When I was in high school I had multiple jobs, played soccer, and still managed a 4.0. The jobs I worked were mindless, I wasn’t any good at soccer and I later ruined that 4.0 with my “rebellious stage”, but still. I was on top of things. I felt like leisure time was wasted time. I remember missing half of my friends’ graduation parties because I “had to work”. I think I forced myself to be busy to distract myself from low self-esteem/feelings of inadequacy. (Because I was a teenager, and teens are terrible.)
Now that I’m in a healthier headspace, I’ve stopped being afraid of free time. I relish it. But can overachievers ever really kick the habit? A tiger can’t change its stripes, right? I’ll let you be the judge.
Weekend of an overachiever
Friday night: Decide I need to start treating India as my home and set aside the mentality that I’m “leaving soon.” I ask the driver to take me to the home goods store so I can buy a plant. I see an Anthurium for $5, decide to go big or go home. Being an overachiever, I do both – Go big (buy it) then go home (I’m tired).
Once home, I check the cupboard for dinner ideas. My choices are 4 week old tortillas or pasta. I opt for the pasta. My tomato sauce has grown mold while I was on vacation, so I crack open a new jar of pesto. In my haste to eat, I pull the noodles off the stove while they’re still hard. Al dente and then some. I drain the pasta, but again my impatience gets the better of me. My dinner is ultimately a kinda hard kinda watery pesto pasta.
Around 9pm I sit down to watch a few episodes of Prison Break. I make some popcorn for a snack cause that pasta was hella nasty. I try to count the seconds between pops, but it’s hopeless – I burn it. I decide to eat it anyway, and light the new candle Gina gave me for my birthday to cover up the smell.
Suddenly it’s past midnight and I still have over 3 discs of Prison Break until the series finale. Plus, it’s time to go to bed if I’m going to work out in the morning, so I call it a night.
Saturday morning: Wake up at 7am to go for a run. Decide that’s a terrible idea and go back to bed. Wake up around 10:30 and decide it’s much too late for a run – too hot. I’ll go later when the sun is down (nope). Grab a bowl of generic Indian honey nut cheerios and sit down to Prison Break.
Around 1pm I decide I’m hungry and grab some chips and salsa. Continue to sit in front of the TV, getting steadily angrier that Season 4 discs don’t have subtitles.
Around 3pm decide I’m hungry again. Pause Prison Break, grab a bag of (expensive, imported) caramel popcorn, and press play.
Around 6pm decide I’m hungry and thirsty. Decide to break out the Grey Goose I’m hiding from the cleaning lady/cook in my closet. Look through my cupboard again to find that no food has magically appeared from the day before; my options are still tortillas and pasta. Since there’s nothing to put in the tortillas I put a pot on the stove to boil. Pasta it is.
Having learned my lesson from yesterday, I exercise a little patience when cooking and draining my noodles. I pour myself another vodka in the downtime. The noodles are fine, but I add chicken from the fridge and it reminds me of leftover Thanksgiving turkey. I regret the protein addition. I pour myself another vodka, but this time put some frozen berries in it.
One of my roommates/coworkers comes in the room to ruin my life.
Ted: Want to go get dinner?
Me: I’m good thanks, I just ate.
Ted: What are you watching?
Me: Prison Break.
Me: I’m almost done.
Ted: So you’re just enjoying your alone time?
Me: Well I was. [pause DVD] Just kidding just kidding (I’m not). Where are you guys going for dinner?
[He speaks, I don’t listen for answer.]
Me: Cool, that’ll be fun. Yeah thanks for the offer, I’m just going to call it an early night tonight. Tired.
[Ted says something else but I’m just waiting to press play. I offer him some popcorn as a peace offering. He takes it, leaves.]
Around 9pm I finish Prison Break and start crying. Time to pour another vodka and sit down with the special features. The ending of an era; it literally consumed my life for a month. Well done, FOX. Marry me, Wentworth. Decide to chug some water so that I actually get up and run the next morning, then go to bed.
Sunday Morning: Sick of being scolded (by myself), I get up at 6:30 to go for a run. Spend one hour eating breakfast and “planning my workout”. Go for a 4 mile run, come back, and decide I need a Gatorade. After the Gatorade, spend an hour planning my next 3 months of workouts. Realize I’m extremely out of shape and that my calves are screaming at me. Decide to ice before moving on with my day.
Contemplate not showering, then remember I haven’t showered since Friday morning and JUST RAN IN 90 DEGREE WEATHER. Give in.
Pop out of the shower feeling footloose and fancy-free. Forgot what it was to be so fresh. Decide to take my new squeaky self out on the town – clean hair is a shame to waste. Head to the coffee shop down the street for a salad and a coffee. The coffee shop is “out of salad”. Of course they are. Order a chicken tikka wrap, and am confused by the flavor as it’s not pesto pasta. I like it. Pretend to journal for about 20 minutes, get hot, and start to walk home.
Decide to water Idgie – just a bit, don’t want to overdo it. Swear loudly, dramatically, as water begins to pour out of the bottom. Move Idgie to the porch – if she’s going to make a mess like that she can take a time out. Gardening is hard work.
Turn on the TV to see what’s good. Watch the end of National Treasure even though I hate Nicholas Cage. Flip through and find a movie that sounds familiar – The Cure. Begin to watch. First twist is when I find out the older kid in the movie is Brad Renfro, not Ethan Hawke. Second twist comes when I realize it’s the saddest fucking movie on earth and that I clearly didn’t get what AIDS was when I watched this movie as a kid. Quickly change the channel to find that King Kong is starting. It’s been a while since I saw it, but do I have 5 hours (with commercials) to waste? I think I do. I pull up Pinterest and settle in.
What better way to spend my time than reorganizing my Pinterest boards? Searching for that DIY sugar scrub recipe last week and not finding it was hell. Never again! I’m hungry, so I grab a second bag of caramel popcorn (the first is long gone).
With Kong raging in the background, I decide to spend 30 minutes bobby pinning my hair up to look like I got a haircut. I never successfully do it but decide to chop it off once I’m home all the same. I then put on more makeup, for no reason. I already left the house once today, not about to step out again. The makeup makes it clear that it’s time to tweeze my eyebrows, so I do. I’m still hungry.
I know the dinner menu by heart, and put a pot of water on the stove. Not wanting to rush it (still haven’t forgotten Friday), I decide to eat some chips and salsa in the ten minutes it’ll take for the pasta to cook. I go back to my room and set the bowl of salsa on my bed. I realize what an idiot I am because there was salsa dripping down the side and NOW I HAVE TO WASH MY DUVET. Putting on a duvet is at the top of my Least Favorite Things To Do list, along with changing sheets in a bunk bed and resetting an alarm clock.
I realize that I’ve left Idgie in the hot Indian sun all afternoon. She is parched, so I water her again. I have again over-watered; this time I just let the water pool on my floor. Should evaporate sometime.
I make my weekly Skype date with my parents for the first time in about a month. Realize the entire weekend was leading up to this moment of greatness. On that note, it’s time to go to bed so that I can convincingly pretend to work tomorrow.