I dropped off the car this morning at an auto body shop to get my rolled fenders sealed. The mechanic was tall and thin, and both friendly and pleasant. He was also so wall-eyed that he had to cock his head to one side to look at you directly, making him look like a monitor lizard sizing up a mealworm.

While the car was being worked on, I opted to walk away for some breakfast. I found myself in a locally-owned restaurant. I entered at the same time as a large family. On this day after Christmas, everyone was displaying their new presents. From the brand-new Oregon Ducks football jerseys and hats, to stuffed animals shoved in toy pet carriers. The aftermath of the gift frenzy was writ large on their very bodies.

After breakfast, I went shopping at a pet store. Then I picked up the car, and got the oil changed. I began to realize that I felt strangely relaxed. I had only been home with my family for three days, and this little set of errands already felt like a mini-vacation. I could feel myself slowing down, and the tension leaving my shoulders.

And I am returning to work tomorrow, may God have mercy upon my soul.