It started out promising enough...and then, like a switch, was suddenly gone. It wasn't really gradual, either. It went from scalding-hot-when-on-max to lukewarm-on-max in an instant, and from there, slowly deteriorated to the point where it was essentially "fighting to maintain temperature but losing the battle badly bit by bit", more or less. I was less than pleased by this development. I rushed through the shower, from skipping any hope of shampoo to not using liberal amounts of conditioner (I did use some though, but I didn't cover my entire scalp, just two major areas) to immediately washing it out and so on.
Unlike at home, the bath tub we have here is actually deep enough to have a decent bath in. But unlike at home (where by the time the shower fills it to the top, it's warm water still), this one didn't have time to get warm. It was like a condensed version of a pool in temperature, more or less: I could tell that it was reasonably warm, but it was still well below body temperature, with my own body heat doing more to warm it up than anything else. Body heat, which would slowly over time be lost. Because water conducts heat. (In a small enough environment, this is a blessing, since it means the heat is maintained for longer. In too large a setting, a curse as it is seeped quickly.)
So I didn't even have a chance to have any real post-shower relaxation time. I was hoping--praying--that my time spent in there would allow me to maybe get warm again, or failing that, that I'd be able to at least relax and spend time lost in thought as is my favorite shower pastime. Nnnnnnnope! Just cold. It wasn't severe cold. But it was enough of cold to drive me out.
This came after me having been rather restless during the night. Do you know how, if you're traveling for too long sitting, you can get really, really uncomfortable? Especially on the point of contact your body makes with the seat? (I.e., your butt.) Yes, well...for some reason, I was having that same effect during the night sleeping on my bed I've used for years without trouble. I tried shifting positions multiple times, but shifting to the other side (which is the side I normally sleep on) was for some reason REALLY uncomfortable (worse even than the pain from sleeping on the side I was), sleeping facing up was uncomfortable, and sleeping facing down was murdering my back.
No matter what I did, I wasn't getting a decent rest. No position worked. I at times was for some reason worried about being delicate with things (dream logic may have been in play), but even when I threw caution to the wind and was like "I don't care what this damages, I need to find something comfortable", I...couldn't find anything even remotely comfortable.
My dreams were also strange. Part fantasy, part reality, part mixed timeline, part could-be-real-but-clearly-isn't, all very, very real-feeling at the time. In particular, one part of the dream had me absolutely convinced that we weren't down here for a funeral, but rather a wedding. One attended by square dancers I know rather exclusively. Except for a few local relatives, including my recently-deceased grandfather whose funeral we're here for. He was rather alive in the dream.
It was even using that wording: "Not a funeral, a wedding". As in, at times, there were somehow reminders of reality, and yet in the dream realm they were responded to consistently and adamantly that it was a wedding. I can even vaguely recall the faces of the couple being wed, and yet, they're not someone I can pin down from reality.
Then there was a separate section of the dream involving some hipster eco-terrorist organization I think it was, which had a particular modus operandi: some cheaply-made home explosives for an initial shock that was ultimately harmless, then a minor electronic sabotage (in one case ruining a playstation3 for their intended target) as a warning. Then, later, if their demands wouldn't be met, a much larger and rather lethal traditional explosion would be set off to level the place.
They had a bit of an unusual recruitment policy, born of caution: members don't join the organization by volunteering. That sets off red flags. Rather, instead, they would seek out members such that they would recruit them individually. I was more awake than asleep at this point and was formally woken up before I could explore this further though.
Anyway, I've been warming myself up this last half hour or so (the time it's taken to type this), and now I'm going to finish my prep work for leaving. We leave in half an hour or so, and I need to finish getting dressed and brush my teeth. Probably not in that order. Won't quite take me half an hour (probably ten minutes or so), but it'll take enough time that I want to start now, especially since you never know what I might have to do. Oh, including things like my third hair brushing. (When I take a shower, I brush my hair before, to make sure I don't have a bunch of hair come out in the shower. Then, I do it immediately after the shower, both to help accelerate the drying and to make sure it sets right. The third is a final correction.)
Soyeah. Stuff to do, and I'm gonna do it. Noon now, so a second entry is almost assuredly coming today.
Back from the funeral.
