Survival of the Awkwardest

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to read my last post. Not only was it the best traffic this blog has ever had, but the subject matter is something that is incredibly important it to me, and the idea that it is important to others as well makes me absolutely giddy. Make the arts great again! Down with the MacGyver reboot!

I feel like the opening paragraphs of several of my most recent entries have been me apologizing for taking so long to write a new entry. This is me doing that again. Consistency of content is important.

I really am trying to get myself into an actual routine and thus I am hoping to be able to update every Sunday. If someone wants to hold me to that and possibly reward me with pizza, I probably wouldn’t say no.

I was good tonight, though, because I caught myself thinking that it was fine if I didn’t update, that nobody cares. But I kind of care. And also what would I have done with that time? Watched more episodes of a show I’ve already seen? The older I get, the more I despise the notion of killing time. The action is certainly aptly named.

But anyhow, I started my new job at the university. I am entering my fourth week tomorrow and I feel pretty okay about everything, but the whole thing has been a slew of adjustments for me.

For one, there is the commute. I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with Long Island traffic, but to put it in perspective, LI is a highly over-populated 120-mile long piece of land with, like, three roads that go all the way across. According to Mapquest, 50 minutes is a reasonable amount of time for my journey to take. However, because some genius many years ago decided everyone was going to work 9-5, 90 minutes has become the pretty-damn-good standard. Much of my life is now driving underneath the “Delays Until…” marquees on the LIE thinking they may as well say, “You’re gonna die here.”

However, this commute has allowed me to get really into podcasts—a medium I had never before dabbled in—and I’m learning all kinds of interesting things, so the time is not completely lost.

There is also the fact that I am working with people again, and really cool people at that. While I was in publishing, I felt like I never met anyone who truly cared about what they were doing. I think it’s because most of the small press business is watching numbers and praying a lot. At my new job, they want to get students engaged and they want to help them, and I’ve always wanted to help people, in some way. Also, did I mention the people? Yeah, that’s a real adjustment. It’s sort of like learning how to talk all over again: worrying about if I’ve said the right thing or did the right thing, am I listening enough, responding enough, is my talking-to-myself habit as blatant as it has been in the past?

I have realized I am terrible at feeling out when a conversation is over. Sometimes I think it is over and then I realize the other person is looking at me hopefully, so I try and add something really insightful and inspiring like, “So, yeah…” Other times, people are trying to get back to work, but wait, did you know about this joke that was on an episode of Parks and Rec once? Hold on so I can explain it to you in its fullest context so you can understand why it is so hilarious and partially pertinent to what we were talking about when you had the time.

Perhaps it is because my conversation with myself has been going on for 26 years, but frankly, I really wish I would shut up sometimes. I just go on and on to me, repeating myself, reliving the past through a series of self-loathing grunts and profanities. Seriously, me, give me some peace!

But the hardest adjustment has been not bumping into things. I have terrible depth perception and the bruises to prove it.

The crazy thing is, though, I feel okay. I feel like a future I can be comfortable with is unfolding before me. I feel like I’m getting the hang of myself. As Darwin has taught us, life is about adjusting to the changes if you want to come out on top. And I don’t even want to be on top. That sounds exhausting. The middle will do just fine.