And but so then things happen

I’m engaged in another group reading of Infinite Jest. I said I’d blog about it.

But I haven’t.

I’m reading, mostly along with the group, and should be commenting on the boards and the threads and the things.

But I’m not.

This weekend, Pretty in Pink is back in theaters for the 30th Anniversary. And I really want to see it.

But I won’t.

Last week I was enthralled by Beyonce’s video and performance, and by the Super Bowl ads, and the presumption of people who wanted to tell everyone what they didn’t like and didn’t understand. I’m annoyed by those people, and I wanted to write about it.

But I didn’t.

I’ve been meaning to exercise more, and to eat better.

But I haven’t.

I can’t decide if there are Shoulds that I’m just neglecting because I didn’t choose them and therefore actively (if unconsciously) reject them, or if life is subsuming my best attempts to live it.

I doubt that I’m consciously choosing, really, anything. Until five minutes ago, I was standing in front of the TV, which was on for the first time in a week. Standing. Eating popcorn from a bag. Watching previews, waiting for The End of the Tour to come on. I saw it in the theater, cried for an hour, and pre-ordered the DVD that night.

Standing and eating from a bag. Thinking: I should blog, I should read, I should exercise, I should…

I’m tired. I should go to bed.

I’m tired of navigating a divorce and shared custody. I’m tired of doing my absolute best, at 200 mph, at work. I’m tired of all the shit that’s involved in being an adult…watching dishes while feeling helpless about racism and sexism and poverty and hatred and ignorance and fear. And laundry. That, too. I’m tired of laundry. And I’m tired of being guilty for being tired of laundry, when there are real issues in the real world.

I’m horrified by the food choices in The End of the Tour. That’s wrong, I know. Two humans painfully uncomfortable with their existence, trying to make a connection, trying to be understood and to understand. But I focus on the Pop-Tarts and cigarettes. Because seriously? Red Vines while discussing technological ways to dissociate from humanity disturbs me in ways I can’t, articulate.

As I eat popcorn from a bag. Finally sitting.

Can’t find words, or won’t. Can’t make food, or won’t. Is this what failure looks like? Exhaustion? Modern life? Low-level psychic pain?

Popcorn someone else has popped feels like a gift. I’ve gotta be honest. It might ruin the world, processed food put in a bag and trucked across the state…but I’d rather have food someone else made for me. Or, rather, made for millions of people. I’m willing to be one of millions. Nondescript. Boring. Average.

I worried that rereading Wallace would make me untenably sad. It has made me both happy and lonely, which is exactly what I remember. The pages feel different, in the way that reading Calvin and Hobbes as a kid and then as a 40-year old disappoints because you’ve grown, without noticing, to someone who identifies with the parents rather than the protagonist. The prose, the characters, and the situations still grab me. Predictably, though, I’m already teetering. I want to wallow in the book and the movie and the articles written after his death. I’m pulled, increasingly, by nostalgia. And hope.

“I think that if there’s a sort of sadness for people under 45, it has something to do with pleasure and achievement and entertainment, like a sort of emptiness at the heart of what they thought was going on. And maybe I can hope that some parts of the book speak to their nerve endings a little bit.”

There’s a thing, in human existence, called understatement. Just saying. Speak to my nerve endings a little bit? Ah…yeah. It does that.

I’m feeling clingy, and it doesn’t much matter what I cling to. I don’t want to blame the book, but it’s hard not to. Set in Tucson and Boston—two of four of the biggest cities in my life—filled with tennis and intrigue and menacing specters of helplessness and entertainment and death and life’s meaninglessness. Also at least 50% of my life, right there.

So, like, good times, but with existential crisis.

I should totally never post this. There’s no photo, no point, no story. Breaks every rule of writing.

And it’s all I have to offer. It’s all I have.


7 thoughts on “And but so then things happen

  1. I wish I could give you a big hug right now. I remember I had a “year from hell” several years ago. I was crying every day….and hiding in the shower to cry so that my husband wouldn’t know that I was crying yet again. He told me I could choose my attitude. Someone else said that “Peter and Paul were in prison and could still rejoice.” I wanted to scream and shake people by the shoulders and say it wasn’t that simple. During that year, I cried and asked God to take away the pain. But when I finally got to the other side I prayed that God would help me remember the pain….I wanted to be able to understand when others were going through the same things and couldn’t control their feelings or sadness. I still remember the grit of it all, how awful I felt. But at the same time, I (just like those in my own life who were genuinely trying to help and didn’t know how) don’t have the right words. All I can say is that I know you are loved.

    • That might be the most lovely first comment on a post I’ve ever received. Thank you. There is definitely grit. Under the eyelid and in the soft corners sandy grit. But all is not hopeless or lost. I have a LOT of joy and gratitude in my life. And so many more upsides than down.

  2. Got me thinking about my non-random list of nostalgic places. Boston, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Tuscaloosa, Iowa, Nashville, Provo, Carolinas. Crazy parts of my life too. Some were wringers, some stinkers, but all are lasting in my memory and who I came to be. I wouldn’t be here without there.
    Fuck laundry. It can bite me too.

    • All this “delivery your groceries” stuff is so off the mark. Come to my house, put away the stuff on the counter, do the laundry, listen to two stories, and give me a big hug. Then leave. That’s the app-based service I want.

  3. I’m going through a separation and shared custody and your words touched me. I wish I could more accurately express how, but just knowing that I’m not alone. That someone else is trying, trying, trying and is so tired. I feel you. And, in that, you’ve also given me hope. And, inspired me to read more.

    • Good luck with everything, Kathleen. I don’t understand why I’m so emotionally exhausted, and it seems ludicrous to me to write it, but I’ll be damned if just looking at the catbox doesn’t make me want to curl into bed and give up. I’ve never been so overwhelmed by lame little things that should be no big deal.

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