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05 April 2016

Plan? What plan?

This is becoming an exhausting week-- and it's only Monday (well, zero dark early Tuesday morning). Sunday and Monday are usually my weekend, with Sunday often being a day of rest sleep and Monday being a day of doing stuff I wanted to do, but didn't get to do over the past week. My week this week started with meetings both Sunday and Monday nights. Both nights, the meeting were followed by study time at work-- the software development team I'm on has access to the tutorials on Pluralsight.com, and I'm totally taking advantage of that. So I've not only been busy, but I've not had the normal downtime and quiet time that I'm used to most weeks.

One of my goals since last year when I started my current software development job was to push myself a bit and get back to working a full week every week. I easily clock 40+ hour weeks now, between two jobs, my own programming projects, hackathon organizing, and other things that come up. I won't say things are perfect, because they're not. My kitchen's usually in need of cleaning, my laundry pile never seems to disappear, and there's always something I need to do every week that gets pushed back to the next week. I try to remind myself that this is true of a lot of people, and further try to not beat myself over the head about it.

Long story short, I've managed to set up something of a routine that moves me through each week. The algorithm behind it isn't optimal, but it works well enough and generally doesn't crash. 

I'm constantly looking at the calendar, and seeing August 15th getting closer and closer. That's the day my apartment lease ends, and it's also the day I'm leaving where I am and heading west. It used to be that I'd ask myself every day if this was a good idea, if my reasons were still sound for wanting to leave. Now I think about how this is actually going to work, because I don't have a job or a place to live in California yet. It's very possible that I still won't have either when August 15th arrives and I have to be out of my apartment.

I'm not quite comfortable with that-- but then again, I'm not quite comfortable with the idea of having everything specifically planned out either. Nothing in my life has ever really gone according to plan. Things that were supposed to be lasting and permanent never have been. People I was supposed to be able to trust have turned out to not be trustworthy. In all of the things that have happened in my life, being able to react and survive is what's gotten me through. Stability is great if that's what you're used to, but if it's not then it's as foreign as chaos is to someone who's used to everything being stable.

Being a veteran and spending half of my active duty time in other countries has a lot to do with that. One of the things I learned from that was "don't make plans" because as soon as you do, everything changes-- you'll get new orders, you'll be deployed, you'll be extended, you'll have to pull weekend or holiday duty. Being a homeless veteran taught me that you can't ever stand or sit in one place for too long, because it will rain or snow or a cop will come by and see you or someone will think you have something worth robbing you for.

I'm looking at the possibility of putting 99.9% of my stuff in storage, packing what I need into my backpack, getting on a plane, and landing at SFO with exactly that and nothing more. As someone noted at the meeting I was at tonight, a) my backpack screams "tactical" and b) if you need something chances are I have one of them in my backpack. When I travel to hackathons, I don't pack because I don't have to-- I have enough of everything I need to survive for a few days already packed.


"But what about this? What about that? Have you considered...?" No, I have not, and that's largely on purpose. If I allow myself to start thinking about every possibility, trying to figure out every problem, tie up every loose end, I'll get so spun up about them all that in the end I'll never leave. Look, I'm heading towards Silicon Valley, not the Australian outback. There are resources, and I'm spending a good deal of time finding and cataloging them in advance. The internet is a powerful thing in the hands of someone who knows their way around, and I'm a hacker-- I know how to find what I need. 

It can also be less than fun still being here, because many of the things that I used to just put up with have become more and more annoying as leaving gets closer. Winter-- cold weather, snow, ice, sleet, what the hell ever-- seems like it will never fucking end. The drunks in my neighborhood that somehow think it's cool to stand outside at 0400 and yell at each other (actually, drinking culture here in general). People on bikes that I swear are trying to hit me while I'm walking to work, because they can't be bothered to slow down their "pace" by a fraction of a second.

And then there are disruptions, things that blow up my routine. Since I'm not renewing my apartment lease, my landlord wants to show my apartment to potential new tenants. He called at around 2100 last night to let me know he's showing my apartment this Wednesday through this Friday anytime from 1630 to 1900. Doing so is, of course, his right as a landlord. For me it's an intrusion-- I don't trust any landlord since I was in transitional housing at Porchlight, because of all of the crazy things they tried to pull, and I don't trust my current landlord especially because he's acted so unprofessionally in the past.

And, in general, PTSD and not trusting much of anybody.

I have, in the past, had a really nice apartment-- a single guy's apartment, but still somewhat decorated and even a little bit cozy. My apartment right now isn't really any of those things. I'll need to do some spring cleaning, which I don't have time to do. This week I'm running without downtime, and without quiet by myself time, so I'm going to be a little edgy. Having to disrupt my schedule, alter my routine, will make it worse. I'll gladly admit that straightening things up at home is for the best, but there are a lot of negative memories associated with the concepts of 'home' and 'apartment'. I don't know, yet, how to resolve those. So my apartment right now is just a place I go to sleep and shower and change clothes, rather than being a "a man's home is his castle" kind of place.

That's the part of homelessness that no one ever seems to talk about-- what happens to people who used to be homeless? There are no support groups or treatment plans. How do you get that sense of "home" back, if you ever had it in the first place, once it's been completely destroyed?

Still, I'll deal. I have today and tonight to clean up a bit and make things look reasonably presentable, and if landlord doesn't like it, tough noogies, I'm moving out in August. One of the technological solutions to problems like this is that I keep my phone in Do Not Disturb mode, so if he decides to call I don't have to worry about answering-- this is the same landlord that likes to talk until my voicemail cuts him off and then call back and leave three more messages.

If you're looking for a main thesis to this post, I'm not sure there is one. I'm venting, a little, as usual. Writing this stuff out does do a lot to help me get it all organized in my head. So thanks for reading.

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