09 May, 2005

To "relax"

My advisor has told me to "relax" this week.

Hmm. This is not an easy thing to do. How does one relax? Computer games are out. As someone who has spent more than his fair share of time playing Freeciv, I can assure you that computer games are no good for relaxation. They get me all wound up.

In general, I have to read or go for a walk, and I'm not in much of a mood to read. A lot of people watch television to relax, but I don't like to watch TV much. On the rare occasions that I do (Battlestar Galactica or the History Channel when they're actually doing history), if I'm at my parents' house I feel a desperate need to walk on the treadmill. I can only that for so long before my feet start hurting.

I don't have money to travel anywhere, and even if I did I probably wouldn't relax much unless I were to sit still somewhere. It would be really fun to take the train out west (two different links!); I used to do that when I was a student at Northern Arizona University. It's a great trip, even if it takes three or four days to cross the country. The seats are uncomfortable for sleeping, though, unless one has the money to shell out for a sleeper car. Since I can't afford even a regular ticket, the trip remains a distant dream, let alone a sleeper car. I wish I knew someone who would be interested in going; the cost of the room goes down when it's shared by more than one person.

Anyway, since I live near the coast, I suppose I could head to the beach to hang out. Unfortunately, my balding little head gets sunburned rather easily now, as Saturday's graduation exercises demonstrated amply. (It was my brother who graduated, not I. I looked like a cherry later in the day; whatever became of my Mediterranean skin?)

The most relaxing thing I know is to go for a walk with my fiancee in her hometown. Alas, ours is a long-distance relationship, so that's not an option for a while yet.

Almost as good: I did go for a walk yesterday with my parents and grandparents. Since it was Mother's Day, grandma and granddad were visiting us from the Nursing Home. After lunch, my mother told me to keep grandma entertained, so I helped her with the crossword puzzle. That was a lot of fun, actually; my father even joined in. We managed to finish most of it — three brains are better than one or even two — but who knew what the heck Theelin or Celebes ox were supposed to mean? Also, either my father or the puzzle was wrong about Clint Eastwood's "former squeeze": my father swore that it was Sondra Locke; the puzzle had Sonora Locke. Sigh.

Anyway, my mother wanted to go for a walk afterwards, it being a nice day and all. The weather has been unusually cool this spring, so the warmth and the sunlight were welcome. Since grandma and granddad also wanted to come, we set up their wheelchairs and rolled them along with us. Our little parade must have been quite a sight.

We strolled down residential back roads until we came to a country club and its marina. This marina sits at the edge of some marsh/swamp/inlet/whatever, which opens in turn into the James River. Three other marinas also empty into that little marsh/swamp/inlet/whatever: one at the end of Deep Creek Road, one at the end of Menchville Road (no link, but it's at the end of the other road you see on the map), and the other... uhm, we weren't sure.

It was a sight to behold: the lush greenery of trees, salt-water grasses rising from islets in the water, egrets/herons/cranes/something along those lines, the far distant shore of Portsmouth or Chesapeake or whatever it is that lies across the river there. An underwater creature of some sort popped its head up to peep above the water; spotting our parade and peering at us a moment, it plopped back down. We must not have appeared very pleasant. A few minutes later, with the smell of salt water in our nostrils, our parade turned about and headed home.

Is this what it means to relax? I guess it's different for different people: while we were strolling, one of my brothers sat at home, watching English Premier League soccer on television. I wouldn't have liked that very much.

I do wish I had taken a camera. It would be nice to show some photos of that area.

No comments: