Seven Things I Learned from Being Furloughed

1. I don’t have the tolerance of a 21-year old. Sure, alcohol can entertain for a while. But at some point, it morphs into that obnoxious college buddy who crashes on your couch, beats you up for money, and refuses to shower.

2. My internal alarm clock is always on. Apparently, my body doesn’t like to sleep in — even when given the opportunity. I woke up earlier while furloughed than I did when I was working. I look forward to when getting up early becomes useful: To watch the sunrise, to buy the freshest donuts, and to escape the zombie apocalypse, which I’m pretty sure will happen at dawn.

3. Netflix has a lot of crap movies and TV shows. And I watched them.

4. I didn’t realize how much of my personal identity is tied to my work identity as a SME in higher ed. Good to figure this out now than a decade later when I have my mid-life crisis:

TJ: But all you do is work!
Archie: But this is all I know to do! (sobbing hysterically while drowning my identity crisis in a pint of frozen yogurt)

5. That said, it was refreshing to remind myself of my other skill sets — those I would need to exploit for pleasure or livelihood when the sequel to the shutdown happens in January. So, lesson learned: I’m not completely useless.

6. I can’t grow a beard. 😦 When is puberty supposed to hit? I’m in my mid-thirties, damn it.

7. I’m officially over it. I’m a big fan of civic engagement, but my eight years in DC have eroded my patience for political theater. I’m trying to figure out whether the maddening vitriol/rhetoric/grandstanding stems from ignorance or just good old-fashioned megalomania. If, as Mulder said, all the nuts roll down to Florida, they sure seem to have an extended layover here.


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