Unexcused Absences

Again, I find myself tardy at my own work.

Work. Do I call writing this work? Is it work? It’s hard to say.

My outlooks on work are rapidly changing as too, I guess, is my perspective on life.

I am getting ready to graduate, but I guess the existential horror of it all hadn’t hit me until now. You see, I live my life in horizons. Just as I’ve talked about budgeting my time out day-by-day so that there is no free time, only in-between-time, I live my days in months in the same ways, pursuant of goal by goal–one movie, one script, one project, the next–until… until what?

Just as not having anything to do in a day is frightening to me, what is there in not having anything to do in a year? No assurances, no definite place, no path or a path that leads the wrong way.

Like I said, I haven’t had to face this until now. Before now, I’ve been living my life as if making my senior thesis is the end of it. But now that that’s out of my hand, the larger horizon, the one without definition, looms large and intractable, certain.

But what really irks me is that it’s all so–

***

“Normal.” My therapist offered. “Does that make it less pressing, less real?”

 I sat uncomfortably leaning on the side of the couch my head on my fist, knowing that somewhere my therapist was probably trying to interpret why I was sitting on that side of the couch and why my fist was on my chin instead of lying in my lap.

“No.” I told her. “It just makes it less cool, I guess. More banal.”

That session was mostly devoted to talking about those existential crises, the problem being that therapy too is like an open-ended question. After all, without any grand childhood scar to get past or sublimated sexual assault, I was basically just doing what I did here: complaining about what wasn’t actually such a bad life.

I guess also in this particular session I was a little more ornery since I hadn’t eaten breakfast like I might and an empty stomach in the morning makes me prone to emotionality.

“Yeah.” I said emphatically. “Yeah. It just all seems so intractable. And I. I just don’t know what to say.”

A pause.

“Can we just go back to talking about girls?”

***

My therapy appointments on Tuesday have been a bit of a quandary. I am used to doing my work for classes in the immediate 2 hour block preceding them, a task allowing me either a sense of accomplishment with some structured relaxation time or the thrill/rush of getting to class just in time or five-minutes late, running/jogging/skip-galloping to the computer lab, to Silver, to the elevators, to class and in the room still breathing, panting, sighing and settling down. 

But therapy appointments on Tuesdays prevent me from taking that two-hour block before my 11am class, so often I’d be faced with the task of working the night before (unlikely; I’m probably drunk, tired or video-gaming), working early in the morning, which requires some discipline, or just not doing at all. This particular Tuesday found me in the last category and figuring if  I hadn’t read the book to write the response paper to bring to class to talk about it all… then why even come to class? And I didn’t.

I had found myself with a number of Os on my record from the past few weeks of filming, necessities of getting things in order, meeting with actors, teachers, location managers, setting up appointments or calming down angered film folks. 

But now I find myself uncaring whether I came to class or didn’t, whether I did my work or not. I had spent my academic life, to lesser or greater extents, striving for some sort of, well, if not excellence then modified mediocrity. What would such efforts now play upon the world? Who would care if I could deconstruct the enfranchisement of migrant stories in post-modern fiction? Could that be a party trick or get me a date? Not likely (especially since the comp lit majors could probably do it better).

The world I’d been in, bustling, now seemed vacant.

***

Today I found myself running around with an old friend and we walked to get sandwiches, ate ice cream an the park and talked about past experiences, for a time. But as we talked more and more, I only realized more and more how her friends weren’t my friends, how in fact, her friends sounded anathema to me, the sort of people I’d never want to talk to or see.

One young man was involved with media and politics, with Take Back NYU! and political action campaigns, another was an ecstasy-swilling womanizer who stormed buildings and led protests in Union Square and looked, according to her, “like a Golden God” and acted like one as well. As she talked about going to vegan restaurants and gay-midget-friendly parties, I wondered who the person was in front of me. 

My life flashed before my eyes. When did her friends become her friends and not my friends? Who were these people with their insane, complicated and seemingly  despicable lives? Why was my friend talking about the “film crowd” like we were the Morlocks and she was the Eloi (The Time Machine anyone?).

I thought proudly of my film friends and how boring and one-note, frumpy and frustrated we all are and that rather than getting ridcu-stoned on three different drugs and exploring our multi-culturalism at a hookah bar, my friends would put up pictures of them seeing Crank 2: High Voltage, while we would comment about how gay they were. I was proud of our embrace of our own spitefulness, dumbness and bravado; our adolescence.

Until I realized I might not have one anymore. The film friends I had would soon depart. Some would stay in New York, sure. But others would go home to Virginia, Pennsylvania, San Francisco and worst-of-all, LA. The world I had reveled in was rapidly coming to an end. Suddenly, I was very glad for my friend, extravagant tales or no, and hugged her close since I didn’t know in a month or two who even I might have.

***

There are other stories to tell.

The past few days, I’ve been to Momofuku Ko (Perry St., the restaurant, was better), I’ve given my pitch for my TV show in my class (which went pretty well) and I’ve even got my footage good and colored, getting ready for it to be edited.

But I keep on having people asking me whether I am “excited” for graduation or what my summer plans or job plans are the answer to which are a sighing, shrugging, somber:

“No, I don’t know.”

And that answer still remains.

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One Response to Unexcused Absences

  1. […] come alone to a party full of Gallatin students, some of which I had previously derided here and here, I ended up with a decent enough time, chatting up an Emerson student and another kid straight out […]

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