Trying to write when humor and dreams slide through my fingers

I have had a bit of a difficult time writing lately. One of the problems is that I have found it difficult to be funny in my writing in the last couple weeks. I tried to narrow down the issue.

I have been isolated from home for a while. I have been working on a project in a state known for absolutely nothing. I don’t mean that nothing ever happened in this state. I am sure some things happened, but I would have to go to Google to find out. I mean that if I were to describe this state as it appears in the winter months, I would hold up a blank piece of white paper.   It is almost May and it snowed today.  All the grass is brown. Trees are still dead. Fields do not show any growth.  It is the type of environment  that makes a poor visitor wonder why humans live here.

I am working near a  state park about 60 miles north of the state capitol. I have taken walks in the state park. The trails are nice, but there are far fewer  trees than I am used to in state parks. I have not been able to go to a full fledged “gym” for a few weeks, but I have taken a lot of walks.   I have walked a trail by a lake, a trail by a river, and a trail that seems to be where every dog in the state likes to do its business.  OK, granted, that last trail was more of a “mince” than a “walk”.

Most of my walks have been fairly isolated. I don’t mean “Isolated” like “I was walking in a public park on a trail with a lot of people, but I was by myself”.  By “isolated”, I mean “Wow, I hope I don’t bust and ankle because I don’t know how to tell emergency crews where I am and I might stay out here for a long time”. The walks by the river are interesting. There is a fully paved trail that is wide enough for bikes and pedestrians.

I noticed something interesting: Almost everyone on the trail is wearing headphones.  This is a relatively new thing in working out. There have been walkmans, discmans, and mp3 players for decades, but they usually weren’t used by everyone during a workout. Now most people have them.  This includes couples on walks together.  I look at couples walking together while listening to separate headphones and I am offended.  Walking as a couple is not supposed to be some enjoyable thing where you are both outside, enjoying nature and having a good time. That goes against the very nature of humanity! Walks are supposed to be where two people have two different definitions of the phrase “a short walk” (usually in terms of miles). Walks are also supposed to be where one of you has some sort of problem that needs to be aired out during the walk. This is so the last half of the “couple’s walk” can be spent arguing or walking in complete, awkward silence.  The very idea that a walk can end with both parties happy and contented seems like science fiction. In the past, such couples would have been burned at the stake for witchcraft. While I agree that I may be using some hyperbole in this description, I have had far more relationship problems during a walk together than not.   For the record, “a short walk” is less than two miles, not less than ten.

One of the rough things about walking after a long day is that I have “angry resting face”. Everyone has an expression that their face falls into while not concentrating on it. Some people have naturally helpful looking faces. Others (including some of the smartest people I know) have resting faces that look as if trying to remember to inhale and exhale in the correct order takes a tremendous amount of brain processing power.  I have “angry resting face”. This causes self-esteem boosting moments for every walk. Moments like:

  • woman with two large dogs leaping an extra ten feet to the other side of the trail, even though there was already ten feet between us.
  • Women without dogs moving 15 feet out of the way.
  • Japanese men screaming and running out of my path…wait, that may have been Godzilla.

It is difficult to continue to walk at speeds after seeing this type of reaction. It does definitely minimize the enthusiasm. On the plus side, it does also decrease any desire to try to meet new people . “Thanks, I have already had my fill of complete social rejection for the day.”

Another interesting aspect of the town I am in is how the townspeople drive. This is specifically when a light turns green at an intersection.  In a normal town, the light turns green and people proceed forward after checking that the intersection is clear. In this town, the standard seems to be: light turns green, check the intersection, start forward, stop for no apparent reason, start forward again, check it clear again, proceed through the intersection at a speed that does not exceed 10 miles per hour. It drives me crazy.  I realize how much impatience I have in driving when I have hit the brakes four times to get through an intersection.

I guess a blog post does not necessarily need to be funny. I want the blog to be entertaining. To me, entertaining is synonymous  with “funny”. I don’t want to write a whiny blog. I guess that I will either learn to be funny when things are bland or I will learn to redefine “entertaining”. If all else fails, we still have fart noises (proof that God likes a good laugh too).


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