Anarchy and Action

I have been overloaded with obligations this weekend, and all I wanted was to curl up in a cave and read Atlas Shrugged.

I am absolutely terrified, if I’m being honest. Which is even more reason why I should show up for everything. I don’t want to continue being the person who signs up but doesn’t show up.

I mean, I’ve got to have material to write about, don’t I?

Tomorrow I’m meeting with the Women’s Center to help plan the Take Back the Night event. Then I am attending a going away party for my favorite soldier from the cafe, with lots of wine and social anxiety.

The next morning I am to wake up early and meet my friend for breakfast. And then volunteer. And then I am headed to Lawrence for dinner and a poetry slam with a friend.

And then I am back to work the next day.

Weekend gone.

But, if I can manage to follow through with these plans, I will feel very good about myself. And even if “getting a headache” would relieve stress for the time being, a weekend like this will come up again in the future and I will have the same problem. So I might as well face the problem now, dance to the music I have problems keeping time with, and show up.

Because really, what’s the worst that could happen?

New friendships?

Yeah, that’s pretty awful.

I am sitting at Henry’s on Eighth at 9:20 on a Saturday morning. I am at a table right next to the counter, and a girl is quizzing the barista about all his different coffees, attempting small talk that he is having none of. And then a folk song comes on, and I am horrified as I see her in my peripheral vision beginning to dance. The barista looks equally nonplussed, but it’s his reaction she is going for. So he attempts to fain amusement. I am filled with great joy with being safety tucked away in my corner table with my coffee and laptop.

Someone is the back just made a comment about “the man” and it has spurred a conversation about modernity and generational gaps.

“…Things that are weird for weird’s sake. I wore this hat, because it’s Thursday. Might not have meant the same thing 20 years ago.”

“It’s just one of those songs you have to dance to,” the girl at the counter exclaims, as she continues her freedom strutting.

So I’m sitting here drinking organic Peruvian coffee and scoping out hipsters with big chunky glasses, fucking awesome arm tattoos, unisex hoop noserings. Then there are the hippies in sandals, tie dye t-shirts, sweatpants and dreadlocks. Then there are the people out for their morning jog, or getting ready for work. Semi radical ideas coursing through their brains and uniting all through their differences as they read the local newspaper.

Trina had to be at work at 8am this morning, so I got up with her and went downtown.

Still a bit drunk, I went to the Mirth cafe, as I knew their black bean quesadillas were exactly what I needed to help my impending hangover.

Realized I had never been to a restaurant by myself before, and quite enjoyed it.

I took a table

I am barefoot lying in South Park in Lawrence, right next to Mass Street watching all the people walk by and feeling the sunshine pulsing on my back.

On my stomach writing on a yellow legal pad, using my jacket as a pillow, listening to Bon Iver and attempting to collect my thoughts from the past few days.

Hoola hoops, kites, frisbees. Feeling one with life.

Spoke with one of my old housemates today who is living at the homeless shelter now. And spoke with another who is about to lose her job because she refuses to shave her armpits. She’s going to shave her head this summer and wants me to join her in doing it for women’s rights.

This morning Trina had to be at work at 8, so we woke up around 7 after staying out til godknowswhen. I was definitely still a bit drunk when I left the house this morning.

Walked downtown, straight to the Mirth cafe, as I knew exactly what my slightly intoxicated body needed.

As I walked in, the waiter asked me, how many? And I said, “just one”. Thought about how I’d never done this before- a solo date to a restaurant with wait staff. Turned out to be a very satisfying experience.

Took a nice little table int he back corner with all windows. Got a coffee and opened up a book while I waited on my black bean quesadillas. The waiter was super nice and asked me about the book I was reading, but also respected my solo date and gave me my space.

And as I’m sitting here writing this in the park, he literally walks by as I write that. Of course. Life is so weird. Pretty sure I have a god mind sometimes.

