Blog of Bones

This weekend was a failure. Not by every metric, of course—I survived, was not imprisoned, did not fall victim to a gang of old timey grifters—so in some ways it was a win. But in the sense that I would do something on each of the two days in line with my attempt to live by doing things I wanted to but normally didn’t, there was, as we say in Nuevo Mexico, mucho nope. [1]

I’ll speak of what I did do in a moment, but what kept me from fulfilling the spirit of the challenge (to, in the less than thirty days I have in my thirties, engage daily in an activity my life usually precludes me from doing) was what I referred to earlier: a paucity of both time and money. I’ve never had money, and so that feeling isn’t entirely new, but having a full-time job and small child has changed how I understand time on a fundamental level, Star Trek wormhole-style, like my son was a tiny Q beamed here to fuck with all of my established notions of reality and truth. [2]

Part of what I hoped for in committing to this mini-project was that, when pressed by a public airing of my intentions, I’d find that it wasn’t so much that I didn’t have time or money, but rather I’d ceased to see the full potential for experience in each day and through intentional living, I’d see these openings once again.

That is, so far, bullshit.

It is possible for me to spend some money, but only if it’s taken from somewhere else, like bills or groceries or wine, and there’d be a heavy price to pay for skimping on any of those. It is sometimes possible for me to devote time to what I want to do, but again, only if it’s taken from elsewhere. Something, and someone, must suffer. I can not fulfill my job commitments (like I said earlier, as a bounty hunter I’ve got a lot on my plate) or I can not fulfill my family duties. The second is the really the only one with enough wiggle room, but in order for me to check out of what I need to do with my son, someone else has to take over. My freedom, the fulfillment of my desires, requires a person I love to take on extra burdens. This is a rough math, and it’s kept me in a pattern that both stifles and supports me.

Example: Saturday. My day with my son, solo-style. His interest in dinosaurs has recently been renewed with the kind of fervency particular to the under-9 set. Five year olds aren’t casually interested in anything—they’re snake-dancing, tongue-talking converts, howling on street corners the gospel of the pink pony/princess/power ranger dinosaur they love. For days, he’d been pressing me to take him hunting for dinosaur bones. Current selections from the local library had told him of many different kinds of dinosaur bones discovered here in New Mexico: tyrranosaurus rex, quetzalcoatlus, whatever the duckbilled ones are called. As Saturday was the first day we’d have to try our hand at digging, I promised him a trip to the volcanoes on the west side of the city that day. And here’s the downside of teaching your kids things like days of the week or talking—they learn, and they remember. All industries reliant on selling advertising space should employ legions of preschoolers because those fuckers will not take no for an answer.

And so we planned to look for bones after nap. He’d need a nap not to be a jerk, and I’d need his nap to not be a jerk. But it’s also the time I use for writing, and I had concocted a plan (my live-it-up plan) to work on a piece to send to a fancy place I’m ascared of. [3] And yet, as sometimes happens when you develop plans around the behavior of a tiny tyrant, things went awry. He did not nap, there was no writing, and so my accomplishment of the day was hiking for 90 minutes with my son and dog, taking breaks to dig in the path while making sounds to indicate possible groundbreaking scientific discoveries.

If you’re thinking that this all actually sounds like a lot of fun, you’re right since you agree with me. It was a beautiful winter day—our layers kept us warm and our noses were chilled enough for the day to feel seasonal. I am a lucky person to get to have moments of such uncomplicated wonder. I get to have a lot of that in my life; I just don’t get to choose how a lot of it happens.

IMG_6364 2
A tiny paleontologist who is, sometimes, also the dinosaur he is hunting for.

Almost all of my life is about what I must do, and I frequently get grumpy at that. But I’m also prone to deep and corrosive levels of guilt (one of my most favorite things to do when trying to go to sleep at night is to think about all of the shitty things I’ve done and all the people with whom I’m no longer friends, undoubtedly because of my selfishness or sadness or stench), and it’s this proclivity that keeps me from asking too much of others so that I can eke out space for myself. It’s not that I’m selfless, but I’m so selfish that when I get a little, I want more, but don’t want to pay the necessary emotional cost. I want my cake / I want to eat it / I want it to be free.

If you’re wondering how I’m able to write this blog if I have so little time, it’s because I have not been doing some bounty hunter-related stuff and now I’m pretty behind. I’ve got a lot of bounty hunter spreadsheets and emails to get to. Why would some entity want an Excel document accounting for every minute of my bounty hunter time for the next four months? Man—what you don’t know about bounty hunters. This gig seems glamorous, but at least half of it is directing students, I mean, clients to read the syllabus. Contract—the contract. I’m a bounty hunter, after all. Now I’ve got to track down a little lady goes by the name of Starla, last seen hummin’ around an Allsup’s in Truth or Consequences. She got a real soft spot for those day-old chimichangas, likes em like she likes her men: half-price, withered, and full of beans.

beaf-and-bean
Behold the Allsup’s chimichanga, the sixth wonder of New Mexico.

[1] No one actually says this.

[2] Nerrrrrrrrrrrd

[3] New Mexicans for real say “ascared”

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