they’re playing baseball with a football.
I feel like I’ve learned alot this week. About myself. Or at least, about what people share.
Shelly has been staying with her parents this week, so I was all alone at the lake house, going for morning paddles into the fog and just floating there watching the fog burn off. Or running and running and running in that endless twisty little park.
And one night I was playing my little travel guitar, singing some sad country song, the same three or four chords, over and over, and singing loud cause I’m all alone… and there was this feeling… I just felt good. Like super chill, flowing, as they say.
That feeling – that was the best thing. I want to always have that feeling when I’m working, or playing, or talking.
And I thought, this is what I shoulda done. I mean, in art I rarely get that feeling. Maybe when I am getting super crafty, sanding some piece of plywood into buffed oblivion. But generally with my art I am worried, or frustrated, or scared. I guess it makes logical sense. I mean, I always try to push myself out of my comfort zones, which means I am never comfortable. I’m always worried about the cops or about getting someone in trouble or about not belonging, or about the fact that I am on or past the edge of actually knowing what I am doing.
As soon as I get comfortable I feel like I am getting lazy so I try to make it uncomfortable again.
So I am playing shitty guitar and feeling totally zoned and chilled and thinking what the fuck? I mean what the fuck do I actually enjoy in my life? (I mean the process, not the outcome.) And I couldn’t think of much at all: laughing with people I love, playing soccer or surfing or paddling or something physical. Being in the water or on top of mountains. Shaving wood off of wood.
That’s pretty much it. Everything else in my life I enjoy because of the outcomes. That kind of sucks. How many times am I somewhere beautiful or in the middle of an amazing experience and part of my head is wanting to remember this for the story I will tell or the blog or thinking I should get a shot for my friggin facebook profile. I’m plotting! There are almost no moments in my life when I am not thinking about the next thing.
And then the next morning I was lost in the woods and running and the sun was fluttering through the leaves and the leaves were fluttering through the trees and I’d been jogging long enough that my back muscles got tired enough to actually relax – so I get this like effervescent tingly feeling between my shoulder blades and I am sweating like hell and William Shatner is yelling with Joe Jackson “you’ll never live like common people – you’re amazed that they exist, and they burn so bright that you can only wonder why” and there was that feeling again…
What the fuck? I can’t jog for a living.
So, I’m driving to SUNY Purchase through rich people land – an aside about Westchester: I always thought it was just wealthy suburbs border by their help. Jackasses with Porche SUVs in overwrought grids of houses driving to their glorified strip malls. But this part of North Westchester is Rich People Who Seem To Have Got It Right. Seriously, for the first time in my life, I realize: these people are onto something most of us don’t know about. It is so fucking gorgeous! There are horse farms and parks you can get lost in, and you can live on a lake and paddle in the fog and do push ups on an island, and then drive past horses and yellow leaves and then when you gfet down to the suburbs and then the city with all these people crawling on top of each other it feels like another species. Now I understand how the people who rule this country economically and politically can genuinely not care about the people they rule: we are living like idiots compared to them! Yeah yeah yeah, I am sure you are reading this in your cramped brooklyn apartment thinking some anti-establishmenty thing about simpler pleasures and living your own life I mean shit I understand that, but you got to admit: some rich people are onto something…
I am driving to SUNY Purchase through rich people land, past their geese and horses and private swamps with japanese bridges and separate driveway for “Deliveries,” and I am listening to Paul Fry’s lecture on Lacan (this series is really good! It’s all that shit people seemed to think they should be referencing in Grad School except not just a veneer applied to something else), and he is talking about the Ego and Id, and he blew my mind.
Now, one of my majors in undergrad was psychology. I learned about Freudian psychoanalysis, but I guess I never understood it in an applied way until Fry was talking about it. What I got out of it this time (and I am sure it is all ‘wrong’) was: the ID is the warm, wet, incomprehensible underbeast in all of us – the besmirched little misunderstood thing that sticks with us through our whole lives. The EGO is this surface level chatterbox always coniving for something new. Rehashing the past or planning for the future, plotting how it can keep that ID, which it doesn’t fucking understand, happy, and getting it wrong most of the time and whittling itself new flimsy bridges of hope and generally keeping itself satisfied with the promise of future fulfillment so it doesn’t have to worry about ever fulfilling itself now.
I am sure I misunderstood, but that’s the model that’s working for me now.
And I realize, well, of course: when I run myself into a stupor or play guitar for so long that all I am focusing on is the vibrations my chords and throat box are making, I have shut my chatterbox up!
So, it’s not like I have to find the specific vocation that fulfills me – I know I got just as into serving frozen yogurt in a beret to bitchy upper west siders asking for proto-cappucinos as I have into anything else I do – I just have to let myself get that into the tasks at hand.
Or, put another way, when I am doing something, I should JUST DO THAT THING. Not, do that thing and think about the next thing while I do that thing.
This was a great realization: It’s not the specific tasks, but my approach to them, whatever they are.
So, I have started trying to notice when I am actually thinking exclusively about the task at hand, and I have found that I am generally thinking about the past or the future.
Today I was standing in the supermarket waiting for the guy to give me my pound of turkey and pound of swiss, and the guy standing next to me is insanely smelly, like rolls and rolls of fat, tucked into sweatpants tucked into boots, and a sort of grey cheese growing on his elbow – I’d never seen anything like it before. And I just stop waiting for this guy to hurry up and give me my fucking food so I can get away from that stink. Instead, I noticed all the crazay light reflections on the glass, and then past the glass there was all that meat! And then there was like my reflection in the glass, and the stuff behind me, and all these layers and then in my peripheral visions tons more action going on, and that stink was sooooooo complex. I stopped wanting to gag and just noticed how unique the smell was.
And I thought, HOLY CRAP: every moment of every day has all of this going on. And I never notice it. I just worry about if I am being lazy or if I really want to do what i am doing or why this person is doing better than me or if I should have worded that message that way and should I be more harsh or less harsh in crit or is harsh even the word for it.
So, I guess in the end I land in some sort of quasi-freudian zen self-help space.
But at least I realize that the things I enjoy, I enjoy because they make it easier for me to get to that space. And that I can enjoy other things if I learn to use them to get me in that space. Well, I guess “using” isn’t the right word. I can enjoy other activities or tasks if I would only pay attention to them and not think about what’s going to happen next.