So finished my food and coffee, and was no longer drunk, but now felt close to horrible. I was drinking whiskey gingerales last night with Trina, and I usually just stick with beer when I got out, but I’ve been saying yes to everything this weekend, and she was buying so I went for it. Find out later that night as I’m stumbling home that she’d been buying doubles for us all night, not singles. I was relieved when she told me this, as the amount of drinking I had assumed I had consumed should not have put me in the state I was in. Running into all the trees I could on the way home.

Back to my morning. Left the cafe feeling a bit sick. And if I had still lived in Lawrence, that would have been the end of my day.  I would have immediately gone home and gone to bed. As I was walking back to my car I tried to compose some plan that would land me in a bed, or a bed like situation. Considered passing out in my car for a few hours.

Just used the park bathrooms. Never knew they were there after three years of living in Lawrence. Of course there was no soap, so I walked down Mass and stopped at the community building to wash park bathroom off my soul. I’d never been there before, but all the hippies I lived with last year used it like a second home. There were a ton of seemingly professional basketball players slamming baskets on the court and I watched them for a bit. Great.

Walked out- a guy on the stairs with a red bandana and red dictionary.

“You okay?” He asks me.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Thanks.”

I must look like hell today, and I’m completely fine with it. I’m ready to travel. I am in a traveling mindset. I am in love with the fact that I am wearing the exact same thing I wore yesterday, that I was able to pop right out of bed this morning and out onto the street because I was already dressed in my Night Out Pants Part II clothes. There is nothing worse than looking nice when you feel shitty. No shower, no clothes change, mohawk enhanced with grease and adventure. I absolutely adore it when I’m in travel mode. It’s also, luckily, when I am also in writing mode. Makes for some good experiences.

I am barefoot lying in South Park in Lawrence, right next to Mass Street watching all the people walk by and feeling the sunshine pulsing on my back.

On my stomach writing on my yellow legal pad, using my jacket as a pillow, listening to music and attempting to collect my thoughts from the past few days.

Saturday morning Trina had to be at work at eight, so we woke up around seven after staying out til godknowswhen. I was definitely still a bit drunk when I left the house that morning.

I walked downtown alone, straight to the Mirth cafe, as I knew exactly what my slightly intoxicated body needed.

As I walked in, the waiter asked me, how many? And I said, “just one”. Thought about how I’d never done this before- a solo date to a restaurant with wait staff. Turned out to be a very satisfying experience.

Took a nice little table in the back corner with all windows. Got a coffee and opened up a book while I waited on breakfast. The waiter was super nice and asked me about the book I was reading, but also respected my solitude and gave me my space.

I finished my food and coffee, and was no longer drunk, but now felt close to horrible. I usually just stick with beer when I go out, but I’ve been saying yes to things this weekend, and Trina was buying whiskey ginger ales. What I didn’t know at the time was that those whiskey ginger ales were doubles, not singles. Made much more sense when I learned this as to why I could not seem to help running into trees on the walk home.

Left the cafe feeling a bit sick. And if I had still lived in Lawrence, that would have been the end of my day.  I would have immediately gone home and gone to bed. As I was walking back to my car I tried to compose some plan that would land me in bed. Considered passing out in my car for a few hours.

 

Pulling myself together, I head to the farmer’s market as I never went while living here. Could never get up the guts to go. It is the event of the year for all of the beautiful hipsters that terrify me. The farmer’s market is like going to a coffeeshop, except a coffeeshop where everyone is comfortable engaging in grotesquely public displays of genuine interest in one another. No small talk, baby. We are in automatic friend mode with a mere smile. Absolutely horrifying because it’s so cool.

 

I saw some old housemates there, but passed through like a ghost, leaving my headphones in my ears with the obvious antisocial disclaimer. No surprise fast friendships over artisan cheese or local honey for me today, thank you. Made a loop, then booked it. Leaving all the wonderful tattooed granolas behind in my dust.

