It has been unusually humid for California. My sister got married. I thought about quitting smoking. My family came out and visited us from Ireland. I got a fake spray tan. I thought about quitting smoking. The Newsroom season premiere was a bit of a letdown, I had been looking forward to it for almost a year, poor form Newsroom writers. I started back listening to my book on tape, after taking a week hiatus, I like it, it’s entertaining and makes the drive to work go by quickly. I thought about quitting smoking, and read a couple pages out of Allen Carrs “Easy Way to Quit Smoking,” it’s not easy and the title really pisses me off. The Zimmerman trial verdict was laid down. Groups of angry people are “protesting” the verdict, back in the day these were called “riots.” Although I remember the day the Rodney King verdict was announced, I was at Magic Mountain with my parents surrounded by over one hundred thousand angry African American people and I only have seen that look of fear for their daughters lives on one other occasion, which I will not mention right now, but those were real riots. The current “riots” are childs play compared to 1992. Cory Monteith died of a heroin overdose. I’m not joking about the humidity, I’ve been forced to seek solace at the mall because it’s the only place I know with air conditioning. And I have a serious problem with shopping, it’s not an idyllic place for me to go for sanctuary.
These are all events that happened in the last week. Yet I cannot conjure up one thing to write about. I started this blog over two years ago and since then have wrote on average one entry every four months, barely qualifying it to be called a blog, maybe more like a quarterly newsletter. I started the blog because I want to be a writer and I got lots of advice saying “if you wanna be a writer, you gotta start a blog.” So I did. Nothing is inspiring me to write, although I see inspiring things everyday. So there you go. Here I am. Writing a blog on how I cannot write. I’m not dead, I just have writers block.
My boss told me today that I had outgrown my position here and although he loved having me here, what was I going to do with my life. Isn’t that just the million dollar question. I feel like I am stuck in the middle of a room with hundreds of people, screaming at the top of my lungs, “what am I going to do with my life, help me, tell me and I’ll do it” and none of them can hear me. I’m too old to be in college at this point, but will never go any farther if I don’t finish up. The degrees I’m interested in will take four, more likely, eight more years, I’ll be on social security and getting the senior citizen discount at Denny’s by the time I finish college at the rate I’m going. The thing I really wish is that I could time travel back to 1999 and convince myself to go to college and take it seriously, or even 2005 when I finally cleaned up and tell myself to go back and get a degree. Instead I find myself telling any young person who’s willing to listen, to go to college now, or you’ll regret it. And I sound like all the grown ups that I have always hated for lecturing me.
When my boss asked me of my future plans today, I told him the usual, “I am going to be a writer.” I barely even believe it when I say it out loud anymore. My boss suggested I start a blog if I want to be a writer and get some readers, to which I informed him, “I already have one.” Then write Gayle, just write.
I was in line at Starbucks a couple weeks ago when Sam sneezed and a very large gentleman behind us in line said “God bless you.” Or maybe the man sneezed and Sam said “God bless you,” it really doesn’t matter, that’s not the point of this story. For whatever reason they started chatting with each other and the man said, “Who even knows where the expression “God bless you,” came from?” Without missing a beat, I informed him that it originated during the time of the Bubonic Plague. When someone sneezed it was assumed that they had caught the plague and so whoever heard them said, “God bless you.” Now this gentleman was incredibly impressed that I knew this. I’m not sure why. Five minutes later we were waiting for our drinks and the man said to me, “I can’t get over the fact that you knew that, how did you know that?” I told him I must of heard it at some point in my life and just remembered it, honestly, I don’t know where I heard it. He said, “you’d make a great lawyer, being able to remember facts like that.” We started chatting and I told him I was a little lost right now in the world and appreciated the direction. As he picked up his drink and went to walk out he turned to me and said, “You know what the best thing to do is when you’re trying to figure out what you want to do?” I looked at him incredulously, this stranger was about to tell me the answer to all my problems, the way to figure out what to be when I grow up. I was shaking with excitement on the inside but kept it cool on the outside and just said, “No, what?” He smiled an encouraging and loving dad like smile, leaned down, and I thought he was about to whisper the secret to life in my ear but he simply said, “DECIDE,” and smiled generously as he walked out the door into the humid Los Angeles evening.
“Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.” -Mary Schmich