Not everything is nighttime pancakes when you’re an adult

My computer is constantly on. I think the last time I turned it off was when I flew to Oklahoma. I prefer to make it hibernate or sleep since it’s started to take longer to power up. I really just need to get rid of the files and programs I don’t use, but I never have the time for that. I have things to do – books to pretend to read, recipes to think about making, and a room to wish was clean.

I minimized all my windows earlier this afternoon because I remembered I had changed my background to a smoldering picture of Aaron Paul. To see it, I had to minimize my sticky notes which I then rearranged so his face wasn’t covered. These notes’ lifespans vary from months to days. Why I have such a hard time deleting them is a mystery. One is titled “TO READ”, a list of books I want to read. It’s only been referenced once in the last year. Other notes contain quotes intended to inspire me to write, which would probably be effective if they weren’t covered up by Facebook.

There’s one that I don’t think I’ll get rid of until my computer calls for reformatting:

“Don’t romanticize this adulthood thing just because you get to eat pancakes at night.”

Though the context escapes me, I know I heard it from a professor. At the time, it struck me as beautifully silly.  “Don’t be so eager to grow up,” it pleaded. “Stay young, silly, and still appreciative of pancakes in the dark.” It resonated well at the time –  the end of my college years was coming to an end and I desperately wanted to revert to childhood. Or at least to the point where I wasn’t realizing I should have decided on a more productive major.

When I was younger, twenty-four was incredibly mature. My life plan was basically this: Finish high school, fall in love…….retire comfortably and die in my sleep. Did I think about my twenties  the time when I’m supposed to be figuring out my life? Of course not. I just glazed over that and assumed it would all be taken care of before I got there. To be fair, for a good portion of my childhood, I just assumed I would be raptured before I turned 16, so I figured I wouldn’t have to worry about the really tough things.

(This is probably why I didn’t know what a 401k was until a few years ago. Now I have one and I’m about to change my portfolio to the high-risk/high-reward one because a six-question quiz in my 401k informational portfolio told me that because of my age and personality, I can do that. That’s probably how Donald Trump made all his money, right? His BMO Harris booklet had a quiz that told him he could handle market fluctuations and he went with it.)

So when I see this sticky note I wonder where the pancakes are. I’m only 24 and I’m already thinking about retirement –  mainly because of all the things I have yet to do. I still have to establish a career (though I think I’m on a good track). I still have to buy an appropriate car. I need to have a savings account and I should probably stop listening to Taylor Swift. I have these adult worries, so where are my nighttime pancakes?

I’d like to remember the other side of this: why spend so much time worrying about being an adult? I should be taking advantage of the freedom that comes with being un-tethered and in my 20’s. There is literally nothing stopping me from doing what I want. If I want to stay up until 1:30 reading a book, then I can. Alternatively, I can take a night drive to admire the clear sky. I can wear red lipstick all day at work and have personal victory. I can strike up a conversation with a stranger because he’s probably not going to kidnap me. I can plan a vacation with my best friend in hopes of dancing with foreign men.

Or I could just make pancakes at night.

I can have fun in whatever way I decide. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

Remember that, self. 

…and then I hung out with some of the world’s best musicians.

I was going to stay home last night. I had a somewhat uneventful day at work and after teaching a violin lesson, I thought it would be nice to go home, put on some sweats, and try to write something. This would have turned into me being on Facebook for about an hour, then watching The Colbert Report.

But I had received a Facebook invite to see the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin perform at UW-Oshkosh. At first, I was like, “Meh. Quartet music. It’s too far to drive and I just bought new tea. I’ll youtube the program.” But something kept tugging at me – a comment that one of my friends posted: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see some of the best musicians in the world.”

So I felt obligated. I knew I would kick myself if I didn’t.

I AM SO GLAD I WENT.

It was a fantastic reminder that I can’t expect my  life to be fun, exciting, or inspiring if I sit in my apartment alone. First off, I was welcomed by the sight of the building in which I spent the most while in college. I never thought I would be so comforted by the hideous architecture. I didn’t realize it at the time, but many of my most tumultuous and memorable moments happened in the Arts and Communications building.  That building witnessed the disintegration of my two most serious romantic relationships, the beginning of one of them, several crying spells (over boys, over finances, and over studies), a tipsy rehearsal (for what ensemble? I’ll never tell), and plenty of others I would rather not post on the internet. My point is that it was like walking back to a home – even if it was a stressful and oddly moist atmosphere.

