A Bit of a Book Review*

Never mind that for lunch today I ate Peruvian ceviche no more than a conch shell call from the Pacific Ocean. Never mind, either, that I’m writing this on a plane somewhere over Texas with a TV screen in front of me showing Blackburn versus West Brom (deep into extra time, it’s two-nil to Rovers). What I really want to write about is my new plan – formed in the hot crucible of a Mexican vacation – to become a different person.

Oh, ok, not so different you won’t recognize me anymore; that would be half-way obtuse, half-way dumb, and wholly impractical. But, yes, absolutely yes, different. All of which, of course, is to say better.

I mustn’t dredge up the details (for your sake, I promise), nor should I make something in the offing sound like a done-deal. Please don’t think I’m kidding, though. It wouldn’t affect me any if you did – but it would be a waste of sincerity, and, at least for a while, I like the sound of saying, ‘that’s all I got.’

Somewhere along the line, you see – hard to tell exactly when – I turned into someone I don’t care to be. No one, thankfully, ever injurious to others, but no one, either, fit for seeking out. How to put it succinctly? I guess I had become safe; more cautious and less curious. Worse, when we ought to grab at life, unembarrassed and eager, I allowed myself – for far too fucking long – to drift. But where even to?

As the Springsteen line has it, ‘I was tired and bored with myself.’ So what, right? Who hasn’t been… My thing, though (it’s now increasingly apparent) was staying so – was looking, catastrophically, the other way and fixing to believe that’s just how it goes.

What a heaping lorry-load of mistakes. I thought that earning a wage, any wage, was more important than what you earn it doing. I thought that dreams are for other people, and they don’t pay the bills. I thought I should think about life less because it’s easier not to; because wasting time is still passing it; because no matter what you do, there’s always something on television, something on Facebook, something in the sports section of ten different papers.

I’m being vague, I know, but the long and the short of it is that I stopped trying. Forget carpe diem, watching a movie at the weekend was just about enough. When once upon a time I thought maybe I could make ’em.

…So, then – you’ll hopefully be asking – where’s all this navel-gazing getting to? Or gotten to? Simply enough, this: I don’t want to piss my potential up a wall anymore. I don’t want to be bored and boring anymore. I don’t want to make life a tower of shit and then get mad at it for being so. Anymore. At least, at least, at least, I want to put some fucking effort in. (Again.)

The choice I think, for what it’s worth, is between being a mensch or a sorry waste of skin. And as Woody Allen once said, once you get to the end you don’t get to go round again.

Well, anyway. You’ve indulged me too long. I wanted, more or less, for the newjonnytransit blog to be about stuff, not about me. And now look what I’ve gone and done…


(* Yeah – it’s a book that really got me thinking: A Bit of a Blur, a memoir by the Blur bass guitarist Alex James. Not an obvious source of inspiration, I suppose, but on each and every page a rousing testament to the supernatural powers of confidence, optimism, showing up, giving it a go, getting the most out of now… Check it out and you’ll see exactly what I mean. James shares the outline of an extraordinary life, one straining at the sides with adventure, creative fulfillment and pleasure – And it seems as though he’s had it mostly through believing that he could. If that doesn’t give you any shivers, well I guess you may as well be dead.)

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About newjonnytransit

Same as ever, only better.
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7 Responses to A Bit of a Book Review*

  1. christine mckeever says:

    Hey Jon – kudos (does anyone really use that word?) on the awakening. After grad school, I drifted headlong into inertia. Inertia can be comfortable, like a neurotoxin that paralyzes you while turning your insides into soup. But without all that pain and being eaten by spiders. Unless you count the debt, which is more of a gaping maw. At some point, you forget that you had promise or goals and that the white noise used to be a scream.

    Anyway, it’s a big brave stupid thing to change one’s life. Don’t be careful.

    Also, in America, Kudos was a candy that pretended to be a granola bar. But it wasn’t.

    • Why, hullo. (Trying to sound like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, but not so easy when you’re just typing…) I love everything about your comment – thanks much for writing it. Drifting really is all too easy, isn’t it? But ultimately so very unsatisfying; like playing video games. (Apart from Wii bowling, that’s always satisfying.)

      What city are you living in these days? If NYC, we should catch up some time soon… I’m still in NJ, but the garden state does allow me to leave every now and then. Either way, hope all is good with you. Wonder if you miss Boston too?

      PS. I like ‘kudos,’ but as with so many things over here, am blissfully ignorant of the candy.

  2. christine mckeever says:

    I am in NY – Brooklyn to be exact. A part of Brooklyn that, if someone asks me where I live, and I respond, I get a blank stare. I’m a 15 minute walk away from a restaurant that is co-owned by one of the dudes from the National. This elicits an oooohhhh…. (Or, if you’re my boss – “don’t live there! It’s far!”)

    Part of why I commented is b/c for about 2 yrs after Boston (thoroughly and completely missed) I temped, commuting on the LIRR, so I’m well versed in having my soul crushed.

    Would love to catch up.

    • Ok, so how about once the temperature improves by, say, 20 degrees? (I miss Boston, but not so much the winter weather…) I’ve only ever made it into Brooklyn once before, so maybe I could meet you there and you can show me the sights/around a local dive-bar. Would be great to catch up. Do you still have the cell # ending 0704?

      I’ve only ever heard bad things about the LIRR, by the way.

  3. christine mckeever says:

    0704 it remains. Local dive bars are our borough’s treasure.

  4. alan says:

    heartening…

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