 

Found sanctuary in Henry’s cafe, and got a coffee and sat down to write. The quiet solitude of a writer’s life was not mine this weekend, as Brian showed up minutes later. Brian is very close to my equivalent in terms of social energy and ease, so he was the perfect person to share my farmer’s market experience part two with. He’d never been either, and really wanted to go. I got my coffee to go and headed back into the fields with Brian, putting on my protective armor of scarf and leather jacket.

 

“I don’t think you should ever do something as a means to an end. Only an end in itself.” -Sam

 

The farmer’s market was much easier with a friend, scarf and leather jacket aside, Brian was my true shield against the lovely realms of the organic unshowered. He of course knew everyone there, and my second time at the farmer’s market consisted of a lot more handshaking and head nodding.

We got some food from our housemate’s organic food stand and then went on a walk.

Brian and I meandered through the old neighborhoods in East Lawrence, evidence of spring in every yard.

We had a great conversation about being awkward, and how we’d always considered that a flaw in ourselves, but were now beginning to see that other people found us refreshing in our inability to be suave. How people see us slightly embarrassing ourselves daily and realize they can embrace their authentic selves as well.

We decided we have a civic duty to humiliate ourselves. The people whom social interactions are hard for are the people that should push themselves to have them most.

That being said, there is definitely a difference between why Brian or I would avoid a social situation. There is anxiety and fear, and then there is a genuine desire to be alone. I’m going to try to listen better to the reasons behind my impulses. If if is fear, I am going to always try to engage in those situation from now on. If it is a genuine need to collect my thoughts and spend time alone, I am going to try not to feel guilty for that.

We ended up outside of another Co-op in town, the Cosmic Beauty School. I’d never been there before, and it was great to put a face with a name. We sat on haybales outside the house and watched the little ducks in the yard. They were brown and soft like puppies, and purred like cats while they ate grain from the ground. They of course cured any remnants of a hangover that were still lingering in me. Magic ducks.

There was no fence in the yard, and the ducks just migrated around the neighborhood as we sat there and watched them. A cat came up and harassed Brian. I tried coaxing it toward me, but the cat was having none of it.

We talked about Co-ops and people and change and conflicts. Then we got up and headed back downtown.

Brian and I got to the park around eleven. I had seen a past housemate at the bars last night, and she had invited me to food not bombs brunch.

We got to the park and no one was there, and we stretched out underneath a big tree in the sunshine and lazily talked. It was absolutely wonderful. Time was completely irrelevant.

Awhile later, an anarchist friend pulls up a big cart carrying a loads of food.

“You guys want lunch?”

We sit up and start unpacking Food Not Bombs homemade brunch of pancakes, scrambled eggs and soup. Sitting in a circle, telling stories of grizzly bears and other large and terrifying animals.

A bit later my old housemate joins us, and then two co-opers from another house in town join our circle. I didn’t know them until I heard their names, then realized I had been hearing about both of them for ages. They also knew who I was by association, so it was a long coming friendship finally set in motion.

It was an absolutely perfect day for a picnic with six random people.

Across the street, they drove a truck by and dumped a load of brightly colored easter eggs for a hunt. I ran across and grabbed a blue on, opening it to find it was empty. I kept it as a metaphor for the day. I’m not sure yet what the metaphor is, but I am in the process of figuring it out.

After brunch Brian and I walked with Sam and Erika back to a campus kitchen to wash the dishes, and put the food away. Got to walk up those killer vertical jayhawk hills again. Realize that all the running I am doing these days only puts me at equal footing with all the energy expended walking those hills on a daily basis in college.

Washing the dishes, out of nowhere we are launched into this wonderfully hesitant yet open and impassioned anarchy conversation.

Am really excited about the ideas we discussed, and gifted each other with. Will not get into them here, but am excited to think about them later, and hopefully play out in my daily life.

Left soon after with lots of hugs. Then wandered back down to the park and resumed my sunspot under the tree, this time alone. And I realized I had so much to write about I didn’t even know where to begin. So I laid down, took off my shoes, got comfortable in grass and closed my eyes.

