Thursday, April 04, 2013

Turning on the Tap While Someone Watches

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Yesterday was one of those days when I thought I did very little while the day was going on, but by 2am, I was exhausted and passed out on the couch after am extended Wednesday in which I had accomplished a significant amount more than I expected.

On the work front, I had a brief meeting about a future project that I'm trying to nail down time to devote to research and interviews. After that meeting, I sat down to watch a documentary film somewhat similar to the topic so I can get any ideas about the project when I start working on it this summer. I also received a contract from a new freelance client, which is refreshing because the clients with contacts tend to be the ones who give you the least amount of hassle and most importantly, they pay you on time.

On the creative front, I recorded a fun podcast with Shamus (he'll eventually write more about tomorrow and we'll share the link). I thought it was going to take twenty minutes but the next thing I know, it was 2 hours and 20 minutes later! We had a great conversation about college basketball and could have talked another two hours, and would have if we didn't both have stuff to do. Time flies when you're having fun, right? Plus, I love collaborating on fun projects. When it's fun, it's doesn't feel like work.

Late night, Nicky and I got sucked into a mini-marathon of Mad Men and we watched several episodes from the previous season of Mad Men (via Netflix) to refresh the memory in anticipation of the season premiere on Sunday. One of the characters committed suicide at the end of last season, so it was interesting to keep an eye on that troubled person from the start of the season to see if there were any clues or trigger points along the way. Plus, it was fun and felt good to watch something with Nicky that was not sports. I seriously tested her patience the last month with nonstop college basketball and turning our living room into some sorts of mini-sportsbook meets a hedge fund office. I moved my entire office into the living room and move the TV from the bedroom into the living room so I could have dual TVs. She spent most of the last few weeks reading a bunch in our bedroom (which also doubles as her office), or experimenting with new dishes that she came across through one of her foodie apps or cruising YouTube in search of recipes. In the last month or so, Nicky hit a few home runs with dishes she had made for the first time. I'm fortunate for the opportunity to delve into college hoops with reckless abandon and my girlfriend being totally cool with it, and even designing a special menu of culinary delights (like miso-glazed cod) which gave me delicious fuel during several 14-16 hour day during the opening week of March Madness. Anyway, on Wednesday, I took a break from sports (and I didn't even watch the one NBA game I had bet on) and relaxed.

The greatest progress I had was in the head shrinking department. Sometimes you get stuck in a mental rut and it takes a couple of hours of going into your head and cleaning out the cobwebs. Spring cleaning. It was long overdue. Luckily I had Nicky to help me sort things out. She's great like that -- as a listener -- because I just need to let all those thoughts rattling around inside my head get shat out in a word dump. It's like turning on a tap. I usually do that sort of brain dump using written words and I never let anyone see those words. Too scary. Too crazy. Too dark. Too cruel. Too much self-loathing. In real life I'm a quiet person and don't say much when it comes to how I'm doing. At the most, I might say I'm having a bad back day (which at this point is like every day) so I'm gutting through the pain, but I know even a little inflammation is peanuts compared to some of the emotional pain that many others have to haul around. It's rare that I verbally regurgitate the inner workings of my brain, which is weird, disjointed, angry, embittered (e.g. Howard Beale's "mad as hell" rant on Network), morose, depressing, or I come off sounding like a pompous buffoon (e.g. any Jeff Bebe rant from Almost Famous), which is why I don't do it very often. Alas, it's vital to your mental health to get it all out every once in a while, and it's even more important that you have someone special that won't freak out when you take that mental dump in front of them. Sometimes it's your significant other or family member or best friend that gets to see you become emotionally naked. Sometimes we get too embarrassed to reveal ourselves with people we love (for fear that they'll drown if we turn on the tap and let everything rush out), which is why sometimes it's more cathartic to unload on strangers (when I as a bartender I encountered these types of people all the time; after one drink they poured out their hearts and told you their life story and insecurities and fears and crushed dreams). Of course, the worst thing you can do is hold it in. All of those toxic thoughts become an internal microwave and they cook your insides before one day you snap and start freaking out in the middle of Ralphs while trying to buy orange juice and you have a panic attack instead and everything gets dizzy and blurry and you can't breathe and it feels like Chris Farley is sitting on your chest and screaming in your face.

I wish I wrote more, but overall Wednesday was a fun day, which made it a good day.

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