These are busy times for a certain mysterious cloaked blogger. Work. Band. Ailing pet. Property dispute. But I take one day at a time, and I take it all in stride. For the most part, I'm not dealing with anything I haven't dealt with before, and that makes it much easier to shut off my brain and go in to autopilot mode. It's a lot like hitting a fast forward button on a remote.

I guess I leaned on that button a lot this Summer. As I huddle under blankets at night, I wonder if it was really so long ago I was complaining about the triple-digit weather. I haven't turned my fan on in weeks. On Thursday morning, I finally closed my bedroom windows. 2010 was a blur, though it had some highlights, which included the discovery of a barbecue place on a dock not far from my office. Soon it became a Friday lunch ritual for me and my friends, enjoying cold beer and hot food at the end of a long week. The last few weeks, we'd all had trouble coordinating, or had meetings in the middle of the day. This week one of our friends was out of state on vacation. Next week, we'd surely make it there again.

Finally caught up after months of being busy, or more accurately finding myself in the eye of the storm(figuratively and, as I'd later learn, literally), I decided to walk to this place on Thursday afternoon. It was a little cloudy, and cool enough to walk such a distance, and though we'd always driven to this place, I was certain I could make the journey within my allotted lunch time. My estimates of speed and distance proved accurate. My knowledge of the calendar was not so much.

The folded umbrellas were my first clue. No one was sitting at the tables either, my second clue. I knew before I got to the counter that the window would be closed, but it was wishful thinking. I could taste that chicken, that spicy corn-on-the-cob. Even worse, the sign read that they were open from mid-April to October. It's not October yet by my calculations, but maybe there weren't enough people for them to stay open. I was dejected, and the grilled cheese with bacon and tomato on a salt bagel that I got at a deli on the way back to my office didn't come close.

I could certainly use a break, an escape for more than an hour. To that end, I actually cleared my calendar for this weekend. I moved a dental appointment back a week. I turned down a band job. I even wrote my next few posts in advance, so if all goes according to preprogramming, you'll have something to read in the next two days. MCF will be here; the man behind the cloak will not. On Thursday night a tornado ripped through Long Island from West to East, sending down trees and hail and disrupting all train service. I'm praying it's restored by Friday night, so I can get in to the city after work. I already reserved tickets for another train that will have me in Atlantic City by 11 PM! And I won't be home until Sunday afternoon. The first time I went there was in the middle of December, and I only stayed overnight. My friend and I managed to find some fun and some trouble. This time we're staying twice as long, and will have a group of about 4 to 7 people. I took out a bit more cash this time and split it among three wallets. I know it's as good as gone, but with a higher fixed amount I hopefully won't succumb to temptation and high ATM fees while I'm there. Who knows; maybe I'll actually win something. I know to avoid slot machines this time, the fastest way to spend money. I think in less than five minutes I had thrown away over 60 bucks.

Problems don't disappear when we run away from them, but that's not what I'm doing here. This is more of a break, almost a vacation, and a much-needed one. I took off from work on Monday, but I'll be back Tuesday and have a gig after work on Tuesday night. And Monday probably will be spent installing a light fixture at home and doing landscaping work over at my father's lot. The responsibilities will still be waiting for me when I get back. But for two days, they and I will be miles apart, and that will be nice.

Of course, if I hit it big, I might not come back at all. So, calculating the odds of improbability, I'd say there's a 98% chance I'll be back in a few days.


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