Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Busy-ness, and How it Turns Us into Crazed, Cornered Animals

There is always something to do. Something that must be done. And then when you're done with that, there is more. And then more. And then you sit for a minute to take a rest. GET UP! Get that lazy ass of yours back in the game!

My friend Elizabeth is frantically trying to finish her dissertation before April. She works constantly on it. That is, when she's not teaching, tutoring, job-hunting for the fall, and generally having a nervous breakdown. She gives herself 2 cherished breaks per week. Sunday afternoon, and a 3-hour TV break on Thursday nights, night of her beloved "Grey's Anatomy." Problem: She can't even force herself to enjoy the breaks because of her I-should-be-working guilt. And if the guilt somehow doesn't come, the downright unnatural feeling of not working does.

And right there is another problem: forcing yourself to enjoy. It sounds like a date with Bobby Knight.

I go into the same pitiful mindset. For instance, I just bought this great relaxation CD. A systematic 30-minute deep muscle relaxation thing that supposedly will help me lower my blood sugar. Because in matters of diabetes and pre-diabetes, stress is the evil and less-talked-about goth sister of sugar intake. She sits morosely by in her nihilistic mood, tossing big gluts of insulin resistance into the bloodstream of her target. She is a hag with black fingernail polish who needs to be forced to listen to John Tesh CDs while needlepointing, in pink, a pillow cover with a frisky kitten on it.

So I tried listening to the CD. And instead of deep muscle relaxation, I got deeply hacked off with myself for not being able to relax, for not effectively using the 30 minutes of relaxation, and then into my mind came my Walmart shopping list, my checking account teetering on the brink of disaster, and then age old questions like why is there suffering and why can't I get rid of this belly fat?

Where is the feeling of calm? Where is the dreaming big dreams of mountaintops and snorkeling excursions to Australia and being covered in ice cream by Marvin Hamlisch? Or, er, maybe that's just my dream.

Life is too stupidly busy. I end up longing for time to do the dishes or just clean the living room so that I don't feel quite so much like a methed-up hamster careening off its running wheel into a nest of its own turdlets. This is not to say that my living room is accented with turdlets. My decor is much more highbrow: wrappers from Glucerna bars and old TV Guides.

What would you do if you had nothing you had to do? I'd read books, lots and lots of books, and write blog posts with slightly hidden Bobby Knight references.


  • At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I know what you mean. It's so hard for me to turn off my brain at the end of the day, and I'm constantly pissed off at myself for the trivial crap that keeps streaming through my head 24/7.

  • At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    MARVIN HAMLICH!!! It's worse than I thought, Doctor! The patient needs immediate placement in an assisted care facility.

    Sure, it could be worse: you might be dreaming of Barry Manilow. Slim Whitman...well OK--I liked his "I Remember You" many years ago. But surely your strange fascination with Hamlich is the product of too many Payday bars?

    Now here's what you do: go down to Walmart--they have a big selection of scented candles (bayleaf is a personal fave) and enviromenal cassette tapes--you know, "Spring Time in the Poconos," "Waves in the Gulf of Aquba," "Birdsong in Bagdad"--and just lean back and breath heavily. Not deeply, but heavily. If restlessness persists, see a docker. Preferably one who wears one of the muscle shirts.
    Tony from the Bronx.

  • At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Now here's what you do: go down to Walmart--they have a big selection of scented candles...

    They also have Brawny on sale, sistah!

    I'm a single mom so "relax" and "do nothing" are more foreign to me than a Ubangi bushwoman's boogers.


    Happy Sunny-day love.

  • At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Geez, Julie,

    I was hoping this was all just temporary dissertation angst. Now you have me worried that I'll never be able to relax. I'm completely convinced, though, that sex--frequent, regularly occuring sex--is much more effective than any damned relaxation cd.

  • At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What is this thing you call... "sex"?


  • At 2:59 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Tony, I simply cannot help who I love. But I'm definitely getting some scented candles and a Birdsong in Baghdad CD. is foreign and icky. Really. You're better off without it.

    Alright I lied about that. Yours will come. That was not a pun.

    EB, sex will not cause relaxation. Ever. Not for you. Because you are a crazed monkey woman who only grows more entangled with her basest needs as each day goes by. Give in now. Burn the half-dissertation and run into the jungle.

  • At 5:56 PM, Blogger Ana Martin said…

    methed-up hampster careening off its running wheel.

    Yeah. That's it, isn't it?

  • At 6:04 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Ana, yeah. Unfortunately that's what we get turned into. It gets harder to come back to being human.

  • At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Busy???? Everybody's busy! The only people in my neighborhood that are NOT busy are the ones on welfare! I would rather be busy, wouldn't you? We all have to work to support all those welfare recipients!


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