Monday, June 8, 2009

Sometimes the voices in your head make the most sense.

SP and I were discussing today our inability to stay focused and unfragmented. His job makes him crazy, and he's dealing with visas for his upcoming trip to Mongolia. In my case, because I'm very goal-oriented (think Miranda when Steve just wants to cuddle: "How long? I do best when I have an endpoint.") I feel best when I'm working on something, when I have structure. Thing is, now that I'm unemployed, the overarching obsession is that I'm missing an opportunity to Discover My Purpose. It's been three months; should I have started a certificate in counseling? Learned a computer language? Become fluent in Spanish? Instead of a biological clock, I have an ontological clock, and its ticking just keeps getting louder. 

I read an article about people who retrofitted a vintage Airstream trailer with self-sustaining power systems, and I curse myself for not spending money -- when I had it -- on life on the open road. I could have bought a pickup, an Airstream, and be living in Montana, working as a waitress at a diner and screwing cowboys until the next wind blows me back onto the road.

I could start a Master's In English. Learn German/French. Teach English to Mexicans. Attend an Obama for America healthcare-campaign meeting. Justify every breath I take.

You see how it goes. I did sign up for a class in QuickBooks 2008 to brush up my skills there, which took some of the pressure off. (It's at a city college - if you've seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it's where she goes for computer classes. It's near an El stop that reeks of grease from the fried-chicken store underneath it.)

So in between sending out resumes to employers who never respond, I've begun stripping the woodwork in my living room. Doing this while keeping yourself/your cats/your rabbits from getting cancer is no small feat, and my living room looks rather Downtown Mogadishu-ish

Mondays and Tuesdays are my non-babysitting days, so I try to make the most of them (I'm already getting worked up because I feel that I should use them to the max, i.e., drive to Milwaukee/Minnesota/Indiana-James Dean's grave. Tick, tick, tick...) So after sending out a resume and mailing my sister's birthday card, and riding the bike for a bit to keep the kinks out of my hips (and because with all this time I should be able to have a perfectly worked-out body. tick, tick, tick..), I settled down to the next leg of window-stripping (I've cut myself some slack and have as a goal just the windows at first).  The process is heat gun, then paint stripper to remove residue, then scraping, then sanding. Then muscle cream and natural relaxants.

So I was outside heat-stripping a window sash and I realized I hadn't painted any more paintings, and had though to get a series done. Tick, tick, tick...

"But this needs to be finished," I thought.

Then the voice said, "But it's not making you any money."

Ah. Good point. Excellent point.  I finished the sash, put it in the basement, and tomorrow will start the next painting.

Tick. Tick. Tick.


SP said...

That's a defeatist attitude and you know it. It's not an inability to stay focused and unfragmented, but rather an ability to stay unfocused and fragmented.

JC said...

So, we're actually overachievers! So I shouldn't be concerned when I can't get through my To Do list in a single day, because it just means that I'm superb at being sidetracked from everything I want to accomplish.

Did I mention I got mangos today? So good!