Thursday, September 8, 2011

nothing to offer but confusion

Two extra hours of sleep mean the world, the moments of nerve-wracking, the strange feeling when one finds out someone of one's teenage acquaintance got arrested for murder, of peon ex machina from meetings of infinite awkwardness, of possibly being the 'missed connection in a Craigslist ad for the first time to my knowledge (I don't remember saying anything to him, and think I only looked back because I got that sixth sense of being looked at and wanted to see who was doing the looking), of strange characters that I need to be nice to as a civil servant though they give me the creeps and I can't tell if they're just socially awkward or if they're creepy, though it seems to be the latter more often than not when the age gap is bigger than half your age plus seven. I don't envy the awkward position of the male species, especially the non-Type-A's.

I do not hide my feelings well even when I say nothing. The perpetual smile inherited from my father is both a blessing and curse, though it's harder to hide my anger than my cynicism (because I hold almost nothing except God to be sacred and so everything is ripe for snark), and when I deal with the creeps and those who come on too strong, I have to force my cadence into monotone, avoid eye contact, detach out of risk of getting pulled in.

Every time I think of turning my string of non-degree kicks-and-giggles classes into something like a real piece of semi-worthless paper, I sit in a class where I am condescended to and my synapses are stimulated only the absurdity of immature undergrads and sycophantic adults, and the grad student tales of department politics that remind me exactly of why I used to call my mom up every other week and claim I was going to drop out of school, and why I didn't want to continue on to do an MFA or literary crit. I know I have the brains, but when the classes don't grab me, when it's theoretical or revisionist or regurgitating, I check out.

I like to read things that are written well, that make me want to learn more, filled with passion and brimming with brilliance, not the self-indulgence of academic deconstruction written for conferences and journals that no one reads, kind of like the ivory tower counterpart to Yngwie Malmsteen albums that are owned only by uber-musicians who subscribe to Guitar World to read John Petrucci's columns religiously. It's boring as hell for everyone else and there's nothing to capture one's inspiration.

And I've been so tensed up, as I always am when there is change and when I'm dealing with Powers That Be whom I distrust, but I caught the early bus home and made a joyful noise tonight practicing for Sunday's music with dear friends who are also fantastically fun musicians to play with, everything loud and loose, and I need to get back to my parents' house and find my distortion pedals to add to the reverb and tremolo waves from the amplifier, laughing and messing with harmonies and key changes, hanging out in the cool already-fall night talking about books and museums and weirdness.

A late night dinner that didn't turn out so well, another comfortingly cloudy day, a morning to drink coffee with the neighbor who's come by to fix the drain and with whom discourse of caffeination and good conversation was had. And now I'm here, and it's not so bad...


Anonymous said...

for what it's worth i'm feeling your pain (and not in creepy bubbaClinton kinda way) the only degree worth getting in this day and age would be a professional degree of some kind, might be worth shadowing some folks to see what they have to face day to day.

Randal Graves said...

I see strange people.

Wait. You just dropped a bunch of mind-numbing or soul-sapping crazy awkwardness and you envy us? We've got it almost made, nondescript parts of the background with none of that Type-A pressure to win the future.

Randal Graves said...

Don't envy, that is.