Friday, February 19, 2010


Yet another day without making any progress at all in The Fixer. I can't believe I'm only one book into my journey and I'm already falling behind schedule -- I have 51 weeks to finish 81 books. It's so easy to get caught up and lose time and, indeed, oneself in the bugaboo of everyday existence and, yet, so difficult to find the motivation or wherewithal to accomplish the things one really wants to do. I imagine this reality will only become more and more apparent the older I get.

What's most discouraging is that I didn't really do anything today, either. I woke up fairly early and just sat around for most of the morning, sending out emails, listing a few things on eBay and organizing my iTunes library -- again. Around noon, I decided to take a drive out to a Goodwill store that I saw on Route 64 a few weeks ago so as to try finding some more Pulitzer novels, and was surprised when the drive took me all the way out to Carol Stream; I could have sworn the store was much closer to my house. Nearly two hours later (45 minutes of driving and one hour of shopping), and much to my dismay, I had none the more Pulitzer novels as I did when I set out. There were some near misses though, I will say -- they had three copies of The Color Purple, a couple of To Kill a Mockingbird, Lonesome Dove and The Caine Mutiny (all of which I already have) and several books by Pulitzer-winning authors, like James Michener, Oscar Hijuelos and Larry McMurtry, but none of their Pulitzer-winning novels. Alas. I did, however, find some good titles -- Love In the Time of Cholera, a collection of poems Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote while imprisoned, Focault's Pendulum, Things Fall Apart, Watership Down and a few others. I suppose everything's not lost.

Once again, I find myself becoming increasingly listless. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I'm working a dead-end job in the fast-food industry, I have no prospects, I'm currently living as a house guest with my friends, the Nashes, I'm unsatisfied with my personal life and, in all reality, I'm having a difficult time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I had a conversation with Joshua a couple weeks ago and we discussed how much we both can't stand living in Illinois anymore. Very straight faced, Joshua looked at me and commented, "I don't know if you've come to realize this yet, or not, but Illinois is a really stupid place to live." And, as we stood in his driveway at three in the morning, shivering in the ten degree wind and driving snow, smoking cigarettes and trying to keep our eyelids from freezing, I realized he was right. The couple of days before that snowstorm it had been in the 40's, approaching the 50's -- I really thought Spring was coming back, but was instead reminded of the cruelty of Chicago weather. I began to pine, not for Ireland, as I usually do, but for the American coasts -- I daydreamed about soaking up California sun, or drinking beers and smoking cigarettes until the wee early hours of the morning on my back porch overlooking the Carolina coastline.

That's around the time that two different friends, from two different parts of the country, emailed me and informed that, if I really, really wanted to, they would work with me to make arrangements for temporary housing with them. One friend lives in San Francisco, the other in Tallahassee. Ever since, I've spent the majority of my days daydreaming about living in either place, trying to figure the logistics of either move in my head.

Much like Yakov Bok (or, as he is also known, The Fixer), I'm not entirely sure there's anything left for me in my home anymore. I, however, don't want to be like Yakov -- I don't want to run away from the mundaneness of my everyday life only to find, if I may abuse an old cliche, that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.