Thursday, August 04, 2005

Greasy Spoon

I really like to juggle. Mind you this isn't something that I can honestly claim any real skill in, but it's something that I find myself reverting to in an occasional fit of boredom. I enjoy the act of juggling, or in my case attempting to juggle, much the same way as I like to balance things. It's not uncommon for a friend of mine to stop by or walk into the room and find me with a guilty expression on my face and a half-dozen things piled in no meaningful order into a leaning tower configuration, teetering on the brink of disaster on a coffee table. Sometimes I'll find joy in the simplest of things, such as seeing how long something will stand upright on it's pointed end. Sometimes this involves spinning the item, or just holding my finger on top until the air seems still enough for the stage to be set. But most often I end up going overboard with props. My most famous act I ripped off from my freshman physics book. It involves two forks, a butter knife, and a glass. Fit properly together the forks and knife can be balanced on the edge of the glass so as to teeter and not fall. I do this a lot when sitting in a booth at 4 a.m. drinking coffee.

Balancing things is close to an obsession of mine. It extends to every aspect of my life, and unfortunately, I don't seem to be as adept with more important things as I am with random knick-knacks. Balancing work with a relationship, or just a social life, is something that I've always struggled with. And while I've come to terms with my inadequacy in that department, I haven't yet met someone that's as patient with me as I am. Trouble starts when I really get interested or engaged in whatever work I'm doing at the time. If I'm involved with someone I tend to only be capable of holding a meaningful conversation if it is in regards to my work. I can still be an attentive listener, and a sympathetic ear, but anything I contribute seems to come out as either a paid endorsement of the company I work for, or an acceptance speech for employee of the month. This has landed me in trouble at various times in my life, and all with the same woman.

It's not something that I have previously been properly capable of relating to someone. But it's true. I don't see two precious and equal things that need balanced carefully and sensitively. I see one thing that I get up for, take a shower for, get dressed for, and get paid for, and another thing that's just kind of there when I get home. And while I realize that this balance is way off and if I use this framework it's all going to topple and I'm going to lose everything I care about, I have trouble recognizing it when I need to. But while for me the perfect relationship is one of comfort and simple companionship rather than heated passion, I envision the perfect job as something that's always exciting and new, something that challenges me and forces me to expand my horizons.

So in standing in my apartment looking for at least three things of relative weight to juggle it occurs to me that, this whole time, instead of two forks and a butter knife resting lightly, teetering on the edge of chipped plastic water cup on a counter top in an old diner, what I've really had was a shrimp fork and a pie server, stuck to a toothpick that keeps falling off the edge of the silver chalice I insist on placing it on. And while my friends are shaking their heads at my antics, I stand to proclaim my dominance over gravity as it tumbles and falls apart behind me.


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