I'm much more thoughtful at home, with coffee or some other daytime/nighttime appropriate beverage and access to cigarettes, so I have an excuse to walk away from it whenever I get stuck on a thought.
Like right now. Excuse me, I'll be right back...
(And by "be right back" I mean, I'll change out of my jammies, put on some jeans, walk around the apartment half-dressed looking for a shirt, find one and put it on, secure coffee, locate keys, locate sunglasses so as not to frighten the neighbors with the morning look, put them on, then go out to the stoop, smoke, and return. Then I'll re-read whatever it was that I wrote to try to figure out what it is that I'm going to write next. Then I may check my Facebook and email. Then I'm back. And then I realize that since I'm still working from my netbook, that the screen is very small and I need to adjust the zoom so I can see what I'm doing. THEN I'm back.)
At work, I guess you would say that I work in "spurts". I get so bored, so fast. At the same time, and, I'm not just bragging here, I do more in an hour than most people do in three. Strange, but true. I mean, even though I spend an extreme amount of time screwing around, you can actually see the top of my desk, which is some kind of anomaly at my office**. People comment on it all the time--"wow, your desk is so clean and organized!" Yes, yes, it is. That's because I hustled my ass off to get the work done so I could spend 20 minutes with my phone, reading and replying to mobile updates from Twitter and Facebook. See how that works?
I realize that there are exactly NO jobs in Corporate America that advocate this type of work-style, so, in addition to the goofing off, I spend a fair amount of time worrying that I'm goofing off too much--the guilt feeds the hustle. And while I'm hustling, I'm distracted by the sounds of my co-workers spending half their days "visiting" and talking about their weekends and such, which allows me to be comforted by the fact that the reason I get more done than they do is that my goof-off time is very focused. I don't know the names of any of my co-workers kids, spouses or pets because all of the screwing around that I do is decidedly anti-social. I give it my complete attention.
Saturday. But for some reason, I'm still looking at this act of writing as "goofing off", even though this is my time, my dime. I worry about myself sometimes. I don't recall being raised with any extreme amount of guilt, but for some reason, I look around my messy apartment and the very act of sitting here at my computer seems incredibly self-indulgent. I suppose it is.
I remember my ex once telling me that he thought that artists in general were "selfish", meaning, they could be doing something productive instead of writing, or painting, or sculpting or whatever--and I know I revisit this theme often, but I must say, Thank God SOMEBODY does this. Thank God SOMEONE is selfish enough to write a song or and essay or tweet or whatever. When the only sounds permeating your brain are the sounds of your co-workers, or even your friends, just talking about their days and nights, like there is nothing else happening in the world, and nothing is more important than how they feel about something, getting a mobile Twitter update from Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) that reads "Follow Friday? Look what it did or Robinson Crusoe -he died alone having sex with a coconut" is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Sometimes, when I find myself worried about the state of the world, I realize that it's because I'm spending too much time listening to people who are not funny, or that make a big deal out of nothing. Here's an example...guy accepts a job in Minneapolis. This happens every day. EVERY f*cking day, OK? Several times a day, in fact. So no big deal. Except this week, when it happened, everybody lost their damn minds. Let me be perfectly clear: It's not just that I don't give a rats ass about football, it's actually that I don't give a rats ass about whether or not you're famous, especially if you're famous for something I don't give a rats ass about. Just remember, every Joe Schmoh who feels perfectly justified weighing in on what is essentially a private decision made by some guy and his family, is the same Joe Schmoh who will feel perfectly justified passing judgement on YOU.
Of course, they are a powerful and vocal group, and, as made obvious at recent town hall meetings on health care reform, some of them carry guns.
And a lot of them also want to know who you're sleeping with, and whether or not your apartment is clean.
You see...this is why we need entertainment. This is why we need to poke fun. This is why we need to HAVE fun. This is why we need to hear the other perspective, look at that abstract sculpture that represents your face/your race, or hear that song about the chick who done him wrong--even if the subject matter has nothing to do with the things that get us all excited or wracked with guilt--it helps us to calm down and not worry about the messy apartment, or the quarterback, or whatever. This is what an artist does. So what if, when they wrote that thing, they weren't thinking about YOUR mental health so much as their own? So what? In the end, that "selfish" is the most self-LESS thing they could have done.
And so...I must close, and, yes, clean the messy apartment. Much like my desk at work, however, I clean my apartment for the sole purpose of being able to "goof off" again later--to be able think about things that have nothing to do with whether or not someone I don't give a rats ass about would find my apartment too messy for their taste--to clear the slate, as I have so many other times this week already, so that my mind will be clean, and more important things can thrive....
** Yet another thing to be concerned about if you are an advocate of health care reform...I work at an insurance company, and I'm here to tell you that your paperwork is probably in one of many piles of paperwork on someone's desk. Sorry. Like I keep saying, if we had to actually compete in the free market, some of us would have our asses handed to us...