I’ve been seeing posters around town promoting Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Which reminds me that I need to take a vacation.
Let me explain.
I have an active imagination. Most of the time, I like having an active imagination. Which is a lot like a chef admitting, “I like food.” (A chef who likes food? How fortuitous in his or her quest to WORK WITH FOOD FOR A LIVING!) Obviously, imagination is helpful in living the writer’s life. But an active imagination can be a bitch to live with. The universe building gets out of hand. And universe building is exhausting.
Jesus, it’s exhausting.
I’m pretty sure there is some overlap here between being a writer, and being an introvert. All introverts have a rich inner life, right? I’d be curious to hear from other introverts as to whether or not they too find themselves navigating a labyrinth-within-a-labyrinth-within-a-labyrinth of thoughts and emotions in doing everything from deciding what to eat for lunch to, say, planning a vacation.
For example, this is my brain in the throes of vacation planning:
Say, I’d like to visit Costa Rica! There are monkeys running amuck there. I like monkeys! I like the idea of monkeys running amuck! Except what if the premise of Planet of the Apes is real, and monkeys decided to band together and overthrow humans?!? I don’t want to invest the time and money in visiting Costa Rica only to find myself in shackles and forced to serve platters of bananas to my monkey overlords during what will prove to be the Great Monkey Coup of 2014! I’m just looking to relax and unwind here. I don’t need this kind of pressure!!!
But it doesn’t stop there. I don’t try to talk myself back into wanting to visit Costa Rica again by thinking, “Hey, monkeys overthrowing humans will probably never happen!” Nooooo. Instead I think, “Well, humans kind of have it coming. We’ve massively fucked up the planet. We don’t deserve to be in charge. Maybe if I pimp myself out to a high-ranking monkey overlord, things wouldn’t be that bad for me under the new regime. I might even grow to love it. Is that too Stockholm Syndrome-y? Am I some sort of monkey-loving masochist? I should google “How to tell if you’re a monkey-loving masochist,” and find out……..”
Do you see what I mean? Exhausting. Just thinking about planning a vacation wears me out. And then I realize I probably need a vacation to chill out. And then I wonder about where I should go on vacation. And then…..arrrrrgh! The cycle begins anew.
Here’s another example.
Several years ago, I was having back trouble, and a chiropractor took an X-ray to assess the situation. The X-ray revealed the presence of this weird round metal circle right in my abdomen region. In response to this, my inner narrative instantly spiraled into the verbal equivalent of a Jackson Pollack painting. I should issue a crucial piece of backstory here – I was adopted as a baby. (For real. Not just in my mind.) So while the chiropractor was droning on about something banal like the prospect of a degenerated disc, in the span of those 60 seconds, I concoct the 5,407th variation of my own origins story. The chiropractor-inspired version went a little something like this:
I knew there was something fishy about the circumstances surrounding my adoption! This explains so much! The uneasy sense I’ve always had about never really fitting in with the rest of society makes so much more sense now! I bet I was grown in a petri dish in a lab from alien DNA as part of some nefarious Area 51 government experiment! Area 51 is in Nevada. I was born in Arizona. Arizona shares a partial border with Nevada, which makes this theory TOTALLY PLAUSIBLE. That round metal sphere is probably a tracking device implanted by the government so they can monitor me at all times! Wait! The government isn’t that smart! What if the aliens dropped me here directly from the mother ship, and that round metal sphere is THEIR tracking device?! I wonder if my people are going to recall me any time soon?! I kind of hate it down here. It gets boring. Maybe I can activate the tracking device using the latent telekinetic powers I haven’t up until now realized I had, and summon them to retrieve me, and then we’ll all have a good laugh about how boring and unevolved humans are! HA HA HA! Stupid, inferior humans!
Right around this plot point within my inner narrative, the chiropractor asks me what has prompted me to start smirking in a superior fashion, which brings me back down to earth, which inspires me to take another look at the X-ray, which triggers this depressing realization:
Oh, wait…..that round metal sphere? That’s my naval ring. GODDAMN IT! NOTHING INTERESTING EVER HAPPENS TO ME!!
Many days, I’ve often mentally worn myself out by 10 a.m., when it appears that all I’m doing is sitting and drinking a cup of coffee at the computer.
Ray Bradbury once said: “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Which makes me feel a tad better. So long as there’s no mental health equivalent of cirrhosis.
Now, where shall I go on vacation? Mars? I probably have family there….