We hit heavy traffic, and discovered a few unique perks of our chosen method of transport: an old, 90s Astrovan. Namely, it has the check engine light on when it shouldn't, the transmission has an issue, and on this really hot day...we had no AC.
...Plus, we had only an eighth of a tank of gas, so it didn't take us long before we had to make our first stop, once we got to a clearing in the traffic. It was during a detour, between 405 and I-5 (the off-ramp between the two was closed, so we had to use an alternate route: exit 2A, whichever highway that is. We use it for square dancing, I still don't know its name) that we finally stopped.
At this stop, while filling up, my sister and I went into the store to buy a drink. She got some brand name, famous for something or another and tied to a state, but I didn't remember or really care. (Uhh, as I was typing this blog post, I overheard them. Arizona somethingoranother, mango flavored.) What I DID get was the bottled Starbucks coffee, mocha: my first coffee in two days. And given that I got up today at 10 (the time my sister walked in the front door, and we left like five minutes later), this was something I highly appreciated...especially given our weather!
...Did I mention it was hot? Because, yeah. Here we were. Driving in 91-degree weather. No AC. The vents blowing in air warmer than outside air. Dead stop traffic.
It didn't take long for my brother to wish that he had gotten a drink, too.
Eventually, at about 2:30 I believe it was, we ended up stopping for our lunch: Burger King. Where my brother decided to douse himself in water slightly, using the bathroom sink. (This may have happened on our next stop, I know it happened twice at least.)
About an hour later, we were still hot. In traffic. Because most of Washington was traffic, and some of Oregon was, too. Actually, by the point we were considering stopping, in Eugine or Springfield (they're right next to each other), we went to a Starbuck's. For more coffee, this time for all three of us. Which hit the spot, really, really well.
Three stops made, only one strictly needed. When we were off of I-5, we passed a Dairy Queen, which my brother lamented: he passed it, because at the Starbuck's, I said I was too full to eat. But I said, at the time, I was. With travel, and the hot temperatures, I said I could go for a small blizzard.
So, in the hot weather, we continued to Oakridge, where we got gas. Next to the gas, there was a Dairy Queen, so...we entered, and got some blizzards. My brother did his second wash-up, which he said helps a lot, and we were on the way.
The shade also was beginning to contribute, and it didn't take long before the temperatures dropped into the 80s. By the time it was like 8, we had even gotten into the 70s, though the cold mountain air was the best part of the trip. We started taking some bets on arrivial time, and I won (like I normally do when not given interference like, saaaaaaaaay, missing your turn!), because I correctly estimated the distance we'd have, and off the speed we were likely to be going, gave an arrival time of 9:05. (I actually thought it'd be closer to 9, but I wanted my siblings to bet on 9:10 or higher.)
Since they both bet higher, and we arrived at 9:02 by my watch, there was little doubt who had made the right call. I'm usually quite good at those things, after all. I'm not sure why, might be how my brain is wired. (It's a bit stereotypical of me to say, but people with autism are good at making connections, which would explain why given good data, I can make good predictions.)
So now I'm here. I wrapped up my mafia duties fairly quickly. (More on that below.) There's not much for me to do at the moment (I made sure of that), though this will be a strenuous time for me.
After checking in for the night for mafia, I went out to the living room, which is almost about when I started typing this blog. (It's taking me a while to write, and I've moved four locations since the intention started: once into my room to retrieve my laptop, a second time to go back out and listen to the conversation, a third time into the dining room where my siblings were getting ready for bed, and once they were in bed, a final time back to my room. Though, as of the time of this sentence...all three of them are still awake and conversing. I left the room because I was afraid my typing was loud and could keep them up. Apparently, I was wrong, but oh well.)
The conversation was...well, grim, as to be expected. Nobody in the family brought much with them, except me, because nobody in the family is treating this in any way like a vacation, except me. They didn't bring games, computers, guns (well, they did, but no ammo to shoot at our gun range we have here), nothing except the essentials; they packed light. I packed less clothes than normal, but otherwise, packed the same as usual. So, the mood was a bit bleak as we discussed many things.
We had been discussing them for a while, though earlier, when the TV was on, I was listening mainly to the TV. (It started with a show mixing science with history with a bit of religion/myth/lore thrown in for good measure about the possibility of, and workings of, ancient cities, and then transitioned into a program about the multiverse, but that was apparently a repeat and it was turned off, even though I was INTENSELY interested in it given my own beliefs.) I don't remember the details, and even if I did, I probably wouldn't share them, given their immensely personal nature. There's the usual banter on occasion with remarks here and there (especially on the trip, which was hot), but even on the trip, the mood was a little uneasy.
So that more or less takes us to right now.
There's a fair amount I could talk about. A fair amount I could do. I'm considering working on the new novel project while I'm here, and this would be the perfect time to. Or, because I'm gonna be using my laptop a lot, I could work on my old novel. Or, because I brought everything I'd need in order to do so (except an internet connection from which to gather reference images), I could work on my webcomic at long last.
These things I could do, but most likely? What I'll be doing is going to bed.
All the same...before I do, there's something I wanted to talk about. This, in regards to the division of my identity in the first place. In the past, the difference between Ranger and mastina could be masked effectively, since the only time that I was V/LA, EVERYONE would be V/LA. (That is, the holidays.) My activity as mastina had decreased enough to not be notable, even, and the few times I did need to declare something as mastina, circumstances left me not needing to as Ranger.
