Went to the Greek Festival today. Ate, drank, and danced outside till my legs and lungs hurt (shouldn’t have bummed that cigarette, but alcohol without nicotine is impossible).
It was the most alive I’ve been since I’ve returned from Japan. Not a single thought of mine ever drifted from the pure sensory experience of it all, from the feta, kalamata, moussaka and baklava washed down with draughts of retsina, ouzo and Greek coffee to the sun burning my face, to clapping, shouting and dancing in time.
Later, when I returned home, I felt more like writing than I have in ages.
Then it hit me. What was it that I had done that made me so damnably joyful when but two days ago, I felt dead, both spiritually and creatively?
It wasn’t the wine or food, as I’ve enjoyed both since returning. It wasn’t just the music, since I’ve enjoyed that as well. Neither, in and of itself was able to damper the ennui, the ebbing of lifeforce within me.
No, it was the physicality of it all. The feeling of being out of doors and moving, of hunger and thirst being derived from my gut and mouth instead of specified feeding times on the clock.
Then it hit me, my favorite chore is yardwork, the more strenuous the better. Like hacking the climbing vines of the maile pilau from my grandmother’s hillside fence or digging out old banana tree stumps from my mother’s old place.
Yet since high school, I’ve been pegged and worked as an indoor type. A nerd, either of the computer or academic subspecies. Office jobs punctuated by graduate school. Working with “intellectuals” and always feeling like the odd person out because of my disdain for the pretensions and airs of the academic lifestyle (even as I love the books and sensation of learning and researching).
With teaching, I was able to move, to pace, gesture and vocalize energetically, between the mind-numbing lulls of sitting in the office and soul-killing paperwork. Perhaps if I had become a college professor I’d have been the type to teach outside on days of beautiful weather. Who knows. I digress.
What I realized today is that I’ve been running from what truly makes me happy my whole life, and forcing myself to live in a certain way (and always underperforming) because I have certain mental talents that it’s been deemed by society that I should use, and that what I enjoy is dirty bust-ass work fit only for idiots, immigrants and eccentric hobbyists.
Truth be told, I think I’d be happy right now with something that had me working hard outside all day long, preferably with plants.
And I should probably take up some sort of traditional dancing/music as a hobby. Most modern stuff leaves me pretty cold.
I guess what I’m saying is that at heart, I’ve been a blue-collar person in denial.
P.S. I realized that my problems have been exacerbated recently by the fact that I now own a car for the first time in over a decade. I think I really need to walk/bike as my primary mode of transport. I need exposure and don’t need the stress of driving. Too bad bike riding in this state is a death wish. No bike lanes, nonexistent shoulders, decaying roads and walkways and crappy drivers.