It is 8:50pm on a Saturday. I have just walked in the door. I have not had dinner. But here's what I know: I am not to be trusted. If I do anything, anything at all--eat a snack, take off my coat, go to pee--I will not do this. It's that tenuous. It's not that I haven't had any ideas of things to write in the last two months. it is that between writing them in my head and writing them in an actual way that involves print, I took a nap. I changed my clothes. I made some tea. And that's all it takes not to do it. That is annoying and embarrassing and frustrating and terribly, paralyzingly true.
At least a month ago,, a man whom I have a fairly nauseating high-schooly desire to impress suggested that I try writing something that isn't funny and/or something that is not about myself. In fairness, I think he said this in a truly well-meaning effort to break me out of the non-writing rut. However. When you identify primarily as an autobiographical humor writer, having a man whom you fervently wish to see you as resplendent in all possible ways casually suggest that you be essentially the opposite of who you are, it's...um...not quite as inspirational as it might be. In fact, it froze me dead in my tracks for a minute there and did plenty to fuel my "who am I to be yet another internet narcissist?" self-doubts. [Jesus. If you struggle to spell "narcissist" does it mean you definitely aren't one? Or does it mean that your denial runs deep? Or just that you're a lousy speller? I tried four different ways.] Enter Mindy Kaling.
It turns out that Mindy Kaling, by talking for an hour and a half, without actually asking me to write anything at all, reminded me that I probably could. Simultaneously, she made me regret many things about my life (shit. I probably should have been a writer on a TV show. I mean this. I love the idea of a writers' room, even as I know I have never had anything like the courage it would have taken to get into one). She also has written two books that are A) funny and B) about herself. And if she can write two books, I can manage to write something, surely. Mindy Kaling has ended the silent streak. God bless Mindy Kaling.
My favorite moment might have been when her interviewer said, "You write a lot about being interested in sex, but you're not actually all that interested in sex." and she said, "What are you talking about?" in the voice of, well, Mindy Kaling, who has the best "what are you talking about?" in the business. Incidentally, if you are under the impression that I am not interested in sex because I don't write about it, I will hire Mindy Kaling to say "what are you talking about?" on my behalf and that oughta settle that.
[Edited to add this very helpful link, sent my way by my friend Meridith. Now you can read for yourself some of my favorite things Mindy had to say.]
Now. As I've said about a million times since beginning this largely failed blogging experiment, after you've not been doing it, writing something is the hardest bit, like going back to the gym after four months (p.s., I didn't. Instead, I opted to cancel my membership last month). So, next time, instead of just showing up and sitting in the steam room for a minute, like I did today, maybe I'll do some impressive squats (or whatever it is that people do at the gym that would make a good analogy here, you're certainly more likely to know than I am.)
I've got things to say about my tires, my heater, my summer, my potential future blindness. If that list doesn't say hilarity, what does?
For now, I will leave you with one thing I meant to tell you and didn't. The Haight is brimming with construction projects at the moment, such that I walk past at least four on my way to work most mornings. Each of these comes with its own plentiful no-parking signs (to which I say: arrrrrrrrghhhhh), trucks, scaffolding, dumpsters, and, of course, port-a-potty. Some of these, typically for residential projects, are all classy and camouflaged (another thing I find nearly impossible to spell, in case you're making a list) with a little latticework enclosure as though to suggest a potting shed rather than a vat of excrement. Most though are just sitting there naked, with their logos proudly displayed, And that, friends, is how I came to know that there is a profoundly deluded company operating in the United States today that has christened its line of temporary outhouses with the name of Honey Bucket.
Frankly, if that doesn't strike you as singularly revolting, I don't know what the hell's wrong with you.