Monday, July 28, 2014

This is the latest I've stayed up in a while

Which sounds kind of pathetic for a 17 year old, but whatever, It's true. And to avoid the things that are actually making me stay up this late, I am going to write about things that are completely unrelated because that's what I do. It's not actually a terrible way of dealing with it if there's no active way you can go about solving it. When a situation is out of your control, avoidance is sometimes the best way to learn to let go... but that's getting a bit too much into what I'm trying to not talk about. So I'm going to think about all the things I did today and find something.

I had a long list of things to do today. And I intended to do all of them and then some. But I didn't get around to it and part of it's my fault, but part of it's I needed a break. I started working a real job this week. Not a school-based time suck like robotics or a start-up created by a student that requires little-to-no commitment. A job, an escape. A place I can go and be expected to do good things and get paid $10/hour and fill my head with thoughts about customers and wiping down tables. It's nothing glamorous, but it's exactly what I needed. My morning commutes are time to wake up and put on last-minute make up, my 8-hour shift is a blur of coffee orders and salsas and 3 minute food breaks, and my commute home is a glorious 45 minute train ride during which I realize that nothing feels quite so good as earning your own money and being able to have a place where you can go and just forget about the "real problems" of the long term like college and robots and just focus on the present. So, I've started working. And it's been pretty great.

But work leaves me feeling kind of drained and I usually go straight home to just pass out for 3 hours and stay up doing essentially nothing for a few hours until I take a shower and repeat. Today was the first day of my weekend. I woke up on my couch at 8am and made a list of all the things I intended to do. I had done maybe 1.5 of them by noon, when I just stopped. But I did read about the importance of reading obituaries, genes and Schizophrenia, what products Americans are buying less of today (gum and soda are on the list), and how if the solar flare of 2012 had occurred a week earlier our lives could've been profoundly changed. I drowned myself in knowledge, and I found joy in reading again. In reading to read and to be informed and to feel powerful. I took a shelfie with my bookshelf in a contest to win a gift card for a used book store and put on make up for it. At some point later in the day I touched my eye and now have a mascara beauty mark under my right eye and now feel like a wannabe Marilyn Monroe even though the mark isn't in the right spot at all.

I thought about handwriting.

I'm one of those people that prefers a book to a Kindle, a pencil to a stylus, and a notebook to a laptop. I'm a techy, don't get me wrong, but I think there's something profound about the smell of the binding of an old book and the charm that comes with knowing pages 101-104 are ripped out and being aware of the exact way to hold it so they don't fly out. But that's an argument for another day. What I specifically thought about today was handwriting. I make to do lists almost every morning to plan and prioritize and just be able to visualize the moving pieces of my life. And I think my handwriting's pretty decent. Maybe not on a whiteboard in the middle of build season, but if I put even the slightest bit of effort, it's legible. And that's kind of profound. There are the people who are capable of looking at the world and translating it onto a piece of paper with shapes and lines, artists who sketch and shade and are capable of capturing a scene and a moment and sharing it with the world. Writers are the same way, we just use words.

There was a time when handwriting was considered a crucial skill for students. When kids would spend hours working in ensuring their I's were dotted correctly and their L's were never accidentally crossed. There was an art of being able to communicate ideas and feelings with those around you. When letter-writing was one of the only ways to stay in touch with people. On a trip to Mascota, Jalisco earlier this summer, I took the time to write 4 letters to people back in the States. I beat them back here, the postal system in Mexico may be worse than the one in Chicago, but it didn't matter. Storytelling is a lost art nowadays. Children get read bedtime stories from iPads and dream about Mickey Mouse and the latest Disney characters. I'm not about trying to go back to the way things were, I just don't think we should abandon our pens just yet. Being able to physically get something down on paper is still necessary, but only if it's legible. We may need to revert to these "old-fashioned" ways if another solar flare occurs, just saying.

That was my entirely random, incoherent regurgitation of a days worth of the thoughts that go through my head, but only the ones I could remember. For now, I think I should actually go to bed.

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