Process

by Bryan

It is Wednesday night, and I was going to write this tomorrow morning at work, until I realized that I absolutely abhor writing at work. The tripe I write for our magazine doesn’t count – I could do it in my sleep. I mean writing – stuff that you’d be proud to show your mother (hi mom!) or wife or girlfriend (hi everybody!) without the feeling of – what did I feel at the Chronicle? – complete and total existential dread. Life is good now, as long as I keep work and the real writing separate, which is why it’s good to have a job that doesn’t make me, when I see my computer at night, want to take a pickaxe to it in latent work frustration. Come to think of it, I don’t even own a pickaxe, as far as I know (there’s a shed out back, and God knows what’s in it).

With nothing else really to talk about, let’s have a short discussion of how what you’re reading – this – ends up on your computer screen. It goes a little something like this: after coming home from work, I will decide to write at times it appears that my roommate will not be home within the hour. These days, that’s pretty much all the time, so tonight I had the “luxury” of doing the necessary two loads of laundry before eating, showering and taking out the computer. The specifics may vary, but that’s pretty much the prelude. I will write in one of three places: on the living room table, facing the television; in my bed or on the sofa, as I am writing now. Once settled, I will attempt to come up with a topic but will usually end up writing about what happened to me today or what I’m thinking at the moment and go off on a tangent (see?). I will write nonstop for about 20 minutes and wrap it up in somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes. That’s when the real fun begins. That’s when I get to play with the flash-drive that’s on my keychain. When I first bought the drive it didn’t work with my computer, because it includes software that’s only readable on newer models, and this baby’s an old clunker. Sorry, lovable old clunker. A friend had to remove the software for me, but the drive still didn’t work, only this time it was a result of jamming the stupid thing into the USB jack like any sane person would plug anything into a USB jack. My flash drive must be inserted gently, and only into the bottom jack, and hee hee har har, isn’t that a hoot? I usually get it on the second try, and the thing lights up to tell me I’ve done a good job. Then we order dinner (just kidding).

When I’ve finally got the “green light,” which is actually orange, I drop the word file I’m using onto the icon for the drive. Sometimes the word file will be a single entry, sometimes several of them, but I’ll tag them all as UNEDITED so y’all can’t read the shit without my cleaning it up first – which I will do in the following day whenever I remember I have them, which could really happen at any point between 8:45 and 4:45, and maybe not at all, given my general spaciness when I’m in an office. Strangely, the more work I have to do, the more likely I am to remember. That’s the way I’ve always been: the more on my plate, the better I am at dividing up my time both while completing the project and when taking a break. An idle mind, plus the Internet, makes for a playful day for me where I can accomplish almost nothing except to work myself into a lather over the rosters of fake sports teams in my name and take breaks from this excitement by getting coffee or having instant chats with friends peppered across the city. The only thing I will both create and post at work are the Great and Funny Quotes you’ve doubtless seen by now – I say doubtless both because my readers are loyal and there is a great quote posted just above this entry. I read it on the way home from work today and knew it was a keeper. Why I’m reading a book devoted to someone competing in a ruthless fantasy baseball league is another question altogether, though it would seem to be happily akin to a priest reading the Bible, and despite my hazy knowledge of religion I am fairly sure this happens. In the book – not the Good one, the good one – there is an anecdote about a pastor in Arizona who routinely wins his fantasy baseball league because all the spring training umpires use his church, so I guess God does play games. But you know what? If there are two things I shouldn’t be talking about (and for completely different reasons), it’s religion and fantasy baseball, so it might be time for me to fall back on the third foundation of this country: taking pills. This has been an absurdly bad allergy season, and as my bedroom is virtually outdoors and my new office is caked in dust, I’ve been getting killed every day. Today was just about as bad as it gets, and after a long weekend-plus of staying up late – I had a 9 p.m. basketball game yesterday – I’m gonna pop a Benadryl Severe Allergy and let the antihistamines work their magic.

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