Four Things I Have Enjoyed Today

1. A 24-ounce can of Pabst, purchased for a buck and change at a convenience store down by the seashore at approximately 8:10 this evening. I drank it alone as the sun set, quick-like and before it got too warm. As summer kicks into early swing, I am remembering beer. And it is good. Easier somehow, than my usual drink of choice: straight, cheap whiskey. Less bloated with consequence and symbolism. Sometimes, a glass of whiskey slugged back on your all alone can feel a bit isolationist and manic-depressive. Like the start of something tragic. But a large, sweating can of shitty beer at the end of your day? A counterbalance for all that is not right with the world. And pretty much effing perfect.
2. A phone conversation with my best guy friend, Aaron. We share a name, phonology excepting, and a love of travel and journalism, which means we rarely want for things to chat about. We met in the newsroom of the Columbia Missourian three years back. He stopped me one day when I was walking past to ask what country I was from. “Portland,” I answered. “Oh. I thought maybe you were Danish,” he said. And we were friends. We’ve seen each other through j-school, a few bad breakups, and the maddening muddiness of one major life transition each. We drunk-text each other messages in French. He taught me to shotgun a beer in the parking lot across from the newspaper building one perfect Midwest evening two falls ago, just as the sun was setting and the sky got huge and pink. He sent me flowers last month because he knew life was kicking me around some. No one had sent me flowers in years and years and years. He is important in my life.
3. The leftover Pasta-Roni I ate for lunch. This is one of my grossest vices. I hate 97 percent of all junk and processed foods. But every few months, I cannot resist tossing a box or two of the noodly stuff into my grocery cart. Surely the enthusiasm with which I devour the occasional bowl of Pasta-Roni negates any virtue incurred by my longstanding disdain for other kinds of digestible garbage. Favorite flavor: white cheddar shells, baby. I’m sorry! I can’t help it! And here’s the grossest, white-trashiest part: I like to put green peas and tuna in it. So comestible. So atrociously unhealthy. I was actually sort of embarrassed when my boss came into the office today and saw me eating the mooshy concoction. Ah, well.
4. Busting out six story drafts before 3 p.m. and realizing that I am finally, finally getting faster at writing. When I first started doing journalism three years ago, it was excruciatingly difficult for me to twist the threads of a story together into a meaningful whole. I would agonize over my notes and quotes and pull my hair out till the early hours of the morning as I reworked all the bits and blocks. It was like a messy jigsaw puzzle you had to put together upside down. Mercifully, it’s getting easier. And I think it’s largely because I’ve let go of my deep attachment to stories. I used to see writing as a sort of artistic endeavor. Thusly, I came to the task with the bulbous-headed mien of an artiste. But that’s all wrong! Writing is a craft, much more like building a cabinet than, say, chiseling a sculpture from some zillion-pound hunk of marble, weeping and sniffing as the marble dust settles in your eyes and lungs and your back cripples irreparably up. Nah. Humility makes much quicker, and often better, work out of writing. Out of most things, maybe even. That has been an important lesson.

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2 thoughts on “Four Things I Have Enjoyed Today

  1. Kyle says:

    Don’t be embarrassed about the Pasta Roni + tuna + green peas. That got me through many nights of my life.

  2. Lisa says:

    Pffff! I totally know what you mean about nasty Pasta-Roni! That flavor is really tasty and especially with your added peas and tuna! LOL! It might make some people barf, but you and I know how good it truly is. I had to force myself to put a box back on the shelf instead of in my cart at WinCo the other day…luckily I looked at the nutritional info and the 38% of my daily sodium per serving (when the box makes 2-3 servings and I could probably eat a whole box) made me put it back. But as a single gal you can eat whatever you want! 🙂 How great is that?! If I do become single again, that is what I will most look forward to- eating whatever foods I want.

    Anyway, I hope one day you will write a blog about me and how I make you happy! LOL! That Aaron dude has nothing on me! LOL! Just joking. I think Aaron is awesome for getting you flowers and cheering you up. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine. Maybe when I finally get to come visit you we can drink tall boys of Pabst in the sand at sunset and reminisce about the good, ole days of getting grounded to our rooms in Paris. 🙂

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