Saturday, January 19, 2002

the magic of retail

ripped petal after ripped petal. he loves me. he loves me not. and the petals drop one by one, and a decision is closer and closer. i'm going to go to ny next weekend and start school. i'm going to take a semester off and do i don't know what. and, it is very likely that the actual decision may be decided by a flower, because right now i have no idea what i want to do, and i am looking for someone to tell me. i called rebecca this afternoon and she didn't have much advice other than that i should take a semester off just because everyone should. it's a decision that i'm going to have to decide and that is what is bothering me more than anything.

i'm just not feeling like being in school right now. last night after my mom made that non-serious comment in passing about me taking a semester off, i started seriously considering it, feeling so relieved to think that i don't have to go to school next semester. that i am at the helm of this ship - that it is not a ship out of control with a course being determined by rough winds and the flow of the tide. fuck no, bitch, this is the twenty-first century, this is a motherfucking power boat. not no inky dinky raft. and now, that i am somewhat aware that i am in control of my life, i have to decide where to steer this boat - what i actually want to do with "my life". my fucking life! last night i laid awake thinking of the possibilities and realizing that i am living my life right now. sometimes (in fact most of the time) i sit on my ass or go through the motions, completely unaware of this fact - that my life is (present tense) being lived. when am i going to actually start doing stuff that i am excited about - stuff that i want to do? i'm going to wait a couple of years, at which point i will be saying okay i just need to finish this and then... and van halen, break it down for us: "Right now, hey / It's your tomorrow / Right now, / C'mon,it's everything / Right now, / Catch a magic moment, do it / Right here and now / It means everything!"

what is holding me back from taking a semester off is my sense of social norms - of what i tell myself that "good" college students would do in this situation. come on charlie, just finish school, graduate and then fuck around. ahhh, i don't know what to do. maybe you can tell that by how i am trying to work out right now to myself what i am going to do. i am going to think about this over the weekend and have a decision by monday at the latest. i woke up this morning very determined to take a semester off, looking at cool resort jobs out west, and jobs at ski resorts. my decision was made. then, i checked my e-mail and niki e-mailed me that she found a two bedroom apt for 775. then my plans changed again because that sounded real fun.

then i talked to niki later in the day and of course we could not get the apt for many reasons that will just further annoy me here to relist them. so anyways, niki is having thesis trouble and it is not looking so good for a graduation at the end of january. and so, i would be living by myself which doesn't seem as fun. okay, we're going to work this out and do some pro con stuff:

pros to taking a semester off
-i would not be in school, stressing out about classes that really don't even excite me that much
-i would not have to worry about finding a place to live in the next week
-i could collect myself mentally, spiritually and all other those other fun -lly words, before throwing myself headfirst into ny
-i could travel, work someplace fun, and do whatever the fuck i felt like. i could be mary poppins and go whichever way the wind blows.
-i could probably get an extension on this stupid joyce isp
-i could read whatever i wanted.

cons to taking a semester off
-i would not be able to graduate in four years. i'd have to do it four and a half, and that worries me because i already know so few people at nc, i fear that my last semester would be lonelyville and depressing. i envision the end of charlotte's web where all the baby spiders go their own way and leave wilbur all my himself. new college was so depressing over fall break with no familar faces around, and a whole semester of that seems like it would be so so painful.
-okay, that is the main reason. but also, ny would be lots of fun.
-i don't know how my mom would respond to me taking a semester off, and by going to ny, i would never need to find out.
-my sister would make big time fun of me.

okay, the con side is looking pretty pathatic, but i still don't know what to do.

that's enough talk about all that. i went to shopper's food warehouse tonight to get my mom some sugar. i drove her minvan. passed an old piano on the side of the road with a piece of wood sitting on it that said free in spraypainted letters. i parked really far away from the store just because. the walk into shoppers felt so good. nice cold breezy weather. i passed two old women, caught a snippet of the conversation need to get to a shelter, you know you should with the... and i didn't hear the why, but i was assuming what followed was some mention to the snow. tomorrow we are supposed to get 4-6 inches of snow in the afternoon. as excited as i am about the snow, i felt pity for this woman whose face i did not even see, who needs to get to a shelter. the line was killer long at the checkout since everyone in va goes haywire at the mention of snow and buys enough food for a nuclear fallout.

and i don't know how to discuss this without sounding cheesy, perhaps there is no way. but whatever- standing in this long line with my bag of white, granulated sugar. long lines paralleling mine to my right and to my left. people with carts full of groceries standing there. i could feel the occasional chill air coming in through the automatic doors opening and closing. i saw magazines with young, pretty white faces on them before me. muscle and fitness. teen people. cosmo. etc. the fluorescent lighting and my position combined to place a huge glare on the magazines, so that they couldn't be seen too well. i glanced over them. no one else was looking at them. people were looking ahead, to their side at their kids, at whatever. and, i'm stuck on race, yes i know, but probably about ten percent of the people waiting in line were white. about half were black. and the other near half were salvadoreans, puerto ricans, indians, immigrants from all over. and we were all standing here bundled up in winter coats waiting. together and waiting. for something it seemed like. an event commensurate to our numbers and greatness seemed like it should have happened. maybe it did. it was not the consumerist exercise of buying groceries. no no no. it was the commonality of man -- the sense of shared identity/shared experience. none of us got anxy or impatient in line. we took it for what it was and enjoyed it. that's why we came to the store in the first place during a snow buying binge - to stand in long lines with animals of the same species and feel some sort of connectedness to something. the he and she and i merging into the we. and besides that wonderful feeling of oneness, we all also left with our desired food product(s).

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