The Obvious Lessons

I spilled tea on my laptop last night.  Not terribly, but a pretty healthy splatter across the keys and mousepad.  I’ll spare you the details, but through some blow drying and specific resting angles to minimize damage, I think it’s going to be okay.

But here’s the thing – if I had to take this in (if I have to – it’s still possible), it would be the third time in two months.

I already spilled water on it this spring.  I got it back and then the whole thing died a couple days later.  Nothing but a question mark.

As Chris said last night, “There seems to be some kind of higher power at work here.”

Well, I’m with him.  Because, honestly, I rely on this machine for just about everything  that truly matters to me.  I use it to keep in touch with my friends and family, I used it for work, I just wrote a new screenplay on it, and I’m editing my film.  Everything that matters to me is here.

If my dad was alive, I’d try to completely avoid telling him about this latest spill.  Because I know the look, I felt it from the other realm last night as I shrieked through our apartment, slipping paper towel corners under computer keys and shaking the laptop violently.  I know that look – my dad had a way of biting over a smile, mocking but loving.  As in, “ah, my children – they must make their own mistakes.”

Man, fuck off.

It was never a helpful look, neither in real life, nor in the echo of my mind after his death four years ago.

But the message, from his smug smile to my own absolute stupidity while dealing with this expensive piece of technology during the poorest time of my life, is clear.

Rebecca, you are not learning the lessons.  And yes, there are more than one. 

One – You are going way too fast.  I love productivity, it’s my favorite.  But not when I’m on the computer while on the phone while drinking tea while charging my phone while making a list and then tripping over the cord, toppling the tea.  This is also how I have managed to cut myself way too many times while chopping veggies for dinner.

Two – Your life matters – and that includes things.  My car right now is utterly filthy.  It went from the salted winter roads of Wisconsin to sitting under dusty jacaranda trees for months.  My bookshelves are made of stacked cardboard boxes.  My window curtain is a ratty but beautiful sheer linen sheet that falls off whenever there’s a wind.

Granted, I’ve enjoyed these traces of bohemia.  It’s like in college where everyone boasts how late they waited to start the paper, how little sleep they got.

In my case, I’m so poor that my car is disgusting and my comforter has holes in it.  Uh, yeah…

At a certain point, you’re not an artist, you’re just treating yourself really badly.

And three – Your relationship to life matters more than the space between you and the computer screen.  There are brilliant people and opportunities everywhere here.  Last night, after a brief but hearty sob, I put my eyeliner back on and made my way to our local tiny bookstore with its violent jazz and hap hazard stacks of books and talked to the owner about Bukowski, Texas, and my accent – now a bizarre mix of Wisconsin and my boyfriend’s Tennessee.

And also this – last night, as I begged God for mercy – have you noticed a tendency toward melodrama yet? – I said, finally, “Okay.  I’ll do it.  I’ll go to a dance class.”

You see, this is what I’ve been wanting.  More than anything.  I used to be a dancer, it used to be my entire life in high school.  And I’ve been daydreaming about taking a modern class for months.  But I’ve been putting it off because it costs $12 – which is a good deal, actually.  But still.  I haven’t been able to justify it while I have so little money.  And I want to go out, etc.  But, no – I’ve been craving it.  It hurts not to dance.  I’m in my head, and I’m going insane.

And now I have to go.  I made the pact.

Here’s what it comes down to – I need to be fully in my body, I need to be fully with people, I need to treat this life with respect.  Because otherwise Something intervenes (even if it’s my own whacky subconscious) and tells me to get the hell away from this computer and get back to real life.  So I’m going to do that.  As soon as this gets published.

And believe me, the irony that I wrote a blog about getting away from the computer is not lost on me.

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