Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Short on Long-term Goals

One great thing about having a hip replacement is that it tends to concentrate your life down into a singular focus: how to learn how to walk again. For three months, you don't think, "Gee, I wonder if I should be worried that I'm 26 years old and relentlessly unemployed and that the entire sum of my life's work so far is 'used to put a ball through a hoop. Wrote about said experience in novel form. Got a highly lucrative master's degree in creative writing. Own a cat with whom I am apparently not currently on speaking terms.'" All you think is, "Heel toe. Heel toe. Heel toe." It's a little bit zen-like.

Better yet, elderly relatives are too busy asking you about your recovery to politely inquire about what happened to that nice boy you used to "go around with," the one who was so handsome even if he did look a little bit "ethnic," and whether you plan to get serious about anyone since when they were your age, they had three children and ladies in that day and age didn't even talk to a man if they didn't consider him a worthy prospect and it's such a shame that these so-called modern women don't mind giving away the milk for free. For three months post-surgery, no one is trying to set you up with their cousin's friend's brother. No one asks you what you plan on "doing" with that degree of yours. No one wonders aloud if they're ever going to be a grandparent. All anyone's concerned about is whether you'll be able to walk again.

Having a hip replacement is also a lovely excuse for procrastination. After all, they tell you in the little hip-replacement handbook that you shouldn't work for at least six weeks. And no employer is going to want someone who has to go to physio for hours on end. And it's probably best not to go on a date when you have to bring along a four-inch foam cushion, a grabber, and handout of acceptable post-surgical sex positions. Everything is very simple. Rehab. More rehab. Reality TV. Have your mom bring you a sandwich and some frozen grapes and maybe some fizzy water with a splash of orange juice but not too much because citrus fruits make your hives worse.

Well, I'm walking a great deal better than I was before, the pity party is over and it's time to start spinning the wheel in the Game of Life. Since March, I've managed to retire from competitive sport, graduate from grad school, and get a hip replacement. I am post-retirement, post-grad and post-surgical. The problem is that now that most of the things that were keeping me occupied have now disappeared, I need fewer "posts" and more "pre"s and "peri"s. In short, I need to take a page out of Stalin or Mao's handbook and get myself a Five Year Plan (without, you know, murdering any bourgeois parasites or erecting a home-made steel mill in my backyard).

The problem is, however, that my long-term goals are listed below:
  • Drink whiskey with Dan Bejar of Destroyer/Swan Lake/New Pornographers fame and somehow be super-cool and suave while doing so as opposed to, say, fainting or blubbering that I like totally think he's awesome and love his music.
  • Write pretty words and have people pay me for doing so.
  • Live in a place where I can ride my bike to go grocery shopping. (Granted, I cannot yet ride a bike and do not own one, but this is why it's a long-term goal).
  • Meet Michael Ondaatje and somehow be super-cool and suave while doing so as opposed to, say, fainting or blubbering that I totally think he's awesome and love his writing and want to have his babies and have considered getting some of his poetry tattooed on my hip and that he is my imaginary literary boyfriend.
  • Do a triathalon, except I had to strike this from the list because if i run I'll end up finding my ass back in an operating room.
  • Keep on rocking in the free world.
  • Keep on keeping on.
  • Don't stop believing.
  • Hold on to that fee-eeeling.
  • Streetlight! People! It goes on and on and on and on
  • Get a job that will prevent me from starving/freezing to death but which will also allow me time to write. Right now, that job seems to be "have Oprah feature my novel on her show, which will allow me to get a million dollars in royalties and retire to Berkeley where I can ride my bicycle to cute organic markets and raise babies."
So, apparently half of those goals are not actually goals but Journey lyrics, so this could be a problem. Anyone know Oprah's phone number?

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