but I have gotten out of the habit of writing daily. I’m very proud of the groove that I was in at the beginning of the year, but like anything else, skip too many days and the habit changes. Writing wasn’t the only thing that changed: I got out of piano practice while Jesus Christ was traveling, and I totally got away from my desire to find one Instagram-worthy shot each day. I was worried about being cut off from others while not having a computer, but because I use it to work on things for myself, I felt more cut off from myself. I feel more normal now.
After sleeping way early on Monday night, and being up for 21 hours straight on Tuesday, I finally evened out on Wednesday morning and woke up rested and ready to face the day. Nobody was home when I was getting ready to leave. Sometimes I want to be the kind of person that wakes up and blasts Katrina and the Waves the second I get up, but on quiet, still mornings I usually quietly eat and read before leaving the house.
I had to start hustling as soon as I got to work. There was going to be a meeting at noon, and I spent the morning rushing around so that there was good news to report to the others there. I had to drop off some posters at a couple of the middle schools that are in the district I work in.
I was so struck yesterday by the strange architecture of schools here in the Northwest. Some things, like the perpetual smell of old fried food near the cafeteria or the bizarre colors that no sane adult would choose (a murky forest green that is somehow too dark, a rusty red-brown that looks like old shitstains), were familiar from my time in school. Others, like the new bank lobby approach to visitor security or the fact that the fronts of schools are engineered with autos and busses as first priority, probably have more to do with the schools being built in a post-Fortress America era than anything else. I found myself very nostalgic for the 1970’s open, outdoor campuses that I went to school in. The buildings were falling apart, but I loved the large eaves that formed giant wraparound porches, or that each teacher could prop a door open to let a cool breeze come through. I remember that my local school, Barbara Webster, (built with New Deal money to segregate away immigrant children in “Spanishtown;” to this day it serves mostly ESL and immigrant children) was a curiosity because it was an elementary school with an interior corridor. The schools here, or at least the ones that look like they were built quickly, look like bunkers, and the only thing that makes it not a sad environment to me is that the kids don’t know any different yet.
I came back for the planning meeting for an art show fundraiser coming up in a month. It was an unusually sane meeting for that working group, and my spirits were lifted by the doyenne of the local art gallery. She’s a woman in her late 60’s that runs the local gallery, and has such a generous and enthusiastic and fun spirit, and so incredibly filled with don’t-give-a-fuck. We were talking about ways to attract teen entrants into the art show, and she made a crack about gift certificates to a local dispensary. It’s the kind of harmless, not cruel joke I might have made if I wasn’t… well, I’m not sure why exactly. She’s fascinating to me, and I wish that I could have met her at 25, because I imagine that she’s always been like this, or perhaps was once a much more buttoned up person.
After the meeting, I had a self-loathing fast food meal, then came back to find kids filling up the building. Nothing too crazy happened all day. When we were headed out to recess on the playground, I had one of those out-of-body, “is this my life?” moments where all I could see was the kids hanging off me, the cheap plastic whistle around my neck, my polo shirt and ill-fitting black pants. The moment passed, and it’s incredible that it doesn’t happen more.
By the end of the day, however, I was BURNT OUT. Toast. Nothing more to give. I came home, made myself dinner, and tried to watch a few episodes of Cowboy Bebop.
I’ve got a mixed reaction to Cowboy Bebop. But first, a digression through music:
One of the things I’ve been thinking about in the last year is learning to trust my instinctual likes and dislikes of things a little more. There are two things in balance with each other: everybody has an initial primary response to something, whether they like it or dislike it. The other side of that is the things that take time to appreciate, because you don’t understand context, or because you don’t understand the style, or because it’s unfamiliar. About every four months, I get irritated with myself for having an iPhone full of music that I’m not excited about that I feel like I have some obligation to try and like. And each time that happens, I try and remind myself to listen to myself, that I will like the extra time to bond with music I really love and won’t feel left out of the music that I’m trying to like.
Now, back to Bebop. Usually I have a much better nose for TV than for music. For whatever reason, I’m willing to try harder with an album that I think is boring than sit through a TV show that doesn’t interest me. And while I’ve liked some episodes of Cowboy Bebop, I think it’s past the point where it’s going to grip me as one of “my shows.” I think a lot of the show hinges on whether you like the character of Spike and find him charming. Now it’s probably unfortunate timing, but I’m not that interested in him. Through no fault of the show, I’ve been bombarded by snarky, dark, smoking anti-heroes on my TV for the last decade. The show’s jazz-saturated aesthetic and animation are still strong, as well as the presence of the totally winning Radical Edward (Edward is the sexist, annoyingly-voiced kawaii character that I usually hate, but something in the genderfluid self-invention of her names and identity, as well as her sunny disdain for the dark clouds that hover over her other shipmates keeps my interest).
After dinner, I headed out to my coffee shop to Nighthawks it and fill out a job application, which I completed and submitted with many knots in my stomach. After this, I go to bed and wake without remembering my dreams.