Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Resolution Dysfunction

It was last New Year's Eve and I was on the couch watching all the cool people on television frolicking like a bunch of wild and carefree bunnies in heat. Despite a still lingering urge, a vestigial leftover from my younger years akin to the human appendix, to go out and emulate such behavior, I was actually pretty content to stay at home and watch the year of our Lord 2014 die the death it so richly deserved.

While nothing disastrous occurred, it was nonetheless one of those years that was spoiled, like someone suffering from gangrene, from an overabundance of personal disappointments and failed assumptions. I can't overstate my animosity towards 2014. It dragged on like a relative who had come to dinner and stayed even after you had handed them their coat, changed into your pajamas, and even stood in the living room brushing your teeth and looking at your watch as they continued rattle on to your wife about some arcane family history. So you can imagine my delight as some metrosexual dude whose name I can't recall suffering through the cold winds of New York started counting down the seconds until the giant ball dropped.

“Die you sorry bastard!” I screamed as the cherub-faced 2015 rushed in to dance on the bones of the year it had just replaced. In hindsight I really shouldn't have screamed, I startled my sleeping wife who then knocked over her half-empty wine grass. It was red wine, the cheap stuff whose stain will not only never come out of the carpet but probably has now seeped down to the floor like alien blood and will percolate back up and be visible whenever we get around to replacing the threadbare stuff we walk on now.

As the minutes of the new year ticked by a strange sense of optimism began to permeate through my being. It was 2015 dammit, and while the previous year sucked from a thousand separate irritating paper cuts I was going to make 2015 better no matter what it took. So you might be able to guess what I did next, I wrote up a list of New Year Resolutions.

The first was to walk at least three times a week. The next thing on the list was to find the formula for an “idiot proof” gelatin-based concoction I saw on the internet once that would allow me to start vegetable seeds far earlier this year. I already have a plant grow light—don't ask. The no fail seed starter stuff and the industrial strength grow light—again, don't ask-- allowed me to wallow in a newly revived optimism figuring it would be easy to set up an indoor garden. Thirdly I was going to get out more, while the Greater Columbia area is far from a hub of interesting cultural activities that don't include attending one of its many, many mega-churches there had to be something of value I could find. My final item, beside several admittedly bizarre and personal resolutions I'll keep to myself--they involve my wife and a can of whipped cream--revolve around me getting serious about my writing.

While the year is still young things haven't been going so good. In reverse order, after producing a fiction post that was halfway decent whatever creative muse I possess has left me for another guy, or woman. I currently have four short stories sitting on my hard drive that have died on the vine. That in itself is nothing unusual, since I started blogging I've probably sentenced a couple of hundred characters to hard drive purgatory, or even worse, deletion oblivion. I think the main reason my muse abandoned me is that work has become a pain again, while third-shift offers up some real advantages when I come home in the morning all I want to do is vegetate in front of the television.

As for cultural activities, after reviewing the local papers I have rediscovered the reason why I became a homebody. Because of fatherly duties, unavoidable household chores, and job demands there is next to no activities in the area that I would be interested in participating. Plenty of mud bog rallies, numerous hunt and gun clubs, and getting close to Jesus(republican type) but nothing that appealed to my interests. Because I work third-shift every activity that I did have an interest in was usually scheduled too late at night to be practical. Sorry if I'm whining, remember my muse is now living in sin with some other person.

Weirdly, or may not, the “idiot proof” gelatin-based seed starter concoction was an immediate and epic failure. Not only did the seeds not even begin to germinate they just laid in the cloudy jelly-like substance with the stubbornness of a petulant child determined to hold his or her breath until the turned blue. In fact, the seeds did turn blue, which defies everything I had read about the idiot proof gelatin stuff I used or the seeds themselves. Needless to say I fired off a sternly worded email to the person who came up the seed starter gelatin recipe saying that in fact it was not idiot proof and I could prove it!

The one item on my New Years Resolution list that was at least partially successful was my plan of walking three days a week. In actuality I had started walking way back in June and along with cutting nearly all sodas lost twenty to twenty-five pounds. Then disaster hit in November, my birthday, which meant a required cake. After that was Thanksgiving with all the cookies, cakes, donuts, and other assorted foods. Then came Christmas which was more of the same. And given my delicate psychological nature having suffered through 2014 I was vulnerable to their siren call of fatty comfort and sugary oblivion.

Now with this new year the failure to get back with my walking has strictly been a lack of motivation. Plus for the last couple of weeks its just been too damn cold. And yes, I have regained most of the weight I had lost during the summer months. I do have an absolutely brilliant plan to get back into the swing of walking but all things considered I may just fallback and regroup for 2016.


Pixel Peeper said...

I can relate in so many ways... except I have an empty nest and none of those child-rearing parental responsibilities. But the little things, the daily grind, the petty annoyances - I love how you called it a thousand paper cuts, such a great description - just wear me down and make me tired. It takes all the energy I can muster to do anything out of the ordinary, daily routine. Sometimes it seems everybody else in the world has a more active, exciting, and interesting life than I do.

Of course, then they called me back for a follow-up on my mammogram and I spent a whole week trying to tell myself that this happens all the time...nothing to worry about. And after the follow-up mammogram, when they told me everything was OK, my boring life with the daily grind suddenly seemed so very bright and cheerful.

The year is still new...plenty of time to follow through on some of those resolutions. Nobody said you had to do everything all at once, or do it right the first time. Sometimes it's OK to take a break from everything (well, at least from most things). Maybe your muse just needed a break, too.

Beach Bum said...

Pixel: This is generally a bad time for me since while I whine about the holidays the long space between them and summer is so tedious.

I mentioned the sentiments that eventually became this post to my wife who promptly reminded me that I will soon be whining about all the yard work the warmer weather brings.

The Bug said...

I didn't even bother making resolutions - I know better... And I had a VERY similar experience regarding weight loss. Lost 20 pounds & then Halloween hit - and I've been out of control ever since. Darn sweet tooth. But I've continued my walking every day - on my gazelle in this terrible Ohio weather right now - so I haven't gained as much as I could have...

Oh I'm laughing at your seed starting failure. Have you ever heard of the Greenprints Magazine? It's published out of NC. Great gardening stories. Yours reminds me of Mike McGrath's column in the magazine. Very funny. You should check it out - it might jumpstart your muse :)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

You just "think" your muse has left you, dude. This is definitely one of your better posts. Lots of excellent word choices and phrases. Really!

I hope warmer weather revs your internal engine again, though, and you feel more motivated to do stuff. (How about bowling? Maybe a bowling league?)

Akelamalu said...

LOL all the best laid plans and all that!

Talking about idiot proof, you would think that a Wormery would be wouldn't you? NO I managed to massacre thousands of worms in my attempt to get them to produce a never ending supply of fertiliser for my garden. Poor little blighters.

Good luck with the walking, when you eventually start. x

Rose L said...

LOL Not sure I would have admitted to being an idiot!! You are funny! I, too, have been hunting down my muse. Still unpacking from my move a little over 2 months ago. Slow due to repairs and painting. When I find her, I hope she is still breathing!