I was able to see many of the people that made my time in the music department fun. It also made me really miss being there. At times, I hated how small the music department was – it was small, a little cliquey, and surprisingly gossipy at times. It sometimes reminded me of high school. But regardless, it was a community. There’s a sense of comradery among music students. We complain about how other majors only take four or five classes a semester while we’re taking seven or eight. We complain about the stinky practice rooms, and how the hall is either steamy or freezing. We complain about practicing piano or ear-training. We all have to trudge through the same classes. I would say it’s exactly what happens to men on the battlefield, just with reeds, spit valves, mallets, and rosin.

The concert was incredible. It inspired me to both play my violin and sell it – because why bother? I’ll never be as good as them. It was a pretty traditional program – two fantastic quartets book-ending a modern piece that everyone pretends to understand and really love. Mozart, Lutoslawski, and Beethoven.

The thing about music like Mozart or Beethoven is that it has a distinct grace and natural air to it. I’m too clumsy of a violinist to play Mozart properly, and I certainly haven’t played enough in the last six months to do Wolfgang or Ludwig any justice. I’m envious of violinists whose pianissimos are as powerful as their fortissimos. The four musicians tonight made it look so damn easy. It was hard to imagine any of them being an amateur. It sounded like they had been rosining their bows in the womb and perfecting arpeggios and three octave harmonic minor scales on the other side of the canal.

The Lutoslawski was completely different. It was sort of like they got up there and said, “Hey! Look at all the sounds we can make with these things!”

It was powerful to watch, but in the same sort of way I felt about The Master. I could appreciate its complexity and the strength of an ensemble that plays the piece, but I didn’t connect with it.

Afterward, I was planning on going home and reading some more Infinite Jest when I caught wind that one of the musicians had asked (in a perfectly charming German accent) where to get beer. A few of my friends jumped at the chance to take them downtown to Oblio’s. I wavered for a moment and then remembered: a once in a lifetime opportunity.

When else would I be able to say that I saw the world’s best string quartet (for free) and then had a few beers with them?

NEVER. That’s when.

So I went.

I spent most of the time talking to the cellist (who I thought was handsome in a mature-foreign-world-class-musician sort of way) and the violist. The cellist said he enjoyed Wisconsin and was glad that our beer had improved. We ended up talking about the Lutoslawski piece for about twenty minutes, with the violist talking and half-singing the thing while we followed the score (which looked INSANE, by the way). As I guessed, the piece wasn’t exactly measured – the bars are more of suggestions. Phrases are repeated and ended by cues and rests are counted in seconds (not beats). Basically, the musicians have to function as a single unit (which, I realize, all ensembles truly have to do) in order to achieve a successful performance.

But when I told them I was glad they ended with the Beethoven, they both laughed their hearty German laughs and asked if I wanted another beer.

It was a great night. And while I love blogging and writing, I’m so glad I didn’t stay home in front of my computer.

My life as I know it will be over.

I had a strange realization the other day, one that shouldn’t exactly be a realization. As of December 16, I’m no longer going to be a college student.

It’s all I’ve done for the last five years. I’m having an existential crisis. Am I entitled to that?

I’m preparing to go visit Bill in a few days. In fact, I will be seeing him in just over 48 hours. I haven’t seen him since September. It’s been over two months since I’ve kissed him, hugged him, touched him, or woke up to him talking in his sleep. I’m flying into Oklahoma City around 10pm on Tuesday night. I’ve never gotten off an airplane to be greeted by a boyfriend. I’ve been trying to imagine the scene. I’m sure I’ll be tired since I’m working in the morning, and traveling by plane is oddly exhausting. However, if I don’t have a five year old kicking the back of my seat like my last flight, I’ll consider this one a success. I’ll exit the terminal and search for Bill, hauling my carry on bag and rolling suitcase and then I’ll see him and cry. Big gooey tears that are embarrassing but I won’t care because I’ll finally actually be seeing Bill in the flesh rather than on my computer screen and for the first time in months my tears will be on his shirt and not on my sleeve.

But maybe I won’t cry. Maybe I’ll just smile till my cheeks hurt and then we’ll kiss and I’ll blush for the rest of the night. 

