The best job in the world
I’m headed up to Jackson Hole today in a blizzard, and I’m thinking life just doesn’t get any better than this.I always say that being a writer is a blessing and a curse. Anyone who has ever had to write anything at all, like a paper for school or one of those ridiculous letters to the editor, understands the curse. I always compare the process of writing to throwing up. You lie there tossing and turning, tortured by the discomfort of knowing whatever is churning in your stomach has to come out. Unless you’re one of those people who are not afraid to stick their fingers down their throats (or some other object my bulimic friends told me they use, like a spoon), it’s the waiting for the inevitable that’s the worst. Once it’s over, it doesn’t seem so bad.My deadlines are typically spent doing everything but writing. I’ll clean the house from top to bottom, including those little crevices in the floor runner of my closet, the inside of the fridge, and all the windowsills (at least the ones that Psycho Paws hasn’t torn to shreds yet). I’ll do 400 loads of laundry, including the summer clothes that are still on the bottom of my hamper, and all the dishtowels and floor mats. Other activities include: trying on different outfits or combinations I haven’t thought of yet from my closet; digging out that bag of clothes I thought I wanted to throw away and trying stuff on again just to be double, triple sure; and trimming my split ends one by one with small scissors.I’ll wait until the pressure really kicks in, say around 11 or 12 at night. At some point, it just comes out. As soon as I start to write, some little man inside all the clocks starts messing with the time because hours fly by like minutes and I’m usually still sitting there when the sun rises, when lunch hunger pains start, and when friends start calling to see if they can drag me out for another senseless night of partying.I wish I could say there is some profound satisfaction with having just written something, but usually there isn’t. I imagine it’s like being a painter who has her nose pressed against the canvas, trying to look at what she’s just created. You’re way too close to it to see it. The only satisfaction is in knowing that the torture is over, at least until your editor sends you the first edit for revision.There was one time, and one time only, that I thought something I’d written was funny and I was able to enjoy it. I sat there and laughed so hard I thought my stomach might pop out my ears. Then that became funny, that I was sitting in my house laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe, and I toppled off my chair, clutching my sides with tremendous satisfaction until I nearly peed in my pants (now that would have been funny) while my dog licked the tears off my cheeks, wondering if I might need him to kill someone for me. That’s the column that got me fired from my job as a snowboarding instructor, so I’m not sure what I’m supposed to take away from that.Anyhoo, sometimes writing is a blessing. It’s not so much the writing, as the lifestyle that writing affords. I am super lazy, so deadlines are like the gun in my ear to get me going, otherwise I would never do a thing. I’m one of those bad employees who spends the day filing her fingernails or instant messaging with friends, and making absolutely no effort to hide it. So it’s probably good that I work for myself. On days I don’t have deadlines (which is less often these days) I have no problem whatsoever managing my leisure time. I don’t get these people who say, “I’d go crazy if I didn’t work,” because it would so not bother me one bit. In my fantasies, I spend most of my life in a poolside cabana Paris Hilton style, wearing a Missoni bikini and oversized glasses with the hunk-of-the-moment in the lounge chair next to me painting my toenails while I drink an endless supply of Perrier with lemon and skim Us Weekly for photos of my friends.The best part of my job is right now, when I am sent off to do things I love, get reimbursed for my expenses, and get paid for the work I will eventually have to do when deadline time rolls around.Since I’m convinced that my professional life is charmed (how else would you explain the sh– I get away with?), all of a sudden I’m being sent to go snowboarding and write about it, even though that wasn’t exactly what I was after. I’m off to Jackson, Grand Targhee and Sun Valley to a little writing about this and that, visit old friends, and enjoy the 60-plus inches of snow that has fallen up there in the last two days (and counting). Most people would probably be nervous about tackling an eight-hour drive in a whiteout blizzard, but I look forward to wondering if I’ll come out the other side and what will happen when I do. (I’m also taking my mom’s Audi, another bonus because I do look quite good in it, if I do say so myself.)It’s rare, especially for neurotic little princesses, to be able to wake up and say I’m happy and I love what my life is today. No attachments, no obligations: just me and some bad visibility, so it’ll be impossible for me to know where I am or where I’m going. I guess some things never change.The Princess left her fur coat at home and brought her Gore-Tex because the boys in Jackson would so not approve of that type of thing. Send your loving e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Sean Beckwith is taking advantage of his column space this week to inform the public of the Best in Jest.