I spent five of the last 24 hours driving across Illinois with nothing but some good tunes and my thinking cap, which can be refreshing and mildly dangerous.
I took a page out of my sister's book and played a little iPod roulette, meaning I let my iPod do its shuffle and I refused to let myself change any songs. This got pretty interesting when I learned that I left my entire 85 song holiday playlist on the thing. At first I felt festive. Then I kind of wanted to die. Rules are rules, though.
Anyway, somewhere around the millionth mile of corn Billy Joel's Piano Man came on and I cranked it and gave the passing cars a better scene than someone knuckle-deep in their nostrils. I had my Dasani bottle microphone going and played the steering wheel piano like it was my God-given right. That song is one that I've listened to several thousand times, but it wasn't until today that I actually paid attention to the lyrics. Do you ever hear the lyrics to a song and say to yourself, I know exactly what they mean? That was my story today.
I can't tell you how many times I'll say something to Jason and he'll respond with "Where did that come from?" We were caravaning back home from our destination and decided to stop in Litchfield for a swallow of some grade E meat. He asked me how my drive was going and I replied, "I realized I'm tired of being lazy."
Here's what I meant:
When I was a sophomore in high school I got mono. Now I'm not trying to assign the blame there, but I haven't been the same since. I'm friggin' tired. Like, all the time. I've been to doctors upon doctors and the results have spoken: I don't have diabetes, thyroid issues, allergies, blood disease, nothing like that. Every doctor comes back with a diagnosis related to the fact that when you have mono it never actually goes away. The symptoms are supposed to, but you're always a carrier. That and it can impact your immune system, and I've pointed out recently that my immune system is a pointless collection of malfunctioning organs. The other conclusion doctors have come to is that I probably have chronic fatigue syndrome. I say probably because there is no way to diagnose it concretely, i.e. blood test or otherwise. I pretty much spent a lot of money to have doctors tell me I had a case of sleepiness. No doi.
For the most part I push through my fatigue and nobody would ever know, unless you lived with me in college in which case at some point you probably said to me, "Napping? Again?"
I still work out when I can. I still go to my job and do my best. I still keep up with my hygiene. But I also have a whole host of things that I want to do and I just flat out don't.
What Billy Joel is singing about in Piano Man is a little bit of all of us. There is always something on our list that we don't do because of fear, a confidence shortage, lack of time, sleepiness.
He's quick with a joke or a light of your smoke but there's someplace that he'd rather be.
Well I'm sure that I could be a movie star if I could get out of this place.
A busy realtor who never had time for a wife. A lifelong member of the Navy. A gang of strangers who find a dark room somewhere to drink and forget about life for awhile.
I passed a lot of corn in my car and thought about all of this. I don't know what it is that prevents all of you from really fulfilling what sits deep inside but I know what my excuses are...
I don't do a LOT of things because I think I'm too tired. This is my excuse for not doing pretty much anything that I am passionate about when I get home from work. And cleaning the house. And exercising. And painting the art that I vowed to hang on my walls (which is why we've been in our home for three years and the upstairs bedroom walls have little to nothing on them).
I wanted to major in art or creative writing but I was afraid to make a career out of either for fear that someone would tell me how do to them and I would lose my fire for them. Instead I do neither as often as I'd like and I definitely don't get paid for them.
I want to cook a natural, healthy dinner for my family every night but I won't go to the grocery store right after work when I'm wearing heels because it's hard to walk on the slippery grocery store floor in them.
I want to practice guitar more often but it hurts my fingers and I hate pushing through the pain.
I want to stop eating my sandwiches when I'm full but I feel bad that they otherwise would not fulfill their sandwich destiny.
I want to join a Bible study at my church but I'm afraid it will take away from all that nothing that I'm doing at night instead.
I want to do so many things but I guess I'd rather give myself the guilts sometimes, and that is a crock.
You know what, though? I'm proud of what I have accomplished. It may not be as much as I'd like but it's pretty good for someone with the ability to come up with some pretty creative excuses. Everybody struggles, and sometimes the best we can do all day is breathe, and that's OK in my book.
I'd like to think we're all sailing slowly in that boat. In fact, I know we are or Billy Joel would have had to change his song. We're all in that bar, sharing a drink they call loneliness. But I'll be damned if it isn't better than drinkin' alone.