Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Who'll Stop The Rain?

It rained today. That nice, slow, steady kind of rain that silences the world outside. Silences the kids free from school for the summer, silences the ice cream trucks chasing after the kids free from school for the summer, silences the streets and the sidewalks and everything in between. It made me think of my first job, a sophomore in high school slinging soft serve ice cream at a first rate Dairy Queen knock-off. We had hurricanes instead of blizzards and pokeys instead of parfaits. I met my oldest best friend there. We'd bounce into the back room after school had let out, throw on our aprons and catch up on who drank the most the night before, who was sleeping with who and who's life was simply more difficult than anyone else's - resulting in the need for the most sympathy. When it rained - like it did today - there was never anything to do. Nobody wanted ice cream. Those were the best days, when we'd feast on Vienna beef hot dogs and mozzarella sticks, washing them down with blue raspberry slushes or mountain dew or peanut butter shakes. Kim and I would leaf through copies of Glamour, Mademoiselle and Cosmopolitan that she had carted in, checking our horoscopes and taking quizzes. It would be the only thing close to sex education I would ever get. When it was really bad, we'd sneak some time with the boss' tv that had bad reception - only one getting to watch uninterrupted while the other kept a lookout to make sure we didn't get caught. When we were, we were instructed to do inventory, count paper and plastic cups and banana split boats, plastic forks and spoons. We'd mop the floors until they were clean and smelled of bleach, wipe down the shelves, polish the soda fountain - all within a couple of hours. Because there was nothing else to do. I find myself wishing life was like that now. Instead on a rainy day like today, all I could do was sit and get increasingly frustrated with the fact that I couldn't write a single word. A stack of stories piling up and I'm as blocked as I'll ever be. Afraid every word I write will be wrong, every story more boring than the one before. Meanwhile the days go by and interviews get stale and I sit and worry. I wonder...I wonder whether I should leave a financially superior job for a full time writing opportunity. I wonder if I can make both work. I wonder how to balance school in the mix and extra freelance. I wonder why this intimidates me so much when I used to be able to balance the world. I wonder why I wonder about all of this when I have stories to focus on. I wonder why I can't focus on them. I wonder who'll stop the rain.