A Procrastinator’s Self Aggrandizment

1

It occurs to me that as I get older, I tend to have fewer of the realizations – the epiphanies – as I experienced as a young person. It’s probably for the best. I take it as a sign that I’m less sure that what I’ve grasped onto is correct; I no longer believe that there is such a thing as truth. This isn’t to say that certain facts are not by definition true, only that my subjectivity is incredibly limiting, and I do not know that what I would take as science would really be more than hearsay.

2

Case in point – I recently had a fight with my significant other. I think we may still be fighting. I think we’ve been fighting since the day we met, but we refuse to acknowledge it. I no longer believe that we are fighting with each other. I’m beginning to suspect that we are at war with ourselves instead – with reality as we know it and the disappointments and fear of disappointment therein. Perhaps this is the very thing that attracts us to one another.

Or not.

It feels as though – and I do find myself relying on feeling more than fact these days – we can see each other so clearly while the other sits in complete darkness of themselves.

It’s as true as anything, I suppose.

3

Case 2 – in a more scientific sense – I believe what I am told about gravity. I believe that there are things called physics and chemistry and biology. I believe these subjects exist, and that those who study them can produce incredible things. Hell, I believe that these sciences built nearly everything I can see. I cannot, however, quite convince myself that the universe in which all of these sciency things dwell actually exists at all. We could very well be living in a simulation. At the very least, we could be but one dimension among many. We could, in ‘fact,’ be one giant organism experiencing itself through some confused circuitry, at war with itself because the nature of the universal body appears to be that of entropy – of the slow dispersal into the chaotic – while the organizing force called electricity seems to be dissipating, dwindling into cold black death.

4

Did I mention that I’m an optimist?

I get obsessed about things. I read stacks of material and listen to hours upon hours of talking heads, and I think that I may be closer to understanding something. Philosophy and economics and sociology and… well… it all feels like the same thing. But then it occurs to me that these subjects are ‘soft.’ They’re observations made of the behavior of people who understand little about those ‘hard’ sciences and even less about their own motivations throughout a given day.

5

And I wonder what I should be doing.

I wonder if I should be doing anything.

There are plenty of things that I could be doing. Focusing on work, whether corporate or my own writing. I could be reading more, learning more, understanding more. I could be opening up these ideas and feelings with the woman who has agreed to be my wife. I could be working toward growing closer to her, expressing my love for her, cementing my future with her, forming shapes of soulmate architecture as the time dries on the canvas of our personal history.

I could be. I should be.

I’m just finding it hard to believe that the old adage is true: Everything worth having requires work. Nothing is free. I cannot just sit around and wallow in the moment. Roses die as you’re sniffing them.

Anyone who’s ever known me knows that all I’m doing now is finding flowerier ways of saying – of lamenting – the things I’ve always fretted about.

Is that what I’m doing?

6

I am trying to get myself to finish writing my novel(s). I get stuck in my head and I’m trying to dig my way out. It’s like this with everything I do: I think. And sometimes thinking feels as good as doing. And sometimes writing shit in a notebook feels as good as saying it out loud. And sometimes saying shit out loud makes everything more real – makes the GOALS take firmer shape – points me in a definitive direction (a course which I can later alter in mid-stride when the real idea comes into focus).

And maybe that’s the realization. The epiphany, as such: I don’t know where I’m going until I’m moving. I never move until my intention is made clear. I never feel that my intentions are clear until they’ve been said – until they’ve been written – until they’ve been read – until I feel heard – until I’ve at least given myself the chance to feel some external validation – until I’ve been given the opportunity to either a) bask in the glory of a “hell yeah!” or b) give the naysayers the finger and do what I want to do anyway.

 

Time Traveling in Arcadia

“I’m going to Cameli’s,” I told my wife. “It’s Arcadia Comedy.”

“Oh, fun!” she exclaimed. “Are you going up?”

This was her way of asking if she should come with me. Did I need moral support?

“You’re the comedian, baby,” I told her, and it’s true. She’s goddamn hilarious. “I’m going to see if I can find something related to time travel to write about.”

She’s used to my writerly oddness, so she gave me her standard “Okay, Weirdo” face and nodded. She kissed my cheek and sent me on my way.

I didn’t get nervous until I got into my car. As soon as I shifted into drive, Anxiety began digging a hole through my gut, and the only way that I could release the tension was to shout nonsensically.

“AHHHMAHH-AH-UH!”

The windows of my last-century Buick were down. They’re always down. The A.C. quit working about an hour and a half after I bought the piece of junk.

“CHOOOEEEEE!”

I was at a stoplight, and I looked over as I let it out. Staring back was an older lady driving the latest SUV, black. Her windows just happened to also be down.

“HERRRRMERRRT!” I bellowed, her judgmental glare throwing another wrench at my stomach.

The light turned green, and I left her there with her opinions.

Cameli’s is actually pretty easy to get to if you’re headed south on Moreland. Pass the Star Bar, pass the Package Store, and then watch the cramped, no-median road open up to include a turn lane just in time to make the left into the parking lot. I was lucky. I got the last of the free parking.

I have this image in my head of the type of people who frequent “cool” places. I see beards and tattoos. I see plaid and piercings. I see ironic t-shirts and shoes that cost more than my car.

I wasn’t disappointed.

I bought a couple of beers from the bearded bartender and found a seat next to a plaided woman with a septum piercing. It was against the window, so I let my eyes rest on the dark side of a sunset.

I know some of this description sounds a bit derisive, but it’s really more defensive. I’ve never been a “cool,” and while I fetishize plaid as much as the next millennial, the only facial hair I grow is a natural goatee, and I dress like a failed salesman. The “scene” can be intimidating.

I was almost un-uncomfortable. Anxiety still ate at me, but now that I was in it, a couple of PBRs down, I pushed through. Kyle was starting the show.

I was shocked to feel at home as one 40s/50s white guy after another stood up, all of them business casual. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen them sooner. Among the hip, they stuck out like semen stains in black light. They told jokes about their kids and trips to Home Depot. I jotted notes in my book and saw others doing the same.

Maybe I wasn’t so out of place here after all.

Once the Cracker portion of the show was over, the mix of comedy got more interesting. There were newbies and there were veterans. There was the “I’m a whore” comic, and there was the “HEY I’m SUPER Drunk” guy. There was a comic who memorized his set as a monologue and had to keep running over to his table to look up his next line. There was a guy who kept trying to explain his unlanded jokes with sports metaphors.

I watched nearly every other person in the room stand up, hand out their funny, and sit back down. The night was nearly over before I realized that I was one of the only people – out of more than 20 – who wasn’t there to get on stage. It dawned on me that this was a workout room, the equivalent of a writing group or workshop. I simultaneously felt more at home and like I was crashing a private event, but then the comic on stage made me laugh my face off, and I forgot all about it.

I was entertained. I was glad I came. By the time it was all over, my anxiety had fallen dormant, and I was sad that the experience was over.

I drove home in a daze of mild elation. I’d done something different with my day. I’d found something interesting to do.

“So?” my wife asked as I climbed into bed. “How was it?”

“Awesome,” I replied and assumed cuddling position 17.

“Did you find any time travelers?” she asked.

I laughed for the millionth time that evening.

“I completely forgot to look.”