I love Taffy Brodesser-Akner. I only recently became aware of her when her Gwyneth Paltrow profile started showing up all over my twitter feed. I only recently became aware of a lot of people whom I now love. Mostly women writers. They all have such fantastic twitter presences, but I’ve been reading their writing, as well. Their short stories and flash fiction, their personal essays, their writings about film and television, their celebrity profiles, their funny newsletters. I keep discovering new women writers and keep being amazed. There’s a whole bunch of worlds out there I haven’t thought about or seen or let myself be exposed to or, I suppose, really paid much attention to before. Where have I been?
But I digress. Taffy. I love Taffy. She has a new novel out (it’s on my to read list) and she’s doing interviews and I read this one. And because I follow all the links (one never has to wonder how the time escapes us. It’s because we follow all the links.) I ended up reading this profile of Robert Pattinson she did for GQ a few years back. Who doesn’t want to read about Edward? I’m sorry, Robert, you will always be Edward. I respect your acting career and your willingness (or eagerness) to do the arty and the edgy and I think you are fine actor, but you are Edward.
So Robert Pattinson seems like a person that always needs to be doing something. Something maybe a little bit exciting or thrilling. Moving. And this made me think about how I am not a person like that. How I enjoy stillness and quiet and aloneness. I do not want to climb mountains or take hikes longer than two hours. Once, in my freshmen year of college, I was attending an FPIRG conference in Miami when, as we were all hanging out on the beach (some of us naked. Not me, I have never been naked in public), my fellow PIRGERs declared we needed to drive to the Keys to the see the sunrise. It was sometime after midnight and the Keys were a couple of hours away. I went. I wanted to be game. Also, I wanted to hang out longer with the cute guy from Florida State who ended up jumping out of the truck we piled into approximately 2 minutes after we all jumped into it. He had realized that he didn’t really want to do this. He wanted to go to sleep. I wanted to go sleep, too, but I couldn’t follow him out of the truck lest he think that I was trying to sleep with him. I couldn’t appear desperate. I knew I wasn’t as hot as the naked girls he had just seen a few moments earlier. They came out from their ocean swim and stood before us, fully naked, yes, and talked about sunrises and I did my ever-so-common inward sigh that was all about realizing I couldn’t compete. Not with confident, beautiful naked girls in Miami.
Anyway, I stayed in the truck. I wanted to be in my bed in that hostel we were booked in. I wanted to have a pillow. Instead I tried my best to find sleep on a stinky fishing net. I didn’t even get out of the truck once we got there. I might have sat up and acknowledged the sunrise, but it was no grand experience. I was so tired. I was angry with myself for doing this thing and for not getting any sleep and for now being hungry and having to be cramped in the back of this stinky truck for another couple of hours on the way back. I am not the person who wants to drive to the Keys at 2am to witness a sunrise on the southern tip of the U.S. I am the person who wants to go back to the hostel and read her book and fall asleep. I accept this about myself. I am at peace with it. Obviously, as we have seen from recent news, we cannot all be mountain climbers.
Sometimes I like to do things, but these things have to be followed by promises of showers and meals and maybe naps. I have never liked camping. I don’t imagine I ever will.
After my sophomore year of college (not in Florida, now in Iowa. It made more sense), I spent the summer in Champaign-Urbana with two hometown friends who were attending the University of Illinois. They were taking classes and working and wanted to be with college friends and I did not want to be in our hometown which was small and lonely. I thought I would work and have small adventures (underage drinking, concerts, giant burritos after the underage drinking) and meet boys. There was a boy I crushed on early on. Matt, I think. Matt had dark hair and wore glasses and was funny and witty and liked P-Funk. I think he wrote for The Onion back when The Onion was smaller and more local.
Matt was a doer. He was someone that wanted to be entertained. He probably didn’t want to climb mountains, but he wanted to be part of things that were happening, not quiet rooftop conversations about whatever (“I’m bored” he said out loud. Or maybe it was “this is boring”. Either way, screw you Matt from The Onion). Yeah, I sensed this right away and yet I still hoped he could like me and kiss me and whatever.
He did not. It was for the best. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the pressure. Keep him laughing. Keep him guessing. Ugh.
And here we are. The point of the story. Some people are exhausting. You don’t have to put up with that. Not if you don’t want to. Don’t get in the truck if you want to just go to bed. Who cares about that Florida State guy. Naps are nice. Reading is wonderful. Pillows are amazing.
Also, this: all the women writers! They are brilliant.