Wanderlust gets a break next week


Have you ever had that feeling that you would want to be absolutely anywhere else in the world than the place you happen to be at that particular time?

You know, like you would rather lean back in your chair and toss pencils straight up in the air, hoping to catch them point-first in your eye if it would get you out of wherever you happen to be at that moment? Or you’d prefer to tie 75 pounds of ground beef around your neck and dive out into the ocean to pick a fight with an ill-tempered shark with a glandular problem than hear the person in front of you say one more word?

Yeah, I get those feelings a lot.

Part of me believes it’s an inordinate amount of impatience circulating through my bloodstream that gets me so restless. There is no mistaking the fact that I lose tolerance very quickly with things I find tedious or insipid, and often have fantasies of walking out to my car, driving to the airport and flying to Ireland for several months — well, that, or hitting the person standing in front of me with a waffle iron, during those days when a simple daydreamed vacation won’t fill the bill.

I’m not so sure it’s a case of repressed rage and a taste for violence, either. Truth be told, I’m a pacifist, as I’m guessing 95 percent of other combat veterans are deep in their hearts. I abhor violence. But sometimes I just want whatever is happening around me to stop. Right then.

Well, I think that’s what I want.

See, this is the pickle in dealing with restlesness. You’re never sure what the problem is. Are you really just not enjoying what you’re currently doing, or is there something else in the back of your mind that you’d far prefer at that given time? Do I really hate sitting around and discussing the Coastal Point’s long-term financial plan, or would I just rather be sitting in a bar with Jonathan Starkey and John Denny arguing the pecking order of teams in the American League East and watching dwarf tossing on ESPN 14?

Probably a mixture of the two, to be honest.

But it goes deeper than that. I can be doing things I really enjoy and I start getting restless. I can’t eat without glancing at a newspaper or talking with the person next to me, and I can’t watch television without playing on my PSP or flipping through a magazine as well. Driving? Need to be on the phone or calling people idiots on talk radio. Showering? Need to be singing or looking through tax returns. OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But I do get restless constantly.

People in this office know when I’m writing my column because a) I get short with every answer to every question they pose, and b) because I’m up from my desk and pacing from one side of the building to the other. In fact, the pacing is a major part of my life. I get on the phone at home and I start my little wandering stroll from kitchen to living room to back deck to front yard. I’m waiting for something from our graphics department and I take my traveling show down the stairs, around the break room and back upstairs, pausing to chat up everyone I encounter along the way.

I pace. It’s what I do.

However, by the time you read this, my pacing days are behind me. See, I was scheduled to undergo yet another surgery on my knee on Thursday morning. It’s not the pain that has me concerned, or the question as to how effective this one will be for the long-term — no, my trepidations are with what happens every time I get surgery on my knee: I can’t pace.

To be fair, I can’t really do much of anything at all. I become a prisoner to wherever I get situated in, and there is no escape. Sure, I could push myself up off the couch or chair, position my crutches under my arms and amble my way to another point, but pacing becomes a little too arduous a chore to really make it worthwhile — plus, I usually have Jane Johnson and Susan Argo throwing banana peels across the office floor every time I find myself on crutches or a cane.

Trust me, it’s not fun getting heckled on crutches. My only saving grace is that I’m usually cranky enough where they think I might actually reach out and slap them with a crutch if it gets too bad. And, believe me, if it gets too bad, I’m going to reach back with all the power that God gave me and take a swipe with the mighty ...

But I digress.

See, for someone who can’t sit still, this is absolute torture. Well, that and the innocent question from well-wishers wondering what happened to my knee. I have a friend in the community who badly hurt his foot helping his wife paint, and he’s taken to telling people that he got hurt skydiving. That’s actually not too bad.

Me? I’m conjuring up a little story containing ninjas, Taliban mercenaries and the Swedish bikini volleyball team. Trust me. I turn out to be quite the hero in this tale.