Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Idol Hands

Depressed today.

And I know I should so not be blogging right now. These are the kinds of posts I get embarrassed by in my sleep and delete when my alarm goes off, before 8 a.m., before anyone has the chance to read them.

Tonight was the kind of night when, even as my hands are puncturing the wine seal and pushing "0-5" on the remote control, I know I should not be opening a bottle of Three-Buck Chuck Cab and watching two hours of American Idol. I know I should be pitching stories to amazing publications and readying a fiction manuscript for a first read. I know that the difference between the movers/shakers and the wishers is action. I know that. But that's not the way it happens for me.

Because about an hour into Idol, I start realizing that this 24-year-old I see butchering a rock classic had a pizza-parlor job up until about two weeks ago, and that she'll probably make more money this year than I will in 10. And I'll start thinking about how I actually tried to do something with my life, and I'm not much better off than she was, working at her pizza parlor. And I'm certainly not as good-looking.

And then I'll start thinking about how I'm so pathetic, sitting here and watching this American Idol trash, just like every Midwestern household I've fought my way out of. I'll start thinking about how I should be reading the New Yorker right now and muttering to myself about the state of the country. Or at least I should be reading the Times in print form and bringing it up in conversation tomorrow. But I don't. Because, at my core, I am from the Midwest, and I am not an intellectual, and I am not as motivated as my parents' generation, and that makes me sad.

And then I'll have another glass of wine and start thinking about how lacking that extra iota of determination means the difference between watching American Idol and coming up with the idea for a show like American Idol, and I'll start willing the Cab to push me deeper down, until I hear that loud attic fan going on in my head and I don't think about stupid things like American Idol anymore.

Then about halfway through that last glass of wine that had rested in the very bottom of the cheap bottle before I started pouring, I'll start thinking about the past.

And then I'll start thinking that I should really not be blogging. Not in this state. And that I will delete every single word come morning.

I cannot get out of my own head. And to make up for that in some ridiculously short-falling way that can never truly atone for how selfish I am, I am going to mail a package to a group of female soldiers in Afghanistan tomorrow. I am going to send them cotton balls and hair elastics and tampons and some good-smelling body wash and tell them that there is at least one young woman in New York City who thinks of them and how large their sacrifices are, especially compared to those of us in the tri-state area.

Go to for details on how to send your own care package.

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