Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Life's Like a Movie, Write Your Own Ending

Some people are gently handcrafted model ships, proud, stable miniatures of the USS Constitution or a romantic Spanish galleon. They were filled with intent and hopes and are dearly loved, and they're bottled up and paraded around with honor and gratification. These are the girls in my office, my workplace peers.  All younger than me, all with jobs requiring higher qualifications. They are smart, polite, friendly, elite. They went to important colleges and they live in classy neighborhoods; they exercise at least three days a week, they never take more than one cookie at a time, they drink out of those metal water bottles, they wear pencil skirts and sensible heels and shower everyday and they are always on time.

I'm sure, like I am with most people, that if they have any dreams that stray from the socially comfortable, they do not voice them. They could be dying inside, they could be human-shaped sacks of marbles, spilling slowly instead of in torrents.  They could be truly happy and confident and pleased and successful.  They could be secret artists and dream of hermitage, they could be former addicts or hardcore militants. I don't know if any of these things are true because we just work together, plus they got their outsides on so well.

Some of us have caged mothers who are extremely private and lawful, and it scares me how much she fortifies because I learned to do it as well, and I wonder: is she happy?  She would never tell. And we have fathers who carved faint traces of defiance into our lungs just because it was funny, just to see what would happen, and I'll tell you what happened:  I can't breathe properly unless I'm dissident about something. Incompatible ideas and images are scrimshawed into my bones and they will always be battling each other, and sometimes I know he's prouder of me than anything and he's sad because he thinks no one sees it, so I'm constantly reassuring him when I'm not sure myself.

Then again, I may be no schooner, but maybe I'm more. 

It's frustrating because I know I'm a dreamer, but then rationally I crush those dreams with temperance.  I was not raised to trailblaze, because as successful as my parents were in giving me the confidence to believe in my thoughts and ideas, and as much as they encouraged creativity, they encouraged rationality so much more and I want to do anything and everything but I'm terrified of spending money and trusting people.

So I've reached a decision.  Money can go fuck itself.  I don't even care anymore.  I'm tired of penny pinching, I'm tired of making lists of things that I will do when I have the money to do it, because you know what?  I am NEVER going to have that much money.  Never, unless I finish number 6 on my list:  write bestselling novel and reap the rewards.  But plots are so hard.  I can do it.  I CAN DO IT.

day 24 - a song to play at your funeral  

I used it already, but fuck this meme.  I used to imagine dying would be like Kermit's show at the end of the Muppet Movie, walking down a road and passing all of the people I loved over the years, and they're all serenading me with "Rainbow Connection." And then at my funeral everyone gets fucking wasted and they break things, talk shit about me and have a sing-a-long. 



MoLinder said...

you could move out here. my company has an opening for almost the same position i have. you could make money, good money. and then write about it.
plus, all my friends want you to move out here anyway. and so do i.

Meagan said...

Re: fuck money

It's a good way to live if you can mean it. I know a few people who live this way... one is happy with the freedom, but another is miserable because he feels entitled to more.

JMH said...

If your funeral is going to be like that, I want to come to your funeral. That's probably not an appropriate thing to say. Well, human desires are rarely appropriate.

Good to hear from you again. Instead of pencil skirts and sensible heels, I think in terms of blue Oxford shirts and ample buttocks. Are ample buttocks a fashion choice? They're not not a fashion choice.

What sort of boat am I? Maybe one which inspires the following:

There's no earthly way of knowing
which direction we are going.
There's no knowing where we're rowing. Or which way the river's flowing.

Is it raining?
Is it snowing?
Is a hurricane a blowing?

Not a speck of light is showing
so the danger must be growing.
Are the fires of hell a glowing?
Is the grisly reaper mowing?
Yes! The danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing.
And they're certainly not showing
any signs that they are slowing!

Wow, thank God for copy and paste.

Nikki B. said...

i'm quitting nursing school just so i will have time to read your blog again...

