery of working for a living for the next twelve months with no vacation on the immediate horizon. Imagine a 10-year old kid finding out there will be no Christmas this December. That's about how I feel. A melancholy combination of disbelief and acceptance, like a convict that finds out his parole was denied for another year.
However, as bummed out as I sound about doing the Vegas equivalent of turning large rocks into small ones and singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot every day, I really can't complain too much. I really do like my job, and actually look forward to going to work. I do something enjoyable in a comfortable environment, I make decent money, I meet some of the coolest people in the world, and the constant eye candy of having barely-dressed cocktail waitresses lurking about sure beats the hell out of sitting in an office pretending to work.
The Grinch may have stolen Christmas, but otherwise, life in Whoville is pretty damn good.