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The troublesome thing about life is that there aren't any right answers.

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Jun. 19th, 2010 | 12:38 pm

I just made the bitterest coffee in the history of bitter coffee.

I couldn't sleep last night. I couldn't sleep this morning. I wanted to laze around in bed until one in the afternoon, dreaming about riding motorcycles and sexing up carnies. It was a beautiful plan, but anxiety's a prick who gives me no mercy.

My time in the city ends in a month. I'm fresh out of college with a degree that qualifies me for a meager assortment of jobs I'd sooner kill myself than perform. I have no prospects. I have some passions or interests or whatever you want to call them, but they're all so varied and unrelated that attempting to transform them into a 'career' seems like a nebulous task.

The original plan was to teach in Korea and then either go to grad school for library science or further studies in English or philosophy.

It was a good plan when I believed in it, back when it was far away and my fantasies easily concealed the various aspects of my personality that make the design more unworkable in reality. Now that it's close the thought of running off to Korea scares the hell out of me. I'm terrified that I'll fail. What if I apply and don't get the job? What if I get the job but can't teach? What if I can do the job fine, but being in another country or teaching is awful? Can I endure another year of awfulness? And can I endure it without family nearby? I pride myself on being adaptable, but how much of my life do I want to spend adapting to the adverse conditions that I willingly expose myself to? What about my sexuality? What about the way I talk? What about my diminutive nature? What about living in a big city for another year? The uncertainty is paralyzing.

In the long term, teaching in Korea makes sense. It looks good on grad school applications. It looks good to potential employers. It'd give me some much needed exposure to teaching, which would help me decide what my graduate studies ought to be. I could save money in Korea. I could possibly learn Korean there. It might be a chance to grow. Teaching overseas is the logical option, the best option, the sensible one.

Or there's trucking. Trucking also makes sense in a certain sort of way, but only as a temporary fix to a larger problem. Trucking lines up with a lot more desires I have right now. I have an idealized notion of the West and the road, of travel, seeing what is to be seen, experiencing what's there to be experienced. The road West is freedom and footlooseness and the ale for all ills -- that's what it is in my brain, at least. I can't say the word freeway without tingles running up my spine, without jolts of electricity surging through my brain and rattling through my veins. The road is a symbol that I want to know as more than a symbol. The west is a promiseland I have to see.

Trucking: I like the freedom. I like the solitude. I like the risk. I like, also, that it's so unexpected and unlike me -- that is the me most people see. No one looks at a guy like me and thinks "There's a trucker if I ever saw one. A good ol' American boy." I like that it seems.. spiritual? Enlivening? Meaningful? I mean, I hate all those words because I hate most of the people my age who use them (Tumblr is sort of torturous), but I can't think of better ones. There's something poetic about becoming a pilot of the sort of vehicle that took my father's life, too, but that's a whole other thing that I won't talk about much at the moment.

Teaching: I hate how conventional it feels. How planned it feels. I hate how unlike me it is -- the 'internal' me if I can be granted the concept, the me that has all these ridiculous corny ideals.

There are other things I hate about it, too. I feel like I've already lived Korea out in my head, and I don't want it. I don't want more city, more people everywhere all around me. I don't want to vie for others' acceptance, especially the acceptance of children. I don't have the energy or the drive for Korea. And it's not like I can never go there or never do it -- just right now, it doesn't feel right. This part, to me, seems less about fear and more about following what I actually want than what I think I'm supposed to do.

I want to be impulsive. I want to make a stupid decision for once. I want to let go of whatever remaining sense of myself I've been holding on to. I want to transform in an unexpected way. I feel like I've spent so much of my life already doing things I didn't want to do. I want to start trusting my impulses. At least when I listen to them I'm not quite as miserable, not nearly as numb. Amanda Palmer has this song she wrote to celebrate being dropped from her label. Here's what it says: "I've already spent too much time doing things that I didn't want to, so if I wanna sit here and write and drink wine, you can bet your black ass that I'm going to." I've already spent too much time doing things that I didn't want to, so if I want to drive an eighteen wheeler regardless of my degree and regardless of what others think about it -- I'm damn well going to.

Trucking wouldn't be disastrous for my future, either. It just wouldn't be as beneficial or informative. But then maybe not. Already I'm thinking of the ways that my experience as a trucker could be profoundly useful and formative in relation to my literary ambitions, my scholarly pursuits, and my philosophical inquiries. Ok. That makes me sound way more pretentious than I think I am. Put another way: it could be good material for writing, it could help me gain insight into various 19th century pioneering narratives, as well as modern and contemporary ones, it could help me really understand what guys like Thoreau and Emerson are saying when they talk about the west. It could also send me in a completely different direction, which I wouldn't mind at all.

Every time I write these things out, this is the standstill I arrive at. The sensible option or the option in line with my impulsive untrustworthy desires. The life planned or the life vaguely improvised, and then attempts to rationalize both options.

For some reason I'm thinking of Toy Story now, that scene where Buzz 'flies' and Woody calls it falling with style. Maybe I need to start falling with style. Falling with some kind of roughly sketched plan, but nothing so regulated and charted and precise as a flight course. A kind of falling that's exhilarating and scary but ultimately has some kind of design, albeit improvised and based on the obstacles at hand.

I think it's pretty clear that I've already made my decision. A big part of the problem right now is the waiting -- it gives me too much opportunity for these episodes of internal vacillation and chaos. I have to wait though, because I don't want to start trucking school until I'm back in the Valley. But it's hard to sit here day after day waiting for the end of July when all I want to do is be behind the wheel of a big rig. I want to have this decided and done with. I'm so tired of anticipation.

Ok. Enough about that. Usually I don't write this stuff out for other people (Look how goddamn long and disorganized it is! Look how little care I put into the diction! Look at the ridiculous cultural artifacts I use to aid my thinking! Look!). Whatever. I wrote it here in this pane, so I'm going to post it.

I might post again today. Last night was vaguely spiritual and weird and I want to remember it. Now I'm going to walk all the way to Target to buy a bike Tube because I don't feel like just going to the bike shop down the street. Yep.

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