Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Saga of Maintenance.

Hello friends. Long time no blog, as the kids are saying these days.

And that's because there have been remarkable days, but just as many mediocre, and far too many slightly disastrous. This is a problem: I judge my worth by how many catastrophes I avoid per day. Examples: Did I eat only cereal? Did Pinto make a child cry? Did I sleep 15 hours straight on a weekday? Was I reprimanded by some superior, either because I a) slept through work or b) neglected to pick up my dog's droppings (seriously, people--I know it's gross but it's not like I'm tossing used heroin syringes from my pockets like appleseeds) or c) fucked up something else?

So I'm maintaining. When the close of the week approaches, I think, oh, I made it. Another one down. And when the start is imminent, I brace myself, because the way I'm living is a little like standing in the surf during a hurricane, waiting for the big one to come knock me down and sweep me away.

Fortunately, I have very good soles on my shoes.

(I am an excellent metaphorist, clearly).

I'm not complaining, because I brought this on myself. Me and my brother are both somehow engineered to have this sadistic yes I will do everything all at once! mindset that's been hacking away at us since high school. To use other people's cliches: too many irons in the fire. Too many pots on the stove. Or, in the immortal words of one Mr. Bilbo Baggins: "I feel like butter scraped over too much bread."

And I still feel like it's some form of penance for the epic desert that was most of the previous year--the movie watching and beer guzzling and general fucking around. But it's detrimental in a lot of ways because it makes me blind to so much goodness--like my freaking apartment! It's amazing! Huge! Old! Hardwood floors and a working fireplace (okay it's gas but still!).

Sadly I am usually scrambling to find my keys to get to work only marginally later than expected and the floor is covered in dog hair. Seriously. How can one beast produce so much?

But! To drag this already terrible metaphor even further, here are the cleats! Those little wonderments that miraculously prevent my daily drowning! (It's late! I should nap!)

My friends, because they are, miraculously, mine. I realized this in an unfortunate context, but I've learned something about myself--I don't think anybody should like me. I am kind of astounded when they do. I think it fitting that today, while being graciously watched by a friend, Pinto went a little happy-berserk and proceeded to use his torpedo-strength tail and knock over some guitars; it's fitting, because I said to Pinto, "Ah, we make a good pair. Everyone tolerates us." And then the owners of the guitars told me that was false and gave me dinner...again. And some Halloween candy.

(Halloween, incidentally, was a veritable hullabaloo. (Apparently there are only three l's in hullabaloo.) I went as Carrie, aka, I went as a terrifyingly bloody prom queen. It. Was. Awesome.)

My dog, obviously. Because he might have taken to vomiting whenever he eats (only a little), and he might bark like the world is ending when I leave him in friends' backyards for a moment of peace, and he might have eaten pretty much all my shoes, but then he sits on my feet and looks up at me and I'm like "Oh, you son of a bitch--literally--I still love you more than everything and anything."

And I know it's a rerun in terms of this blog, but this place! Wimmyton! My god! I never, ever tire of looking at the houses when Pinto and I go on walks. (I also never tire of the people who are very kind when Pinto leaps the fence to say hello to them even though it looks like he's about to eat their jugular.) The beach, though I haven't seen it in weeks, is right there! (A friend tonight said she was sorry she was late--she'd been drinking whiskey on the beach). And how could we not mention THE SERPENTARIUM!

But, moreover, the little microcosm I'm enrolled in, though lord knows it makes me grind my teeth at night at times, and my poor father has to suffer through my deranged, caffeinated phone calls when I'm feeling especially out of sorts with all that is MFA and literary and--Lord help me--workshopped. (Not that I dislike workshop, but I think their shine is dimming considering this will be my sixth year straight sitting in them).

This week was Writer's Week where classes are canceled and a whole slew of nifty events replaces them. I told my brother this and he got very pissy because there's no such thing as Doctor's Week for med school students. My attendance at such events has been patchy (see the above 15-hours-of-sleep mention) but oh, my little heart starts thudding when I'm there. Partially because it's a glorious thing to hear writers talk, to think I could someday talk so eloquently and, more importantly, deservedly, to get the cold bucket of water over the head that reminds me, Oh right! I like doing this! Writing is great! The world is amazing! Hooray for us all let's have more wine!

But also: Pinto.

No, that one was a joke.

But also: here. North Carolina. The South. The coast. The fringe. The sea and the drawls and the barbecue.

There was a performance a few nights ago of Dusty and Ace, aka two of my professors who flirt with guitar-pickin' and mandolin-strummin'. I went. I was sleepy. I sat at the front. And just as it happened a year ago at one of the first functions I attended, when the kids broke out the guitars and started singing, the lights went down and the music came on:

oh daddy won't you take me back to muhlenberg county

What happened next was an hour of songs I knew and couldn't say how I knew--cowboy tunes, slide guitars, fiddle solos. And, as I found out today, the man in the fanciest cowboy shirt up there is a native Delawarian. Delawarer. Person from Delaware.

And I called my dad as soon as I got home and said, "You would have loved it."

Likewise, tonight there was a reading that concluded in a piece about the ineffable glory and atrocity that is Free Bird. And I wrote in my friend's notebook - "I want to shout hallelujah."

What I mean is this--there's a reason I came here. Something is right in all this mess. Otherwise my blood wouldn't retain the lyrics to songs I never listen to; I wouldn't be here if I shouldn't.

So maybe it's the saga of hallelujah, actually. It's just good, so very good, to know that I can make things as bad as I possibly can for myself, and something, someone, or somewhat is out there to remind me that there's a method to this mayhem, that I'll probably--more than likely--actually definitely--be all right.

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