Sunday, March 8, 2009

12 percent fun.

Here are things that are happening RIGHT NOW:

1. I am listening to this song (it's called "Skylark" by Arrah and the Ferns). Lately I have been swallowing a lot of pop music. When I'm in the car, I find myself almost afraid to get through the dreamy folk James put on the perpetually-in-play mix CD he made me months ago. Sometimes I flip over to 97.1 ("We Play All The Hits: Not Just Some Of Them") hoping with every fiber of my being that T.I. or Taylor Swift will come on. I guess the fear is not really fear of music but fear of the inevitable thought processes that come with slow songs. (What am I doing? Where am I going? What does my heart want?) All uncomfortable questions, frankly.

2. I am drinking Abita Amber and eating a Hubig's Apple Pie. Recognize how Louisianan this digestive choice is: Both are quintessential products of this state, and points of somewhat unfounded pride. Subfacts: A. Pie is my favorite food. I like that I moved somewhere where there is a famous brand of individually-wrapped snack fruit pie. I think that's appropriate for me. B. I didn't have my first beer until December 2007. Since then, I think I can finally make appropriate choices concerning the kinds of beers I like -- and I'm picky. I don't like light beers because they're too fruity, and they remind me of what I think pee would taste like. I don't like dark beers because they're too heavy and if you drink them really fast you think you're going to vomit and sometimes you do. I like medium beers. These days I'm in an Abita Amber rut. It's relatively cheap and always satisfying. Still, drinking alone? Is this bad? Are you allowed to have a beer alone?

3. My dashboard says it's 76 degrees outside. It's night. Bugs are making noises and I'm wearing a sundress and my fan is buzzing and there are bats screeching in the big oak trees and you'd swear -- I mean, you would positively SWEAR -- that it was summer. Friends have been telling me that Portland is the most depressed city in the country because of the gray skies (I said it's probably more likely that Portland is the most depressed city because all the emo kids in the WHOLE COUNTRY decided to emigrate there in the last five years; and it's also so hard to find a job since all the baristas and gelato-servers nationwide have taken up residence near Alberta). If this is true, New Orleans must be up there around the happiest cities because the sky for the last few days has reinstated my appreciation for the color blue.

4. I'm at my desk. This only happens when I'm DESPERATELY frustrated at my workrate. Generally, I work in a whirlwind of papers, food, magazines, and half-done crosswords cloaking my bed. But tonight nothing is coming out. This is possibly (probably) because I am burned out. Here I am blogging. There is work to be done. But since I hit a rut, I figured blogging might make things feel a bit better. Already I am experiencing relief.

I have concerns about the direction my life is going. I am feeling less fun than ever. I feel like when I see people my unfunness translates over to them. I feel like I am a depressing presence, in other words. I am less fun around my students, and on the phone with my family, and in my day-to-day interactions. I am hitting that deep bottom again where I'm working the minimal amount (well... the minimal amount necessary to get everything done, that is) and then lying in bed watching YouTubed videos of Boy Meets World reruns and sleeping while clutching bags of popcorn and Parmesan cheese. I am deeply undatable right now. I am acting like a depressed person. I am not pleased with any of this progress. This weekend I spent all too many hours locked away behind my laptop, browsing useless "resources" and Facebook stalking. It is time to turn it around again.

So I am building a plan for this week. And here it goes.

1. Check out a book at the library to read.
2. Double the length of my daily run.
3. See "The Watchmen" at the Prytania, despite the reviews.
4. Go to live music at least one time.
5. Do some recreational writing, reading, and listening.
6. Finish that fucking song.
7. Get to work at least one day this week without driving my car.
8. Write all four of the letters I have been putting on my to-do list for 10,000 months.
9. Cook something new.
10. Find some really funny jokes.

I'll let you know how it goes. I know it's pretty basic stuff, but look at how sloppy I've gotten. 12 PERCENT FUN!?!?!?!? That's unacceptable. Sophie Johnson, it is time to get a fucking hold of yourself.

And now: Thoughts about the summer:

Dear World,
What are you doing this summer?

I am not sure what I am doing this summer and now it is March. I have all of two months to figure this quandary out. Soon it will be May and I'll by lying in bed wishing I had made this decision in March, so I ought to make this decision in March before it gets to be May.

My options are these:
  • Adventures.
  • Adventures in New Orleans, because I have to pay rent here anyway.
  • Adventures in Portland, because I have all kinds of family and friends there, although no possibility for work whatsoever.
  • Adventures at summer camp, with children, and arts and crafts. I am very good at lanyards. I am a Girl Scout. That is why.
  • Adventures in Greece (?!).
  • Adventures with you. Where are you going to be?

There are honestly few highlights since the last time I wrote. The week of Mardi Gras I saw improv in New Orleans finally, and James' roommate CJ is one of (if not the) funniest people I have ever seen perform. Otherwise improv in New Orleans is a sad state of affairs. I made a pact with myself to start going to Ogden After Hours every week after seeing Modern Skirts on Thursday night and feeling everything inside me swell with happiness. I realized I liked vegetables more now than I have ever like vegetables in my young career. James took me to Bennachin's for dinner; potlucks and picnics and more food than I can possibly communicate at Leah's; a big curry dinner and Catchphrase with general friends. A lot of food and access to people I love a lot. There's some element missing, of course. But I suppose (perhaps) there always must be or there would be nothing to reach towards. Today I spent an hour composing an updated handwritten list of all the things I love. Isn't it marvellous when that list is freakishly long?

I think my advice to myself in this instant -- which may translate to you and may not -- is to breathe deeply and enjoy all there is to love about being alive. Too often I forget and get lost in needless frustration. How lucky we are to have... this life.

Is that cliche? Here is something not cliche: