When I was younger and dumber, I worried about stupid shit. Now I'm less young and less dumb and I worry about different stupid shit. I might even be dumber than I was before. I'm less mature and far less self-conscientious for certain. My brain cell could just fizzle out. I can't remember things like I used to, and I'm only twenty seven. I haven't even really started my life yet, and every morning I have to gradually remind myself who I am, what I do, and what I did the day before. That last one is the hardest part.
I feel like my life hasn't really started yet because I'm mentally solidified to future plans that will, in my imagination, take me from nothing to something. And every day, in my mind, all of these plans will start tomorrow because today is a horse I already shot in the face. If I would spend less time talking to myself and more time making shit happen I would be a lot further than I am (in the subjective sense of being somewhere in the intangible modern-day success story).
I think about my past, and it all just feels like a beta test to the actual thing that is supposed to be my life and my long list of achievements and experiences. I'm starting to realize how useless future plans are. Too many unforeseeable variables hinder a blueprint for life. I have no idea what the world is going to look like tomorrow. Nor do I know what I'll feel like doing.
In an economy like this, when trends are always shifting from one to the next, I think I'm supposed to keep up with the changes in jobs, technology, and pop culture, and then I forget to enjoy what I'm in while I'm in it. I'm too scared to be spontaneous because if I am, it might get in the way of something else I could be doing to make my plan work. I'm so busy planning out my rat-race hamster-wheel mixed-metaphor life-plan that the present just floats by and all I have is my to-do list and a five-year plan. Plans are like boyfriends, they're nice to have, but don't marry them. There will be one, and then another one, and then another one.
I never planned to become a street art photographer. I just started doing it one day, and I'm not even good. But I'll keep doing it. It has become a staple in my life. It motivates me to go for a walk or a bike ride or explore a new part of town—all without making plans to do it. It's something I enjoy enough that I just do it. It balances out all the other stresses in my life and things I have to do that I don't actually enjoy doing. And it might end up more fruitful than any of the things I plan to do.
Blogs are the worst. I despise all blogs. They epitomize the hazards of free speech; anyone can write anything, true or not, smart or dull, nonsensical or totally logical. Blogs are full of poorly constructed opinions and bad taste. They're click bait, SEO slaves, and internet trolling marketing predators. I wish all modern writers of the internet would just go to hell. Except for me because every word I put on the page is phenomenal. I'm too good for fact checking and peer review. Everything I have to say is absolute and infallible. Besides, I'm not really a writer. I'm a "street-art photographer," or so is the euphemistic title that I now put down under "occupation" on any formal application. Salary: $0. Responsibilities: None.
Lately my productivity has been low; I'm looking outside myself for sources to blame, and I'm going with power outages. My building has been having some power outages recently, so I can't charge my phone and have to go to bed early just to pass the time. Maybe it's because of recent solar flares. Maybe we'll have a solar flare big enough to wipe out our power grid, and then we'll have no blogs. Our abyss of data—Social Media rubbish and uneducated political diatribes—can just be metaphorically razed to the ground. We'll have to fight each other for food when the looting begins. I'm warning you, I will hit men, women and children to get to the oatmeal bulk bins at Whole Foods. I have an axe and a hatchet in the trunk of my car, and I'm not afraid to use them.
I have all the time in the world right now to go find good graffiti shots, but I always find my day filled with other things. Someone decided to play a mean joke and replace my cloth blankets with lead ones so I can't get up in the morning, and I just have to lay under the blankets for hours. Then when I do get up I just want to put an elephant dart in my neck. After a cup of coffee I feel okay. I put the tranquilizer dart back in my dresser drawer with my other toys, and I start my day with TWA—Time-Wasting Activities and looking out the window to see what season we're going with today.
Things aren't going the way they're supposed to go, generally. It's almost time to take out my bicycle, but we're expecting another snowstorm here in the middle of April. Also, Pajamas has been using my tires as a scratching post, so I don't know how well the rubber is going to hold up. I'll probably get out there when the snow melts in September, and my tires will pop in a bad neighborhood. By that time it will start snowing again right then. I'll just have to hump my bicycle parts back home on my back, trudging through the snow in my flip flops. This is why I'm a well-known lover of the outdoors.
1. Everyone just forgot about planking
Whenever I have the perfect planking opportunity, nobody cares. Society is blind to planking as the timeless jewel among fads; it was both an internet quirk and a core workout--or a brief nap. I'm hoping for a planking resurgence just so I have an excuse to lay across a low-hanging tree branch and a fence post in the middle of the day, mostly because I like avoiding actual work.
2. My butt is too big for a gun holster
So I don't know how to protect children from the grizzlies running rampant from school to school. As a petite woman with a curvy figure, there's just no good place to keep a pistol. My hips are too wide, my boobs are in the way, it won't fit in my skinny-jeans pocket. It's like there's almost no point in a conceal and carry permit.
3. The NSA steals all my best comedy sketches
Every time I come up with something good, I write it on my computer in a word document. Then I hear it somewhere else before I ever have a chance to market myself. I can think of no other explanation than that my assigned agent is stealing my ideas and reselling them for profit. I'm responsible for the hilarity of Amy Schumer, Dmitri Martin, and Trevor Noah, but no one will believe me.
