Monday, 23 September 2013

Home Alone

It’s hard to believe these words are actually coming out of my keyboard, but it feels weird for me to be alone. Which is the way I am going to be while my wife and son are overseas on a family visit.
Dealing with this abnormal situation takes getting used to. The first night felt really weird: on one hand I could do whatever I wanted to without having to take anyone into consideration for the first time in years, on the other I found myself terribly missing the absent family members.
Luckily for me, the family quickly stepped in to fill up the gaps. My mother called, taunting me for my loneliness and, as usual, comparing my paltry performance in the field of friends acquisition to my brother’s encyclopedia of ever ready friends. That is her way to indicate how wrong I was to move away to friendless Australia, while politely ignoring the fact I did not have many friends in Israel either; I’m just not the type of person to have many friends. I’m also not the type of person to call everyone I know a “friend”, Facebook style.
Then I talked to my sister, who suggested I use the opportunity to dine out and see some live music shows. Again, suggestions that best suggest how little my family knows me: I have been generally avoiding live music because my ears can’t take it. As for dining, I like to eat but I consider it a mostly social activity. The food I like best comes cheap and is very casually consumed.
So what did I do on my first solo weekend day? I went to attend Melbourne’s Software Freedom Day. It was a nice event featuring nice presentations, an event where I could immediately feel at home, surrounded as I was by geeks. Geeks of a grade that can actually make yours truly appear cool. And before you ask, there were women, too.
I mentioned the presentations were interesting. Even more interesting was the fact that, in retrospect, I can attest to being able to present some of the event’s topics myself. Since I’m probably not the only attendee able to make such claims, I suggest the power of Software Freedom Day events does not come from their program but rather from being able to put likeminded people in the same room. However, that observation leads me to think that group of likeminded people should take the next step: instead of discussing things most of us already agree about, let us discuss what we can do together to change this world for the better. Which is exactly what a group called The Pirate Party is already doing.
My Software Freedom Day ended prematurely. In between presentations they had 15 minute breaks. Now, you know me, I spent my breaks mostly in the company of my phone. However, having not taken my reading glasses with me, it did not take many a presentation + break to get my head hurting. It is now perfectly clear to me that the headaches I have been complaining about during the past few months are all vision related. That is pretty much it: from now on, I cannot afford to do anything more than very casual reading without my glasses. It’s sad news, but it’s also good to know that I am living in an era where such glasses are easily procured so I can continue doing my reading despite my eyes’ protests.
Eyes aside, my answer to my mother, sister and everyone else is the same. I will use my time on my own to do the things I like to do the most which I cannot do in the company of my wife and son. As it happens, a lot of the charm of being on my own comes from the fact I am on my own! If you ask me, acquiring the skill to be comfortable with nothing but oneself for company is one of the more important attributes of a well balanced person.
This Sunday I did something I used to specialise in once upon a time in a galaxy far far away: I got up past midday. That was cool.

Image: Software Freedom Day, Creative Commons license


Uri said...

In my family-free weekend I watched the first 12 episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, read The Door Into Summer, cooked (and ate), and went on a 3km walk.

But hey, sleeping late – that’s fine too.

Moshe Reuveni said...

Whenever I try to watch the nineties' Star Treks I can't avoid feeling how outdated they are. So much so it is really hard for me to watch them. The same doesn't apply to Kirk's episodes, perhaps because they work more like a comedy.
Or, as we say in Rome, "all roads lead to Mass Effect".

wile.e.coyote said...

I think you missed a major event in your family-free weekend comment

Sarah said...

Funny how it sounds so awesome to have some time going back to pre-kid days (some days that gets me through thinking of a time in the future we can leave the kids for a few days) and when it happens takes some adjusting to. It reminds me of what it was like at high school or Uni when you work really hard for weeks especially to get in all the final assignments and exams and then you go on holidays and spend the first few days wandering around thinking I should be doing something and it takes some time to relax and just enjoy having the break.
So far I have only managed 2 nights away from my kids but was surprised how recharging just that time away could be not having to be on duty all the time, even when I sleep I am still half listening out for them so to be able to completely shut that off was great.
Enjoy your break, lots of recharging as I'm guessing your better half will need a break by the time she gets back!