Because I’m not there yet, I’m wanting the next two days to pass by as quickly as possible. I’m becoming acutely aware of how swiftly time moves. I’ll be in Oklahoma for about a week, then after that, I’ll have just three weeks left as a college student. That means I will be cramming an enormous amount of work into three weeks. I have several books I need to read. While I’m doing this, I need to read critically so I can write a comparative paper for my African American Women Writers class – I’m thinking of comparing a Lorrie Moore story with one of Danielle Evans’s stories. Which two stories, I’m not sure. I read Moore’s Self Help a few months ago, and I’m not through Evans’s collection. I’m anticipating that by rereading Moore’s book and completing Evan’s collection, I’ll have a sudden epiphany and I’ll write a brilliant paper. I also need to write a paper about Pat Barker’s Regeneration, which as far as I can tell, 2/3 of the way through, has no plot. So far I’ve picked up a few things about a stuttering psychiatrist who has some homosexual tendencies and a few WWI soldiers getting day passes. It’s really a pretty boring book and because it’s near impossible to finish reading, I’m going to have a very difficult time writing about it. I also have to finish a draft of my seminar project – a piece of creative nonfiction that’s turning into a pretty personal endeavor – and then revise it until it’s wonderful.

While I have all of these books to read and also biology and anthropology to study, I decided to read another book. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. An editorial review on Amazon reads:

Even among authors, Jeffrey Eugenides possesses a rare talent for being able to inhabit his characters. In The Marriage Plot, his third novel and first in ten years (following the Pulitzer Prize-winning Middlesex), Eugenides describes a year or so in the lives of three college seniors at Brown in the early 80s. There is Madeleine, a self-described “incurable romantic” who is slightly embarrassed at being so normal. There is Leonard, a brilliant, temperamental student from the Pacific Northwest. And completing the triangle is Mitchell, a Religious Studies major from Eugenides’ own Detroit. What follows is a book delivered in sincere and genuine prose, tracing the end of the students’ college days and continuing into those first, tentative steps toward true adulthood. This is a thoughtful and at times disarming novel about life, love, and discovery, set during a time when so much of life seems filled with deep portent.

The “tracing the end of the students’ college days and continuing into those first, tentative steps toward true adulthood” bit was the thing that really sold me. I’ve been sort of obsessed with books like this lately. I want how-to texts to tell me how to be an adult, because I don’t really know what it’s like to not be a student. I’m no longer looking to books for escapism – I’m looking to them for comradery, even if the heroines of these fictions don’t figure it out. Lorrie Moore’s characters are usually women just on the verge of a breakdown, and the Madison-area college student in A Gate at the Stairs felt like a best friend on the pages. About thirty pages into The Marriage Plot, I’m beginning to wonder when Eugenides was able to notate my thoughts while I sat through my English classes. Consider such gems like:

She’d become an English major for the purest and dullest of reasons: because she loved to read. (pg 20, from the Kindle edition)

That left a large contingent of people majoring in English by default. Because they weren’t left-brained enough for science, because history was too dry, philosophy too difficult, geology too petroleum-oriented, and math too mathematical—because they weren’t musical, artistic, financially motivated, or really all that smart, these people were pursuing university degrees doing something no different from what they’d done in first grade: reading stories. English was what people who didn’t know what to major in majored in. (pg 21, from the Kindle edition)

But after three solid years of taking literature courses, Madeleine had nothing like a firm critical methodology to apply to what she read. Instead she had a fuzzy, unsystematic way of talking about books. It embarrassed her to hear the things people said in class. And the things she said. I felt that. It was interesting the way Proust. I liked the way Faulkner. (pg 24, from the Kindle edition)

I’m really hoping that Madeleine ends up figuring her life out so I can follow suit. However, since it’s a Eugenides novel, she’ll probably have a much deeper existential meltdown, then commit suicide or her whole family will die. Don’t worry though, it will be done in the most brilliant of fashions.

If I were really smart, I would save this and any other leisure reading material for December 17.

I am an excellent college student.

I have this condition. I find I’m willing to do anything other than whatever it is that I need to do. I’m supposed to be reading The Dying Ground, which is a hip hop novel for my African American Women Writers class (from here on known as AAWW) . Don’t ask me what a hip hop novel is because I don’t know – I haven’t started reading it yet. I’m supposed to have ten chapters read by at 1:20 tomorrow afternoon. I’m also supposed to finish reading Lorine Niedecker’s collection of poetry, but as I found out last week, it takes about ten minutes to get through 50 pages of imagist poetry, and there’s no need to really understand it anyway. I’m not expecting this novel to be bad. I’m not expecting to hate it. I would just rather do anything else, including reorganizing my music files on my computer, watching two seasons of House (I watched the first episode of the season and have no idea how he ended up in prison), making sure there are no typos in my history or biology notes, reading ahead in my anthropology textbook, or reading the case study on the Yanomamo: A Fierce People. I read the first twenty pages last night.

