Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Vignette City 36.

*** ‘Vignette City’ is an ongoing project of daily writing and urban photography ***

I take the 46 Bus in from Hillsboro every day. About an hour each way. So I’m on the bus a lot. Two hours of my day. And back when I got the job I thought that would be okay. I thought that it would give me time to read. Two hours a day just to settle in and read a book. Any book I wanted! That’s why I was in such a hurry to finish college; I wanted my life back. I wanted to read what I wanted to read. And I wanted to have a real job. I was tired of being infantilized by syllabi, you know?

But it turns out that even grown-up life is pretty prescriptive. No one tells you that when you’re in college. No one ever says, Hey, just in case you’re nurturing any delusions, actually life is pretty fucking weird and pretty fucking hard and you will spend most of your adulthood putting off doing laundry.

So sure, I get to pick my own books now. I started ambitious; I was finally going to read Infinite Jest and so I hauled all 1,079 pages on board with me my first day of work. And you know what I figured out very fast that very first day riding the bus headed to my first day of work at my first grown-up job? Carrying around a 3 pound book in your bag all day is some bullshit, especially if way too many of those 3 pounds are about what white people think about tennis. Pretty soon I swapped it out for The Argonauts, but I found myself riding to and from work asking myself, Which fucking dead white men was Ludwig Wittgenstein? I know I had to read him in college, but shit, nobody ever told me I was supposed to remember these assholes.

I changed that out for Mystic River because I remember that it was a movie when I was a kid and the movie was a big deal, so why not read the book? And I will tell you why, because it is a giant fucking bummer of a book about the fucked up lives of white people and how their kids get fucked up and turn into fucked up people.

Then I tried reading The Girl on The Train because I didn’t read it when it came out because I was busy being in high school, but I know that was a book that people read and because here i was a girl on a bus and she was a girl on a train and I was always secretly waiting for someone to say to me, “You must be a big fan of public transportation” but no one ever did. And anyway, that white lady drinks too much.
And anyway, the longer I have been working, the more I am just tired. It is different than when I was in college. In college you’re tired because you go to sleep at 3 in the morning because you’re cramming for a test or whatever, and then the next day you sleep until 4 in the afternoon. That is not what it is like as a grown-up though. That old life was chaos, and chaos can be exhausting, but this is like the total opposite of chaos. This is like a slow slow long stretch. It is the same thing every day. The same bus stop. The same bus. The same strangers. The same office. The same desk. The same keyboard where I spend my life. The same lunch room. The same keyboard. The same other bus. The same other strangers. The same kind of tired. How can I get tired when all I do is sit all day and get fat. I’m getting fat? How is that a thing that is happening?

The same bus.
The same keyboard.
The same keyboard.
The same other bus.

I don’t even want to read anymore.

I just want to not think. It’s like my brain is tired at the end of the day. I just want to ride the bus and not talk to weirdos. I just want to take a nap. Can you believe that? That’s all I want. All I do on Friday nights is go to bed early. Remember when I used to do the exact opposite of that? Remember how back then my hope was to be doing this? How eager I was to do this? How I thought that my life as all building toward something? That that something would be this job that I have? Remember how much of a hurry I was in to get here? And now all I want is to be back there? How come no one tells you? How come there is not a class where they say, “If you want to read a book that weighs 3 pounds, you better do that shit now, because as your life gets longer, you will lose your desire.”


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