Strangely enough, my eight days of go-time here at school correspond exactly to the eight nights Yo La Tengo is playing sold-out shows in Hoboken, as well as the eight nights of Hanukkah.
It's been a most invigorating week, kicked off by a Saturday gazing into the mirror of my soul, reflected in the eyes of keetens. There are some people who are so like me in such pointed ways that it makes me uncomfortable to spend time with them. At the same time, their very existence is comforting and inspiring. This is why I have this love-hate relationship with my NA groups, and why I couldn't go this week. But I thinking talking to her made me realize that change is inevitable, because without change we either (a) continue to kill ourselves, or we (b) have no conflict, in which case we pretty much cease to exist.
Then Sunday vertical writer woke me up to tell me to look outside. For a long and beautiful moment, my mind was completely blank except for the sound of myself saying "Holy Shit." Everything outside was covered in a pure white silence.
My five-mile jog in the snow and the couple of 14-hour days on campus this week showed me that I am more or less comfortably enmeshed in a manic state of finals and euphoria. It's about fucken time. A few years ago, I realized the signficance of October, during which I flicker through being depressed and acting like it, and being depressed and exhausting myself trying to act like I'm not. RLP also fears October, and one October evening we had the following phone conversation in San Francisco:
RLP: What are you doing?
SB: Sitting in the dark. Watching TV.
RLP: What are you watching?
SB: I just realized the TV is on, but it's not on a station. I've been watching snow for a few hours now.
RLP: Why is life like this? Why does October suck?
SB: You mean, why does life suck?
RLP: I feel like we could be on an after-school special right now about how to be a depressing shame to yourself and everyone you know. It would be called "Wasted Potential."
SB: That is really funny. I would laugh if I hadn't been doing all those drugs for the past five years.
Last year, I came to terms with November being a time of intense self-reflection involving massive life changes, accepting responsibility, and quitting smoking.
This year, I am accepting that, following October and November, it is only right that December and January are times of extreme energy and excitement about everything, everything, everything! This year it is a little tempered because I am pretty much sober, so now I get to crack out on Extreme Intellectualism.
I am incredibly excited about the world that has been opening up to me as a result of Columbia-induced malaise, Eckhart Tolle, and cuz, a PhD student whose lecture on Tuesday made me incredibly happy and loud. All this brain function makes me want to be a PhD student, a thought which is alternately repulsive and awe-inspiring. How does that work? How can you possibly not work for 7 years? I just don't get it.
Yesterday I had a funny meeting with my Quit Counselor because when I am amped up about life, I don't like to talk about the past or any kind of struggle, something that I normally cream over. I was kind of in denial that I have quit smoking and that it is affecting me at all. I felt like it would never get better, and then it did, so what is there left to talk about? Let's move on.
We started talking about winter break plans, because he is going to have to give me a large supply of nicotine patches to last me the month. Last week I would have only been too happy to talk about how stressful my return to San Francisco is going to be, but yesterday the stress was a moot point, and instead I turned to extolling the virtues of Love Affair. He said, politely, "Well, you'll have to tell me what happens when you get back." And instead of saying "Fucken A, you and everyone I know is going to get a blow-by-blow account of everything we said, ate, and saw, whether you want to or not," I told him that there would be nothing to tell. Or, rather, I would tell him right then and there would would happen, because I already knew. We're going to have a good time, see some sights, and enjoy each other's company. We will have fun. We will laugh a lot about stupid shit. We might have sex, we might not, it won't matter. We won't talk about the past; we won't talk about the future, and then we'll leave each other again and not speak for a while.
Hearing myself say this was quite satisfying. Not terribly awe-inspiring, but satisfying.