The Summer of Beer and Five Other Self Improvement Projects
As part of my half-assed attempts at self-betterment, which have included such efforts as a detox diet which a friend of mine basically made up on his own and purchasing running shoes (for display only), I figured I'd outline some stuff that I should do to make the most of the Summer of '06.
1. Learn to Like Beer - This may seem like part of the Evandebacle Gut Expansion Initiative undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers since I quit smoking, but it really is not. Basically, I have long had an aversion to beer. Most of you know the story behind it so I shall spare the World Wide Web the medical details. Let's just say that my body tends to initiate a Pavlovian response to return any beer I ingest back to the earth whence it came, or at the very least into a nearby toilet or behind a shrub that I may have handy. This makes drinking a rather expensive proposition for me both socially (public ralphing is not attractive for a male seeking a female) and financially (I tend to drink red wine instead). Ergo, drinking beer will make me a better and more attractive person. Marketing was right again!
2. Go Camping - The ideas of wilderness and tents and stars and clean air and marshmallows are wonderful to me. Always have been. The trouble is that I haven't been camping since I was a young kid. Every Labor Day weekend for a few years, my mother, sister, and I would join a number of other divorce-ravaged families and travel to Warwick, NY for a couple of days of good ol' outdoor fun of mosquito bites, hot dogs on sticks, and verbal spouse bashing. By the flickering light of a campfire we would tell spine-chilling stories of the deadbeat dad whose alimony checks went with him to the grave, but whose ghostly outline could still be seen in the trees behind the bleachers of the little league field, violating the laws of nature as well as the court order secured during divorce proceedings. Spooky. Who's got a tent?
3. Make Three New Friends - This one is dicey. To my current friends, I love you all. I do. But since moving to Chicago I've really only made friends in a few very isolated circles: through grad school, through improv, and those I knew in college but moved here. Meeting people through such institutional settings has its drawbacks no matter how awesome those people may be. Plus most of them aren't single anymore, which can be problematic. The whole third wheel effect. Seeing that I don't like bars, am not good at small talk, and tend to not make a good first (and often second) impression, how I will do this is beyond me.
What I Probably Won't Be Doing This Summer
4. Host a Social Gathering at My Apartment - This may be an awful idea. No access to the outside. Minimal seating. A tiny kitchen with limited food production capacity. Insufficient air circulation. Nearest train stop is closed. Wanna come to my party?
5. Buy Some Fucking Plants and Posters Already - I got cocky after buying some furnishings. A couch and computer table do not a home make. There is not a single thing on the walls of my bedroom. Nothing! Just whiteness. It's as if I'm allowed to live my life on the outside during the day so long as I come back to the ward in time for my meds and lock down.
6. Bike to Work - See, I knew there would be a legitimate attempt at self-improvement somewhere in here. I was about to give up on this one until I got my bike tuned up last week. I know, I also thought that when bike owners said they were taking theirs "in for a tune up" it was just a pathetic attempt to make their bicycles sound like real machines, legitimate forms of transportation, to make up for the fact that they were adults without cars and wearing helmets in public. Not so. It actually made a difference. Mine runs (well, cars "run," bikes..."bike") great now. So, even though I have no access to a shower, I shall attempt to bike to work and use the resultant pungency to dissuade my boss from speaking to me. This may backfire. He is a lifelong smoker with a highly diminished sense of smell.
So that's my list. I was going put some loftier goals such as starting a novel or falling in love on there, but I thought you all might not be willing to suspend disbelief. If you have any other suggestions on how I should spend my time, please feel free to comment.