It also is a time where lots of stuff can be done, in this case including a speech by my dad. It included a fair amount of history, things I somewhat knew and somewhat did not. I knew my grandfather was a fighter pilot in world war two, and that he was shot down over Italy and was stuck in his plane for 24 hours (he rode the plane all the way down). What I didn't know was that his whole squadron was shot down and he was the only survivor, and that the people rescuing him quickly shipped him off because he technically wasn't supposed to be there. (Presumably, shifty orders from above to do something sketchy.)
I also knew he managed an energy plant for the remainder of the war, and was vaguely aware he learned some Arabic from his Arabic subordinates. I even recalled that he learned enough to briefly be appointed a translator until his superiors learned he didn't quite know enough to get by as one. However, details like him being able to listen to a film as recently as two years ago and recognize the Arabic spoken there would not be how a native speaker would phrase it, that I didn't know. Nor did I know that he had survived riots from protesters. (Though, hurtful as it sounds to talk ill of the deceased, I couldn't help but wonder if his experience there was how his racism got transferred onto my dad).
One of the things my dad focused on was that my grandfather put family first and built a strong family which emphasized love, values he passed on. But standing from my perspective, I couldn't help but think that my grandfather, similar to my dad, had a "family as HE sees it" view, in that an outside view would have been punished severely. I did feel bad for thinking of it in that terms, but it's difficult not to.
For all intents and purposes, as far as everyone knows, my dad loves his children. Even he thinks that, and even we acknowledge his love is there and is strong...but with the dark undertone that it wouldn't be there if the truth were exposed. Meaning those outside of his narrow viewpoint of the world live in constant fear of that love NOT being unconditional and turning to hate.
There was lots of mingling and storytelling and sharing of lives and whatnot, which I am very bad at doing in-person. I'm just not good at socializing, which this was largely doing. I wouldn't say I'm the black sheep of the family since that would imply my family is white sheep, nor could I claim the inverse. It'd probably be more apt to say I'm a brown sheep in a flock of gray sheep, in that we are at opposites in many ways, yet neither could be inherently better or worse than the other.
I did reflect a little bit on death during the time I had and more or less came to find I was able to sum my thoughts up there in a neat little thing easily quotable:
Death is a celebration of life. Do not mourn by lamenting loss; instead, rejoice by remembering.
I mean, there's a little bit more to it than that, but that's a fairly laconic method of stating my viewpoint, and it's something which holds true regardless of your viewpoint on subjects such as religion (e.g. thoughts on life after death, thoughts on the meaning of life). Death is an undeniable part of the world, but it is no coincidence that many a fiction writers have written it such that mortality is actually a gift of sorts.
There's many quotes to the same effect on there, even: "What's the point in living if you can't die?". Endless numbers of fictional works have explored this subject to great extents. They've gone on and on and on about it, detailing the nuances there. Anime/manga, Comic books, Western Animation, films, and especially Literature, among many other media which have the subject be a focal point.
And to some extent, they have merit. Living Forever Is Awesome, and make no mistake, I intend to, but failing that. Failing immortality, failing living forever...having a good, long life filled with happy memories is in of itself worthy, even if you leave no visible legacy. Your actions impact others, even if they don't remember them, and while some of said actions will impact things negatively, for the MOST part, even negative actions can cause an overall raise to the happiness of others in the long-run, in any number of unpredictable ways.
I mean, obviously the negative actions in your life you will regret. You will regret the consequences of those actions, too. Even if you know said actions led to better things, you'd still feel bad about them. And factor in how most likely you WON'T know if those things led to better overall lives you're likely to assume they led to worse ones...it adds up to lots and lots of self-misery. And yet. We are human. We can't pretend we're not. We're flawed, we make mistakes, and we try to grow from them but an attempt is no guarantee we succeed.
We fail. Then we fail again, often at the same thing we just failed. And we keep failing and feeling worse about our failures. But sometimes, even if only on chance alone. Those failures end up giving us things we could never have had without them. Failing at being successful, for instance, is probably one of the only reasons why I have two girlfriends I love in the first place. Had I succeeded when I was younger, had I not been a failure, I almost assuredly would have never met either of them. I could never call that a bad thing (the opposite, having two girlfriends to love is the largest blessing I could have), even though to happen it required a lack of a good thing.
Basically, what I'm saying is...a single happy memory of a good time outweighs any number of painful memories of lesser times. And that's what death brings forward. Another often-repeated line is something to the effect of "Do not speak ill of the dead", and I actually think it is for much the same reasons I'm outlining here.