The rest of the afternoon Saturday was pure bliss as well, but with a freeing, solo traveler mindset as opposed to the community mindset of the morning.

Downtown there were hippies playing acoustic guitars on every street corner. As I walked by, I saw a highschool classmate busking across the street, putting on a magic show. I walked over and joined the crowd, and he immediately recognized me and pulled me into his performance. I remembered why I am terrified of street performers, but I also realized it wasn’t so bad. And made me feel really spontaneous and alive.

Headed home around 5:30, did not want to leave. I still feel like I live in Lawrence in my heart. People were asking me why don’t I move back? And I don’t really have a good answer. I don’t want Lawrence to be my all, but I love it as a treat. I want to move out of Kansas, and Lawrence is somewhere I know I could stay for quite a long time, only increasing my connection to it the longer I stay. In a way it’s a black hole. A lot of people never leave it for precisely this reason.

Drove back home, and Trina drove to Manhattan as well. We made it here just in time for the show “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” being put on at a local bar in town. I went out in Manhattan the other night, and the whole town was going crazy over it, so I thought I should give it a go.

I was an amazing production, and I was so proud that this super progressive play was being put on with such enthusiasm in somewhere like Manhattan, Kansas.

Got to bed way too late, with work in the morning, but the weekend was worth it.

The flow.

Did not make it to yoga tonight, but it was definitely worth it.

Sat down with my friend after work and am now three hours deeper into Saudi Arabian culture than I was when I woke up this morning.

Am in awe of the world and the people that inhabit it. Am also in awe of how little I know, and the opportunity to learn it.

Went to the grocery store on a whim this morning wearing my standard tank top, baggy sweatpants and moccasins that fit me like a cartoon character. Had my heavy lifting keys in my pockets practically pulling my pants down with their weight. Tattoos and bedhead for all to see. For a minute, I questioned whether I was allowed to be this comfortable in public. I almost instantaneously responded to my question with a resounding, fuck yes.

Still, I like to think I looked pretty scary. I think I would stay away from me if I saw me in the street.

But I realized today that as much as we focus on appearances and make generalizations about how people look- it’s almost never the looks that influence our interactions with them. There is something deep beneath reason and logic, an intuition and a falling into place where people, unknowingly most times, respond to vibes. To understand when other people are open for interaction- to understand when it is going to benefit the both of you to stop in the produce section next to a shelf of tomatoes and discuss the past five years of your lives with another. To understand, but to still have no fucking idea why it works.

It’s so odd.

I was in a really open and free mood today. And my tattooed, casually thrown together disrespectful appearance was irrelevant to the vibes I was giving off. All of my old lady coworkers from the grocery store from six years ago kept popping up to talk to me this morning, and asked me about my life and what I was doing these days.

It was almost staged how they kept appearing- and I wondered why some days it feels like you’re a ghost, and other days it’s like you’re the epicenter of the universe.

And today was the first day since I graduated that I didn’t feel like I was apologizing for letting other people down with their expectations for me when I talked to them. I felt like I was living my life exactly as I was supposed to- and part of my life this year was to remember that little old ladies that you make flower arrangements with when you’re 17 still remember you when you’re 23. And you still remember them.

And also, of course, my application for a job I have always wanted is being reviewed tomorrow. In a city completely different than Chicago. Literally less than 12 hours after I sign in blood with Diana that I am moving with her and we are getting shower curtains that look like maps of the world.

But that is very typical of life. Either nothing is happening, or it seems like everything is. I should have known once I opened up to an option of the future with Diana that it would be like a floodgate for other options. Literally all I had to do was call this employer back for the next step in the application process, it was the easiest thing of my life- and also one of the most built up and avoided endeavors of the year. But it was only a few words. It’s only ever a few words.

Today I was reminded of how easy it is to progress in life- one really just has to show up. That is one of the hardest things in the world for me- but when I do it, it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. And then all of the adorable little old ladies come out of hiding and tell me I am wonderful and they are excited for me, and I tell them they are wonderful and I am excited for them.

