doomed to distance

March 8, 2010

Days like today are the days I curse myself for signing on to do my research at NREL.  I’m less sick, but still not well, have an appointment in Boulder at 2:30pm, and the partner needs both to use the car this week and to leave at 8:15am.  Soooooo…yeah.  Not so much going to Golden, since once I commit to being there on public transit, I cannot possibly get back to my house prior to 4:45pm.

So it’s a coffee shop day.  I’m well enough to work and to stay on my normal workday schedule, but not well enough to be sure I won’t totally crash and burn by lunchtime.  Luckily, Caffe Sole has a delicious latte, good music, and a spot by the window for me this morning, and I’ll get down to business here until (if) the dreaded crash and burn happens.  I just wish that I could put in an appearance at work today to prove to everyone that I really am back on track and that my illness and misery have toned down to a more normal level (for a grad student).  Not to mention that I have a 1pm class at the School of Mines down there that I can’t possibly make and still keep my appointment and my crash-and-burn options.  Ugh.

Sometimes I wonder if I am somehow hard-wired to choose long-distance relationships.  I currently have a long-distance relationship with my lab and with my partner, though luckily, “long distance” here is defined just as “not immediately in my town.”  One of those is scheduled to change after his graduation, but the other won’t change until after mine.  Even before moving out to Colorado, I had a long-distance relationship with my job, living in Raleigh and commuting to Chapel Hill via the bus daily (an hour commute door-to-door, slightly longer than my current one).  At the same time, Eric was living and working on a farm in Goldsboro, about an hour east of Raleigh.  And before that, Eric and I went to different colleges, in Chapel Hill and in Raleigh.  Even before that, I dated a guy who went to school in Durham, and still earlier, when I was going to school in Durham, I dated a guy who went to school in Cary and lived in Pittsboro.  In fact, when I think about it, I practically grew up in a long-distance relationship with my father, due to the travel requirements of his job.  My best friend and I have also not lived in the same city — or even the same state — since I was 17 years old.  Sensing a pattern here?

So why do I do it?  Here goes the amateur psychoanalyst!  Even though it’s frustrating, there’s a certain sense of safety in it.  This is my space, and that is yours.  When I am here, I am doing something not entirely mine; when I am there, it’s my own time to do my own thing.  Clear boundaries, y’know?  And who doesn’t like drawing boundaries?  It’s kind of like a grown-up way of putting a masking tape divider down the middle of a shared bedroom.  Only…less cute and archetypal.

On days like today, though, it’s just stupid, and I wish I could rip up the tape and throw a temper tantrum.  Except, that would hurt my throat since I’m still sick.  Bleh.


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