Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Being Good Can Be Boring

So this past weekend, after inflicting serious damage on my liver, I decided I was going to take a break from the booze, get up every single morning before 6 a.m. to exercise, and make myself a better and more productive person in general. No more "after work drinks" that somehow stretch into benders that end at 3 a.m., no "dinners" that turn into wine-soaked bacchanals that wrap at midnight, no more "hanging out with a friend" if it ends in me taking a headlong spill down a flight of stairs.

All of these things I have accomplished (the booze abstention and exercise, that is), and when you're off the sauce, man do you feel clear-headed and get a lot done! I've actually been pretty pleased with the results, even if it's only been four days. Yesterday alone I lifted weights, did an hour of cardio (all before 8 a.m.!), worked for more than 9 hours, got stuck on an F train, painted my toenails, made dinner, did the laundry, read three chapters in a book about the historical accuracy of the Bible, finished a novel, polished off a entire New Yorker, did a crossword puzzle, exfoliated my face, looked for a new job online, wrote a letter AND watched the all-time finale of Alias, a show I hadn't watched in two years and which took the cake for the worst finale ever made -- would that it had "all been a dream." I was still in bed by 11! At this rate, I'll be a walking encyclopedia, a 5.14 climber and a rocket scientist within six months!

I did all that stuff because I was BORED. It's good to be productive, but man is it more fun to go out and booze it up with all my idiot friends. Maybe this is just an adjustment period, but this boredom worries me a little bit. I used to think I was all right company, even for myself. But maybe all the brain damage I've inflicted over the years has rendered me a useless companion, has dulled my imagination and conversational skills.

I'm also worried that I'm still filling the time with consumption (of media, of books, of endless glasses of Pellegrino with lime) instead of production. I'm basically the only person I know who hasn't thrown a book party for something I wrote, and I'm starting to think I will NEVER get into the Library of Congress, unless I ask to see their card catalogue, or something. Although, to be honest, that's never been a goal of mine. Last night I actually started entertaining thoughts of writing fiction, if only to have something to fill the endless, sober hours.

Then I gave myself a swift kick in the ass and remember the last time such a silly thought crossed my mind. "How hard could it be to design a web site, for fuck's sake?" I asked myself when my father asked me to do one for him. "If my ROOMMATE can do it, SURELY I can do it." It took me a year to learn Dreamweaver and get that sorry-looking puppy up on the old Interweb, and I learned my lesson about sticking to what I'm good at.

Which is why tomorrow I'm going to say "Yes please!" when I hit up a friend's book party where I know there will be free champagne. If I know one thing, it's that I can drink like an Irish priest with a fresh liver transplant.

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