A Wreath of White Roses

Okay, so today I took a mental health day but I find myself wondering, “can you take a mental health day when you’re unemployed?” I mean, isn’t the point of a mental health day that you’re taking the day off from work to collect yourself, to get away from it all to… I don’t know. Doesn’t it just seem wrong to take a day off from being unemployed? Isn’t that a paradox? Is it even possible?

On my to-do list that I wrote the weekend after I was let go, one of the things I listed was taking a trip down to Cape Cod for a day to catch up on my genealogy research. I hadn’t gotten into it as much in the past year with everything else that’s been going on in my life and I wanted to get going again. It’s a hobby that I love and that I miss when I’m not doing it. Connecting the puzzle pieces of my family history is very important to me.

Last night and this morning I was going back and forth in my head about it. Didn’t I have more important things to do? Shouldn’t I be writing out resumes, making phonecalls? Did I really have time for a day off?

Well, I decided to just go ahead and go. I hopped in the car at about 9:30 this morning and navigated my way down to the Cape and by noon I was videotaping how to get to specific gravesites so that future generations would be able to see what was what. I also wanted to be able to show my Grandma what the hell I was talking about when I was talking about these places because she remembers things one way and I’m describing them another way and I thought the video would be a good bridge for the conversation.

Mid-day I stopped by the Harwich Historical Society and sat down with a really nice woman who helped me look through old photos and newspapers. I discovered a few new facts and felt really good about what I had done.

When I was done in Harwich I started making my way back home, stopping over in Yarmouth to take some more video of other family related sites over there. When I crossed the Sagamore Bridge (the bridge that connects Cape Cod to the rest of the state) as the sun was setting I felt very accomplished. I had done quite a bit with my day.

It wasn’t till I got home that I really started questioning myself again. I sat down with the research I had gathered today and tried a couple of the genealogy websites to see if I could extend the new information. I didn’t have much luck and I got into that Chris defeatist mode and I started thinking, “What gives me the right to a day off? I’m an unemployed fucking bum. Unemployed fucking bums don’t get days off.”

Stef came home and I sort of forgot about it and just chalked it up as a normal day. Half up. Half down. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. We watched Friends and the spiffy new show Leap of Faith and Will and Grace came on but I didn’t really pay attention. When it was over I watched the last half-hour of Smackdown on UPN.

And then I came in here to write this. I didn’t eat dinner because I ate a Goddamn McDonald’s Double-Quarter Pounder (why they don’t just call it the Half-Pounder is beyond me) for a late lunch and I can still feel myself digesting it. Why on Earth do I order those things when I know damn well I can’t finish one but won’t stop eating it despite knowing that fact?

I’m an idiot. That’s why. But I’m an idiot who has a picture of a relative I didn’t have at the beginning of the day. And I’m an idiot who knows what kind of flowers were sent to my 3rd Great Grandmother’s funeral, and by whom. And well… no day is a perfect day, but if you savor the little details any day can come close.

And today, actually, came pretty close.