Killing multiple birds with one stone here. First off, it is major decision time for me. Can’t put it off much longer. I no longer have unemployment benefits. Apparently I worked too much in October. It was going to expire in January anyway. So I went and applied for school. Well, I didn’t actually go anywhere. I did it online while sitting on this very bed. I register for classes the week of December 14th. I will be taking Horticulture Landscaping classes. If anyone needs any work done, I’m available. (nudge nudge) Don’t have a part-time job yet to sustain this yet, but there is still time. This of course means that once school starts in February I will not be able to take archaeology jobs. Mostly because field jobs take me away from home for weeks at a time, and the whole point of going to school is actually physically going to school.
Which brings us to point number two. Archaeology. I will miss it. I love it, but it also almost destroyed me. I will miss my fellow archaeologists. They are very intelligent, gifted, loyal, down right raunchy people. It takes a special quality person to do the job, and I will miss them. I will miss the places I got to see and the places I will never get to. I was able to see and go places that most people never get to. Drive on roads that are locked, climb mountains where there are no trails, find artifacts that no one has touched in hundreds of years. I got to go to such a variety of places. I will miss exploring. I will however not miss the stress of report deadlines and client demands and expectations, the fear of angry and sometimes armed landowners who hate you just because you are an archaeologist. I will not miss the bureaucracy and blame being thrown at whomever is closest.* I was relieved when I got laid-off. A large burden that I never wanted in the first place was lifted. There were some responsibilities I hated, like having to deal with angry property owners, and clients who didn’t even understand what our job is and what it entails. Lets just face it, I hate confrontation. It makes me very uneasy whether it be clients or co-workers who don’t get along. Since being laid-off, all of those responsibilities no longer applied. I was essentially demoted. I am no longer a project manager/supervisor. I work now as just a field technician. I miss putting together site records, the artistry of drawing maps and features, manipulating photographs in the office. I have enjoyed the field work I have been able to do since that time. I enjoyed just being a member of the crew. I will miss it. I hope that perhaps during school breaks and over the summer I will have the opportunity to come back and do some field work. I’m not sure I can completely let it go. There is a part of me that will always crave it. The need to explore and find and see things for the very first time. Archaeology gave me access to feed that craving and paid me, to boot.
And thirdly, I’ll keep this one short. It is holiday season. I don’t tend to get excited about it. I don’t hang Christmas decorations, I only buy gifts for immediate family and don’t spend much on them (especially this year). It’s just not a big deal to me. I enjoy spending time with my family, don’t get me wrong. But I am like my father and his father before him. We like to be there. We want to be around everybody, but we don’t want to necessarily do anything. We just want to sit there and just be. When I think of this holiday time, it is for sappy hallmark movies and card commercials that make you cry. It is for movie marathons that last for days. It is time to watch Star Wars (episodes IV-VI only, I-III sucked ass) and Lord of the Rings (extended version), and old but good tv shows like Farscape and Firefly. And then watch them again with commentary. (Yes I do that, I admit it) It is for 1000+ piece puzzles. When I think of this time of year, that is what makes me happy. Oh and the BBC America channel always runs a Dr. Who marathon on New Years!!!! I have watched it 2 years in a row now. It is a great way to spend my birthday. Yes New Years Day is my birthday, you may be hung-over, but I will be in my comfy PJ’s gorging myself with food I shouldn't eat and watching Dr. Who for 12 hours straight. Bow Ties are cool!
*This is not necessarily individuals. Archaeological companies are usually the lowest on the totem pole of large projects that involve many agencies and companies, and often get the blame for running projects over budget.