Don’t Play With My Blocks
I can’t believe I’m sitting here in a library in Austin, TX, by myself when I’m a complete paranoid. I sat outside in my car for about 15 minutes before I could even work up the courage to get out and walk in. Then I was so awkward when I walked in, not knowing, do I check in somewhere, do I just walk past the desk like I know what I’m doing. I haven’t been in a library since I was in elementary. I looked around and saw several people who seemed to know the routine, just heading to their normal spots, digging in and moving forward with whatever reading, research, writing, obsessing they were there to do. Were they studying for school? They didn’t have backpacks – maybe some kind of satchel. Some of them came from the grocery store parking lot just next to the library. Two of them were just standing there at the front, waiting for the 10:00am opening time. Right now, I hear a baby at the front of the library. Doesn’t anyone think it’s strange to have a baby crying while people are brain-deep into whatever they’re into? On the way here, I had road rage twice. One lady in a red Porsche obviously had no thought about squeezing out another lady in a simple black Nissan. I followed her with a bird spewing from the might of my right hand, willing my curse to spin straight through her back window and into the back of her ridiculously blond head of bull shit hair. Not sure it worked. I was tempted to follow her. She knew it. I turned at my street and she saw and breathed again. Another beeped at me and I stopped dead in the road to consider my reaction.
Damn it. I found a perfect spot in the back corner of the library. I had to face forward though, toward the door, leaving one more remote spot to my back facing the wall. I was perfectly content to write in this position. Someone just invaded my space. I’m listening for clues of their purpose there. I hate having someone at my back. It’s so uncomfortable. Anyway, he’s probably doing the same thing because I hear nothing.
I can’t think of my story. I have so many words, so many stories, but I can’t control myself to put it into a format, to simply write it down. I think I might be obsessive compulsive… for real. This is scary because I absolutely do not want to take medication and I refuse to discuss the issue with anyone with a pad of paper with Rx on it. I notice that I’m at my worst when I feel forced. Forced about anything at all. I can get about life just fine, talking with endless numbers of different type people. I can go to someone else’s house without fretting about the lines in the floor, the patterns in the carpet, the pillows on the couch. I can go into a restaurant and not clean the table before I leave it. I can accept spontaneous happenings and not curse my inability to predict them. But I do have some issues that make me feel quietly crazy and enraged. Shouldn’t I have worked out some of these spiky quirks that make me feel dangerous – to myself, and possibly others? My anger runs so deep; I know it’s slowly killing me. The lady at the Sephora store, younger lady I might add, told me I had beautiful skin. It was clean and I wasn’t wearing makeup… but was it, “beautiful?” I thought to myself, “Can I believe this? Is it possible that all those years of smoking, drinking, stress, screaming, crying, sun, be null and void, and I’m still experiencing ‘good skin’?” Or was she trying to sell me makeup? I can’t tell. I look in the mirror and I can’t understand how it looks. I don’t know what I’m looking at. Does it matter? I don’t know. Do I even care? Maybe — a little.
I’ve left my house today for the first time to do something other than making beds and putting away clothes and feeding dogs and making things perfect. I do this every day, like I’m trying to get everything right before I allow myself the luxury of writing. Maybe this is what makes me obsessive compulsive. I took two Xanax yesterday – well, two halves. I never do that. I’ve been taking Xanax for 27 years, on and off. I’m curious if it’s killing my brain. But I hate pills so much. They don’t work for me. Maybe I’ve just had shitty doctors who’ve never understood the story. I’m disturbed.
Is it time to write my thingy? This took me about 20 minutes or so. Is it time? Am I flowing? I have ideas. One idea is about a middle-aged woman suffering unimaginable inner turmoil… but it’s been written. One is about a wife who causes her own death. One is about a killer who stalks his prey to only find out later that his prey has been stalking him… been done. Another is about an alien being who is immature and ridiculous to his peer group… they think he’s slow or something. He screws everything up. It’s stupid. I can’t write about ridiculous stuff. It’s too annoying to me. I can only write about dark and angry things. But I feel like it’s not “marketable.”
