It was around 5:30 on a warm, humid sunday evening in broooklyn. I was at my corner coffee shop in prospect heights trying to be inspired. instead, i found myself shamefully diving elbow-deep in to the recycling bin to steal the sunday paper. it’s fair to say i had some time to read. The five incomplete short stories about how hard it is to make friends or date people told me, I had PLENTY of time to read.
it was only a few coffee grinds i had to dust off to seize the the entire metropolitan section. i grabbed the business section too so i looked less pathetic while pulling this out of the trash. business section means you have a job/are a grown-up, right?
after realizing there is still a Job Posting part in the paper - size 4 font, not double spaced - I was reminded how long it has been since I used the paper in this way. not to read stories or get the news of when the next hot-thing to fake being cool at was taking place, but to actually use the paper. like when i was a kid and used my red marker to mark up the times of my favorite shows.
the last page of metro - sunday evening broadcast schedule.
Channels 2 through 68 (many gaps in between channels) were on top with the hours between 7 and midnight posted. Premium cable came next then the regular cable channels. Regular cable posting take up 3/4 of the page. I wonder if this section will still be printed when the internet section is added. if the internet section is ever added. YouTube believes that section is coming soon. They are investing $300 million this year to speed up the popularity of that idea. we’ll see if this page is still around when that happens.
When I was younger and not constantly hungover - in a galaxy far, far away - I remember this page being torn completely in half one morning in a not-so-rare-fight between my brothers, sisters and myself over who got to see what was playing first. We could only watch one show a week so we needed to know what our options were. we had a strategy to create. red markers, black crayons, sharpies stolen from the kitchen junk drawer were de-capped and ready. By this time on a sunday evening - 5:30 ish - when i was a kid, this page was nothing more than the background to our broadcast highlights.
movie listings would be in here too. showing you what local theater was playing your favorite movie. either that or the Sylvester Stalon movie we knew we would be dragged to with dad. I can’t even find that page anymore.
made me start to miss the idea of home. of watching the streetlights turn on or staring at rolly pollies in the garden as they crawled from the gap between the lawn and the cement. And grass stains on the knees of all my jeans. it made me miss knowing dinner was almost ready because you could smell it from the backyard, i miss taking baths with toys and bubbles. brushing my hair and putting it in braids before 8PM for bed. Kisses goodnight and kisses goodbye in the morning. always wearing clean socks and carrying books everywhere i went.
one page. and a What’s on Sunday column somehow brought me back to my childhood. it made me want to pretend again. it made me miss knowing the different sections of the sunday paper like the back of my hand.
i just started to pay attention to a terrible habit that i have.
in a day, i type the words “You” “Face” “twit” “goo” “link” and “monster” more than any other word in my vocabulary. it was a terrifying thought that came to me after i typed “face” into the search bar only to find i had three comments.
“you should write.” was one of them. the rest were thumbs up.
so, being a somewhat bored girl that can be unforgivably obedient at times, i did. i clicked over to my blog after typing “goo” into search. i was staring at an empty template and i realized i had no idea what i was doing.
should i write about how bored i am? no - too many people will tell me to go do something.
should i write about being single? too easy. enough nights out at crowded bars have proven that will be my story for quite some time. i can save that topic for a different day.
so what? i know i’m not nearly as exciting as i should be at 26 and today was full of too many serious moments to even try and breakdown anything real.
i needed noise. i needed something to get me to think about something other than this empty screen.
then i typed in “you.” i needed music and “you” supplies me with music.
see, i go to the same places enough that there is no need to finish the word, the sentence, or even insert a complete thought into anything. so i’m sitting on the floor now thinking about just that.
as rich and interesting as i think my life can be on days, what is it that i’m actually doing in a day. you-goo with face links and twit-monsters?
i’ve become the asshole i’ve been avoiding all these years. i knew it was in me, but my god - i’m just another droid.
i know what makes me happy, i know where to go, i know what to type - but only if it’s something so comfortable that none of it has to be complete. a lazy droid that drinks. jesus christ.
they say, (“they” being the other kind of assholes in the world that spend money on tickets to lectures and “only drink socially”) that it’s important to challenge yourself and always be learning. i agree with what “they” say, but not always by their rules.
i’ve always lived my life in constant motion. i fear change but search for it all the time. at least that’s what i tell myself. then i find myself sitting on a floor visiting the same places in the same room with the same monday night intentions.
something to think about. what words do you search for most in a day? my goal moving forward is to not be able to answer that question this time next year.
maybe then i’ll have something to write about.
it didn’t take more than two hours with a busted coffee pot at my parents house for someone to go out and fetch a new one. we’re coffee drinkers. we drink it to stay up, wake up, digest our food, in the afternoon and before bed. yes, bed. we drink it enough that it hardly works on us anymore. that and growing up in a household of 8, the coffee pot is almost alway on and never strong enough to deal with the beautiful chaos that is home.
my dad and i walked to the store around the corner to pick up a new pot and save the family from some kind of mental breakdown. it’s been a while since we had to replace it and even though it might have been cheaper to replace the entire machine rather than just the pot, my dad felt better about just getting what we needed.
on our walk back sunday afternoon he started to tell me stories of my papouli’s cousin from greece. those have always been my favorite because it makes me feel like i have some family out there. even if they never come over to say hello, it’s nice to know they exisit and i can one day share stories with my children about their history. at least the history of my blood.
we were laughing because a story involving papouli is never one that you can tell around mixed company. he was the only grandfather i ever knew, and he was as crazy as they get. there are tall tales (that are sadly more true than not) about punching his neighbor through the screen door or trying to convince my mom that when i was 6 it was okay if i got on the back of his motorcycle.
anyways, we talked.
i was telling him about some problems i was running into with friends and he was telling me how it all doesn’t matter.
how could it not matter? it seemed to matter a hell of a lot to some people the other night.
then my dad said, “i went to my grandmother one time, your nene, and asked her for some advice. before i opened my mouth she said, ‘george, life is a lot like the railroad tracks you see laid out. on one side of the tracks there are the good things that life brings you, on the other side, the bad. you can never have more or less than one or the other. When you’re up, look down and when you’re down, look up. There is always a balance and you’ll never be on one side of it for long.”
but then my dad asked her, “is that how you’ve seen things in your life?”
She answered, “me? i have a bleeding ulcer.”
we continued to talk the rest of the way home, carrying our tiny new coffee pot, but it got me thinking about my life. it’s not nearly as complicated as it can feel at times. yes, people complicate things, but i wish i could have the logic of my dad more present in my mind when i felt like punching those people out. as he would say, mary - this isn’t your first rodeo.
it’s not the first time i’ve met someone shitty or have been shitty myself or been betrayed or have had my feelings hurt. just have to ride it out and keep looking up. then when you have enough good things going on up there, very quickly shift your gaze and make sure your feet are still planted securely on the ground.
…and always make sure you have coffee. cause shit really falls a parts then.