So what I’m saying is- progress can suck. But the worst part about progress for me is the trouble I cause myself by building things up to bigger than they are.

All it takes is a few words. A decision to jog downtown last night and end up on Diana’s front porch where she asks me to be her roommate in the big city. A decision to cross off the to do list I make and remake daily- to make a call which sets the wheels in motion for backup plans and maybe even plans. A decision to go to the grocery store because I need tomatoes- and reconnect with people I have not seen in half a decade, reminding me that some things might be more important then stressing out.

My day started off a bit shit, and I did not want to speak to anyone or do anything.

Few people asked me how I was doing, and I decided to answer like a Russian, brutally honest.

“Not great.”

And it was really freeing to not be eternally happy for once, taking off my work face and becoming a person.

And, because I let my downer side show for a bit, my smile won out in the end, and I ended up having a great day. Realized these people who I see on a daily basis are turning into friends. They have the power to lift my mood.

And seeing lots of beauty in humanity. And lots of friendship and connections and random acts of kindness.

It turned out to be a good day.

I did happen to slam the cash register drawer closed on my finger in front of a line of people. But that’s pretty status quo.

My coworker also told me in passing while we were making smoothies that she wanted to duct tape me to the wall so she could beat me to death. Which is pretty normal. But I just wanted you all to know, in case you need to fight any legal battles in the future.

Last night Joe and I touched on the impending world revolution our generation seems to be building up to.

And today at work I was thinking about how I wished more people talked about a coming revolution, because then it might have a better chance of coming into place.

Quiet French roast regular comes up and orders his usual. Hands me his dollar bills, casually adding “It’s just money. We won’t need it soon, anyway.”

And I decide to prompt him.

“Oh yeah?”

He responds as if it’s just the most casual conversation in the world.

“Jobs will become a thing of the past as computers and machines increasingly replace us, and the concept of money will disappear with our jobs. It’s already happening, it’s just going to get worse. And our generation is going to break at a certain point, and we’re going to have to figure out something new, or else computers will be controlling us in the near future.”

I just grinned. So happy to be the one listening to alternative theories, not the one attempting to spew them out.

My first cross country coach from middle school who taught me how to love running came to the cafe this morning. And he remembered my name. After ten years!

He was with his wife, my high school cross country coach.

And I was so happy to see them both.

And I said, thank you.

Thank you both so much.

Thank you thank you thank you.
I run everyday still, and it’s because of you guys.

They are some of the humblest people I know, and they just smiled.

But get this- he asked me to help coach his team this fall!

I was like, oh, I was never the best–

And he was all, “It doesn’t matter. You were out there. You were the start of it!”

And I gave him my email- and he sent me an email right away detailing the position and all.

Actually think it might be a really fun thing to do. He and his wife were a source of great inspiration for me back then. It would be awesome to be around their energy again.

Our entire town is coated in a thick layer of fog today.

Raining hard when I went to work this morning in the early morning hours, absolutely beautiful.

After work I drove out to the lake. Driving across the bridge felt like crossing over onto the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The water was indistinguishable from the horizon in the heavy fog.

Today is the day to lose myself in a book. Yesterday, not so much.

Yesterday I got home from work late, absolutely exhausted but propelled forward with the prospect of getting home and taking it easy the whole night.

When I finally did get home, I realized the self defense class I had signed up for months ago started that day. I did not want to go, and flirted with the idea of fucking it off all afternoon. I actually told myself I wasn’t going, just so I could have a nice afternoon. This class was a major inconvenience to my important plan of pajamas, pie and the How I Met Your Mother finale for the evening.

Somehow, about two minutes before the class was to begin, I put on my sweatshirt and tennis shoes, and booked it to the gym. In the end I was only about 10 minutes late to the first class– not the worst first impression I’ve ever given, by far. I felt a bit guilty for barging in late, but then I also felt very proud of myself for getting there at all.

