Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"I know something you don't know. I am not left handed."

I have felt the spring come on and cradle me each morning when I leave my apartment, but just a hint of it and only on every other morning. While this makes it impossible to dress appropriately (I alternate short sleeves and freezing ankles), I am grateful in a way that is louder than bombs for my ability to leave my winter coat at the dry cleaners to fester for awhile. I want a time gap big enough to allow me to misremember winter and all of its bullshit.

However, it must be spring; I've been dreaming of babies and wanting to take care of things. Sometimes if I squint hard enough, I can just make out an outline of what I'd be like as a mother. Mostly I think I'm just subconsciously absorbing all the fertility in the endless amount greenery peeking out. Then again, I'm rounding the last lap, taking the last gasp before things become fallow. Look alls I know is that seeing little buds peek out from their hibernation is making me weepy. I don't know what to make of that.

Though it seems like months have passed (9 days) I do know I had a ferociously pleasant Easter. I think Jesus might have been pleased. He just strikes me as the type who would have enjoyed the happy hour cocktails I had on the Friday before, and the Easter family BBQ on Easter Sunday. I think Jesus could have been vegetarian though. I don't know why. I also get the feeling, if he were around today, he'd work in a food co-op and have really great recipes for kale. He'd definitely be into yoga.

I've been at work a lot less than I used to and my brain still pulls at itself, trying to contort itself around this notion of free time, that elusive ruby I've been chasing after for a handful of years. I've been productive in ways I never could have been before when I was keeping a steady pace on the hamster wheel. So that feels good. I have to make sure to be grateful for things that feel good.

And speaking of good, I had a good weekend this past weekend. The movie theater where I volunteer threw a Volunteer's Appreciation Brunch in the theater which began with me walking in the door and being handed a mimosa almost immediately. I ate a bagel the size of my face with locks and cream cheese and I'm salivating in the memory of it. I got to know some of the other volunteers who are almost invariably middle aged to older women, all intelligent and organized and mothers and wives or ex wives. Their lives all take place on the other side of that invisible line that separates the nuclear family from the single person. I felt a bit outside of myself as I sat among them, listening to them talk about friends they unexpectedly had in common, the woes of home ownership and their hopes and dreams for their 20something sons and daughters. I felt a little like I was listening to a radio news program about a foreign country: interested, but wholly disconnected. You know, like this:

I can see your well manicured lawns from here.

One of the founders of the theater, a man I have met at least six times yet has never once remembered me went around asking the group to introduce themselves and to say what movie truly got us interested in movies or what movie really left a mark on us. It was a toss up for me between The Princess Bride and The Godfather, both of which I saw during my 11th year, both of which I will never, ever forget seeing. Well, I didn't see the entire Godfather at that time. I only snuck downstairs while my parents were watching it one night because they expressly told my sister and I not to. Naturally, I had to see why. Unfortunately, I arrived at the part when Sonny gets all of the bullets. 

All of them.

It was the first time I had ever seen anything like that. I still remember the sick uncomfortable feeling I got in my stomach, watching the first instance of violence I'd ever seen. (I was really a lucky kid.) But all of that seemed too long to go into at this brunch so I said "The Princess Bride" which is not a lie. It is the first movie I ever truly loved. I remember watching it on my bunk bed after begging my parents to rent it for me. I watched it three times in a row that night and countless more times ever since. I have had lifelong friendships based on a mutual love for this movie. I'm secretly still looking for my Wesley. So yeah, The Princess Bride is an important film in my life. 

I know this scene by heart. Even the musical cues.

I was going to write more in this entry but I really just feel like watching The Princess Bride now so to be continued...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My apple cores, my snot tissues

"I've been here now for some days, groping my way along, trying to realize my vision here. I started concentrating so hard on my vision that I lost sight. I've come to find out that it's not the vision, it's not the vision at all. It's the groping. It's the groping, it's the yearning, it's the moving forward." --Chris Stevens, from the Northern Exposure episode "Burning Down the House."

