a Sunday inside, even when I know I should do otherwise

I'm processing a triple-helping of change, making me a bit adrift, often needy & coy, a bit disorganized in thoughts and actions; if I hadn't been so we never would have met. But that's another story.

I'm normally a person of strength & conviction. I inspire the project, get things off the ground, make the phone calls & launch the ship in spite of the zillion obstacles presented by anything worthwhile. At present I'm stuck, paralyzed by option anxiety; and moving to the next level held back by fear. Fear of making the wrong decision, the ill-timed or misinterpreted remark; being silent when I should have spoken. This imbalance applies to everything: work/making a living, relationships/all kinds, creative/personal life.

My internal support mechanism, tried & true, tells me these times are short-lived, painful. I pride myself on having the courage to take intelligent risks, living a truly interesting life, being the right person in the right place at the right time. Before long I'll return to my usual state of dynamic creative confidence and (often) sickening sense of optimism.

So the above are some thoughts, a small explanation about me. Told because you're new to my life, and I value the time we spend together.

There are things about my grandparents that I'll never forget because I want someday to do them for my (albeit nonexistent) kids.

One of those things was, they always left the light on over the stove when they went to bed at night. Something about that one light amplified the stickiness of the linoleum floor, every step attached and detached in the most meticulous manner.

I killed the lights in my kitchen (miles and miles from their kitchen) tonight, and for whatever reason I'd forgotten about the light over the stove. It stayed on, and any anxiety I might have felt about about anything at all just melted away and puddled at my feet.

With the erratic comings and goings of me and my roommates, the all-hours talks and cartoon binges and caged cigarettes, I like the idea of coming home to a house where there's always a light on over the stove. I'm going to like flicking it on every night. Just, you know, in case.

Future Business Leaders of America is a big thing in my school. I go to a Business, Economics, and Technology magnet program, and as such we have many members in our chapter. Despite that, we're one of the worst chapters in the state.

I joined FBLA for the same reason most people do: a chance to get four days of excused absences and a discount trip to Orlando. I, along with two teammates, competed in Network Design. Since our team runs and maintains the school's network, we were practically a district shoe-in.

We won the district competition, and off we went to Orlando to represent our district in statewide competition. I had no desire to win. Winning meant traveling to Nashville, and investing about $500 and a week of my free time in something I don't care about at all.

So anyway, we lost. We came in fourth place out of maybe ten teams. Since we placed in the top five, we at least got to go on stage in front of 3,400 people and strike a funny pose. We were upstaged by a group of Jr. Accountants who kissed each other and did backflips.

The entire four-day fuckoff was worth it, overall. New friends were made, casual acquaintances got to know each other much better, and by the end of the week everyone was comfortable around each other. For most people, the trip was a school-sponsored excuse to socialize. And socialize we did. Aside from the people that took the whole thing too seriously and joined FBLA because they really want to be a Future Business Leader, and the obnoxious over-the-top people who overcompensate for years of shyness and parental oppression by completely freaking out, acting like a spaz the whole time.

Oh well... I suppose you can't expect a group of economically and technologically inclined high-schoolers to be the most well adjusted and easy going people in the world. The bus ride home was quiet, with most of my time occupied with the person asleep in my arms.

Fun Fact: Today is the three year anniversary of president George Bush landing on the USS Lincoln with a big red banner reading Mission Accomplished

A One Act Play

A man stands behind the counter of a Subway. The store is empty; he's spacing out a bit. Enter KYLE, our protagonist, an Everyman in search of sustenance. He is congenial, nonchalant, and fairly dashing. He approaches the counter.

COUNTER MAN: Hello, welcome to Subway. What kind of bread would you like?
KYLE: I'm sorry, bread? I'd like a regular sandwich, please, with ham.
COUNTER MAN: Okay, what kind of bread?
KYLE: Oh, oh, oh! Italian, please. You got focaccia?

Begins to get out the Italian.

We've got Focaccia.

Kyle looks at the focaccia next to the Italian, confused by the discrepancy between his request and the result.

KYLE: ... umm, yeah, I'll take the focaccia then.

The counter man looks at the Italian in his hand, confused by the discrepancy between the request and the result.

COUNTER MAN: So, no Italian?

Kyle considers it might be easier to let the whole thing slide, accept the Italian as one of the more miniscule cosmic jokes. Kyle is no picky eater - any discerning tastes he has are fairly limited, as evidenced by his choice of Subway. The economist in Kyle kicks in, and he presses the issue.

KYLE: Yeah, no Eye-talian, per favore - (humor to defuse the tension - the telltale signs of class struggle) - the focaccia's great here.

The counter man shrugs visibly, the look on his face suggesting that any stores Kyle frequents, or their bread products, are probably not really that great. He returns the Italian and retrieves the focaccia.

COUNTER MAN: So, six inch or footlong?
KYLE: A regular. A six inch, I guess. Yeah, great.
KYLE: Yeah, ham.
COUNTER MAN: Cheese? American, swiss ...? Provolone? (A swipe at Kyle's internazionale tastes?)

At this point, the counter man's hands are hovering over the cheese section of his counter. He is as tired of not having decisions to make as Kyle is of making decisions. The novelty of guessing what the customer will want has long since waned; he wishes he worked at Quizno's - they start with a fully-made sandwich on the menu, and the customer can choose to let it stand as presented. This is all conveyed as a dullard's weariness, the half-cocked ear at Kyle, inviting input, demanding the idleness cease.

KYLE: You got cheddar?
COUNTER MAN (snatching some cheddar): Great, mayo? mustard?
KYLE (confident for once): Oh, light mayo, if you have any. Otherwise plain.
COUNTER MAN (applying light mayo): Toppings?
KYLE: Umm, just some lettuce and tomatoes, and purple onions. And a dash of salt and pepper.

The counter man does all of this by rote, wraps the sandwich hurriedly, despite the completely empty store. He clumsily tosses the sandwich in a bag.

KYLE: ... could I get a combo? The regular Baked Lays will be fine.

The counter man seemingly ignores Kyle, twisting the bag into a loose knot and entering data on the cash register. The facade of personal service complete, the almighty dollar preoccupies him. He looks up suddenly, a double take without the first.

COUNTER MAN: Did you say you wanted a combo?
KYLE (patience tried): Yeah, Baked Lays? Thanks.
COUNTER MAN: That'll be $7.09. Here's your cup (the cup), your chips (the chips), and your sandwich (QED). Anything else I can get you?

The counter man now freezes. A major miscue in this farce. He has given Kyle the upper hand - the slave is no longer the master. He awaits his punishment ...

Kyle ponders the facetiousness of this question, the sheer gall of it, when not only has the entire transaction clearly ended, but that any attempt to answer this question with anything but, "Nope, thanks a lot, have a good one," will be met with the utmost contempt. He thinks better of all other possibilities.

KYLE: Nope, thanks a lot, have a good one.
COUNTER MAN (attempting to hide his relief): Okay, you, too.

Kyle moves away from the counter, and pantomimes filling his drink cup. Satisfied, he makes his way to the door, his hands precariously balancing bag of sandwich, chips, and cup. No more acknowledgment of each other's presence as Kyle exits the stage.

The man behind the counter resumes his spaced-out position, as the empty store engulfs him. Curtain.

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