Kono said...

Did JMH just quote Willy Wonka?

and if you're gonna dream baby you gotta dream full on (isn't that what's Kermit talking about), no fucking rationalizing... and money don't mean a thing, i've been immensely happy broke and flush with dough and vice versa, you just gotta say fuck it and do it...

of course this is coming from a simple man, with simple tastes, i don't have dreams of anything really except maybe a good sandwich and a cold beer now and then, and i done think your daddy done good, i'm sure my kids will be railing against the system just like their daddy unless of course they rebel and do the opposite.

Chris said...

Good for you. We will have to talk about the father thing later. Also, this meme takes forever.

Rassles said...

MoL: San Diego = far from snow

Meagan: I've never done it before. I've always had this voice (she sounds like my mom) saying, "Never spend money you don't have, unless it's an emergency." When I got my first credit card, I did a pretty good job with that until "not enough shots of jager" qualified as a legitimate emergency. I've been down THAT road, and thar be demons. This is more like, "I am never going to believe I have enough money to go visit Gyna in Germany, so fuck it. CREDIT CARD." Things like that.

JMH: You are hereby officially invited to my funeral. I will make MoLinder give you the details. Also, you want to be a boat that speeds through terrifying candy insect tunnels? That's awesome.

Nikki: I'm quitting blogging so you have time for nursing school.

Kono: Money means a great deal when your parents are accountants. Everything traces back to taxes and investing and whatever. Both of my sisters, who are younger than me, have financial planners. Breaking away from that is hard when I'm getting pressure about it from people I love and respect, and if my parents did one thing right it's infuse me with guilt. Guilt for everything. I even feel guilty when I talk to a guy at a bar for longer than 30 seconds because I don't want to leave a friend alone, and I apologize for taking so long. I need to learn how to do things for me.

Chris: I fear that without the meme, I may have stopped blogging altogether. So let's view it as a good thing. And when is later?

Anonymous said...

i don't know that i fully understand what conclusion you came to at the end of this ("fuck money" could mean hundreds of different things), but i think i like it!

great writing in the first couple paragraphs. digging it.

Sid said...

I agree with Jessica. Great writing. Love the comparison of ppl to boats.

Red said...

Ross, all I'm going to say is that I was broke and single at 30 (admittedly, I already knew my husband but we were taking a break, which we thought was permanent) and aI'm happily married and comparatively flush at 34, AND I have a job that doesn't suck at all. (Comparatively flush. I can't afford a house in DC or anything.) You never know what's around the corner.

My first love, btw? Kermit the frog. EG and I are now watching all the old Muppet shows from Netflix, and I realize that my love affair with curmudgeons began then.

Thanks for this clip. Hope your life looks better at 34, too.

Kono said...

Did i mention that my dad was an accountant?

M. said...

Oh God. Yes please.

daisyfae said...

you need those dreams. whether you ever get them or not.

i lead a charmed life in so many ways. i am flush. i have an accountant.

but i lost my dreams. cleaned the closet this weekend, and still haven't found them. i'm not the same person without them.

oh, and amazing Wonka quote. boatwise? i'm a dinghy. or an inflatable zodiac. the kind that Greenpeace uses to buzz japanese whaling ships.

Anonymous said...

My life is long stretches of rational timidity, broken up by short bursts of calculated spontaneity. As a rational dreamer, you pick your spots to shine.

Ellie said...

My parents antithetical personalities put a little schizophrenia into me. Fortunately, I was adopted (2 weeks old), so I'm only contending with the nurture aspect rather than nature. No telling what nature has done, but must have been alright.

JMH said...

Thank you. And you will be invited to mine, unless we die simultaneously. I think there will be a lot of carnations and Polacks, a lot of silence and slow walking around. There should, though, be gummi worms and calimochos (do you know calimochos? They're best with RC.) and some sad song by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. I should write a will, even if it's the last thing I ever write.