Saturday, November 7, 2009


Back when I was in high school, I used to get obsessed with things at the drop of a hat. (Actually, one specific hat, which was woolen, purple, and so hideously ugly that, looking at pictures of it now, I can only wonder if I might not be legally blind.) At various points, it was things like Nylon magazine, hip-hop, and the best roof in Stratford to trespass onto, drink cheap red wine, and chill out. For the record, it is - or was - the roof of the TD Canada Trust building, which is multi-levelled, private, and led to me and two friends nearly getting arrested. Long story, but my record remains bland and sans hilarious story of enforced law.

In any case, I've gone through phases of being super-into things that don't make a ton of logical sense, especially in high school. I mean, I was this dorky white girl living in Canada, fronting like I knew the 1980s New York hip-hop scene. In retrospect, that's sort of humilating to admit. But, at the time, it was totally honest: I needed to feel apart from my dorky white Canadian hometown. I've also been obsessed with fancy food, which is easy to do in Stratford, whose downtown seems mostly comprised of bistros; comic books, like the epically amazing Y: The Last Man series that wrapped up last year; housing co-ops, which, like, duh, since I live in one; Judaism (yeah, I know) and, lately, David Foster Wallace, my literary fiancee.

These obsessions serve specific functions: obsessions with fancy food allows me to think about food a lot - something I would do anyway - but frame it in a healthy, abstract way. Being all, "Judaism's so raucous!" opens up the part of my brain that wants community and some sort of religious structure. Thinking on apocalyptic comic books lets me discuss the end of the world to death with my like-minded friends.

Let me underscore that: to death. Two years ago, I spent seven hours a day for three months locked in a van with three friends. We talked pretty much exclusively about housing co-ops, weird science and the end of the world. Good times. Why? Because we were working through a summer where everything about our personal lives and living situations was changing. It felt like the end of the world, but eliding that into comic books made it safe, accessible, easier.

But, aside from the DFW thoughts, there's been a dearth of awesome brainwaves lately. I love having an overarching obsession to think on; otherwise, I just spend a lot of time watching crappy crime shows on TV and re-reading back issues of Jane magazine. It's frustrating, because I can't just decide to get all excited about something or someone - it doesn't work like that. I can't be all, "You know what's awesome? Weight lifting! Man, I was at the gym today, and let me tell you, my clean and jerk is re-donk-ulous. I'm all over this shit!" etc., etc., which would be bizarre and annoying.

Maybe it was so easy to slip into crazy obsessions in high school because there are so few responsibilties. No rent, no grocery bills, school structuring my nine-to-fours, and sexy times are few and far between - no wonder I had all this time to devote to learning all about breakdancing. I could sublimate all my frustrations about not getting laid into Googling breakdance moves. Plus, high school is the part of your life when folks try on different personas and see which ones fit. Apparently, the hip-hop outfit didn't really fit. C'est la vie.

Maybe the brain space I had before has been taken over by real, adult-type concerns, like money/health/relationships, which means that the drawers that were previously reserved for things like "Personal information re: Michael J. Fox" and "Urban legends about Coca-Cola products" have been supplanted by "The last time I paid my credit card bill" and "Holy shit, is that a lump?" and so on.

But I would like to get into something. I'm probably not going to start going to Civil War re-enactments or making small talk at parties about grammar, but that's fine. Maybe triathlons, but they seem painful. I'm very wimpy. Maybe I could expand on existing nerd-files: housing co-operatives are a super-important part of my life, and I could stand to know more. Maybe I could knit a pair of pants or something. But I miss having something to stake a claim to, something that wasn't deadly serious (apocalypse notwithstanding, natch), and getting really excited. I miss the excitement! Help me out: give me something to get effing pumped about?


  1. Roller Derby seems to be something people get obsessed with. It's kind of like civil war re-enactment, but with more 50's pin-up. Also, in my understanding, more violence.

  2. Sometimes I read your words and it's like you are reading my mind. Other than the fact that I was obsessed with Broadway in high school instead of hip-hop. But my life too has been lacking in any real obsessions of late, and I'm not sure I like it...

  3. Knitting is good....

    And Michael J. Fox is still pretty cute.