Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dumb Broken Scooter Stress

Friday, December 16, 2011—Long Beach, CA

Done. I’ve finally made it thru my nightmare (or at least nightmarish) semester. True to form, it ended on a really stupid, ugly note. On my way to give my final yesterday morning my bike cut out in the middle of the intersection of Westminster and Springdale; a fuel pump/line issue, I’m sure. The one thing a professor can’t do is miss a final. So I pulled out my cell phone and was going to start calling people for a ride. As I was doing this, I realized that both my sister and mother—my two best hopes for a no-warning ride—had just moved and have new land-line numbers, which I had not yet put into my phone. I doubted that my sister would answer her cell at that time of the morning, but I tried it anyway. She didn’t answer. I then got desperate and started calling people, some of whom I haven’t talked to in months, hoping I might get lucky and find someone who was able and willing to truck me out to Irvine. No dice. Finally I decided to call the Auto Club and just get myself towed to work and then deal with my bike later. This should have been a good plan. But the Auto Club’s computers were down and a pickup that should have taken a half hour ended up taking nearly an hour and a half (luckily I left the house early to take care of some business on campus so I had more of a buffer time wise than I would normally have had). I ended up getting to campus a half hour late, stressed and a little angry. I was able to bring off the final, though, so I guess things turned out OK, but it was definitely a major drag of a morning.

Getting my bike “home” turned out to be a continuation of my dumb-ass morning. Though normally the Auto Club gives only one tow per breakdown I talked them into a second because the first one was so late and had inconvenienced me so much. Unfortunately I ended up having to wait just as long for this second tow, so long that by the time the flatbed got to me it was nearly rush hour, which meant a mostly slow freeway crawl all the way to Long Beach Motorsports. The fun wasn’t over, though. Literally the second I got out of the tow-truck’s cab the skies opened up and I got soaked in the five minutes max it took to get the bike off the flatbed. Then finally something cool happened. I was planning on walking the hour it would take me to get home, but Kim, a girl who works in the service department of LBMS offered to give me a ride home. My day, which started when I left the house at about 7:40 AM came to a soggy end about 6:00 PM.

As I was standing by various roadsides yesterday waiting for tow trucks, I really began taking in my general life situation in a very direct way. My life as I’m living it now simply isn’t working. I am overworked and bored and can see little in the way of a future on the path I’m on. Now more than ever I understand that it’s time for me to write—full time. I need to grab hold of my life and make it work the way I need it to work. All the things I’ve written about—about becoming a free agent, building up BSP, traveling more—needs to be what I strive for. Full-time teaching jobs are not what my life should be about. Nor should my life be centered in Southern California anymore. This place is just too expensive, too difficult … too mean. As I move thru this place I have a very hard time relating to most of what I have to deal with, people, infrastructure, politics, general values. I don’t know where I should go, though. A part of me just wants to head out somewhere in the world and teach English or something for a while. I need to keep BSP rolling, though, expanding. Which limits this kind of mobility. This is the main issue I have to resolve: how can I have the physical freedom I want/need and still have my press, my for-sure publishing outlet? Once I solve this I’ve solved a lot of other issues …

I think my current situation can be summed up with my current relationship to poetry. When I’m feeling right, in touch with the world around me I write and read poetry. Poetry to me is not about asking questions, but expressing answers; it happens when one has come to certain conclusions. I haven’t written a poem since 2009. For a year or so before this I wrote some of the best poems I’ve ever written (which were also some of the best things I’ve written period). My poetry drought coincides almost perfectly with when I started teaching more or less full time. Not an accident, I’m sure.

Beginning to think even more seriously about the Greek book, about its structure, tone, it’s reason for being. I like when the thing’s heading in my mind. I’m going to start on it in the next week or so.

Been reading some. Still working the first book of Peter Gay’s Enlightenment duo. Reading Penguin Renaissance Reader as well. I have a book on Magellan that I want to tackle as well. Too much reading theses day, I think. Not enough writing.


scooters said...

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Rob Woodard said...

Thank you. It's nice to know that people are reading this.