Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Procrastination Tango

Last weekend I made a little road trip to Tampa. Ordinarily, for a seasoned road traveler like myself, this measly 4 hour trip is nothing to write home about. But, this time, there were two reasons to write blog about: the occasion for the trip was extra momentous, and, along the way, Foxy the Hyundai Accent had her own very special moment.

Good ol' Foxy crossed the 20,000 mile mark! She's in her 20's! "You and me, 20g!" is what I said as I caressed her dashboard, took a picture, and shed a tear. Lost in reverie (I mean, focused on the road... defensive driving... 10 and 2), I missed the actual moment the odometer clicked over to 20000, but 20006 is close enough, right? Anyway, I was emotional because, in a lot of ways, Foxy's been my best friend for the last couple years. We've seen a lot, her and I. She held me safely and comfortably in the front seat and carried a heavy burden of my crap in the back as we drove across the country twice in her first year. She got me through mountains and snow, rain and wind, the desert and the Midwest, good times and bad. She came from Jersey, survived West Virginia, and waited patiently for weeks on end in the parking garage of a Safeway in San Francisco. She starts up every time, with pep in her step and NPR on her radio. She is the longest-term commitment I've ever had... When she crossed 20,000 miles, I was proud of her, and of me.

And last weekend, of all things, we were on our way to my real best friend's wedding. This was the momentous occasion for going to Tampa. My friend Mitch was getting married. MARRIED. HOLY SHIT. Now, that's a real commitment. I love Foxy and all, but at the end of the day I don't have to share a bathroom with her.

So it was I arrived in Tampa. Ready to celebrate my friend's joyous day and to do justice to the long, proud tradition of drunken groomsman. I hadn't been part of a wedding since I was a 4-year-old ring bearer carrying a pillow with a fake plastic ring tied to it. I was pissed at my Uncle (it was his wedding) about the fake ring then, and I'm still pissed about it now. I could have been trusted with the real ring dammit! I was a responsible little kid! I felt like a shmuck walking down the aisle with a fake ring... but I digress.

During this ceremony, all I really had to do was wear a suit and a yarmulke, and walk one of the bridesmaids down the aisle. Mitch and Amy stood under the chuppah, the Rabbi said some things, Mitch broke the glass, as Jews are wont to do, and all rejoiced. It was a beautiful day as two lives became joined as one.

The reception began with the ceremonial lifting of bride and groom on chairs, as seen in the Fiddler on the Roof clip linked above. Watch that clip! I was on groom chair duty and was apparently almost crushed by the bride's chair, to the horror of helpless onlookers. They tell me I was a hair's breadth away from a concussion. I'm just glad I didn't drop him, given that I had no advance warning there was going to be heavy lifting involved. I hadn't limbered up!

After this bit, the DJ started in with the line dancing songs and I suddenly knew why groomsmen needed to be so drunk. Or, why this particular groomsmen needed a few good drinks, anyway. I wanted to enjoy this party, and for better or worse (till death do us part?) booze was going to be necessary. So, I started in with the cocktails and was eventually putting vodka in coffee. Not bad! Well, it did the trick anyway, and even got me out on the dance floor a few times... By the way, what the hell does it mean to "do the Charlie Brown"? Nevermind, I don't want to know. I'm happy I don't know those kinds of things.
Awww.... Look at them. They're happy! And I'm super happy for them. I know this is what Mitch has wanted for a long time. It's weird though, isn't it? We're getting married now, huh? We're at that time in our lives? When the shit did that happen? I sure don't feel like I'm there, yet. I mean, getting fuckin' married?! Yikes. I can hardly imagine. Oh sure, I want love and I want a family... someday. But, it's awful hard for me to imagine doing that, like, today.

After all, "why do today what you can put off 'till tomorrow," right? I am pro-procrastination! Just say no to anti-procrastination! Follow?

In fact, this blog is a public display of procrastination. And I procrastinated privately before getting to this procrastination (Mitch's wedding was actually two weekends ago). But the point remains: if I wasn't writing this, I could be doing homework, applying for jobs, volunteering at a soup kitchen, learning to play guitar, curing cancer, or finding a woman with whom I might procrastinate or procreate with, whichever came first. (Insert coming first joke here) (Insert insertion joke here)

To me, though, there is a beauty in procrastination. If done correctly, it can transcend mere laziness to become an act of defiance essential to restoring elements of our humanity that the rush, rush, plugged-in, workaday world slowly robs us of. It's my belief that we need down-time, that we need to be able to make the conscious choice to not do something. We need to be able to free ourselves from the nagging feeling that everything has to be done right-now-this-second.

Sure, I will eventually do the thing, but right now? No. No, I don't believe I will. I am going to choose when the hell I do that thing. I will get to it when I am good and goddamn ready. And, when I am ready (mentally or physically), and I do do the thing, I will inevitably do it better. Procrastination is a gathering of energies integral to my creative process.

Or, I'm just a lazy ass. Yeah... definitely could be that.

But, I don't think so! According to the theory I am espousing in this post, procrastination is a noble enterprise. A mind-freeing exercise in alternative thinking. To me, it's like dance. In order to dance well, you need to be able to free your mind of its conscious inhibitions. You have to break your body free of the shackles of the mind. I am not a dancer, but, as I said, I was forced into a dancing situation at Mitch's wedding... comfortable, I was not. However, after enough vodka-coffees, I was at least able to get out there. Procrastination is the vodka-coffee of my everyday life, freeing me up to do things I might not normally do.

It is my way of communing with god, or the universe, or nature, or whatever. As much as I'd like to pretend that, like Thoreau or Whitman, I get deep insights and inner-peace from a walk in the woods, I do not. When I walk in the woods all I get is bug bites and Deliverance derived anal rape paranoia. And I don't like getting dirty. No, I'm not a "nature guy." But, procrastination is my substitute. When I procrastinate, I am stepping out of humanity in order to restore my humanity. You won't catch me on a nature retreat, but you will often find me busily at work not working.

You buying this shit? Didn't think so. But you sure killed some time reading it! Congratulations!
And Mazel tov, Mitch and Amy! Like Foxy and me, may you always enjoy the journey.

Happy anniversary Foxy!

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