A couple of years ago I was at a cafe and someone dropped a plate on the floor. Half a second after it exploded they shouted “I AM GROWING AND LEARNING” and I still think about it everyday.
Anyway, during this quarantine there’s so very much that I’m learning about myself, such as:
- Man, I really need people. Like wow, I thought I was very independent and about as close as you could get to a social pariah but not seeing anyone for months now and being trapped in my apartment entirely alone is breaking me up, reorganizing my thoughts in unhealthy ways. (Yesterday a neighbor I barely speak to chatted with me, or rather at me, from her porch and sorta kinda made me feel even worse about this, guilting me into not chatting with them all outside, and I hate that I’m not closer to the community in this neighborhood. But also that’s just not me? I dunno.)
- I’m not the writer that I thought I was: I always wanted to be the chap that makes you cry—the one that writes a giant novel that breaks apart their audience and reconstructs them from absolute nothing. But after years of trying that I see now that it’s just…not me either. I’m not in the Orwell camp of writers, I’m in camp Wodehouse. And I would probably do well to remember that.
- I need to write every day. If I don’t I go completely loopy it seems. Things start to matter less, I start to hate myself, and here is a third thing.
- I tend to put folks up on a pedastal and when I inevitably disappoint them it ruins me. Years ago I met a professor at Reading University and whenever he talked to you it was like you were enveloped in the beam of a giant lighthouse—a great BOOM of attention and loveliness, focused entirely on you—and when he looked away it was like nothing mattered any more. People were terrified of him. And one day, the last day I would ever see him, he came over to my work that was on display. A casual glance around it. And then he caught sight of something: the print catalogue I had worked on. He got up close to it, adjusted his glasses, and whispered: “Wondrous!” And it is probably the best I’ve ever felt in my life. But also this is bad for me. Maybe. Because I always chase that feeling, that thrill of impressing someone that is un-impressible and this might explain something about my romantic life that I do not care to admit.
- I’ve always looked out for people that reveal their vulnerabilities. There’s something courageous about that to me. It’s easy to buy a leather jacket and smoke cigarettes but fuck me is it hard to say something interesting and insightful and honest in a way that just isn’t for soaking up attention.
- I should probably learn to cook more meals. There’s a tiny string of meals I cook endlessly on a loop because I don’t want the hassle of thinking about it. Cooking for one just feels wrong, I guess. Now if there was someone frightening with me that was extremely hard to impress…
- I should probably drink less coffee.