Walking in, I noticed everyone had taken their shoes off at the door. I slipped mine off, and joined the group in a fairly discreet manner.

The instructors turned out to be really engaging and inspiring- a woman and a man. The woman was quiet and stoic, the man tattooed and spunky.

I soon find out that this is not a class where I will learn how to knee someone in the balls and poke their eyes out with my keys. This is a class where they are actually going to teach us to fight, and to think like a fighter. A state of mind I’ve never even entertained before.

When I was younger I wrote off everything mildly violent- never wanting understand it fully, as it seemed to stand in the way of peace.

But this fighting that these people were proposing to me- a type of fighting that gave the weak dominance over the strong- was intriguing.

So, I’m not learning how to pull someone’s hair. I’m learning how to practice Jiu Jitsu, apparently.

The man who’s teaching it grew up street fighting, told us we will one hundred percent see someone choked to sleep in the near future in the class.

Also asked if anyone had a stunt gun, and would like to try it on him.

He teaches self defense to soldiers in the army, and claims he will treat us no different. And this is going to be a rough and emotional class, but he guarantees if we stick with him, we’ll walk out of here a different person.

And then he says, everyone partner up and get between each other’s legs.

So that’s how I spent an hour of my life yesterday. On top of, in between and underneath two girls I had just met seconds before as we learned the four basic self defense positions of Jiu Jitsu.

It was one of the strangest experiences of my life, to be honest.

I would never have left the comfort of pie and pajamas for the class if I had known what it was going to entail.

So I’m happy I didn’t know.

And that’s when life happens- when you don’t know.

On my way out- the girl I had been practicing fighting with says I look familiar- and realize we know each other through the University Women’s Center. Had meant to get involved with that this semester, so I might stop by later this week.

Walk out of the class feeling very strange but empowered, and my friend Miles is working at the rock climbing wall.

I notice he has a slight tan, and he tells me he’s just gotten back from Nicaragua.

He’s been talking about Nicaragua all year, but I didn’t know he was actually going to follow through with it. I should have known better.

He booked a flight for $495 to Nicaragua by himself, and then paid $98 for a week in a hostel with unlimited food and drinks.

Then he went hitchhiking and backpacking the week after that with a buddy.

And that is when I realized that I need to start climbing the rock wall once a week.

I need to get over my fears and start living off of fear like Miles does.

I need to go to the classes, climb the walls, book the flights.

And then fear loses it’s power. It just becomes a way of life.

Today one of my favorite regulars brought my coworker and I a blueberry pie.

Walked in with his buddy, slid the pie across the counter, and ordered his drink.

The pie had a face cut into the top— heart shaped eyes, a Edvard Munch style scream on his face, and then he had cut out EARS and EYEBROWS and added them to the crust.

SO fucking cute. I love those guys so much, going to miss them when they finish their school this summer.

The pie was bomb.

Delicious.

Yesterday I locked my keys in my car when I got to work. One of my other favorite regulars ran outside in the snowstorm, and used his shoestring to try and loop the lock inside and pull it up. The shoestring was too short- I made him a hot chocolate for his generous efforts.

Later, his sister shows up, and pulls a coat hanger out of her purse. They both smiled at me, and then went outside and broke into my car like champs. There were a few construction guys outside who helped them as well. It was so sweet and unexpected. Made me really happy. When I heard my car alarm going off outside I ran out of the cafe and hugged them all.

The stars are huge tonight.

They look as though they are consuming the world.

My morning started out with a man catching a flight back to D.C. I asked him what he does for a living- and he said he works for the Department of Defense. He’s late 20s, early 30s- says he grew up here.

“How did you get out?” My favorite question to ask seemingly successful people living in big cities with cool job titles.

