Today was a day I truly wished I worked in a bigger town, so that when I was getting annoyed about the seemingly endless humdrum work I was producing, I could have exited out the front door and onto a sidewalk teeming with interesting people. In bigger places, in cities, you can lose yourself in that. In smaller places, like the very small southern town I drive to everyday, you don't get the same. I don't think there's anything wrong with either situation, just that some people prefer one or the other. I'm not a huge fan of the quiet. While I appreciate the occasional foray into the wilderness and certainly everyone needs some solitude once in a while, I often wish that I worked closer to Chapel Hill, even, and that I might be able to energize myself every once in a while with a nice crowd of people. People make me happy. People I don't know, even. Sometimes that's better.
These writers who surround themselves with bottles of vodka and don't leave the house for ten days, I mean, that's not for me.
Today as I sat, sinking lower and lower in my chair becoming more and more despondent by the minute, wondering how much more of this I could take (this is a good one - when you are married, and healthy and employed and absolutely fortunate and you begin to wonder "how much more of this" you can take) I began thinking of my younger days, and by "younger" I mean "more nonsensical," when bad moods were never, ever the cause of something practical, like losing a contact or a bad grade, but were always the result of some deep chasm in my soul. Really. This coming from a girl who used to fill her diary pages with elaborate descriptions of how much she loved horseback riding.
I know I'm not surprising any of you because, admit it, you felt that way too. Listening to Nirvana. Reading "The Sorrows of Young Werther," whatever. Life is sometimes just a little much when you're young, and as I discover from time to time, you can slip right back into the same woeful mood when you are 28.
It's not Monday. It's not your job. It's not your allergies, especially not your allergies. It's just everything.
When my upper back had reached the topmost portion of my chair and I was actually staring into space, not for effect, but because, well, that's what I could muster, I realized that there wasn't any more of this I could take and made a quick move towards the back door and stepped out onto a small wooden landing there. This is where I enter the office every morning, sometimes carrying coffee, and try to unlock the door without putting anything down. Often, this ends in disaster, like coffee on my shirt and in my bag.
The sun was warm and comforting. I hadn't really been outside all day. Just a few individuals were scattered in a nearby parking lot and I spotted a small bird in the grass that flew away at my arrival. I decided to go for a quick ride to the grocery store to get some water and a snack before my evening meeting and rolled down the car windows while turning the radio up. J and I have both become accustomed to the almost constant presence of satellite radio and CDs in the vehicles we drive, but today I had neither. Just a few commercial stations.
I rode past the grocery store when "Scar Tissue" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers came on and turned it up louder, a very good song. I kept driving when "Drops of Jupiter" by Train came on, a very bad song. I drove until there were no houses or anything, just trees and quiet all around, except for me, who was being very loud.
My point isn't really that I suddenly realized the quiet of a small town can be really wonderful or anything like that. I'd still rather the people and noise. I think, rather, that I simply needed to remove myself from the situation briefly to realize how childish I was acting, ignoring the obvious factors leading to my slumped posture and lack of productivity. The fact that it was hot in our office. A sinus headache due to allergies, Monday, the government, a meeting tonight, a small southern town and all the mundane things that, when we grow up, mean so much more than we ever wanted them to.