20 February 2011
The Urgency Of The Golden Girls
There's this very strange phenomenon when you have a traditional job. At 5pm, your work is done. Like, totally done. You leave and it stays there. You perhaps think about it once or twice but from 5pm to 9am, life is yours. In my previous "alternative" life, work was life and life was work. It all melded together, none of it ever really stopping, separating, or compartmentalizing.
With all these free time comes the challenge of finding time fillers. When you're not working 80 hours a week, what does one do? I've been a keen observer in an effort to learn what 9-5 folks have taken on.
They do things like work out. They spend all day (when the sun is shining) inside working then spend a few hours in the evening (when the sun has set) running in place on a moving piece of plastic in an air-conditioned room full of other people doing the same thing. It boggles my mind yet I do it every day.
They "go for drinks." This is the quintessential working professional activity aimed at "unwinding" after a "long day" and is performed with close friends and/or colleagues. It starts with "just one to relax" and ends alone in a taxi at 10pm after having spent $70 on beer (but then it's up at 6am to run the beer off on a moving piece of plastic in an air-conditioned room). I don't do the beer thing, thankfully.
They pick up hobbies. These become the topics of conversation at drinks. "Oh yes, I'm taking a painting class on Wednesdays. Just utterly divine." I'm taking a hip hop dance class because it's AWESOME.
They take up the latest trends. "Oh, I'm doing Zumba every Monday." *Cough* I'm doing Zumba every Monday.
They shop. Dear god do they shop. At lunch. Online. During Thursday night "late shopping." On the weekends. On the go. All the time. Always shopping. For work clothes. For stuff to do their hobby. For "going out" clothes. For Zumba shoes. It's a never-ending revolving door dedicated entirely to spending money. Then they go back to work to make more money so they can spend that too.
They watch box sets of television shows with an uncanny urgency. It's utterly bizarre but with all this time you can literally watch an entire season of a television show in a week. Not only "can" you do it, you MUST do it. It's a mission. It goes on your to-do list. Mine currently says: Call Mom, check on visa status, blog, contact internet provider about service, pack for Kilimanjaro trip, watch series two of The Golden Girls. That last bit is circled, underlined, and written in red ink. I can't explain it but it must be done and it must be done now. I'm sitting here writing and thinking to myself, "man, I need to hurry. Got lots to watch before I can go to bed." WHY?!?! This makes no sense and yet it feels totally normal. Must. Watch. B. Arthur.
Is it because there is so little urgency in my current lifestyle relative to the past that I need to create it in new and innovative ways? Is it that I love Betty White THAT MUCH? I'm still not sure but I do know I've got to get the gym, stop in for after-work drinks, pick up some new pants for my dance class that I "need" and watch 3 episodes of the Golden Girls all before Tuesday. Man, it's going to be a busy start to the week...