4. The Insurance Industry is too heavily regulated
You can insure your car, phone, house, health, children, spouse, life, pizza, vacations, and anything on the premise of a rental property. But what about a major life insurance policy on my cat, Pajamas? Apparently there are laws against such practices. What kind of country is this in which industry is so heavily regulated? He's a therapy cat, and I don't function without him. In the event of a loss I would suffer such grief that I would not be able to work, but apparently that's not good enough for AIG.
5. Every little thing you do defines your political agenda
Including what you eat. Having some organic broccoli? You're a left-wing hippy liberal that hates corporate agenda, wears a nose ring, and pickets outside Burlington with buckets of fake blood. Enjoying a bacon cheeseburger? Congratulations! You are a gun-toting red-neck right-wing conservative with diabetes and a love for AM radio.
6. They're going to start checking ID's for Tide pods
Because of teenage idiocy, I now have to prove that I'm over eighteen just to purchase my favorite afternoon snack. They're so easy to have when I'm on the go. Packed with nutrients, they really cleanse the system. Anyone (over eighteen) can enjoy these little delights.
7. Vandalism is Illegal
Street art is legal in Melbourne, Australia, but America can't seem to catch up with the progressive ways of Down Under. Our "civilized" society is balls-deep in monochrome gray matter, and most commissioned art is just tacky busy-work. For example, the Bob Dylan mural in downtown Minneapolis and the Walker Art Center.
8. Social Media
On social media, you can play pretend, you can create any fantasy, you can even make up an entirely fake life. In my other life I have sixteen kids (four sets of quadruplets) and a Go Fund Me page to support them. As a single mom, a lot of people are willing to help me out in trying times.
9. Life is comfortable enough that I can really focus on my existential quandary
I don't really have to fight for my food. I know I have reliable shelter and quality transportation and running water. I don't work 32 hours a day in a sweatshop making shoes for rich people, and I don't worry about being dragged from the mud hut by a lion in the middle of the night. I have extra time to really think about why I'm here, what matters, what happens when I die, and whether or not the Large Hadron Collider at CERN is altering the time-space continuum and what that means for reality.
Donald is one of the most atrocious role models of any cartoon duck. He teaches children that you don't need pants and that it's okay to speak unprofessionally.
A body in motion wants to stay in motion, and a body at rest wants to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.
I got the title for this blog from Namibia, where lies the oldest desert and the tallest dunes in the world, and where I commenced a quarter-life crisis. Where fairy circles puzzled scientists for ages and the barren oasis lures Hollywood filmmakers. Also where I met good-looking dudes.
Daniel, a desert guide and my hot African date from the night before, sped past the pokey tourists and over the road of divots and rock and loose sand, through the park gate and into the vastness or red dunes and indigo sky. I sat in the passenger seat of the jeep. A Dutch couple jostled from side to side in back. The sun was rising behind us, and I was too warm with my sweatshirt, but too cold without it.
Sossusvlei hadn't had rain in six years, and the river and watering hole were dried up. But life has a way of adapting; oryx can go a year without drinking water, camelthorn tree roots grow three hundred feet below, and the catfish are still alive underground, hibernating in the mud. They are fixed in the earth, slowly sinking further to the core, following the moisture down to hell. And if the rain returns, they'll spring back to life and vitality as if the drought had never sat in protest on the country.
I pictured the fish underneath us, preserved in mid-swim with open mouths and open eyes. Later I imagined myself as one of those catfish stuck in the mud, asleep and unaware, unable to move and awaiting the rain to restore me.
I draw the comparison because I'm in my own drought and stuck in my own mud. It's easiest to waste life away with TV and junk food and a mental loopty-loop of self-doubt. It's easy to waste time on phones and computers, never having seen the physical dimension cycle through the seasons. Sometimes I lay on my couch and stare at the ceiling with no rational thoughts in my head to keep me grounded in reality. When my friends gave me the password to their Netflix account, I didn't get out of my sweatpants for three weeks.
I wish it wasn't so easy to set the default to idle. I scroll through the internet as if I'm looking for something, and maybe I began by looking for something, but I forgot what it was and still search mindlessly. I repeat the same few actions every day without change, without learning, without action, and it's like being stuck in mud. Ostensibly mobile, but not alive. Frozen in motion while time hurdles forward. So deeply asleep it's like hibernation.
And I am always trying to wake up.
Catfish in the Mud
I went to Namibia and took a tour of Sossusvlei, where it hasn't rained in 6 years. The river is completely dried up. My guide told me that even in the six-year drought, catfish are hibernating deep down in the mud and will surface again when the rains come back and restore life to the desert. I didn't believe him at first, like I didn't believe in the mysterious fairy circles on the dunes. But now the idea of catfish in the mud has become a metaphor for the things trapped on the inside and down below that wait for the rains to give them some vigor and life. Catfish in the Mud is a pretty standard millennial blog in which I say mostly nothing in about 300 words.