A high capacity for rage, a quick flash point, and a willingness to use violence to obtain one’s ends are considered desirable traits. Much of the behavior of the Yanomamo can be described as brutal, cruel, treacherous, in the value-laden terms of our own vocabulary. The Yanomamo themselves, however, as Napoleon Chagnon came to intimately know them in the year and a half he lived with them, do not all appear to be mean and treacherous. As individuals, they seem to be people playing their own cultural game, with internal feelings that at times may be quite divergent from the demands placed upon them by their culture. This case study furnished valuable data for phrasing questions about the relationship between the individual and his culture.

The Yanomamo appear to be constantly on the verge of extranormal behavior, as we define it, and their almost daily use of hallucinogenic drugs reinforces these drives to what might seem to the outside observer to be the limits of human capacity. Life in their villages is noisy, punctuated by outbursts of violence, threatened by destruction by enemies. To the ethnographer it is frightening, frustrating, disgusting, exciting, and rewarding, and in this case study the ethnographer lets the reader know how he feels. His honest reaction helps us, as interested outsiders, to know the Yanomamo.

You can’t tell me that doesn’t sound interesting. Here are these people, living in small groups, doing drugs and attacking each other. It sounds full of that sensational crap that gets my attention whenever I flip past the Discovery Channel and they’re having a marathon of shows on human sexuality.

Midterms are overwhelming. I had two tests this morning – history and biology. I crammed for both of them over the course of the last three nights because I am a smart person. Neither test was very bad, but as I’ve made it clear, my mind practically refuses to retain scientific information, especially when describing things like cell division and the Calvin cycle. I think they mentioned ATP and NAD+ somewhere in there, but I’m not sure about the significance.

I completed a take home test for AAWW. It was an essay and it enabled me to bust out my amazing outlining skills. I really hope that’s a skill employers look for, because I am great at it. Now, all I need to do is read, but instead I’d rather document my procrastination skills on my blog.

I am an excellent college student.

Dear Jackass

I’m in the process of moving. Like most people, I hate the idea of packing everything up because it requires a lot of time and energy. I do, however, love the necessity of going through everything to see what objects I once deemed necessary to hang on to. I found that I had made nice folders containing old syllabi, class readings, writing exercises, and manuscripts from classes I took at UW-Milwaukee. The class folder I just went through was from my Intro to Fiction course. Me writing fiction is a silly thing when I think about it. The true fiction that I wrote seems very silly. I never have a clear picture of where I want my fiction to go, much less a greater moral or deeper truth to the piece. Anything readers claimed to have found in my fiction was a product of their active imaginations and literally nothing I had intended. I sort of felt like I was playing a joke on the readers. “Haha, this piece is about nothing. Good luck finding meaning in it!” I wonder if I’m the only writer to feel like that. It’s been a while since I’ve written fiction, but I remember just letting the story go where it wanted to. 

I was a moderator on a fiction board for a writing forum. I had posted a story about a guy who kept pacing back and forth on a street, popping quarters into parking meters, only to be deeply disturbed when he saw his ex-lover walking in a scarlet dress with her fiance. The penultimate moment was when he dropped a red bead from his pocket onto the street. Readers in the forum claimed there was this deep significance – lots to do with the Catholic church (seriously?) and a wandering soul. I was just like, “Yeah, that’s an interesting read on it.” In reality, I had just thought it was a cool image – this crazy guy obsessed with saving people, however little the action was, then finally casting aside the woman he never could save.

Okay, that’s actually kind of a cool concept. I still don’t know how they got the Catholic church involved.

