Earlier today I went out for a jog. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I plugged in my headphones, felt the brisk air on my skin and marveled at the fall colors burning across the hills. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately—work, money, auto repairs, Republicans—and exercise often helps clear my mind.
One of the things I was fretting about was writing something on this space. Though he seems like a laid-back guy, in reality the bigwig who runs this site is a demanding tyrant. I knew I needed to keep up with things but I was afraid that I didn’t have anything to say.
I pressed and squeezed my brain for ideas, to no avail. I started to feel a little anxious. Surely I had something interesting to contribute, didn’t I??
I contemplated writing about current events, which largely have been dominated by politics. This election has become that lower back-pain I’ve accepted as incurable, and every morning I take several Advil and do my best to live with it. It’s been far too much for far too long, and other than the shock of pussy-grabbing I’m not sure if the past several weeks have revealed anything meaningful. Worse, I have to admit that I wasn’t actually shocked by that video. Short of providing a detailed policy plan about anything, I’m not sure Trump could actually shock me at this point.
So politics was out. Had I seen any good movies? Read any fun books? Had any unique or curious interactions? Yes, to all of them, but not a one seemed interesting enough to share. I was stymied. Was it possible I’d done or thought or created nothing of interest in the past several weeks??
I turned my brains inside out but couldn’t find anything worthwhile. Not a damn thing. This frustrated me, and any salubrious effects the jogging might have had were offset by the increased anxiety I felt at this revelation. At this point I will pause and introduce you, dear readers, to one of the many vicious cyclones that spins about inside my head:
I know I want to do something, such as cleaning the fridge, and even though I know doing this thing will make me feel better (a clean fridge!), I can’t bring myself to do it. It’s inexplicable to me why doing things that I know will make me feel better is often such a challenge, especially when the actions themselves really aren’t that difficult (throw away the spoilt yogurt!). This line of reasoning, if such a term can be used, is also applied in a maddeningly haphazard and arbitrary manner: I’ll be annoyed at the mess in the fridge every day for weeks but clearly have no problems going out for a jog.
What all of this dissonance does is cause a generative consternation that procreates anxiety, anxieties that mount atop themselves like a spiral of Cheez-Whiz spread on a Wheat-Thin. All-too-aware that I’m actively avoiding doing a thing that will make me feel better, rather than resolving the anxieties by performing the task I instead become more anxious while witnessing my avoidance. This increased anxiety causes me to avoid doing the thing even more desperately, which, suffice it to say, only makes me feel even more anxious, and so on, etc. You get the idea. It’s really rather sad.
A writing-specific version of all of this was figuratively running through my head as I literally ran under the Aurora overpass. And that was when a big black crow took a shit on my head.
A few facts about crows: they poop constantly. Like many birds they typically take a dump immediately prior to taking off in flight, which is a very literal lightening of one’s load. Some people believe them to be good luck and others insist that they are highly intelligent. The latter point was proved by this bugger, who refused to descend from his perch and face me like a man, or at least like an animal who had just crapped on me. Instead, he remained on the power line above me, where he swayed in the wind and refused to meet my glaring eye. As to their abilities to spread good fortune—well, dear readers, just look where that pile of shit got us.
I was close to Green Lake, so I ran to the dock, dunked my head into the water and scrubbed at my scalp. While performing these ablutions I recalled that this lake is frequently shut down due to algae blooms that flood the lake with cyanobacteria, which are not-so-bueno for humans. This thought made the act of cleansing feel far less satisfactory than initially hoped for. Yes, the crow shit was gone, but at least I’d known it was crow shit, whereas now my head was covered in god-knows-what.
I sat for a moment on the dock. The cold water felt good down my neck. Something in my stomach seemed different: all my anxiety was gone. I felt good. I’d finally found that interesting thing to write about.