I’m excited to go to neighborhood festivals, become overwhelmed in a crowd of strangers, hold a warm beer like a prop, run into a former co-worker at the bluegrass tent, finally find a bathroom, stare into the mirror, and think, This is supposed to be fun. Why can’t you just have fun?
I’m excited to go to the ballpark, enjoy the simple pleasure of trying my damnedest to feel invested in the outcome of the game, follow the social cues of cheering fans, say “I’m gonna go get nachos” just as an excuse to get out of my seat, and walk around for an entire inning.
I’m excited to go to the Met, feel totally invigorated for ten minutes, get full-body tired, find one of those big benches, and mess around on my phone in the shadow of Johannes Vermeer’s “Allegory of the Catholic Faith.”
I’m excited to actually go to work, have somebody hold the door for me, do that little half-jog that shouldn’t make me out of breath but invariably does, and then spend the rest of my day feeling somehow more isolated in the company of others than I did alone at home.
The Grocery Store
I’m excited to go shopping in person, snake through the aisles with an ambitious recipe for Thai noodles open on my phone, spend thirty minutes trying to locate tamarind paste, inevitably fall back on pantry staples from my childhood, and panic-eat a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in the parking lot.
I’m excited to go to talks—intellectual talks, the kind that sell out and draw crowds of all ages—flip through the program, get distracted by the ornate tiling on the ceiling, and fall asleep.
I’m excited to go somewhere to work out, do five minutes on the elliptical, sit on a weight bench and watch twenty-two minutes of the movie “Airplane!” on mute on the overhead TV, lie in the sauna, and look up photos of fungal infections.
I’m excited to go to the mall, consider buying a pair of jeans, see some teen-agers in very wide-leg pants and tie-dyed shirts, feel suddenly out of touch with contemporary fashion, and wonder if JNCOs are inexplicably back in vogue.
I’m excited to go to county fairs, stroll around the carnival rides, do the cash-to-ticket conversion in my head and, upon realizing that the Ferris wheel costs $4.50, become totally overwhelmed by the commerce of it all, buy a tub of curly fries, and ask myself “So, you’d rather pay five dollars for junk food, huh?”
I’m excited to feel the rush of losing three hundred dollars in fifteen minutes, get back in my car, ask “Why do you do this? This is why you can’t invest in Bitcoin. Life isn’t about extreme highs and lows—it’s about finding contentment in the moment,” do the square breathing exercise my therapist taught me, and buy a pack of cigarettes and a scratch-off on the way home.
I’m excited to go to the airport, stock up on snacks at a Hudson News kiosk, sit in the terminal for an hour before boarding time, feel completely relaxed because I’m not allowed to leave and there are no choices to be made—I simply have to wait—and eat a big fat Cinnabon.
I’m excited to go to new cities, think that maybe life is all about novel experiences, visit a touristy hot spring, eavesdrop on conversations that make me feel even less kinship with other humans, hang out in the hotel, and watch “Airplane!” with subtitles on.
Earnestly and with all my heart.