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Jeff Watkins
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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Exit Sign is A Beautiful Sight

The Exit Sign is A Beautiful Sight

I've conducted a lot of countdowns in my life. I've counted down to high school and college graduations, to album releases, to when different girls would come back from summer vacation and to my wedding day.

It helps me.

I didn't count down as fervently to my wedding day as I did to some of the other big events and I'll tell you why. I was happy. I never thought of marriage as an escape so much as it was a positive progression. The other countdowns were more about escape: I wouldn't have to go to high school anymore; I wouldn't have to go to college anymore.

I was one of a few people in the dorms who always stayed the duration of the summer. While I was always counting down to when a girl would get back I was more concerned with the sum of everyone getting back. I counted down to that too. Most of those girls didn't hang out with me as much once the semester was in swing. But my friends still did. Deep down with every day I marked off the calendar I knew that. Those countdowns were mostly about fighting loneliness.

Then there was one girl who actually did keep hanging out from one semester to the next. Counting down to her actually turned out to be worth it. She, of course, is now my wife. It was when I missed her, and only when I missed her, that I counted down to album releases. True story. I've never done that otherwise. Granted, there are always albums coming out that I am excited about but usually I just save the anticipation for the ride to the store.

I count down every single work day. I've got a system. I break the day down into two equal halves. I complete a task, then check the time. If I can get halfway I'm set. See, because at 1:00 I have to man the front counter while Cashier 1 goes to lunch. At 1:30 I eat. Many times I try and lose track of time near then so that I end up lunching at 1:45 or even 2:00. The second half of the day moves much quicker because there are more customers to deal with. I get through every hour like a weak man pulling himself out of swimming pool. And reaching these goals gives me a momentary sense of victory, after which I dive right back in.

Some people say I'm wishing my life away. No, no. I say I'm counting down to the parts I like better. Papa's got a brand new countdown. To what? Until we forsake this Wiregrass dump...Until we establish ourselves in what will be our home sweet home. Where? Nashville, TN. It is truly a land of opportunity. The cost of living is actually not higher. And I will, if nothing else opens up, be able to transfer to the Books-A-Million there. Me and Donna are leaving next Friday to go there to put in for jobs and housing.

There remain but 66 days 'til I am there.

posted by Chase at 3:11 PM


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