what is this weird curve to my lips

I have a very acceptable life.

But let’s be honest: gray weather in a gray month where the only thing to look forward to, really–spring–is, given my coordinates on this planet, four months away at the very least. Combine that with the fact that the holidays are dead and gone and they’ve been memorialized chiefly in passive-aggressive messages from my MIL wondering where her thank-you cards are, and you have a very lackluster stretch of days indeed. I go to work. I come home. It’s dark both ways, like as not, which makes cobbling together endorphins from running difficult at best and dangerous at worst. It’s a grim time of year, everyone knows it.

So why am a grinning a little under my scarf as I await my bus in subzero temperatures, and why do I whip out my tablet happily on my 15-minute breaks, and grin a little more on my way home?

Fandom.

I’ve gone on and on about it before so I won’t babble but let it be known that I haven’t done this for a very long time. Been so invested in fictional characters that perusing their exploits, as detailed by third parties receiving no royalties or syndication rites, and who also are somewhat less constrained by, ah, ratings, that my mood is actually impacted positively by the reading. It’s something to look forward to, to the point where I actually bounce to the bus and the reading that takes place there. The last time I did this, invested this much, I understood it as a kind of holding pattern, a way to tide myself over until adulthood and its no doubt endless charms swept me up. Now, as an adult, I realize sometimes holding patterns are still necessary. Because there are still decrepit buildings and dirty snow and, yes, financial safety, but earned at the price of intellectual boredom.

I am so, so bored.

And yes I’m working on it but doing what I’m doing to fix it will take years and a degree that can only be earned slowly. So in the meantime, I wait. Amongst the gray buildings and the gray town with its dirty snow. And these stories have none of those things. Or if they do, they are overcome, fantastically so, with the kind of emotion adults do not, perhaps unfortunately but also somewhat practically, exude at every moment. It is the bells and the light and the trumpets as opposed to the slurry sucking sound of snow boots in brown slush, one after the other for miles. It is everything daily life isn’t. Even literature doesn’t please me so much, because so much of that is like, well, standing quietly in an art gallery and quietly appreciating the technique of the painter. So quiet. So clean. This is messy and joyous and if no one is going to win any Nobel prizes for this I don’t care. Throw us out of the gallery for our uproar, why don’t you. The party on the pavement will be just as grand.

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