you should quit

“I should know. I’m a medical doctor. I own a mansion and a yacht.”

-the Yacht Lady in  Richard Linklater’s Slacker, 1991.


From this year’s National Novel Writing Month novel  in progress.

Chapter Seventeen

I should quit.

Or maybe, I think instead I should run away.

But that’s too much trouble.  I’d have to figure out where I want to go first.

And besides, didn’t I already do that at least once?

Maybe I should just stay here and make things better, instead.

I should run for office.

Or better yet, maybe I should just run around the block, I could use the exercise,

But I’m running out of time.

So I should do something important with my life, something with purpose like Oprah says in her magazine.

At least I could throw away some of these old magazines that keep getting in the way of the refrigerator door.

It would be nice to see the floor again, but there’s way too much dirt.

Hey, I should do some gardening in this floor dirt. Grow potatoes.

I might as well plant weeds in this dirt.

I might as well stop worrying too, then maybe I could stop talking to myself.

Maybe I should listen to somebody else for a change.

I should change. No, I mean, I should really transform myself.

And I should start by counting up all these things I should change.

And I should start by changing my mind.

And if I changed my mind, I might start making some kind of sense at least when I write so that I don’t embarrass myself so much when I finally get around to reading it.

And don’t ever, ever, ever let me allow you to read any of this mess.

What a waste of time.

Besides, it’s time to start cleaning the mess that I left in the kitchen.

I should have put away that poor, cold chicken who never saw the light of day.

I should have washed my hands before I started messing with this borrowed computer.

I should buy my own computer.

At least if I’m going to write on the computer with chicken grease all over fingers, I should have bought organic.

I should have bought free range.

I should have bought fair trade.

I should have bought wheat grass.

I should become vegan.

I should have grown my own.

I should quit eating.

I should quit eating and become food for somebody else to eat.

I should become raw, candida, and gluten free so somebody can come along and eat me up without feeling guilty and they wouldn’t even have to cook me.

I should invent a food source that doesn’t kill anything ever and just keeps us thin no matter how much of it we eat and that meets all our nutritional requirements and that tastes like chicken and that never runs out.

I should become an activist who cares about larger causes and complex situations and world issues.

I should get a nose job.

I should quit my job, but then I’d have to get one first and then I’d have to tell my boss.

Maybe I should just send an email.

I should have gotten out of bed earlier and stopped dreaming so much about zombies who scratch their way out of graves in the middle of the night and then come running after me and grab hold of me and shake me and wake me up and then it’s noon.

I should have dreamed of a good future, a hopeful time, a life of destiny, a life with purpose.

I should have given up all the bad things when there was still time, coffee,  cigarettes, double butter burgers, whippets, the water, the moonlight, the cheap music, the Bingo parlors, the pimento spread, the Little Debbie snack cakes, the roller rinks, the Tetris, crossword puzzles, the Benny Hill.

I should have quit a long, long time ago and I should have listened to the inner voice chit chatting away, telling me not to do this that I wasn’t good enough to do that.  I should have listened so that I could remember what it was I wasn’t good enough to do, because now I can’t even remember what it was and now look at the mess I’m in.

I should have dumped all the dumpable people who stayed  undumped in my not-quite-ready-to-be-dumped pile.

I should have quit listening to you and I should have kicked that guy off my couch and out of my apartment before it was too late.

I should feel guilty.

I should learn how to do more than one thing at a time.

That way I should be able to cut my should list in half.

I should be doing what I am here doing and I should be doing something else too.

I should work faster and make more money and be more beautiful and lose more weight and reverse the clock so I can look more beautiful and I can have more opportunities and do more things.

I should do whatever it is I do very well and then I can learn how to be fast at several things simultaneously so that I can get much more than ever done.

I should be more mindful.

I should be present.

I should slow down.

I should slow down.

I shouldn’t even think.

I should just become mindful of my breath so later I worry about more important things.

I should earn credit for doing the laundry.

I should learn from my brother who found that if he turns the vacuum cleaner on and hides behind a bookshelf he can get away with making his wife think that he is doing chores for a little while, when all the while all he is doing is goofing off reading from some old book.  Too bad she caught him.  I should invent a contraption that would push the vacuum cleaner back and forth a little so that the drone isn’t so constant and so it sounds more like my brother’s really cleaning when he’s not.

I should do just one of the things I keep threatening to do.

All right then,

I quit.