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September 11, 2016 / thackersam

The Weird Thing Is

writing-nyxThe weird thing is that I started to slide out of last weekend’s doldrums almost immediately after returning to the routine of work on Tuesday, but was not able to return to the routine of exercise. It’s not that I love my job, but I am easily distracted. But not once did I exercise since the Thursday before last, not even last Sunday. Yes, I confess that I broke my vow to myself that no way, unless I am not at home, would I miss the Sunday evening workout. I can use the wallowing excuse any other day of the week, but when Sunday rolls around, well, buck up kid, turn on the stereo and lay down the mat. Couldn’t do it last Sunday, nor the rest of the week until this evening (I would never let myself hear the end of it if I missed another Sunday). I have however dropped another pound. But that’s not even the weirdest thing.

I had a choice of two activities for Friday evening. Yes, that is weird, but still not the weirdest. I could go to the weekly write-in I kept meaning to check out, or I could attend the annual to-do by the river, thrown by the tenant’s association of my large complex that was promoted as honoring Chuck Schumer, but the day of turned into an honoring of local officials instead. Don’t be disappointed, but I chose to write over free food and drinks, and over going home and being a lump, AND not exercising. Focusing on the class itself and not the more unpleasant than dangerous midtown west neighborhood where the class was held (see, no tangent), I will say that the class was not what I expected or hoped for. I knew it was two hours of writers writing to prompts, if they chose, and reading aloud, if they chose. I would choose neither. I went for the atmosphere of writers as a brain prompt to start an article that needs to be written. It’s a swell and timely story, but no, we are staying focused.

From the description of the weekly event, I pictured a larger room, chairs lined up facing front, and more people allowing me my anonymity and the “don’t bother me, I’m writing” air that I emanate. I had no intentions of participating, even when I stepped into the small room with the tables set in a hollow rectangle layout that was filled to capacity with 14 people, plus the teacher. Too intimate, but not entirely bothersome. I opened my laptop and started writing the beginning of the article, even after the less than inspirational prompt of “lipstick” was given. The noise level in the room of the air conditioner, sirens passing outside and an inconveniently timed garbage pick-up, plus the acoustics problem I’ve always had, made it hard for me to hear a lot of what was being read, and the teacher had to coax the majority of us first-timers to read. She was much better at listening and providing positive feedback, very good in fact, than she is in coming up with writing prompts.

We had a break during which plastic cups filled with about two shots of white wine were available and an odd array of snackies: some cookies and unrelated sweets, pretzel sticks and yesterday’s crudité with a dip that may have been hummus. Then someone brought out something quite different that turned out to be jerk chicken. With my plate of pretzel sticks and two baby carrots, and double-shot of wine, I went back to my seat and to my article, but instead of writing, I socialized with the woman seated next to me. No, we are still not at the really weird part. I decided to put the article aside as I had a pretty nice beginning down, and participate. However, instead of using the equally lame-ass prompt “dilemma” I used one of my own. Lines often pop into my head out of nowhere, and often for no reason whatsoever, and the most recent one – “Barbara-Ann woke up yelling ‘Is this going to be on the test,” seemed to be worthy of a stab at a story that I could write in 15 minutes.

I am an exceedingly slow writer, and in these situations have never produced anything with an ending, but I made a point of letting Barbara-Ann take me along with her thoughts and at the one-minute warning, I wrapped it up. The teacher again had to coax people into reading, wanting to hear from those of us who hadn’t already read, and yes, this is the really weird thing, I volunteered. I wasn’t at all nervous, and probably made more comments afterward than anyone else did on the inconsequential piece. There were no oohs and aahs at my fabulous writing skills, and I didn’t care. I felt a sense of accomplishment, but still not overwhelmingly so. It just felt natural. What have I been so apprehensive about all these years? I don’t read, never have read anything I’ve written in front of more than one or two people, and even that’s rare. The one time since college when we have to make presentations, I have read aloud was a year and a half ago when I read the short piece I wrote about Vicki at the gathering for the one-year anniversary of her death. And even that started with the line that I would rather get a Brazilian wax in Macy’s window than speak publicly, which fortunately got a laugh. Progress people, progress. Just some pit stops along the way.

Aside – I want to acknowledge this day. I have my story of that day 15 years ago. We all do. But there are much more important stories to tell of 9/11, and mine is more of a conversation.

BTW – I have come to the end of another notebook dedicated to the blog, which was started three years ago from just about now. And long after the original intention of exercising to my album collection A-Z ended when we came to ZZ Top, I still have no idea what I’m doing. So thanks for playing along.

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