I was glad to be back to steady work. Steady work is steady money, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I mean the feeling of loathing that washed over me – here I am again, everything looks the same, everyone is the same, even if they’re not.
I know that’s not really clear, not the way I mean it to be, at least.
There’s a chance to find yourself in work, especially in work that you dislike. There’s a framework imposed upon you, and you’re forced to create yourself inside it. Now of course I’m not advocating that everyone go out and find soul-crushing employment. Nor am I saying that people who are really really happy with their jobs are missing out on something. I guess what I’m saying – what I’m trying to say, rather – is that there’s a certain unpleasantness inherent in life, like chores. Like wiping runny noses or poopy butts, like bleaching the toilet bowl or cleaning out the bits of half-chewed food at the bottom of the sink. There are those things, then there’s getting terrible news – a teacher is quitting! A parent has decided to find his/herself and has abandoned the rest of the family! The latest guinea pig has gone to heaven and the pet store is going to close in ten minutes! The inspectors are here!
And in those moments, the terrible as well as the mundane, I learn more about myself (and sometimes those around me) that I ever did meditating, as good and head-clearing as that was, or traveling, as amazing and eye-opening as that was.
So I walked in the door, hung up my car keys and old bag on the same hook, put on the same old name tag, and thought I hate working. Isn’t it great?
I’m upset and unhappy – but it only matters to me, doesn’t it, in the end? My feelings sit inside me like a great roiling rancid ball but no one can see them or feel them but myself. And the only way anyone would ever know was to ask me and people, they really don’t ask. If you megaphone your problems and sit on a hilltop crying whatever the modern equivalent of ‘unclean’ is – ‘suspicious lump’? ‘cancerous tumor’? ‘deteriorating injury’? – then well-wishers and emotional support will flock to your side. You can ascribe to them your own motives; I’m surely neither cynical nor naive enough for the task.
But if your jaw is kept clamped shut the ball will stay, and all your analogies about Prometheus may or may not hold water but they’ll stay within the confines of your body too. So I find myself looking out at the city and watching the cars, and wondering how many people feel just like me and how many people have wondered just that – and so forth and so on with all the hulls of our empty selves standing like sentinel cicada husks as witness to what we once were.
I think of this blog too often. What I can write, what I can’t. I find myself thinking of it in the shower, water running over my face and into my eyes and my mind is absentmindedly turning it over and over, no I shouldn’t say that, I’ll give myself away. That bit’s too tragic. I lean over, let the water run over the nape of my neck. But is it bad to write so much? It’s writing, after all, not vodka.
But look, here I am in the shower scrubbing my poor damn hair in scalding water (the trauma of the sink is unforgettable) and I’m thinking of talking to my blog, and I’m going to write down what I’m thinking right now. I’m caught in an echo of my own world, I thought, gasping for air a little and shutting off the water.
Suddenly I thought the self-eulogizing youth in Puerto Rican tenement halls and I smiled through my flat wet hair.
Probably my number one advice to would-be suitors would be to not quote Oscar Wilde out of context. To me, specifically. Paraphrasing is even more, shall we say, frowned upon.
Especially – I’m looking at you, guy who has no idea this blog exists or otherwise would plagiarize it – if between the puffs of cigarette smoke you blow on my face as seduction, you happen to mention that you’ve never read Wilde outside of his quotes. Do not raise your eyebrow after such an utterance.
I’m also looking at you, guy who doesn’t read anything on the Internet except porn – wait, sorry, guy who reads nothing on the Internet – because mocking my love of Wilde by asking if he were some new hotshot hipster writer with a beard made me die, a little inside, right there in the passenger side of your sport utility vehicle.
In essence – well, in essence you should already have said something better. You should have said something you thought of yourself.
Every so often the director asks me how many blog followers I’ve accrued, and I dutifully report, and she says “Well, that’s quite a lot, isn’t it?” and I smile, dutifully and tightly. Five was a lot. Twenty was a lot. And now 207 is a lot.
Once the number went down by one instead of going up by one. I didn’t think she remembered the previous number but, of course, she did, and immediately squawked with dismay “Someone left you!” I nodded, mumbled that the word commonly, well rather exclusively employed was ‘unfollowed’, all the while watching her shake her head as if I’d made some terrible error. “You should stop writing about yourself, is what it is,” she concluded. “People want to hear about what happens in the life of a teacher, not a Lola,” I nodded, dutifully, wondered if ‘dutifully’ was going to be the word best used to describe my life.
“Exactly,” said her daughter, who had just entered the room, who used ‘exactly’ as a greeting, who then said nothing else as her mother continued to tell me what people wanted to hear.
Today’s post is another round of searches, sponsored by the endless imagination of the collective internet unconscious.
1) Unknown search terms (why are they unknown? Is Google keeping secrets from me? Highly unsatisfactory)
2) christmas daycare worker humor (is there really an internet-appetite for this?)
3) fancy dad (people have been searching for this but I imagine they are just looking for some sort of bedazzled father and it has nothing specifically to do with the Chronicles)
4) naked lola wordpress (finally displaced by ‘fancy dad’)
5) daycare for sale point pleasant (this is disappointingly humdrum)
6) grizzled naked blog (whoa, is ‘grizzled naked’ a thing? I feel like the director when I tried to explain ‘grime’ to her and she kept saying “dirty music?” only now I am the olds. Or not. I’m scared to look this up and get unwanted image search scarring. Is ‘grizzled naked’ some sort of art house segue from torture porn? There’s always one really unsavoury search term, isn’t t here?)
I am again amused and mystified. Thank you readers, thank you internets.
My spam comments are full of praise from robots selling Dutch sex, electric cigarettes and search engine optimization. Blogging for the most part – the mechanics of it – is a bland experience, but whenever I stumble into the spam comments folder I feel as if I’ve stumbled into a blue alley in a foreign country where suddenly your mind races and you realize that if they’re selling Spanish Fly next to the cigarettes it really isn’t your kind of alley.