And I think we all have those moments when you're 15 minutes late for a meeting that doesn't really matter because nothing at this point in our lives is (hopefully) so consequential that being 15 minutes late for it will have an Ashton-Kutcher-excuse-me-Chris-Kutcher-butterfly-effect, but you're still stuck in cellphone purgatory either 20 feet beneath the street in the subway or driving (and NOT texting) to wherever it is you're 15 minutes late for, and you have that heavy air in your lungs freak out, "Am I bad at this?"
Or maybe you've invited over new friends in the new big city you've moved to and finally have an apartment that isn't insulting to have people over in* and you decide to cook a big meal for everyone on the day the world is supposed to end, which you thought was 12-12-12 because that FUCKING makes sense, and no one feels the need to correct you that the Mayan's said the world would actually end on 12-21-12, so you're having a dinner party on an arbitrary fucking Wednesday and you make enchiladas for these new friends and the chicken you cooked at 2 am the night before to save time was never reheated and your new friends stand quietly in your kitchen eating frozen chicken in warm tortillas until one of them takes their first bite and is like "Kady, why the fuck is this enchilada cold?" and the question hits you again like a brick wall, "Am I bad at this?"
"This" can include, but is by no means limited to:
- trying to garner what 'business casual' means
- keeping a plant alive
- keeping in touch with friends
- not overdrawing your bank account
- separating darks and whites in the laundry because supposedly that matters and people care?
Sometimes it can be really overwhelming to keep all these balls in the air, especially when we live in a world where people instagram their beautiful enchiladas they've cooked that I'm sure are one consistent fucking temperature. It's really easy to think everyone is doing more than you, and doing it better than you, and sometimes I have to remind myself that no one is uploading photos of the shit they don't do.
To wrap this up, because one thing I am good at is not stopping talking and writing, there is this guy at 59th St--Columbus Circle, a subway station I frequent almost every day, who plays the piano on the downtown ABCD platform. He's been there for about 9 months at this point with this little keyboard and cardboard box playing some sort of freestyle jazzy music** And I used to stand there waiting for my transfer, every morning on my way to work, just watching this guy, who played the piano trying to decide if he was good or bad. Months. Is this guy a good piano player? Or a bad piano player? Months. Is he an improvised musical savant? Or a fraud? Last week he started wearing a little headphone microphone that he now sings into to accompany his piano playing and I've never seen someone look happier or more excited in a subway station (sober, I'm assuming.) And when he started wearing that little microphone, it hit me, like that lingering question, but more affirming, that it doesn't matter one bit if this dude is good or bad or brilliant or struggling. He is having a really great time and following something that excites him. The nuance of exact quality probably doesn't matter all that much because like it or not he now has a microphone accessory that he was able to buy because he stuck to something that made him happy and made enough people happy enough to throw him a dollar or two.
*Read: "Oh, you're more than welcome to come over but you'll have to stand in the sink while we watch TV. Oh, and I hope it isn't weird, I technically don't pay rent for the sink so please jump out this 5 story window if my scary craigslist roommate walks in and there is a possibility she will see you standing in her sink, kthanks.
**guys, I know a lot about music.