a navel-gazey situation

It’s a real navel-gazy situation, but here’s the situation:

  1. It’s a few minutes before dawn right now and the reason I’m up so early is I wanna do a little editing before starting my shift at the pizza place. I’m editing my novel again, the one that got rejected across the board a few months ago (although more kindly and personally than any of the earlier books) and I’d like to get through ten to fifteen pages before 10:30. But I’m wondering, as I do this, if it’s even worth my time, if the book really has any chance of getting published. I’m enjoying it, though, and wondering if that alone should be criteria for continuing.
  2. At 10:30 I’m starting my shift at the pizza place. When I get there I’ll be alone with the line cook. He’ll be over by the ovens, getting his section ready, and I’ll go through the restaurant taking chairs off the tables, and off the bar, and then I’ll go to the soda machine and pull the nozzles outta the sanitizer in which they’ve been soaking all night and I’ll re-attach them to the dispenser. Then I’ll fill huge jugs of ice for ten or fifteen minutes. Then brew a huge vat of tea and polish the cups and plates and silverware. Chores and chores. Eventually people will come in and I’ll talk with them and bring them pizza and soda. Someone will tell me there was a blond hair in their salad and since I alone prepared their salad and they alone ate it and neither of us have blond hair I will know that they’re lying but I’ll apologize. Colleagues and I will talk about things that happen at the restaurant. We’ll talk about other restaurants. When my shift is over I’ll probably stop at a bar and chat with the bartender about that restaurant. My manager says he works fifty hours a week and that his brother’s a contractor and sometimes he goes out and does estimates on his brother’s behalf. Our bartender makes money on the side selling dog toys that she orders from China. If she’s at the bar and you see her on the phone, that’s what she’s working on. Stealing little moments to earn some extra money while she’s out here at the bar earning money. Work work work.
  3. Someone just reminded me that I promised to do a podcast and record an advertisement for their business. This means I have to script and record a podcast in the next few days. I scripted most of it yesterday but can’t tell if it’s interesting.
  4. I’m almost done writing the first full draft of a second little eBook of short stories and personal essays, a kind of sequel to My Three Repugnant Children. I don’t know if this is any good either.
  5. Tonight I’m entertaining someone at my apartment and I know I’ll be tired because I’ve woken up so early, and I’ll have been on my feet for seven hours, but I’ll do my best because it’s a romantic situation–which is its own bag of worms: talking with this person and wondering if it’s serious but also constantly checking Hinge, swiping, having small talk with other people, maybe a virtual date here and there via Zoom. It occupies so much of my headspace and I’m not sure what I want from it but I keep pursuing things.

The navel-gazy aspect of all this is that I can’t make up my mind about which of these things, if any, is my real life.

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