...This, however...is different. It puts me to the test, because our V/LAs start, and end, at the same time, and it's at a time that there is no excuse for. No holiday. Just me, attending to some HIGHLY personal matters. But while this puts to test whether I can keep the divide up...what I've really been wanting someone to ask me, even though I know they won't, is this.
...Basically. I want someone in the know, who knows that I am both of them, yet neither of them, that they are separate people, yet intimately linked, to ask me on the appropriate channel. "Hey...are you doing okay?" Now, obviously! People have said that to mastina, since I told them about my grandmother. But nobody's asked the same to Ranger, in part because it's less public, in part because anyone in the know will usually default to asking mastina, and for a bunch of other reasons.
There, the answer is: "I'm doing alright, thanks." Usually with a <3 attached. That's not really a lie, though if they were paying close enough attention to my blog to know my FULL feelings, they would know that the reason I'm doing alright is because of...well, because of my unique perspective on all this, where I don't really have the same sadness, the same grief, the same need to plan things and to mourn, as my family does.
But as Ranger? With a masquerade, the answer is similar, but different: "Not really, but I'll manage. I'm doing alright given circumstances." A non-answer, but accurate all the same. If you take away the mask though, if you look at the Bree behind it all, the super-mind that is both Ranger and mastina, the entity aware of everything, the nexus of my mind, my multiple personas, the me that is all of my mes...
...If someone like that were to ask me how I was doing, the answer would be altogether different:
Not well, not well at all. I just have lost all my sense of focus, of purpose, of division, between my mes. They are still different people. I can feel that. I can't really explain it, but they still feel like they are different people than before. But WHO they are has shifted, and the vision I once had of both has been clouded, and now I'm not sure. One has taken some traits from the other, and vice-versa. Some good, some bad. So you'd think that'd be them becoming the same, right? No. Maybe switching places? Well, I've feared that, but looking at it, I don't think so, either.
Since about June I'd say, though...there's been a marked difference, where the people I have been are falling apart. Some of this is from the stress of the game I've been running the last month or so. People who are "in the know" might assume that when Ranger says that she is having physical issues, it is a lie. It is a cover-up, for mastina. This isn't necessarily wrong, since on a VERY bad day where I was borderline suicidal, I couldn't play mafia and I needed to say something. But it's not accurate, because in actuality...
...I've felt the stress of my dual identity. I've felt the stress of everything mastina is, and is expected to be, and then that compared to everything Ranger is, and is expected to be. Both by others, and more importantly, by MYSELF.
So given that...there's been a lot of wear and tear. Keeping up the division, which I no longer even fully understand, has taxed me. Has placed me in a spot where mastina can be physically and mentally fine, but Ranger is suffering. THIS part is a reversal, since when Ranger as she currently is was new, mastina was suffering a lot and Ranger felt like a relief.
...But again. They are not interchangeable. They are not one and the same. They are basically two different people. SIMILAR, yes. Both who have a lot in common. But not identical. One can have a hard time while the other does not, and vice-versa too. Both can be doing absolutely fine, or both can be having troubles. These troubles can both be mental, both be physical, or be one of each.
I think at this point, I'm not maintaining the dual identity because it's something I find amusing, something that I did just for a change of pace.
At this point. I think that I maintain the dual identity because I NEED it, to have my life be what I want it to be.
I'm rambling here. I know, I probably don't make much sense. Most people already know that Ranger and mastina share the same body. A fair number of those people even know the intricate details, of how in spite of the shared body they are NOT one and the same, of how I actually FORGET details I know as mastina when being Ranger, and actually FORGET details I learned as Ranger when being mastina. (Though, sometimes, I DO have some awkward interactions as both where I KNOW, remember, interacting with a player, but I DON'T remember how off the top of my head, and need to check to see which identity it was as, and which identity I am currently in. Fortunately, this is a very rare occurrence.)
But even I don't fully know what the deal is. We're not all the same person, and yet...we are. Sometimes as I'm blogging, I'm Ranger, other times, I'm mastina, other times, I'm neither, some times, I'm both, yet other times, I am all at once. The details of Ranger change. The details of mastina change. They change as I do, and then some. They, we, are in a constant state of flux.
And ultimately? I think this is an okay thing. It's become a part of me. This identity thing is ridiculously complex, I know. I'm sure if someone were to psychoanalyze it, they may be able to come up with some fancy word explanation that would say what all this is. But I honestly don't care.
I have these identities, and I think they are important to let be, to let both exist. I have this plan to take a short break from both, as to refocus my energy, though I'm no longer sure of how viable that plan is. But I intend to keep both up and running, Ranger and mastina in tandem. There's turbulent waters currently, what with my whole situation.
I'll survive though, I'll manage to find a way to make this time be worth something.
But I'll be doing this...not now.
I know it's a bit early for me to be going to bed (as I finish typing this blog, it's not yet 1:00 AM), but all the same...
Lots to think about.
So I'll spend my time asleep now.
Looking forward to tomorrow's challenges (whatever they may be), and also looking forward to posting this blog (whenever I get back).
Thanks for listening! (Or, more likely, skimming. I'm wordy. Sorry!)