He got his bachelors here, same general vague field as me, then went on to work full time for a year in town. Unfulfilled, he went back to school for a more technical masters to add to his theoretical bachelors. And landed a job in D.C., as you do. Says he loves working in the city- and if you really want a job in public policy/international relations, go for a masters. If you thrive in the theoretical realm, go for a phd. Said he had lots of friends who went on to be professors of political science.

He was so easy going- so obviously from Kansas. But obviously not living a life here any longer. He was grabbing his coffee and getting back to his dream life.

He looked back as he was leaving, and we had that awkward, “I’ll never see you again but it was nice to speak with you for the two minutes I did” interaction. Almost asked for his name- beginning to learn how to network. Realizing that networking does not diminish your value as your own person, it just create outlets and mutually beneficial relationships where you help each other be the people you want to be.

Also, I’ve realized that if someone is more successful than you- they probably had someone who took an interest in them- gave them that little push, little bit of luck they needed, and they’re more than willing to pay it forward and help someone else find that little push they need as well. People are good. At least as long as you don’t trust them too much, don’t depend on them for much, and don’t allow them to depend on you too much. We all need to keep each other in check, you know?

The more I learn about people the more they fascinate me. I am still a very shy person at heart- and would most of the time rather have my head in a book than dive too far into a random person’s soul. But what I’ve realized about the world is the value in even the seemingly meaningless connections. No human connection is meaningless. These surface, small talk interactions that our culture writes off as fluff- I’ve realized you can learn just about as much as you’d ever hope to know about a person within 3-5 minutes of small talk. Everyone is intoxicatingly intriguing for 3-5 minutes. That’s is just a fundamental rule of the universe.

My universe at least.

And the ones you can talk to for longer than that and still be intrigued are the real keepers.

But there is ALWAYS an infinite amount of art and knowledge and inspiration and expansion to be gained in 3-5 minutes. Always appreciate it- never ask for more.

I also spoke with a visiting scientist from NYC who grew up here. She was probably 10 years older than me– successful job and flat and killer dogs and all that. She opened up to me for the full five minutes about how she was considering selling out to corporations- old fashioned scientists don’t make much money these days, apparently. She was infinitely cool and jaded.

“Please don’t sell out all the way.”

My favorite Sunday morning writer came in today and entered E and I into a drawing for her upcoming book. She’s a powerhouse- full time phd librarian, mother of three and kick ass writer. Talked about social media- how people, especially part time writers, have very little time to waste. And social media is a great way to waste that time.

The lawyers came in.

“How’s the world?” Artist

“Which part of it?” Lawyer

A few other university librarians come in. And as I watch them I realize what a diverse culture a bunch of book worms with phds are.

Certain amount of willpower a day- it’s a commodity like fuel. Learn how to use it in a way that doesn’t burn it up too quickly. Learn to use the least amount of energy at a time, change your mindset.

Those Italians I burnt my arm over. And didn’t even care.

E met Jean Kilbourne when she was in highschool. Because her mom is an awesome hippie professor with tattoos, shorts and unshaved legs who married a woman and said “I couldn’t give a fuck.” E and I talked a lot about media representation of women. Good conversations.

He’s been in the cafe twice in the past five minutes- left and then came back. Second time around I pause, then say “Now don’t come back.”

Apparently my timing is a bit off. He lowered his head, said, “Oh. Okay.” And ran out of the cafe while I was yelling after him “I’m joking!”

See him everyday and enjoy talking to him about the army and booze. Never joked with him though, so this was a new venture. Hopefully he comes back tomorrow- or else I will have to track him down apologize for the poorly timed joke and name my first child after him.

I had a smile on my face the whole time- but maybe that just makes me seem like a sociopath, not a comedian.

Maybe I should leave the jokes to others.

Right after it happened, I MELTED. Bright red and horrified with the situation. My coworker J told me not to worry. He and I practiced our poorly times jokes on each other for the next few minutes and cracked each other up. So, to each their own, I guess.

But please know that I am just a struggling comedian, not a malicious sociopath, army boy.

