About a year ago, I started reading books centered around the inhumane period of humanity in which every corner of the world seemed to be demon possessed and humus-being groups across continents inadvertently screwed themselves with high-caliber torture instruments while attempting to screw other earth-dwellers. And the collective human soul went through a self-induced apocalypse.
And after a while, I felt I'd looked the demon in the eyes for long enough and wanted to take a break, unfortunately every book I picked up turned out to be related somehow to WWII despite my intentions. Mean Little Deaf Queer, I figured, could NOT have anything to do with WWII, right? I picked it up because it WASN'T about WWII and it could be interesting. After all, I am neither mean, nor little (decidedly medium on all fronts), deaf, nor queer. And it was a fabulous, well written memoir, that starts in Stuttgart Germany, moments after WWII, with a spy-dad. Aurgh!
Finally, with Adrift: 76 Days Lost at Sea, I got out of WWII. We listened on CD in the car and the kids were enthralled. I was so enchanted that I'd listen to it after dropping the kids off here and there and then I'd listen to that part again when I picked up the kids. This led us into our latest in-car adventure with the Sussex, the tale that inspired Moby Dick.
Keeping on my theme of reading things way out of my areas of expertise and life experience, I then picked up The Widow Clicquot. No, not an actual bottle of her ancient bubbly, although it is on sale right now for a scant $70. No, for FREE, I borrowed it from the library. Huck's shocked that I have 54 books checked out. And it made him laugh. And I got all defensive: 54 books is NOT that many. And I'm borrowing them. I didn't buy them, although I might have. And I'm going to bring them ALL back! ON TIME! And then he's all, "Oh my gosh! Did you think I was laughing at you? I'm not laughing at you but at 54 books. I mean, that's a lot." No. It's NOT. Not when you consider all that I had to leave on the shelf!
So anyway, The Widow Clicquot is the exact opposite of me. I am NOT a highly competitive entrepreneur. But she reminded me of my lovely soapstress goddess, a cleaver and talented woman of some ambition. And it got me thinking about my own career malaise. Perhaps there is no problem, really. And I'm obviously doing what I need to do with my life right now and lofty ambitions would just interfere and distract. So maybe they're waiting in the offing for their cue to enter stage left. I hope they don't miss it!
On the other hand, the problem could be that I naturally lack ambition. But I think it's more that I lack ambition if I don't really want it. People say you have to really want something to do all the work and pay all the dues to get it. And I thought this meant that if you really WANT something, you make yourself pay the dues. But now I think that perhaps a willingness to do the work and an inability to see the obstacles are an indication of something you really want, not a result.
Huck's band played half-time for the roller derby recently. We all went. Seeing the roller derby now, in its current form, felt a lot like finally seeing Hedwig and the Angry Inch, 12 years after it came out. It was sort of like: ho, hum, cross-dressing, gay, ooooh-so-shocking, yawn, although it was very heart-y. (And I do often sing, when life presents the occasion, as it is wont to do especially considering laundry and kitchens: "Six inches forward, five inches back.") Anyway, the Spokane team was decked out in their retro bad-ass now-somewhat-cliche "uniforms" and they totally lost to the Bellingham team by something like 300 to 2. It was pathetic. And it was the most obvious manifestation I'd ever seen of seeing obstacles. Those girls (who could barely stay up on their skates and produced a pile-up during their introductory lap! Not that I should talk. I was a waitress on skates at a drive-in in South Carolina when I was 16. For ONE day. I didn't lie, per se, on the application. For a Bellingham girl (pre-roller derby craze), I could skate. But in the South... anything less than shooting-the-duck with a tray of food is for babies. And I didn't know how to brake, which the job application never asked about. So on my first delivery, I ran straight in to the blue Corvette and dumped an extra large slushy-type drink all over the interior. So... I'm not saying I could do any BETTER than the derby girls) could only see obstacles, not openings.
I see obstacles when I don't really want something. But when I really want it, I don't seem to see the problems. I become completely unable to calculate the basic math and obvious difficulties in owning milk cows. I can't imagine an single reason why I shouldn't go to India during my third trimester of pregnancy. I hop on a plane last minute to go work for some alcoholic wank in Mexico, because I really want to get out of this easy EnglishEnglishEnglish-nonchallenging-comfortzone-24/7-ness. If I want it, I'm totally deaf to the words "That's not going to happen." And that is how I know I want something. When I can't even see what for others are perfectly obvious problems. This is the way I work, so I don't even notice it when I'm being ambitious or taking big risks, because I don't see the risks. They just don't exist in my mind. So maybe I'm not a lost cause career-wise, perhaps blind ambition lurks in me as well?! I could make it, if I really wanted to... as long as I don't go whaling, right?
But sheesh, comparing careers is stupid anyway. And no one can really compare with the Veuve Clicquot. Nor with Mozart. I guess, if I really want to feel bad about the only part of my life aside from my bank account that is not some Disney fantasy, I could go on and on comparing myself to the uber-successes of humanity. And that is just about as depressing as spending a year wallowing in the uber-crap of humanity's uber-dark uber-night of our collective uber-soul: WWII.