Other than the joke-fiction I wrote, most of what I tried to pass as fiction was really just personal narrative. This gave a lot of the pieces really emotionally-charged details and anecdotal side notes. For instance:

You turned on music – The Shins, most likely. We were always listening to The Shins. How many playlists and mixed CDs did I try to make in the months that followed, just trying to create the perfect blend to capture that damn summer? I have sifted through all the evenings to pick out the music that captured us (that romantic notion of “us”). Owen, Broken Social Scene, matt pond, Sufjan (Soof! Come to Wisconsin! I have the tallest man with the narrowest shoulders! This man of suburbia will not steal your heart!), Bob Dylan, Eisley, Psapp (remember I laughed? I said it sounded like a zoo? I’m not laughing anymore. They suck), Josh Ritter, the Weakerthans (those damn underdogs! I loathe you for this!), The National Splits, Tegan and Sara (I’m no longer walking with a ghost, you pompous piece of shit), and for Christ’s sake, who could forget Radiohead? You were obsessed with Pablo Honey that summer. That album sucks as badly as a Radiohead album can suck. Thom Yorke sounds like a high school sophomore on that album. The only halfway decent song on the damn CD is Creep. And maybe Ripcord, but the rest suck – especially the one you loved some much, Thinking About You. That has to be the worst Radiohead song ever. Upgrade your taste to OK Computer and quit it with your elitist bullshit. 

Many of the details were fabricated ones – ones that don’t apply at all to the relationship on which this piece was based, but there was a lot of bitterness I was attempting to work through with this piece. I accomplished this too. I did a full-class workshop on this piece, and it gave me a sense of closure and retribution when it was all said and done. Airing out the dirty details and humiliations was electrifying.  Reading the piece, I can point to the areas where I changed the details in a cheap attempt to fictionalize it (instead of pesto pasta, we made marinada, instead of blue raspberry popsicles there was ice cream bars, etc), and it’s funny, because with a little editing, the piece functions almost perfectly as a personal narrative, which is what I intend to do with it.

Since I’ve matured since that class (it was in 2008. I’d like to think I am no longer as whiny as my 20 year-old self), I didn’t think I would find anything of worth in the folder. I figured all that I wrote then could and should be regarded as dribble. However, it gives me great pride to see what I was capable of creating. I was brutally honest in that piece, and I see now that I am capable of such honesty; I am able to forget about that somebody looking over my shoulder while I write.

I remember feeling caught off-balance when I first had an advisor ask me if I was a writer. I didn’t know how to answer at the time, because I didn’t know the qualifications. I posed that quandary to the readers of my blog at the time, and they responded with answers that basically amounted to “Yes, you moron. You are a writer.” In this moment, I don’t feel I need the outside affirmation. I can say with the utmost certainty: Yes, I am a writer.

Growing up as an American Girl

This semester, I’m in a class titled African American Women Writers. To be honest, I was not all that excited to take the class. I register for it because it was a twofer. It took care of a diversity studies requirement and it finished off my electives for my English major. I would have much rather taken a class for modern short fiction, or some sort of creative writing, but once you’ve taken ten semesters of higher education, you realize that time is no longer of the essence and that  you want to get the hell out of college. At that point, you take whatever classes will let you do that.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoy the class. It helps that my professor – Norlisha Crawford – is an extremely engaging woman. I’ve had a few similarly themed classes – you know, minority or comparative studies – but they were fairly unremarkable. I took a Toni Morrison class that was incredible in a very Toni Morrison sort of way. Just when you think you know what’s going on with Morrison’s characters, she throws in a dead ghost baby or gossip from unnamed characters. The African Women’s literature (note the lack of American) class I took last semester was so incredibly dull. The class failed to peak any interest in colonialism. I thought the books on my syllabi were supposed to vie for my attention. They’re supposed to be strong examples of good literature that will drive me to learn more about the class’s topic. I’m sure my lack of interest in colonialism makes me a terrible liberal arts student, but whatever. You win some, you lose some.

Anyway, two weeks ago, we read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (read it for free here!) and one of the assignments for the class is a journal presentation. Basically, we can take any topic that we’ve mentioned in class, do some sort of research or elaboration and present it to the class. It’s extremely open-ended. Though I haven’t started the project, I’m planning on comparing Jacobs’s book with the story of Addy Walker. I’ll look at the differences between the reality that’s presented in the novel to the fictional account of Addy’s tale that was read by young girls.

I grew up with the American Girl Dolls. I first got a Bitty Baby – which I named Tia. I got the hispanic one, and I specifically remember deciding I wanted that one because it was different. I knew other girls would get the white baby with the blonde hair and blue eyes. Geez. Even as a seven-year old I was determined to be different. For Tia’s first birthday, my mother gave me silver Gerber spoons. When I was deemed both old enough and responsible enough, I got a real American Girl doll – Samantha. Over the course of a few years, my mother made clothes for Samantha, my dad and my grandfather made doll-sized furniture. My bedroom had more doll furniture than it did actual furniture. And it was awesome.

