Garbage Time

For the most part, I am someone who wants to be moved. I love deep discussions and sentimental moments. I love being absorbed by a work of art: a book I’ve read, a show I’ve seen, a meal I’ve had. I love long pensive thoughts as I play old records on my new record player, mentally waxing poetic on how the past and present are constantly intersecting. I sometimes watch sad movies just to cry, and binge-listen to deep-ass podcasts about exploring while I hike.

One of my favorite hobbies is going to the grocery store while listening to a movie soundtrack. It makes every stranger I pass have a motive with their fresh produce, a point of view on their jelly beans, an agenda with their soup cans.

I absolutely love people watching. I’m in constant awe of other people’s lives. I think humans are so complex and I want my mission in life to figure them out and tell their story.

I love when people get excited over new television shows. I love water cooler moments, and think it is pretty remarkable that people of all shapes and sizes can bond over a work of fiction. I like being on the front lines of the newest pop culture phenomenon, from Game Of Thrones to Harry Potter to Rupaul’s Drag Race to S Town.

I love getting into things.

For the most part.

On occasion, I find myself putting a pause on a complex undertaking. I suddenly want nothing to do with that new, exciting, streaming show even though I have all the time in the world to watch it. I’ll start a book I’ve been really excited to read only to re-read the same three pages over and over again because I keep forgetting to pay attention. I start driving in silence because I can’t decide on what music I want to hear. Phone calls suddenly have long awkward pauses because frankly, I just don’t want to get into it right now, okay? Days become lists of things to get done, they pass quickly, and with nothing of note.

This life pause button seems to be happening yearly and always seems to happen around the Spring. I have gone through this phase so often that I have decided to give it a name. The Garbage Time.

And The Garbage Time is what I want to write about today.

To clarify, this time is not at all a sign of depression. Far from it, in fact. I sort of enjoy Garbage Time. Like, a lot. It’s a weird stubbornness that I think leads to a relaxation that I otherwise wouldn’t give myself. I believe it’s how my mind prepares for what’s to come later in the year. Because, conversely, I think my brain is also equipped for a sort of romantic/poetic period that I go through around the holidays, and a pensive/motivated phase that hits in the fall. Summer? Adventure time, baby! But Spring, it’s time to take in absolute garbage.

Here’s how Garbage Time works.

  1. I watch garbage. Like entire seasons of Say Yes To The Dress THAT I HAVE ALREADY SEEN, YOU GUYS. And I’m not watching it because I deeply love wedding dresses or am trying to drop hints to my boyfriend. No, I watch it because Say Yes To The Dress goes down super fucking easy. It’s a simple show structure with low stakes and a happy outcome. There’s no real conflict on Say Yes To The Dress. Women with money come in, try on a dress that’s fine, try on a dress their mom hates, try on a dress everyone likes, people cry, and they say yes to it. Boom. Next episode. Also, Randy is adorable.
  2. I play garbage. Like, I get really into online tetris and bubble shooter and buzzfeed quizzes. I do this while watching Say Yes To The Dress, with no real goal in mind other than to shoot all the bubbles and/or get a high tetris score. Also, it feels good to I know that I am a Chandler Bing and a ham sandwich is my soul mate. I click away, almost glazed over, hoping that maybe this time, I can get to level 30. I have dreamt about making tetris blocks disappear in an Ender’s Game style event where I am saving the world from an alien attack all thanks to my fast fingers. You’re welcome, world.
  3. I read garbage. Like, instead of my big stack of books I was given for Christmas, I am clicking on “what childhood stars look like now” from a Facebook ad. Guess what? They all look fine. I am also a fan of Wikipedia sinkholes (Did you know the girl who was the voice of Duckie from Land Before Time was murdered by her father? Also, did you know the guy from LFO died from a seizure related to cancer medication?) and Entertainment Weekly’s Bulls-Eye. (Thought I disagree that Hannah from 13 Reason’s Why deserved to be in the center last week. EW, that show was garbage. Speaking of garbage…)
  4. I listen to garbage. I start playing, like, Billy Joel a lot, for no apparent reason.
  5. I want to eat garbage. This is probably the only true vice of this time period. While I am still surprisingly productive during Garbage Time, (I get my writing in, my gym time in, I make meetings, all of that jazz) I really have to fight the urge to eat an entire bag of Cheetos Puffs in one sitting. It’s not so much that I give in to eating garbage, it’s just that during Garbage Time, junk food suddenly starts to sound good. Which is weird, but fitting, I guess. The only time of year you will likely find a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in my fridge is during Garbage Time. It’s also a time I am likely to skip a meal en lieu of drinking an entire pot of coffee. I can’t explain it, it’s just where my head is at.

Actually, that’s how I would qualify Garbage Time on the whole. I can’t explain it, it’s just where my head is at.

All I know is this isn’t coming from a place of boredom or complacency. Yes, I am on hiatus from my job, but I’m damn good at time management when I am off work, PLUS Garbage Time has also hit me while I am in the thick of a full time job. I recall being  a P.A. on Raising Hope and really getting  into listening to Marc Maron and watching Catfish.

I also recall periods of time in college when, in between classes, I wanted nothing more than to go back to my apartment, lay on the couch, and watch old Sex and The City DVDs until their okay conclusion. (Mr. Big’s name is John. Fascinating.) I remember in high school I would watch MTV’s Spring Break in it’s stupid entirety, all while drinking diet cherry pepsi, wearing sweat pants, and playing You Don’t Know Jack by myself on my parents computer. Even as a kid I remember there was a week where I did nothing but eat Kroger brand sandwich cookies while laying in the hammock in the backyard listening to an old Sublime album I took from my brother.

I think my soul needs to take a break sometime, and since I am someone who will naturally go go go until my eyes bleed, my brain goes into manual mode and forces me suddenly not to care about anything in particular. Just for a bit.

I’m terrible at meditating and yoga and journaling and all that. So, it’s like my brain does the next best thing. It fills it with garbage.

The important thing is, Garbage Time always always always comes to an end. I’m never worried about that. I will eventually watch Handmaiden’s Tale and finish reading What Alice Forgot (or start, really). I will eventually be inspired to write something new and exciting (a byproduct of Garbage Time is that my good ideas are usually hard to locate). I will get back to hankering my egg white omelets and have more lively phone calls with family. I will get excited about summer blockbusters and life changing events (my brother is having a baby any day now!). I will call my congress people, as I’ve done monthly since Tang Face is in office, with much more enthusiasm (though Garbage Time Alison’s phone calls this month were pretty classic. I think I said something like, “How’s the Russia investigation going? Can you, um, investigate more please? Keep up the good work. K, back to tetris.”)

I will come back, recharged and ready to be moved all over again. Because goodness knows, I love depth, meaning and passion. I can’t wait to get excited for what’s to come. I can’t wait to create something with meaning.

Until then, Taylor the beauty queen cancer survivor should really pick the champagne colored Pnina Tornai with the corsette back despite what her mother thinks. Tay Tay, just say yes to that dress.

– One L

“Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity.” – I HOPE.

“Oh I… love… trash!!!!!” – Oscar


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