I know it is wrong, but sometimes I'm so damn relieved that I feel no real need to hold myself accountable to my own goals. Before you think me lazy (as true as that might be, I am loathe to be perceived as such) hear me out. It isn't that I don't see things through...well important things...well consequential things anyway. It is just that I silently (or quietly) make these demands of my future time and effort, particularly when it comes to writing and I rarely fulfill any of them. Here's a classic "me" example: last Friday, after getting out of work early, at the same time as I have done every Friday for the last six years, I actually wrote quite a bit. I came close to finishing something I started which is quite notable for me. Pathetic? Sure. But I had promised myself a cocktail in reward and I was going to write like an alcoholic so I could earn it. (It was a kiwi caiprinha in case you care and it really was worth every keystroke).

And while it was happening, I tried not to think ahead or say or think anything that might interrupt the flow but I'd be lying if I wasn't boosted by my usual notion of "I can do this EVERY Friday! Fuck I can do this EVERY DAY!" I had a breakthrough about a future breakthrough, it is my M.O. I get so ahead of myself but I do it in such a quiet, no one knows kind of way that there is no one to talk me down from the ledge. And while that is good for my ego later on when I fail to do what I spontaneously plan, it is really terrible because I have no one to talk me down from the ledge. I can usually be stopped from doing something stupid with even subtle cues from someone else, a glance askance, a distinct clearing of a throat, for example. But the dumb thoughts, the silent goals...they no a stop.

And,when I find myself still in my pajamas, playing a video game on my phone or watching the umpteenth marathon of the umpteenth show (even if it's bad) on one of a million websites, I usually think of this one janitor that works at my full time job. He's been working there, doing that job for as long as anyone can remember. And his job is to clean and do general maintenance, both things at which he fails spectacularly. To wit: everyone in my office has caught him vacuuming in the dark. There have been reports of him eating food from the garbage and I have seen him take the garbage from the pail in my office with his bare hands. He touches it all, my apple cores, my snot tissues. (When asked about that in particular, why he never wears gloves when handling garbage, he responded that he has a strong immune system. I can only assume he also has the ability to ignore everything disgusting about everything he does in life.) He's famous for showing up right smack in the middle of parties we have in the office and parking his huge garbage pail and accouterments right in the center of the room where everyone is gathered, chatting. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Anyway, periodically he'll talk about how he's going to get his doctorate. He's never been to school past high school but he's routinely said he's not even going to bother with community college...he's just going to go all the way right away. He's never clear about what course of study he'll pursue but he's going to do it, any day now. Someone in my office once found out that he ran for mayor of NYC one year and even found proof on video that he had officially announced his candidacy. That guy. I feel like that guy on days like today. Instead of organizing my thoughts and finishing one single thing, I'm vacuuming in the dark, sucking up all the little bits of I don't know what to store in the bag with the rest of dirt, dirt I'll sift through later with my bare hands, avoiding the extra work, ignoring the disgust. And that will exhaust me and whittle what's left of my own confidence that I can write anything at all, that I'll just skip right to the caiprinha without earning it. Until I get bored of living without vision or chronicles to remember it all by and the cycle starts over again.

Sigh. Nothing to see here. Just some more of my neurosis, getting out the front door before I can close it.

And then I take to the blog to write about how I can't write. I write to distract myself from the fact that I'm not writing. But really, that's all I feel able to write about: not being able to write. Groping through the brambles, looking for a vision. And along the way I make these dramatic proclamations (to myself), hoping that if I do that, it will stick. It will take. As of this writing, it's all still apple cores and snot tissues.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Undercooked egg

Oh life! How like an egg you are! Such a delicate balance between delicious and disgusting! Sometimes you satisfy, sometimes I have to scrape parts of you from the bottom to get anything good. I sop you up sometimes and other times you bite back with an errant piece of hard, jagged shell. How, like eggs, I only enjoy you and everything within you under very specific circumstances.

Enough of that. Let me tell you how much I've matured. I've reached yet another signpost that reads, in fading spray paint on ratty old piece of driftwood, haphazardly nailed to the base of an old power line at the edge of a mostly abandoned, dusty town called "Adult Hood". It reads, simply, "DRINK LESS." I came upon the sign at 3am on Saturday night after drinking too much wine and trapping a good friend at my front door with morose talk of dying and meaning and being adrift in nothing. I think guilt and embarrassment floated into my room in the dead of the night and ripped off my down comforter and said nothing. It just floated right above my head, staring. And I can take feeling a lot of different things but guilt mixed with embarrassment and chased with the just the faintest traces of leftover hubris is something I simply cannot abide. Strangely that perfect storm of bad feeling, that first forkful of undercooked egg has only happened in recent times when I've had just slightly too much to drink.

