Kiki and my wife recently (6) returned from a long trip to Japan. This was very welcomed by me, as well as my co-workers, friends, and neighbors, as I had started to become, well, weird. See, with my family departing every 6 to 8 months for a multi-week stay in Japan, I have noticed a very reliable and somewhat disturbing unravelling of my behavioral patterns.
Stage 1 kicks in 12 to 25 hours after the family departs, and lasts 6 to 10 days. This stage is marked by a noted increase in cycling activity, sleep, and general quietness. Generally the subject's behavioral changes are unnoticed by others.
Stage 2 follows hard on the heels of stage 1, being recognized by an increase in social activity, a continued high level of cycling activity, and a notable accumulation of desserts, namely cake (1). This stage lasts 4 to 7 days, depending upon the size of the cake. Other than a faint odor of frosting, others are unlikely to notice this stage.
Stage 3 is notable for a sudden and massive increase in productivity around the household, being recognized by activities such as cleaning out closets, organizing pantries, repairing household appliances, and generally doing all the shit that has been ignored since the last time the girls were gone (2). This stage generally lasts 6 to 8 days. The frequent phone calls, emails, and texts inquiring about social plans and a general willingness to do anything (3) as long as it involves another human makes this stage easily recognizable.
Stage 4 is much feared and, thankfully, rare, as the family knows they cannot be gone too long. Stage 4 finds the subject, having steadily ratcheted up the cycling activities through the previous stages, considering a 300 mile week, while working a full time job, as perfectly normal. Having exhausted all social connections, completed all household tasks, and polished off the cake, subject begins to become... well... weird. Subject will be found talking to himself in empty rooms. Subject, having watched anything worthwhile on television, will become addicted to bizarre Japanese knockoff cartoons on YouTube (4) and devour them by the hour. When observed, subject is skittish and odd, seemingly unsure how to interact normally with other humans. A certain bizarre element begins to appear in outfit selections, as the lack of a wife to keep things in line leads to brighter color choices, bolder combinations, and a penchant for wearing questionable t-shirts in public. The total duration of this stage is unknown, as subject has never been allowed to progress to an as yet theoretical stage 5 (5).
But the good news is the girls are back, my cycling has been dialed back, the pantry is a model of organization, and there is not a cake to be found in the household. Life is good.
(1) Whenever the girls are gone I buy myself a cake and proceed to eat the whole damn thing. Over the course of a few days. Hey, I'm not a pig or something. I've tried some alternatives (pie, cookies, ice cream) but have settled on a cheap, supermarket sheet cake as my go-to multi-day bachelor dessert of choice. Preferably a discounted one for little Jimmy's 6th birthday that was never picked up. The sorrow makes it even more delicious.
(2) And cycling. Don't forget the cycling. It's a bit of a constant.
(3) e.g. helping someone throw away their old, moldy and spider infested hot tub cover. Because hey, human interaction!
(4) Who knew there was an anime knockoff version of The PowerPuff Girls as teenagers. I do, that's who.
(5) Sociologists and abnormal psychologists theorize that stage 5 would be noted for an abandonment of traditional western clothing, with a sudden and unsettling appearance of loin cloths, and the creation of a personal language for communications, consisting mainly of grunts, hiccups, and obscure cycling references.
(6) Erm, by recently I mean 6 months ago. Been a bit busy what with travel, work, and a certain 3 year old and have been neglecting the ol' blog. I apologize and swear to do better in the future. Unless, well, you know, I don't. And yes, I know this footnote is entirely out of order and I should have gone back and renumbered them all but I have about 15 minutes while Kiki watches Caillou here and want to post this before another 6 months pass.
Limantos Residence by Fernanda Marques
1 hour ago