The awesome land of make believe and dolls aside, I also read the series ferociously. I had the entire collection – Addy, Samantha, Kristen, Molly, Felicity, and Josefina. These books were awesome. I went home this afternoon to get the Addy books for my presentation and I was able to look at my collection of books from my childhood. They were virtually all historical fiction. American Girls, Dear America, and Little House on the Prairie. I was such a cool kid. The American Girls of today are hardly recognizable. It looks like they replaced the historical education portion of the books with modern problems. I don’t have a problem with that, really. The company seems to have the same sort of mission – to encourage girls to be smart and socially aware. I think it’s just my sentimentality that makes it an issue. Where will nerdy girls get their historical fiction if not from American Girls? Where will they find possibly not very historically accurate representations of life throughout the history of America? If there is another company that does this, I’d like to know, because when I have a daughter I want her to be a socially aware, historically informed, brilliantly imaginative child.

Friday Morning Tea

About eight years ago, I decided to be a devote coffee drinker. It started when I decided I wanted to be cool and go to the coffee shop where all the cool kids were hanging out at. By cool kids, I mean the dirty outcasts that had trained their faces to not grimace when sipping espresso or black coffee. I had been drinking coffee with my parents since elementary school, though I always put lots of flavored creamer in it. The kids at the coffee shop were all from the town over, which was nice because when I interacted with them they didn’t know of my reputation. I’m not really sure, but I’m guessing I had a pretty vanilla reputation. I spent a lot of time playing violin – going to lessons, preparing for auditions, and going to orchestra festivals a few times through the years. On the weekends, I went to $5 shows and pretended that I really did enjoy listening to the Blood Brothers when all I wanted to do was just dance to the brilliant jubilee of The Rocket Summer – who I did see perform twice. I think I scrapbooked the confetti he shot out of a cannon. Anyway, at that coffee shop, I was able to be a more amplified version of who I thought I was – girly, smart, and artsy. Very unique, considering that was the image most seventeen year old girls were trying to to cultivate, what with their “photography” they posted on their MySpace pages, complete with captions containing lyrics from Bright Eyes songs.

High school was a confusing time.

At the coffee shop, I settled on a favorite drink – a white chocolate raspberry latte. I had a boyfriend from the town over who would go there on his lunch break to buy one for me. This boyfriend was dubbed “Latte Boy” by one of the baristas. The evolution of Folgers with a 1/4 cup of Coffee mate to double-flavored lattes wasn’t that big of a stretch, but I thought it was.

Curiously, around the time I started working as a barista was when my coffee habit started scaling back. I think the novelty wore off. I used to be a guest to the coffee shop, but then I became a fixture. Now, if there’s coffee around me, I’ll probably have a cup. If I’m feeling especially groggy or stressed, I might have a second.

And now I’m at the point that I’m too lazy to make a pot myself. I’m headed into work at noon. I’ll have some then. For now, I’ll just drink tea. I know nothing about tea. I don’t understand passionate tea-drinkers. The culture surrounding coffee makes sense to me – it has heavy ties with creativity. In my experience, the right cup of coffee can fuel an incredible session of creation. But tea? It has these supposed herbal powers that can do magical things for your body. Having done virtually no research of this, I’ll say this is all the the placebo effect. If you think that cup of tea is going to regulate your digestive system, it will. If you think that cup of tea is going to calm your nerves, it will. I’m probably too cynical to drink tea, which is especially funny when I’m forced to admit that I bought a box of St John’s tea the first day I was without Bill. 

I had woken up without any real rest, and decided to go grocery shopping. In shorts and his old t-shirt, I stood in front of the tea display and tried to find the perfect beverage. I wanted to believe in something, and tea seemed as good as anything else. “Encourages positive mood” the box proclaimed. That seemed like a good thing to encourage, especially since I hadn’t even been encouraged enough to wash my face before going out in public.

The directions say you’re supposed to steep the tea for 10-15 minutes. You’re also supposed to drink 4-6 cups during the day. I’m supposed to find 40-90 minutes a day to steep tea? I fully understand the concept of multitasking, but that’s an obnoxious amount of time to devote to tea.  That’s time I could spend doing other things, like feeling sorry for myself. Wait, I mean…accomplishing things like reading and writing and submitting work, and beginning my senior seminar project.

I’m too busy and depressed to find the time to drink this tea. I’ll stick with coffee instead, that at least gives me fuel to stress about all the things I should be doing.