God, I’m so annoyed with everyone around me. The guy behind me is unzipping and zipping and unzipping and zipping, moving around and trying to decide what the fuck he’s doing. Another idiot just passed me in the main hall and exuded a loud hiccup that he, no doubt, enjoyed. The guy behind me just sneezed like my brother used to sneeze and I’d feel secretly angry about it. The people up front are opening and closing file drawers and moving things around. The baby is still crying here and there, followed by some parent making some guttural noise that supposedly stops him. I’m annoyed. I don’t like people mostly. They bother the shit out of me. But, funny thing, my heart bleeds when I see someone suffer. There’s no hiccup or sneeze or cry or guttural sound that will stop me from pouring every ounce of me into a genuine solution for them. What does that make me, bipolar? Maybe I’m nothing. Maybe I’m just angrier than I thought. Maybe I’m having a really, really bad day… worse than the others. Anyway, still typing myself into oblivion trying to make sitting here more tolerable.
This is what I hate about writing. I hate the audience, including myself. I want total anonymity. I want to put it out there without a trace of who wrote it. I want to walk out of here in my stupid black yoga pants that I wear day in and day out, my stupid Pink Floyd graphic tee that I got from Old Navy and my new denim jacket that I actually like and let people think I’ve just worked really hard on researching a recipe for banana bread or finding a way to bring all the PTA moms together for a weekly coffee to discuss sports programs for the underprivileged. Whatever.
I left. I was sitting there, back in my corner, minding my own business, spewing my own waste, relieving myself of writer’s block, and then the inevitable happened. It was one thing to have that guy squeeze in behind me; I got used to him and assumed he was minding his own business. But, then the next guy entered my remote corner of the remote library of the remote part of town. He had five chairs to choose from at this rather large table I was enjoying. He sat immediately next to me. Goddammit. I can’t stand the thought of losing my privacy when I’m writing. I don’t care if I’m writing a synopsis on the weather. Goddammit. I literally hate when someone can potentially see what I’m doing. I shut my computer with such grace and quiet. I checked my phone as though I were late for an appointment of some kind. Stood up and walked out. But, not before I raised my eyes to glare at my imposter, if only for half a second. He was a fat, hairy guy with a dirty striped shirt and larger than normal headphones. Goddammit. Oh, did I mention the kid who escaped his mother and nearly knocked me over on the way out. Fuck.
I’m now at a coffee shop. Is it interesting? I can’t tell. There are probably 40 or 50 people sitting around, each at a different little table, typing away, drinking their latte, wearing their glasses and headphones. What are they listening to? Can you really concentrate on an essay, a term paper, your life story, your dad’s life story, a letter to your lover when your mind is rocking, swaying, shifting, dreaming? Either way, the coffee shop is pumping witchy music into the air for all of us who forgot our headphones. Good. Is it supposed to inspire me? Is it supposed to take me into a realm that I wouldn’t otherwise get to if I were listening to Frank Sinatra? Oh no, here come the words. Reggae? Fuck. Now I’m gonna start writing about weed and salt water. Fuck. Stay focused. What are you here to write about? This chick won’t stop stretching her feet out in front of her. The bottoms of her shoes are dirty and her little ballet flats annoy me. Even if they were clean. Who wears ballet flats? Do they insinuate some kind of innocence? Do the wearers suddenly pin wedding dresses on Pinterest when they wear them? Me? I prefer fucking stilettos. I don’t wear them anymore. I hate that too. I wear sandals… a lot. Although right now I’m wearing moccasins. Who the fuck am I to complain about ballet flats when I’m wearing moccasins. What am I trying to insinuate? That I’m about to rub two sticks together? Whatever.
I prefer people who wear sandals. They’d really rather be barefoot. I like that.
I found my story. Thanks.