28 May 2008

Niggle Amplitude Exceeding Stagnation Threshold

There comes a point you just can't keep doing nothing.

Fate/circumstance/that-which-blows-past-my-face has in the past week launched a multifaceted attack on my journaling slack. Since I maintain a constant low-level angst about slack, it's hard to say when it began, but I guess it was after I swiped a bunch of material off Jeff's iPod at work -- lotsa stuff, much of which I still haven't and may never listen to. But I'm slowly working my way through it, mostly in the background as I'm out working on location. I grabbed a smorgasbord of stand-up comedy, which makes for a pleasant break from the usual spoken word menu of Fresh Air podcasts, Radio Lab, and This American Life.

Well, but -- speaking of that: there were also included a slew of readings by David Sedaris. And I was listening to Naked last Friday while I painted logos on the side panels of a homeless health services mini-van. He read a story about growing up with OCD symptoms. At some point it reminded me of the story I wrote for an assignment in a class at art school to "describe a ritual". I described the method by which I ate Cheerios every morning. I don't think it was symptomatic of obsession or compulsion; it was just habit, reinforced by repetition every time I ate Cheerios (which, for breakfast, was far more often than not) throughout childhood, up until I left for college and moved in with roommates. Coincidentally, this is the same time in Sedaris' life when his OCD symptoms retreated, although he attributes his relief to starting smoking. My change of habit was just to avoid getting caught being weird. And, of course, the way I was playing with o's in the bowl and on the spoon was nowhere near as weird or 'sick' as the behavior he describes in Naked. Nonetheless, the feedback I got from the teacher about my Cheerios story was that it wasn't "believable". I have to take that as more a comment on my writing style, than on the plausibility of tracing a Union Jack into the cereal bowl, or raising the last spoonful while silently chanting "pyramidpyramidpyramidpyramid..."