Friday, August 27, 2010

Whimpering Dogs and Hate to Wait

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Pet owners are smug motherfuckers, especially the ones next door in the slums of Beverly Hills who have jobs and leave their pets at home all day unattended and don't give a shit if their adorable Shi Tzus cause a constant ruckus and distraction to their work-at-home neighbors.

The smaller the dog, the bigger the headache. Two dogs to the right of me. Two dogs to the left of me. I could fry all four of them in a microwave if given the chance. One of those hell dogs yaps incessantly at such a high pitch that it's similar to hearing nails on a chalkboard. On the other side (closest to the window by my office), there's a depressed dog that whimpers and cries the entire day until the owner comes home. That's just mean and wrong to imprison a bitch of a dog. And if you're gonna be a dog, well bark like one instead of being a mopey depressed puppy.

I'm just praying that our eventual upstairs neighbors will not have any pets.

Creativity is fickle. I wish that I can whip it up at any moment and crank out savory copy. Most of the time, my writing is bland and mediocre -- at best. Some days it is very easy to write and the words and phrases just flow easily, but on an average day, I definitely have to hustle and prep myself to achieve the maximum possible results. The hardest aspect is to remain patient when things beyond your control interfere with the arduous creative process. But it's not that simple. You need both time and that intangible quality (the ability to harness a creative spark) to successfully pull off a miracle. Sometimes the spark is fleeting and you have a small window to snag it in order to keep the fire burning inside you long enough to get out what's inside my head and onto the blank pages. And when the fire is's gone. I went weeks and months without any inklings to write anything of significance. Nothing was burning. But that's not a bad thing. It happens, so I just wait until I get another shot at igniting that fire inside.

After getting re-energized and finding inspiration on my most recent mini-vacation, all I could think about was finding the time to write. I know better than to force things, so all of the stories and ideas that I encountered over the last few weeks are slowly making their way into some sort of narrative. The conflict arises when I'm in the zone and want to write -- but circumstances are not optimal. It's happened a couple of times already this week when I had to deal with other things outside of the scope of sitting down and plugging away at the laptop.

No one values my time more than me, so I get pissy when others waste it, especially during a fertile creative period. And yes, I definitely have more important things to do than wait around for lateness, but everything on my "To Do" list requires large chunks of time for me to complete those tasks. Aside from catching up on (endless) email, I don't really have tasks that can be accomplished in less than ten minutes when I'm in limbo and waiting and waiting and waiting. Books can help bide the time, but I get more details out of a book when I can devote a good hour or two to the task at hand.

In the end, those ten minutes of wait time get lost. I'm actually a very patient person and understand when I'm about to be forced to deal with down time. I only get discouraged when I think about the cumulative effect of all of that waiting time. When you add up all that wait time that I wasted over a week, I discovered that surplus equals a few hours. Man, I could really use those couple of hours to catch up on sleep or work. Alas, that fee time gets flushed down the toilet. I'll never get that time back.

Yes, I'm being incredibly selfish because it's my time. I also feel like a dick when I'm late for anything or have to hold people up, which is why I often say, "Go without me" or "I'll catch up."

I get uber-depressed thinking about how much time I waste in a single year waiting on other people and things. Airport security lines. Traffic. The post office. Nicky getting ready. Late planes. The waitress lallygagging when I asked for my check five minutes earlier.

The worse case scenario is waiting on something that includes an unquantified wait time -- like the cable guy or the a friend who is habitually late. I can't really sit down and start writing something in those instances -- because nothing infuriates me more is not being able to finish something that I sat down to write. So I have to find other semi-meaningless tasks to entertain myself and keep sane. I also have to train myself to not think about the cumulative lost time.

Thursday afternoon was a complete waste because I had a shitload of work to do, but was caught in limbo while I waited on someone who showed up three and a half hours late. We usually hang out late nights, which we both prefer since traffic is less of a burden at night and I'll be done with all of my work for the day. In this instance, he wanted to chill out around noon. Fair enough. I re-arranged and juggled my schedule to fit his. I awoke early and began working when I got the first of many unnecessary calls from him starting at 8am -- when I'm in the middle of finding my groove writing wise. I usually shut my phone off when I write, but kept it on just in case. We touched base and I was done with the call, but he launched into a full on conversation that I had no desire to engage in because I wanted to get back to work. I told him that I had to go and to call/text when he was about to leave.

I turned off my ringer and hid my phone for a few hours. I got a text message at 11:30am saying that he'd be here in an hour. Well that hour turned into four, and I wished that I kept working instead of stopping. He called and texted many times during that four-hour stretch and each time I thought it was a potential emergency, but it was nothing of significance -- just a random update on why he's late. Plus, he wanted to chat while he was bored and stuck in freeway traffic. I was not about to have any of that. I'm not about to entertain someone who I have been waiting on for hours. At that point, I got snippy and said, "Just call me when you're a block away."

I hung up and groaned. I was caught in limbo and irritated because I didn't want to start/stop an assignment or project. I finished up my work by noon, as promised, so I could hang out for an hour or so before I returned to the grind and embarked upon a scheduled (and rare) free writing session, which obviously never happened as I waited and waited. During the down time, I finished reading one book and began another during his four hour delay.

We hung out for a brief amount of time, something I cut short because I had to get on with the rest of my day. He finally left at 5pm and my entire afternoon was shot.

Next time? We're hanging out at night. I hate burning daylight.

1 comment:

  1. i would leave a note on my neighbors door advising them that their dog(s) are barking non stop during the day and perhaps they should consider doggie day care or crating. Most dogs if they have been crated since birth think of their crate as their safe place and will be quiet in it.  A dog given free run of an apt/house when no one is home is stressed and experiencing separation anxiety.