i just can’t stay away

I know I know. I claimed that my entry two days ago would be the final entry for 2006. But I need to say something else.

Today is Wednesday. I’m only working at my camp-company job Monday through Wednesday these days, and the office is closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s. So this is my last day here in the office until 2007. And when we come back, I have a grand total of seven working days stretched out over three weeks before I leave this place for good. Off to greener pastures and all that.

My Big Projects are all, more or less, complete. What I’m working on between now and then is fixing bugs, trouble-shooting, and passing off “knowledge” — all the stuff that I know that no one else here in the office knows. All the stuff that someone’s going to have to do even though they aren’t hiring a replacement.

But since Christmas is right around the corner, most people are taking extended vacations. So I’m alone with two other people right now and am not feeling particularly motivated to do anything apart from clean up my desk, go through the pile of scraps of paper which have random notes to myself about everything from eBay account passwords to variables and strings for MySQL databases and php scripts to sarcastic notes written to myself during staff meetings.

And I’ve been listening to the same five albums over and over again for the past month because they’re the only ones I’ve bothered to import to iTunes since I knew I was quitting: Yo La Tengo’s new one, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass; Neil Halstead’s Sleeping on Roads; the Roots’ Things Fall Apart; Thom Yorke’s solo debut, The Eraser; and a LateNightTales mix by French electro-pop duo Air. It’s sort of all over the place, but mostly calm and languid and ethereal punctuated by moments of indi-rock heaviness and political hip-pop. I love it. But I fear these five albums will be forever associated in my mind with this time of my life in the same way that June of 44’s Four Great Points reminds me of early spring 1998. The way Red House Painters’ Ocean Beach reminds me of living in SoMa with Mark and Juli. The way Soul Coughing and Erykah Badu remind me of the summer of 2004.

What an eclectic mix of musical name dropping.

At any rate, what prompted me to write this entry had nothing to do with music. It had to do with cleaning out my desk and finding two notepads. You know the kind. Those office-suply store pads of paper you cart around with you from office meeting to meeting and keep notes to yourself on. These two pads were full of notes and lists and things from my very first summer here, back in 2003. I had such a different job then. I wasn’t involved with the tech stuff at all. But I could tell from the random notes and scratches and my own recollections of that time that I was working in a very different place, a very different office culture. The notes to myself during office meetings now are filled with bitter and impatient missives about “other things I could be doing.” The notes to myself during office meetings then were filled with little happy faces and inside jokes and “things I get to do” at my job. Things have changed so much over the past four summers.

So I wanted document this moment. This random moment with an eclectic soundtrack when I’m feeling reflective about my past here at little summer camp company and looking forward to this new year with all its changes and transitions. It’s funny how time just keeps pushing us forward and how much can happen. Before you know it, another year’s gone by, then another, and it always seems “normal,” just how things are. But when you stop and look back, it feels totally different. You can trace in your mind the little things that happened, the personal differences, the coworkers who came and went, the shifting job responsibilities and moving offices. They all seemed pretty trivial when they were happening. But the sum total of these events has created this moment. This moment I’m documenting with my eclectic soundtrack and random recollections.

Which, for me, all adds up to more reasons to Pay Attention. To be watchful and mindful of what we’re doing now because every little bit will effect where we’re going and where we’ll be.

I’d say that’s it for this year. But I said that two days ago. So I’ll just let this one end.