Monday, February 29, 2016

A Big Pile of Dumb, Frayed and Worn Thread

It was my intention to submit my writing to a publication that has called for essays, short stories, or poetry on the theme of distraction. In researching my own writing for a seed to plant (I was hoping some crops would yield in time for a Monday deadline...or at the very least maybe,like, a small, bruised tomato), I was struck by the living, breathing irony of getting distracted by memories of writing about being distracted and distracting myself by writing about how distracted I am. When I first heard the theme, I assumed it would be easy to find something and expand upon it. I must have volumes of poetry, essays and stories on distraction. And I was able to find a bunch of stuff I could work with and expand. I just don't see it happening in time for this deadline. I am, ironically, so distracted by my own distraction and it isn't cute or meta. It is an obstacle. Ultimately, crafting a piece about distraction will boil down to honing in on one or two ideas and adding water, maybe some Miracle-Gro. Or I could show up to work on an average day and let an example of how distractable I am just unspool in front of me like a big pile of dumb, frayed and worn thread. Here's a great example:

Last week, the library patron I call the Haitian professor brought me both an article on feminism to read as well as a piece of violet chocolate so violently fragrant and rich from a Belgian chocolatier that I sighed when I bit into it. Chocolate and intellectual discourse... sometimes my job works for me.

I was able to kill around 30 minutes or so researching the brand of Belgian chocolates that made the delightful violet candies which then led me to look up those Belgian boys I met last summer and which Facebook provides ample photographic evidence that yes, they were incredibly good looking and no, I did not invent them. Then I got to reminiscing about the liquid gold of Orval beer and that glorious Belgian street waffle that cost me a euro and changed the way I look at and eat waffles for eternity. I remembered that one of those Belgian guys was on his Tinder account while we were at the bar and I remember thinking how easy it would be to date in Brussels. Or how easy it would be to date ME in Brussels since you would only have to give me beer and waffles. And moules et frites. And say something in Dutch.

Ahhhhh dating. In mining my archives I found some notes about the one time I tried speed dating. That glorious event resulted in my going on two dates with two guys, one of whom was just horrendous and the other of whom, looking back, I can only describe as vague and forgettable. I feel bad about that but, that's life. Sometimes people are a slightly more fleshed out version of a memory of a person. That was that dude. 
It was jarring to remember that I ever did a speed dating event. I am so spectacularly bad at dating, it is really just ridiculous. I learned early on in my life that I'm bad at small talk, bad at being polite for polite's sake, bad at inflating egos for the sake of being liked, bad at talking about myself (but exceptionally prolific at writing about myself, apparently), and really just abysmal at flirting, innuendo and taking things to the next level. I develop crushes easily but always assume they are unrequited and often need to be told directly "I like you, let's go out." So speed dating, at the time, seemed like a structured, direct way to do this. You'd see someone's face, hear his voice, pick up on any sociopathic vibes and fill out a handy little checklist and if the feeling is mutual, boom. Date. I've said it before, I'll say it again, we should extend the "If you like me, check yes or no" notes from childhood into adulthood.

And an hour had passed and I hadn't finished my essay and I hadn't done anything productive and short of turning off portions of my brain, I don't have a fix for this.

I just have this stupid blog.

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