I do a lot of writing longhand. It’s more time-consuming, but also more satisfying. In fact, I take so much pride in doing it that I refuse to do it in just an ordinary notebook. I stop by stationary stores and get fancy hardcover notebooks that cost $10 each. As soon as I save up the money, I’ll buy a fancy pen to go with my fancy notebook. And I’m only stopping there because a quill and parchment would be impractical.
My iPod broke about a month ago. Well, it sort of broke. One earbud stopped working. At first, I thought it was the earbuds, so I bought another pair. Then I realized that no matter what set of ear/headphones I used with the iPod, the sound was only consistent in the left one. I don’t know if anything like that has ever happened to you, but losing an iPod is kind of like losing the hot water halfway through your shower. It doesn’t make it impossible to go on, but it is extremely annoying. Like having a pebble in your shoe, it’s an inconvenience that you can’t help but notice every time you do, well, anything. I carry my iPod with me most of the time. I listen to it at the gym, while waiting for the train or bus, and when I’m sitting at a café banging out a novel like the pretentious asshole I am. First World Problem? Go fuck yourself. I’m sure that when the tribal drums break in Mogadishu, they feel exactly the same way.
The iPod situation would be less of an issue if I had money. But I don’t. See, I haven’t had an income since December. I had a job I liked, but that ended. It wasn’t my fault. My term as a student employee ended and I was unable to get them to keep me on as a career employee. There’s a faint chance I might get them to take me back before I leave for grad school, but I’m not going to get my hopes up. I also have a job doing freelance journalism for a another blog, but since my boss has at least 4,000 other things on his plate, it takes him a long time to get back to me about, say, what needs fixing on my article. He’ll be sending me a check soon. But it took a lot of needling.
What I’m trying to say is that for the past few months, I’ve been unable to even buy a burger without wondering how that will affect my long-term finances. If you think that doesn’t fuck with your head, something is wrong with you. There was a time when I had this thing called “disposable income”. Right now, I just buy things on my credit card and expect my father to pay for them because I’m already living with him and eating his food.
My life is shitty. I spent Spring Break watching TV and masturbating. What did you do, go to Cancun? The one upside to having all this free time is that I get to spend lots of time contemplating the meaninglessness of existence. Seriously, if anyone tells you that you get a lot more done when you have nothing to do all day, marvel at what an empty shell of a human being they are. I try, but it’s hard to get off my ass and be productive when, you know, there’s nothing to work toward. I got about as much done when I was working and applying to college. At the very least, I’m starting to get a handle on my obsessions. I am now capable of going for as long as a full hour without thinking about Doctor Who. In another year or so, I may even be capable of having normal human relationships with people who know nothing about it. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, however. I saw a musical last night and really enjoyed it, but when problems began to present themselves during the set changes, I thought of, you guessed it, The Brain of Morbius.
For those who don’t know (probably almost all of you), The Brain of Morbius is one of my favorite Classic Who storylines. In one remarkable sequence, a group of Sisters from some alien cult try to burn the Doctor at the stake for, I don’t know, destroying their sacred flame or something. They tie him to the pyre (sort of), light it on fire, and do a dance around it. Then his companion steals in and frees him, being blinded by the cult leader in the process. What makes this scene so extraordinary? It was all done in real time. TV was a very different medium in those days, much closer, especially in the case of Who, to live theater. Flubbed lines sometimes made it into the finished product, actors often stood in a line so that they could all face the camera as they talked to each other, and complicated sequences like the one described above happened more or less as viewers saw them. Today, the fire and the Doctor would be filmed in separate shots so that the actor would not have to go anywhere near the flame and special effects or trick camera angles would be used to make him appear to be in much more danger than he actually was. But in the 60s and 70s, they just stuck the actor up on a platform, lit the fire, and hoped everything worked out great. That’s kind of magical.
Live theater captures something that neither TV nor film will ever quite be able to: the pleasure of seeing people actually do something. When a set piece refused to fall into place at last night’s performance, I immediately leaned forward, eager to see how the cast and crew would roll with it. And roll with it they did, improvising new blocking and choreography as needed, with industrious crew members running onstage in between scenes to fix the problem. With any luck, they’ll get that straightened out during future performances. But that’s for their benefit, not mine. I like seeing people whose problems aren’t so different from mine.