Learning how to fail this year. That is my goal. So in actuality- a poorly taken joke is the biggest success of my entire day. It’s me being a person with a voice, not a sterile barista who doesn’t offend, but also doesn’t connect past the frivolous “Room for cream or no?”

Di met me after work, and we talked about a ridiculous amount of information. And for some reason, ended up arguing about the definition of art for a good three hours solid.

I’m pretty sure people moved out of the room as our voiced became raised, our guards went up, and we went for each other’s throats on the subject.

The most fucking PRETENTIOUS subject anyone can ever have in a coffee shop. We had it. Today. One Sunday in March.

And we had the exact same perspective on the goddamn non-issue, but we felt the need to argue it to death. The need to take turns redefining the same concept. Rephrasing the idea that art can be whatever the fuck you want art to be. Art can be everything, art can be nothing. Art can be a 10 year technical work in progress, art can be spilled coffee.

We’re yelling this. We’re sure we need to make the other one understand that there is no definition for art, and there never should be a universal definition for art. And we’re trying to convince the other one of our theory, which is exactly the same, but we refuse to believe that we agree, we refuse to lose, we refuse to let art be exactly what we say it should be: existing.

Ironically, in arguing that we shouldn’t define art, we are the epitome of the art theorists we are condemning.

We slowly slid the conversation to more neutral territory- relationships. And that didn’t get intense at all.

Not at all.

We wear each other the fuck out.

But then we totally build each other up in the end, as 15 year old friendships tend to do.

Realized we are both at rock bottom right now, as far as success stories. This is the first time in our lives that, when people ask what’s going on in our lives and we answer, we are not greeted with the standard “Congratulations! That’s exciting!” response.
First time in our lives.

First time in our lives not having a concrete goal to accomplish in the near future. And thus, when asked about our lives, we look like fucking dead ends.

And that might be true.

So am changing that.

And going to start taking a few risks. Am going to show up to my life and live it. And am going to bite the bullet and apply for the things I need to apply for.

Di and I used to spend entire days illegally watching movies at the movie theater, and eating popcorn out of the trashcan when we were younger. We called it our right. We called it justice. We called it Hollywood and grease. This fulfilled us for many years- so I have no doubt we will find something equally as dubious and hilarious in our adult lives to partake in. We’re just biding out time.

We also talked about preemptive hugs and obvious obliviousness. All of our best tactics stripped bear. And hilarious.

We’re starting a weekly group meeting where we learn how to be adults. And argue like children.

Went jogging after work, then my friend A called me after- she’s working and living in D.C. and is getting me some connections for internships. We talked for a good hour or so- she was infinitely helpful, and so inspiring. Supposed to write up a cover letter for her tonight– already falling asleep now, though…

Went home, took a shower, ate a few apples and then did my federal taxes.

Then had to take a break. Falling asleep in my room, realize I need to get out if I am to make anything of this night.

Head out, try a few cafes, but finally end up at my work. Meet the new guy, and we share the firmest handshake I’ve ever had in my life. I am very proud of my addition to the handshake. The tiny weights I’ve been lifting at the gym might be doing work.

Grab some green tea, post up in a corner, and proceed to get no work done at all. Know exactly all the things I want to do, but need a lifetime to even get started.

Organize tomorrow.

Deb calls from NW, and we talk for a few hours. Good conversations, hard topics. Love her. She’s got it figured out. : )

After I got off the phone I wrote a bit more of my cover letter- and then had a surprise interaction with the girl sitting across from me.

Then said goodbye to everyone and headed out.

Took the long way home, flirting with the country roads, and got a bit lost.

On purpose of course.

Getting lost is like watching a scary movie for me. I love the thrill. I love the mindless meandering that always leads me to where I need to go in the end.

I need to treat life more like a country road. And just follow whatever road I feel like at the time. And when I get lost, just trust that I will find my way back to my comfort level again. I will find the city again. But enjoy the feeling of reckless abandon when I have it- because that is pure happiness. Pure freedom.

Get lost.

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