Sunday, December 28, 2014


I emerge this morning, a mostly quiet Sunday during that gray limbo between Christmas and New Year's when generally the engine revs but doesn't start and the pilot flame flickers but doesn't quite ignite,with a mandate...from myself. It is a familiar one, a tried and failed and tried again, ad infinitum, one. This mandate is very, very specific and it is this: DO STUFF. I realize everyone experiences the desire for self improvement at this time of year (though generally it is reserved for after the bacchanalia of New Year's Eve and the shame spiraling of New Year's Day) but frankly, what's a few days early? Maybe I'm finally coming down from the white sugar high of the last few weeks. Maybe it is the nauseating tumult of the past year. Maybe it is the general disconnect I've felt acutely in my recent, overstimulated, kinetic, frenetic, uncertain and unquiet life. Maybe I've been listening too much to the human thesaurus that is Russell Brand. I cannot say for certain. But I decided right after Christmas that I needed to do stuff.

And stuff is an all-encompassing term that describes the overwhelming amount of ways I can find to spend my time. I have this vague notion that there are people who are perpetually bored or who choose voluntarily to do nothing all or most of the time. And while I earnestly feel both that doing nothing is a valuable non-thingto do (or to not do) once in awhile for recharging purposes and that people need to hitch their own personal wagons to their own stars, doing nothing as a hobby or even a regularly scheduled activity is my own private anathema and the Do Stuff Mandate (DSM) will never want for activities. It is really just a matter of being organized about it. In this, I will need guidance. I will need a plan, a spreadsheet, a timer, some bottled get up and go. (Metaphorically, not the 90s college staple of Vivarin or amphetamines. Relax, people!) I long to never again feel the oozing malaise of being is a terrible feeling to me. I think I want to spend the rest of my life avoiding that feeling and since the rest of my life begins at the end of this sentence, I suppose now is a good a time as any.

I just discovered, via the innocent although mentally pernicious practice of cyber...not stalking so much as curiosity ...cyber curiosity, yes...that an ex-whatever of mine finally took all his talk about moving and becoming an artist to full fruition. He literally moved across the world and became an artist. People don't do that, they just dream it. I mean, right? Sure, people change all the time but I could not get this guy to return a text and he worked in the same menial job for at least five years, all the while talking about doing all the stuff but meandering through his days in a seeming zig zag pattern. Yet there he is. Putting aside my surprise, I am truly happy for him as I usually am when someone catapults his life toward the horizon where he's always longingly gazed. Also, I internalize everything. Hence, the do stuff mandate.

So yeah. Do stuff. I sort of snuffed out my own plan this morning when I couldn't muster the will to get up early enough to go to five dollar yoga. However, I'm being kind to myself and acknowledging the fact that I did not fritter away the morning lying about watching episodes of I Survived... or falling in and out of dreamless sleep. I have exercised my brain which falls under the general umbrella of having done "something" and really, isn't that the point of life? Wouldn't it be a good gravestone etching: Here she lies....she did something. Actually after rereading that out loud, it becomes clear that it would all depend on how sarcastic the person reading the gravestone was and in what tone it was read; it could easily be interpreted as a vague question instead of the intended deep, albeit brief, profundity. Honestly, I'm not willing to lie down underneath a potentially ridiculous quotation for eternity, are you?

Ok, I gotta go do stuff bye.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Too old to huff.

I just went to the store to buy some compressed air, (after a particularly shameful hour, I realized that my laptop, admittedly on its last, clangy leg, is now about 70% cat and human hair follicles), and was surprised to be asked my date of birth by the cashier. The following conversation is a dramatic reenactment:

Cashier, about 20 years old, after scanning the canned air: May I have your date of birth?
Me, confused: Um, why do you need that?
Cashier: It is asking me for your date of birth.
Me, alarmed: What is asking your for my date of birth?
Cashier, sighing: My register.
Me: Why does your register need to know my birthday? Do I get a prize if it is today?
Cashier: They want to know because of the air.
Me: I'm being carded to buy compressed air?
Cashier: Yeah. I guess people huff it.
Me: (After giving her my D.O.B.) Is compressed air unhuffable after a certain age? I mean I'm just curious. (Nervous laughter) I mean I don't intend on huffing this. Haha.
Cashier: That'll be $13.50.

