Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Road to Madness is paved with Boredom.*

You know that whole saying about idle hands? Well, if the devil's work is watching copious American television on my computer, then somebody better find a priest to save my soul!

Yeah.

It's been a pretty quiet week all in all, mostly on purpose. After nearly a year of soul searching and work, I feel like I've earned some sort of a respite. Despite the odd group dinner here and there (I cooked Cuban again for some friends last Thursday, and another friend had some of us over to her new apartment Saturday night for a meal) or submitting a few online applications for jobs, the majority of my time has been spent lounging in my bed, watching surfthechannel.com, or anything I've downloaded off of iTunes lately: the new Mad Men episodes, both seasons of Extras, and the pilots for both Mercy (which takes place in NJ) and The Good Wife (which stars Julianna Margulies--I have missed you so much, Julianna!!!). The last two titles were free, and the rest was purchased mostly with the iTunes gift cards I received for my birthday--always the greatest and most necessary gift, as iTunes downloads are like my crack. Mom, Dad, Grandma: thank you for feeding my addiction.

I've been reading books lately, another indicator that I'm not up to much. I've been slowly working my way through the copy of The Eaten Heart, a birthday gift from my friend Mauro. The book is a collection of stories from Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron, and so far has featured of a lot of little humorous, racy stories written in 1300s Italy. Rather predictably, the plot lines usually center around two young people who would like to have sex, but who aren't able to because of whatever obstacle/arcane 1300s-type rule standing in their way, and how they get around it. The translation (and I have a feeling, the original text as well) has a very tongue-in-cheek air about it, which makes it a really engaging, but still light and easy read. I have also started taking another birthday gift to bed with me--a copy of Jamie Oliver's new cookbook, Jamie's America. It is surprisingly nice to read before sleep, like culinary bedtime stories ("Oh, Jamie! Tell me about grilling the perfect ribs again, over a near seven hour process with a rub and marinade! I love that one!").

I also started reading the newspaper again, and that's when I know I really have too much time on my hands: I never read current periodicals with any kind of regularity unless I literally have nothing else to do. A couple years ago I took a trip to Italy with my dear friend Katie (you remember Katie, don't you?), and the most impressive part of the trip to me was not the gorgeous countryside, the hundreds-of-years old architecture, the food, the people, the glaring sun. No, the most impressive part was that the trip afforded me the opportunity to actually read an entire copy of "The Economist" (and understand it!) over the flights/journey. Don't get me wrong, I like all that other stuff, but whoever really takes the time to read "The Economist" who doesn't have a job that vaguely deals with the state of the national ecomony? (Point of fact: all jobs have something to do with the national economy, but let's not get distracted, shall we?) No one.

However, while I've generally become a more entertained, more informed person over the past week or so, I wonder if this is totally a good thing if extended over a long period of time. I'm not good at relaxing, and when I do for a while I become a bit lost and morose. I'm never happier than when I'm busy and just a little stressed. It feeds my soul, because I know things are depending on me, and I can see the repercussions of what I do: there's a value to it, good or bad. But having nothing pressing occupying my time makes me bored, then depressed, then too lazy to ever find anything to occupy myself ever. And that's a frightening thought.

Tomorrow and Thursday I'll be helping present "Organism," and then off to Paris for a few days. Hopefully I'll be able to lay out an active plan of attack on my new life (like some stealth hunter) over that time, and when I emerge from days of croissant eating and beret wearing I'll be ready to take it on, full force. Until then, I will try to do something productive. If only I could figure out what that would be...

*It should be noted I have written a large part of this entry while watching The Bold and the Beautiful on the couch with my flatmates. How I was blessed to live with people who also watch my favourtie childhood soap, I do not know, but I am grateful for it.

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