My Brain Might Be Broken, You Guys

July 30, 2015

Over the course of the last two weeks, I’ve been moving, played co-host to house guests, done a weekend trip with those guests, visited other friends who came to town, and attempted to make some progress on the ol’ hikin’ book. I’m also theoretically taking a writing class right now, but hahahahaha, nope. Haven’t done much with that.

This…this is too many things.

I agree, Martin. I did just get real.

Apart from moving, which is among the surest ways to break a man, these things are great fun. It’s having them all coincide that’s doing me in. I’ve talked before about how I tend toward introversion, but really all that means is I need more downtime than others to recharge.

Downtime is in short supply at the moment, however. For someone who needs it, the last couple of weeks have felt like living in a Michael Bay movie complete with rotating camera and jarring cuts.

It came to a head a couple of days ago when I sat down at my computer to try to write for the first time since everything got hectic and found myself nearly catatonic. Today, the fog has cleared enough for me to eke out a few meandering reactions to all this excitement.

How Many Beers? All the Beers

The visiting friends and weekend trip were supremely fun. We sojourned – yeah, I said sojourned – up in Duluth for the All Pints North craft beer festival. It’s a great event but one that can easily leave you overstimulated with the sheer number of things to see and do.

Held at Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park, it hosted about 100 breweries, each of which brought a variety of beers to sample. The newer players tend to emphasize their flagship beers as they attempt to get a foothold in the increasingly crowded craft beer market while the more established breweries often have crazy concoctions you won’t find anywhere else. This wide variety of new stuff to try leaves beer nerds in a tizzy (and drunk).

"These pretzels will keep me sober," he thought, before waking pantsless on a bus bench 6 hours later.

“These pretzels will keep me sober,” he thought, before waking pantsless on a bus bench 8 hours later.

The opening of the event was a bit surreal. Having already checked IDs and tickets, attendees milled about just outside the main park area. At 3PM on the nose, a low cheer rose from those closest to the gate, and I heard the thundering hooves of sweaty bearded men in cargo shorts and pretzel necklaces barreling toward their favorite breweries as the festival commenced.

To be fair, there were plenty of thundering lady hooves as well, and cargo shorts are both practical and comfortable.

As veteran beer consumers, we kept ourselves well in check. In truth, most craft beer aficionados are pretty chill. Apart from the Braveheart-like charge at the beginning, you tend not to see the sort of ridiculousness found at say, concert festivals and sporting events. Still, a weekend of sampling roughly one thousand different beers left me flat tired.

On the Move

The beer festival left me sleepy, but far and away the biggest culprit in my present fragile state is that we are in the midst of a move. It’s not a far one, and it’s not a particularly challenging move, but all moves are terrible. No one should ever move. We should all stay in one place for our entire lives and be buried on site so as to not even move at the time of death. I’m beginning to wonder why people ever do anything at all.

If you must move, I advise doing it as quickly as possible. We chose to overlap between our two places to better accommodate the guests we had and to theoretically have less stress because there would be less urgency to get out. I’m glad we were able to host, but dragging the move out over a couple of weeks is excruciating. We could have done all the moving at once and just had access to both spaces, but that would have made way too much sense.

You know when someone’s car alarm goes off but the owner is nowhere to be found so it just blares forever, burrowing into the deepest recesses of your mind until you snap? Moving in fits and starts over the course of a couple of weeks is sort of like that. It’s as if there is some constant, nagging alarm going off in your brain. Sounds awesome, right?

End in Sight, Sort Of

It should be made clear that all of this is of my own doing. I suggested the beer trip, and I was the one who forgot when our apartment lease ended until after we’d made all the plans.* I don’t regret any of it because it’s been a lot of fun, but I’ll also be glad to get back to somethings like normal.

The good news is we’re very, very close to being done. We’ve known all along that this stretch was going to be a bit crazy, but I’ve tried to remind myself that we’d look back in August and wonder where the time went.

We’re getting close to that point and can begin to unwind a little. For most of the next week or so, I’ll be able to spend some time relaxing along a beautiful lakefront, taking the occasional nap, and enjoying what looks like the very best of Minnesota summer. Just about 80-85 degrees, low humidity, cool evenings. Gorgeous.

It couldn’t come at a better time. I need to recharge, to calm down and figure out how to get all the other moving pieces of things I’m working on back on track. It’s a brief respite, however. Just in time for next weekend, we’ll be joined by 40+ members of my wife’s extended family for the annual family reunion. They are, the whole lot of them, wonderful people, and I enjoy their company.

But there’s a very real chance my brain will be leaking out of my nose by the second week of August. If someone could wipe the drool off my lip, that would be great.

Photo provided by San Francisco Brewers Guild under Creative Commons 2.0

*This might seem like a ridiculous thing to screw up, and you’d be right! But in my defense our previous lease had slightly weird start and end dates because we moved in at the middle of a month.

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