“Last Night” is the title of one of my favorite songs (by The Strokes) and my favorite movies (A Canadian Indie Film). The former has a driving beat and the latter has an exquisite plot device. Last night is something that just happened, and that I am still recovering from. It is something that drove me to leave, and stopped the ongoing plot in its tracks.
Last night, my wife and I packed up and drove home with our two kids from the downtown hotel we were planning on staying at for the week. We did this at 10:00 pm. Our children are not accustomed to staying up so late, but there they were, in pajamas and coats waiting for us to pack up the van and go home across town.
Without explaining too many of that particulars, a single hotel room is not sufficient to hold a family of four. Not with phone calls and door bells going off while we were trying to put our children to sleep. Not with a party going on next door. Not with the heat eminating from the four bodies in the room that all want to go to bed, but can’t.
So we packed it in and cut our losses. We thought it would be for the best, and that is exactly what it turned out to be. We slept in our own beds and we rested in the way that only your own home can afford. We left because leaving was the one thing that was going to make us happier and more sane.
And that is what I am seeking now: sanity. The space to be as loud as needed. The ability to own what is around us. The understanding that there isn’t anything else more important than doing right by the people that I love.
With this in mind, I ponder just how much insanity I can put up with. I think through just how many obligations that are unconnected to my passions that I can really handle. It has become something of a masochistic act to assume more responsibility without seeing a benefit.
Starting something is easy, follow through is hard. Follow through is the insane part. It takes you in so many different directions that seemingly contradict your original intentions. It frustrates and offends your reason. But, we offend it all together. It is a process of accepting the insantity for the sake of not having to retreat. It is the hope of a big payoff somewhere in the future that we put up with the insanity.
And that is what I had hoped to do at the hotel. I hoped that having our beds made for us and getting free breakfast would be enough to offset the bedtime craziness. As it turns out, it wasn’t. It wasn’t worth it because I knew all of the benefits concretely. I could see into the future and predict exactly what our family would get out of a week of hotel living.
The future I can’t predict is in writing and doing, startups, books and schools. This is where I can’t see the equasion of insanity. This is where it gets so hard to figure out if I should pack up and go home. I don’t know where it is that this journey will take me. And that is exhilarating and infuriating.
I know what I need to feel comfortable and to rest easy, and for the most part, this isn’t it. I am staying somewhere away from home, away from the classroom. I am staying here for an indefinite period until I can either buy out the hotel and make my own home or run up a big enough bill and crawl back home in a stupor of debt (even if that debt is really only a deficiency of energy).
Is there any shortcut for this equation? Is there any way to figure out whether or not the insanity and uncomfortablility is worth it? I love working toward something, so long as it does have a payoff. Otherwise, I would rather simply go home and rest, gearing up for the next long excursion.
To put it another way, I feel as though I am on a pilgrimage without any directions or definite destination. I am traveling in the shadows of Chaucer’s tales with just as many anecdotes to tell. I don’t know if I am a reeve or a miller. I don’t know if I have gapped teeth. And I won’t for a while. And I won’t know the equation answer either.
And I guess I must sojourn on, staying at the hotel until the voices in my head while I lay there are too strong. Until they beg me to come home and rest awhile. And maybe that day is coming. And maybe I can handle the insanity for a bit longer.
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- Today in Insanity (slog.thestranger.com)