Seriously, though, why does the purchase of a can of air require a birthdate? If she was, in fact, right about the huffable quality of the product (I don't judge), then how would my age be a factor? I know they card for things like sudafed and other cold medicines due to the high methability of those items but honestly, if I'm my age and I'm getting high on compressed air then you should just pity sell that shit to me because that is just straight up SAD. Drug addiction is sad to begin with but something about someone being my age and buying air at CVS to huff it in their car or something just brings to down to a whole new level.

The irony in all this is that for all of CVS' huffing prevention methods, I ended up leaving the store IN a huff. Amirite?!

Anyway, that whole thing was surprising. Less surprising is the library patron I just assisted. He asked me to help him find a Jeff Dunham DVD. I am currently working at a library where I only have occasional shifts, making a lot of things difficult for me to find. It is perpetually my first day here. I'm on the desk alone because the rest of the staff is downstairs eating their holiday party goodies. (I had string cheese in the car on my way here. Ya jealous??) Anyway, in addition to THAT, all of the catalogs are down today for a system conversion. Nothing in the collection of any library is searchable today at all. So it was taking me a bit of time to find this gem of a DVD. But after some searching and walking up and down aisles, I located it. He snatched it from my hand and walked away and did not thank me. I mean, maybe he was in a hurry to clip his toenails in public or something but that's the last time I try hard.

Well, I guess I better wrap it up. I got a can of air in my car with my name (and birth date) on it.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Instant dissolve

This morning, my energy tank 1/4 full on four hours sleep and a medium sized hangover, I hit the ground, not running so much as speed walking in order to catch a train to work. Everything seems possible to me that early in the morning. The dirty-clean air fills the lungs and you can hear people sigh and exhale in a million languages. It is Monday morning everywhere in the universe.

I love the city in the fall, which recently has been baby late summer. And I sail through the empty, quiet sidewalks of an early enough morning. The old adage remains about it being a place that never sleeps but in the wee hours it does rest its eyes for a moment. A few early morning stragglers dotted the sidewalks, walking a little slower than usual, stomachs still full of turkey and family angst, hocking proportionally more loogies than average, yawning out their front doors on their way inside the gravitational force field of everyday tasks.

Last night, as I trawled through Astoria, unwittingly trawling for the perfect Kentucky Mule (found, and tested three times for quality assurance), I told my sister that I would accept whatever fate was going to hand down but that I wished, in a gazing at some distant planet from earth kind of way, that it will involve the city somehow. I needed no adjustment period coming back here, took no deep breaths to center myself. I felt myself instantly dissolve and become part of the atmosphere. But time can only tell. And when it comes to job offers, time has apparently decided to hold a grudge against me.

Lately, during various moments I find I am thinking of a scene in a small movie I saw a few years ago, or maybe it was last year or last week...I can't tell time anymore. The movie was called "Another Earth" which had a fascinating premise: a young woman who is responsible for a fatal drunk driving accident applies to be sent to explore a newly discovered second Earth, but not before making amends to the man who's family she accidentally killed. Anyway, there is a scene that turned out to be one of my favorites where she is telling the man the story of the Russian Cosmonaut and..well, here:

And I identify with this story; I want to fall in love with the persistent, strange ticking that inexplicably fills my brain and often, yes tortures me. Lately, it has been all the rejection. I'm slowly learning not to take myself apart and put myself back together and to take it in stride. I'm learning to balance the sound a bit, little by little.  Still, it would be nice to turn it into, say, a Brahms symphony or an Arcade Fire anthem. I could walk around humming, tapping my feet along in rhythm as opposed to internally, silently exploding most of the time.

Apropos of all of this: in the middle of typing this entry, I got another Dear John: Professional Edition letter. I suppose I should be grateful that someone took the time to reject me in writing. I much prefer scanning the words that come after "however" in an email than living in the perpetual maybe of no response at all. Tick tick tick....