Saturday, March 12, 2005

03/12/2005 Saturday -- Discontent

I'm at discontented loose ends today, not sure quite why. Ok, I am sure why, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it, if anything. And I'm not entirely certain I can put my finger on it & keep it there. But I'm gonna give it a try. Here we go...

This suspicion has been growing on me lately that I'm just not all that. That whatever the glowing promise of youth's successes heaped upon my unworthy head, I have not lived up to any of it. Am not living up to any of it. I spent many hours in my youth wishing fervently that I was more "like everyone else". I dreamed some miracle would make my mind work like all the other people's I knew & that it's non-mainstream tendencies would quit getting me in trouble & ostracized from my peers. Well folks, it was a small town... in many ways, "Big fish, small pond". (In other ways, teeny fish.) But now, bigger pond, bigger fish... my mom always told me I should be careful what I wish for. Every time some got-a-6-on-their-ACT's-flunkie laughed at me, every time a coworker or boss who didn't know how "brainstorming" was truly supposed to work rolled their eyes, every time a friend disgustedly asked "what did you just say? What's that word mean?", I wished ever so fervently to be even a smidge more "average", and I'm a bit disgruntled to find that I believe I may have finally made it.

Last night's gaming brought the subject to the fore for me, & I found myself in an internal introspection & debate for most of the evening. I know I completely missed out on a good 75% of the adventure, but it just hit the switch for me & I had to shut down, analyze & evaluate. The ever intriguing, if-nothing-else-life-is-never-dull-around-him, so-sick & twisted-we-can't-quite-bring-ourselves-to-kill-him-but-we-really-ought-to-have-done-it-ages-ago Le'Mule (it's really "Lemuel"... but along the way he picked up a pair of horse legs, and he is more than a bit of a jackass, so...) managed to finegle (as he always does) us into following Rosa and Helstrom through a portal into the very bowels of Hell itself in search of Rosa's departed son Johnny (that's why WE went -- 'cause we just couldn't let Rosa go alone) and Helstrom's dearly departed wife (that's why Lemuel went.. sort of). There are some great creative imaginations sitting around that table, and simply as a matter of fleshing out the story & making it "real", the discussion ran towards what this "Hell" was gonna look like, how it was layered/designed/organized.... of course, the GM moves things along, but Joe's great about building his story around ours, and excellent design ideas are always run with. Since Le'Mule is essentially atheist but with a scholar's background knowledge of Christianity, the vision of this Hell we were traversing began to take on a Dante-ian organization. Of course someone had to pop up & go digging for their own dog earred copy of the Inferno so folks could check their memories.... but while the theories and the conversation was flying, I took a little internal dive.

Dante's Inferno? The Seventh Circle of Hell? WTF? The phrases were ringing faint little bells, but I'd be damned (ha. indeed.) if I could remember having read it. Had. Not. Read. It? WTF?!?!?! How could I be running into such a literary & cultural reference & not be able to discuss it even superficially? Now... after a little digging about in my memory banks, I did finally locate a vague recollection that yes, I had read it. In about 4th grade. (Yeah, 4th grade. Right along with Lord of the Flies, Little Women, Black Beauty, The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side of the Septic Tank, The Nancy Drew Series, the back of cereal boxes, and Poems for the John. I devoured everything I could get my hands on back then.) Lot of good that did me, 'cause apparently I didn't retain it beyond motherhood. I can remember what happened on Friends the other night, but can't remember anything about Dante? Crap.

Then today I'm having a little chatlet with an ever so eclectic acquaintance of mine who says they met a hot little number over the weekend who had not a chance in a million at snagging the joe for the long term. Why? Because she was "smart and funny, but not REALLY smart". After last night's little philosophical kick in the ego, maybe I'm a little sensitive to the topic, but ... whoa, Nelly... that's ME! (and not all that much of a hot little number these days, either, I'll have to admit.) A quick leafing through my mental notebooks finds that an enormous percentage of things I've read, devoured, dissected through the years is mush. Theories I was entranced by and mulled over in private and with friends in High School & college are gone. I couldn't locate a good reference convincingly to save my soul, let alone win a debate. I've never liked politics, so my knowledge there is severely limited with only a vague desire to sharpen it further. I seem to have followed my mom's bent towards ignoring most current events unless they barge insistingly into my immediate life, and yet I hate not knowing about the "cool fun" things going on in our community. While Walden's Pond sounds a bit like a quiet hell with nothing to do, another part of me yearns for the simple silence -- I suspect that the older I grow, the more attractive it will become. Where did I go?

I've never been able to remember the rules to a card game -- gimme a run through first & I relearn it mighty spiffy. After that first run, we can play all night. If you're just average to good, I'll probably even beat you 40-50% of the time. But two nights later, if we sit down to play again, game rules are gone from my brain like cake left on the table with a 5 y/o in the house. It's been that way all my life.... but I never expected the black hole effect to segue from card games to literary references... to conversational topics... to what I think of as hallmarks of real intelligence!

Now, yes, I did borrow the book (Dante's Inferno) last night & have every intention of refreshing my sorry-ass memory for literature's sake. Ok, actually for the sake of my own stubborn pride...(if the field gets plowed, who cares why?) And if I just bone up a little before we debate, I know darn good & well it'll still be a zippy conversation. I might even win. The problem is, I used to be able to pull that sort of thing out of my ass. No studying needed! I used to celebrate mundanity as a soothing slice of something simple in a mental world of the wierd & complicated, and now I'm mildly concerned that it's become the whole pie. I just don't know that there's anything I'm going to do about it. That rides rough on some surviving remnant of that wild tendencied personality I've managed to drown in banality for several years now. There's a battle going on in my soul for control of my mind & both sides are starting to decide it just ain't worth the angst.

But you know what? Some of that mundanity is comforting. I like having a firm grasp of which bills are paid & what's in the fridge for supper. Back in the day, I missed out on both of those things. A lot. I can appreciate the sweet simplicity of snuggling with my daughter between bath & bedtime, and I look forward to the day I can start shopping for a couch that'll comfortably fit two adults instead of just B&I. I enjoy talking about nothing but our daily affairs with some of my friends, and appreciate the ability to have long sweet silences that aren't awkward. I like being able to walk into & out of a meeting at work without having had my boss look crosseyed at an unconventional idea of mine even once. I hate the thought that I may have slipped into the ranks of "smart & funny, but not REALLY smart"... but if I have, maybe the trade off is worth it. I dunno. I know I want the man I end up with to have a brain that can process ALL those sorts of things, dissect them, analyze them, discuss them... challenge me, titillate me mentally (physically too, but this ain't that kinda post!)... and I certainly don't want that to be a one way street. Damn. Well..... I'm gonna go do the dishes, make some PB&J, put the girls in the bathtub & get them to bed. (B's got a friend spending the night.) In the absence of something warm & male to distract me, I'm going to split what's left of my evening between channel surfing the mindless drivel on TV for a cheap laugh or two and painting a bit of wall, then I'm gonna snuggle up in bed with Dante & a box of cookies & see if my brain remembers anything from 4th grade besides who it had a crush on.

P.S. Yes, THAT it remembers. Greg Evigan and Scott Baio (TV stars), Bob Knake & Steve Detrick (friends). Geez. Stupid brain.


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