Around 6 years ago, I quit my job to stay home. At the time of my self inflicted dismissal (tried hard to get a Layoff Package but that didn’t work out), I hadn’t yet felt the gravity of losing umpteen hundred thousand a year, or the lack of sleep, or the fact that a small child will yell at me daily for what seemed like the rest of my life. It was the month of May 2001.
I moped around in boredom. Cleaned my house 18 times too many and learned to crotchet. I threw a fit when my MP3 player quit working (that’s another story altogether) and questioned hourly “why on earth have I chosen to do this?!” I had become a Freak on a Leash.
May turned to June, then July, then August, then September, then October, then November, then December, then January 2002, then the Olympics, then February, then March, then April, then May, then June and then finally July came. (I realize I could have used some concision in the representation of that year, but saying “until July 2002” or “finally July 2002 came” doesn’t exactly show that it was a very, very long year).
In July 2002 something magical happened. It wasn’t a new magic. It was an “old been around almost 100 years” type of magic. The clouds parted and the sun beamed through with warmth and feelings of fuzziness. I finally began to see how important it was that I stay home – I could watch every last stage of the Tour de France! Have I found the joy that so many around here speak of?
Every July since that enlightening July of 2002 has been filled with it all. The drama, deceit, excitement, disappointment, pain, and suspense of the Tour de France has given new life to my daily routine. Here’s what happens every day: I run early in the morning and bore my running mates with names, statistics and tactical arrangements of riders in the stage from the previous day. Then I go home, turn on the TV and watch/listen to the current stage live as I pretend to pay attention to the yahoos and do my “jobs.” If it’s a flat stage, I squeeze in a shower. If the stage is in the mountains, I usually wallow in my filth until the winner presents himself. After the stage is over, I get a phone call from my dad where we discuss what happened. He watches the internet broadcast of each stage. If the stage is exciting enough, I might get a call from my dad before the stage is over to comment on tactics, crashes, doping and cracks. It’s so exciting! Half of the time, I tape the prime time coverage and watch it again.
I’m pretty sure most of you are questioning my entertainment choices. I will proclaim loudly that it beats the snot out of watching a bunch of cars drive in circles for hours, or watching a bunch a guys in ball caps stand around waiting for a tiny ball to come their way or watching other guys throw a diamond shaped ball around (balls are ROUND! Sorry Winder).
Anyway, the whole thing gets me going. But something slightly terrible happens after the final stage into Paris… it’s called PTDFD or Post Tour De France Depression. It’s dreadful and I might need more medication until I recover or next July (whichever occurs first).