07 February 2011

As it turns out

This is the last week I'm allowing myself to find a job that I reasonably may like; next Monday I will begin throwing myself at anything that pays okay and won't kill me. It's hard to believe it's been three weeks since I left work.

How dispiritingly easy it is to do nothing. I have the idea upon looking out over any such expanse of luxuriantly ungoverned time that I will be able to do everything all at once. Then I step in and find that here I am, leaving my slow clumsy footprints all over this clean lovely time, not getting much done. It's embarrassing.

The problem I guess is temperamental. When time pressures are released, decisions become far more arbitrary, and I have always greeted arbitrary decisions with apprehension. It seems that if one does anything it ought to be something grand and important but it is hard to think what will really be best, what will really measure up. And neurochemically I am an imperfect specimen -- that doesn't help.

So now already it is dark and I have spent the hours dithering, ill at ease with my leisure. Shall I start to learn some Bach on the guitar. Shall I finally listen to Neil Young. Shall I finally wash the dishes. I sit on a chair in the kitchen for several minutes while the mind offers up irrelevancies: I could eat a tangerine. All day I do little bits of things: read a few documents for class, write almost a verse of a new song, order some poetry online, buy groceries (a vibrant jumble in the grocery basket) which refuse when laid out on the kitchen table to assemble themselves into an appetizing meal. A collection of not-quite-useless fragments in the dustpan at the end of the day. 

Reading the internet too much, certainly. The feeling that I spend too much time with things that are only about other things, and not the things themselves. The insidious ease of criticism.

(I mean, I just like conversations, partly. If I spend time with the thing itself who will I talk to about it. It's just me, in the house or the world or a crowd of people I probably don't like. You read criticism and it's already taken care of.)

It's getting better, but the sun's still going down too early for someone who gets up at nine or ten. Looking out the window I think of the days until spring will become at least a realistic expectation. A vision of all that heavy time stretching out along the snow, compacting it.

(You think it has melted considerably, until you try to clear it away -- as it turns out you're barely strong enough to lift the shovel.)

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