When I first started drinking, I was always among my peers, also just starting to drink. I was assured to do and say stupid things in tandem with at least one other person. Being stupid, talking stupid just feels so much better when you aren't doing it alone. At the very least, there is an understanding that drinkers have among themselves, a kind of stupidity kinship. There's real empathy when you are around people who have done dumb drunken things before. Also, all those sentences were punctuated with the unspoken fact of my age. It was a good excuse for me when I was feeling low to simply say, well, I'm young. I'll be better when I get older.

Yeah, I got older awhile ago.

Inevitably, no matter how much fun I had (and I DID have fun on Saturday night), I'll stumble into my bedroom with the low hum of my room's own nightlife ticking away and settling in. And I'm already so susceptible to faint dread in my sober state. Faint dread, by the way in case you are wondering is way worse than actual, obvious dread for the sheer stealth and stamina it has. And crawling into bed intoxicated assures I'll be up in about two hours after passing out and after the thirst induced dreams of filling ice cube trays and drinking cold water from them. That's when the deep dark night will feel so dense and black and I'll be feeling so bad, even if it is a brief, quiet kind of feeling bad and for all my waking pessimism, I have to admit that it only happens that way after some booze.

 It isn't a quadratic equation. Just simple, elementary subtraction. A basic process of elimination.

And maybe a white noise machine? Or a dachshund puppy?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Help Wanted

I have some time management, organizational and motivational problems. And by "problems", I simply mean I am incapable of doing anything. Apparently. I've had more free time and the only thing I'm actually doing "more" of is sleeping. I feel just like the best rested gal on Long Island.

Excepting this morning. Maybe it was a mistake to listen to Beck's new album on the way to work. One of the songs has a chorus that just repeats the word 'isolation' over and over again. For someone who already feels a little dead during rush hour, putt putting along among faceless blobs incongruous to the natural order of things, inside their little metal cages (to which they are slaves), it was not the best choice. Geez. Could it be possible I need MORE sleep?

But that's not how I want this entry to go. I'm not feeling morose or even particularly panicked about my mortality. In fact, I've been riding a pleasant wave of contentment lately and despite distrusting it, I'm enjoying it immensely. As I was typing this I got an instant message from my brother saying, in a totally unsolicited way "I've been meaning to tell you something. You are like a different person now that you've left that one job. Keep it up." I'm often so inside my own head that I never even consider what I'm projecting to everyone else. It was nice to hear. Shit, it is nice to feel.

The trouble is, I have time now. And I'm superb at making plans to make plans and projects to give projects beginnings. My closets and my drawers and my surfaces overflow with clutter and I'm positive that all I need to do is hack through them all with sheer determination and perhaps a machete and I'll find...er...something. Something that will get me motivated to do...something? Am I really going to do this, dear reader? Am I really going to channel all the erstwhile negative, complaining energy into sleep? Worse yet, misdirect it into nothing?

No. No I am not. I will however take applications for life coach, time manager, and motivational speaker. Requirements: A pleasant, optimistic demeanor that is stalwart in the face of my unrelenting pessimism. You should be available for me at most times, though I suspect I'll mostly want you to watch movies with me and talk about season finales. I like my coffee French pressed and then I like that press cleaned and NOT after sitting for two days in the sink. I require someone to talk  me out of holding on to dresses that are too big for me, shoes that are too uncomfortable and party purses that have been rendered wholly unnecessary by my increasingly quiet lifestyle. I'll need you to empty out my spam folders and sift through online dating profiles, separating wheat from chaff from psychopaths. You'll have to stop by unannounced during quiet hours to make sure I'm writing and not falling asleep to old episodes of Family Guy and it would help me greatly if you could go to the supermarket for me once every two weeks to do big shops instead of the 10 times a week for two items at a time that is my current flow chart model. I mean yesterday I had to go to buy one potato, ferchrissakes! Mostly, I'll just need you to give me that warm feeling, on a Tuesday morning, say, that what I'm doing is okay and that plenty of writers never wrote anything worth a damn until they were older than 40 and that you've taken care of clipping the cats' nails and that you'll have an ice cold kir waiting for me when I get home.

Only serious applicants please.