Because death is a celebration of life. While you can acknowledge the dead had shortcomings, disrespecting them, insulting them, is choosing to focus on the negative rather than the positive. It is making an active choice to not celebrate their life, to not give meaning to their positives, to the happiness they have instilled in the world.
I wish I could explain it better than that. But basically, I feel that while we all feel the pain of loss, it's an unavoidable part of life...so instead of focusing on the inevitable, we should make the choice to enjoy all the good things, no matter how big, basic, small, or complex. We can't ignore the existence of the negative. Acknowledging it is a must, since denying it is a really bad idea. But having an active focus on the negative is something I think reinforces it and I don't think that's healthy.
Which is why my mourning doesn't involve tears. (As if I could produce them anyway, but I don't feel sadness.) I do feel loss...but I also feel warmth of the good, of what was nice in life.
I hope I don't sound crazy for this.
...And it's about at this time that I realize I only described the first half. The second half, more private, is at the cemetery, where the body was lowered into the grave. Each sibling placed a rose on one of the three graves we have there. (One for our grandfather, one for our grandmother, and one for our aunt who had been dead since before any of us were born since she died in her teens and was my dad's younger sister).
That's about all I can think about. But, yeah. Today was a bit of a heavy day. I kinda wanted to talk actively with my girlfriends while at the funeral, but I knew it would be bad form to do so. I mean, I kinda sorta did so anyway even knowing I shouldn't, but I couldn't help it. I wanted them. I wanted them a lot. I still want them. I want to talk to them and I want to cuddle with them and to hold them and just be all...close. Where I would be able to feel life instead of death, as it were.
I don't want to be alone. I still feel that way because while I might have family, they don't quite get me.
...Oh, that reminds me. Just before leaving, I was asked if I needed to wear my ridiculously-stupid ring. I took it off, and was asked why I wore it. I told the truth: it's because I like to have an object on my hand to fidget with, and I use the fidget-ring all the time. This is not the whole truth, because I genuinely just like wearing rings. Buuuuuut, I'm pretty sure I'm getting some rings for Christmas now, which will be nice. My first official jewelry! Albeit based on a half-truth, butstill!
Anyway, dinner's done, so I'll be having it. I may or may not make a third entry today, depending on what we do tonight. We leave tomorrow, presumably in the morning, which means packing stuff tonight. I can't wait to get back home again. Because while I don't hate being here...I love being at home because everything I really care about is there, in that there I can contact my friends and girlfriends whereas here I cannot. And that's basically like 90% of my life I can't have. So while the 10% of me I have right now isn't bad...it's still only 10% of me.
The other 90% is all too eagerly awaiting my return. (Or so I hope!)
I decided to make a third entry.
After that, my brother and my younger sister played cards with me. We started out with Crazy 8s (which I won), then transitioned to poker at around 6 or so. I don't know why they chose five-card-stud poker, but they did. As it so happens, I'm pretty good at playing conventional poker. The problem is, I got a harsh reality lesson: my siblings don't bluff. My siblings will call basically anything unafraid, so bluffing doesn't work. Meaning, I couldn't bluff them (what I'm good at), and if they bet, I knew I would be outplayed. Ultimately though, I'd say that putting myself at a chip disadvantage to have that knowledge was useful.
I did manage to adjust, and while for most of the game I wasn't well-off chip-wise, by the battle of luck (since literally no wits were involved as nobody was bluffing ever), I managed to mostly regain my footing. This ended up leading us to a finale where we all went all-in. (That technically shouldn't be possible but oh well.) I had a full house that round and neither of them had anything close to that, but at that point they were ready to throw the game just wanting it to end so...it ended! With me winning. At like...10:30. A full three and a half hours later. A bit monotonous and a drag which started to become more of a chore than fun (which is why it ended when it did), but it had moments making it worth at least mentioning, thus this entry.
We leave tomorrow, and last I heard, the plan was to get up "whenever (my brother) gets up". This may have been said only semi-seriously so I should go out to get an update, but regardless, it's not gonna be late. It will be, at least reasonably close, to early, which means prep work tonight: packing everything. Once again, I have no time limit on this, but unlike at home where I pulled an all-nighter, here with no internet, I'm gonna run out of tasks eventually. So I'll be fully packed tomorrow and I'll be ready to leave quickly, and I'll even get some sleep. Even if it's only 2-4 hours, the rest can be done on the trip.
Soyeah, gonna put my laptop to sleep now. Next entry will be when I've returned!