Purposelessness

All day meaning to go to the cafe, but only doing it at 4pm. I get there, and I’ve forgotten the power cord to my computer and have only 60 percent power. But it doesn’t matter, because I’ve got nothing to do—just touch up a few sketches, which takes maybe ten minutes, and then it’s back to the Internet, which I’ve come to hate with a passion. It had nothing for me, as usual, so I shut the computer, put my mug in the dish bin, and left. I went to the bookstore, feeling like talking to no one, and was stopped immediately by the cashier who gestured to my backpack. It annoyed me more than it should have. I gave her the bag and considered leaving right away, but stayed half because I wanted to and half because I didn’t want to give the impression that I had only come to stash books in my backpack and run off. But I definitely wasn’t going to buy a book, I told myself, making negative judgments in my head about their selection and the fact that they couldn’t book Patti Smith.

I can’t be in a bookstore without buying a book, though, and downstairs I picked up a six-dollar collection of great American speeches featuring JFK and Lincoln and MLK and etc. I imagine I’ll never read every single one of them.

Next it was to the grocery store. In Brooklyn, at C-Town, the deli worked fast, like everything in New York works fast, but it’s always agonizingly slow here. It took 20 minutes to get a pound of sliced chicken and a pound of cheddar cheese, and there wasn’t even a line. A redhead next to me saw my bag of bananas and told me to make banana ice cream by cutting it into coins, freezing them overnight, and putting them in the food processor. It sounded like a good idea, and the coins are in my freezer right now. I pocketed two Harry the Dragon cookies, meant for children 12 and under, and walked home in the light rain.

On the way I passed someone I knew from school. She was walking the opposite way with a friend, but she didn’t look up and I was glad. There are times when talking just feels painful. I don’t know if I’m a full-time introvert—people who know me would probably laugh—but I do fluctuate wildly between the extremes.  “I’m sorry to be rude, but I have to run home,” I would have said almost immediately. “But it’s great seeing you!” And I would have felt tired just from expending that tiny amount of energy.

I walked by Vin Rouge and was seriously tempted to sit down and drink wine. If I could have done it alone, with a book, I might have.

Everything I’m feeling now is predictable. Mild irritation from a lack of direction, a lack of purpose, a lack of plans. There are only spots in the cycle, it seems, where everything clicks, and then you’re bound to hit the highs and lows where it all feels off-kilter. The old cliches come flying back in my face, and I realize that valuing the journey in abstract is not the same as having a journey, and doesn’t provide an antidote to a life lived with multiple journeys. I want to be on the verge of the next big thing, but the fact that I don’t pursue one thing for a long time leads to these in-between phases, where inevitably I spend some days in the swamps.

And now I’m chastising myself. There’s football on. I can learn “Heroin” on guitar. I have that banana ice cream. I can Google Bernie Sanders. I can dream of how I’ll feel tomorrow when I’m off the stationary bike. Of not dying on stage tomorrow. Of the next big thing that will come around, somehow.

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