log: anxiety without anxiety

WORMDATE: L 1.5/2: 450-33,824: 1-523

Strange dreams, lately. They’re set up like standard anxiety dreams but lack anxiety.

My anxiety dreams are pretty typical. I have the dread server nightmares. (STILL!) In the weeds at work and more people keep coming in. And, oh, by the way, there’s now a whole other room full of people there. Another one there. And all the orders are wrong.

Ever since I quit drinking so many years ago (with, you know, the odd exceptions and collapses like living in Sac, a visiting friend, or listening to the Betsy DeVos confirmation hearings — I’m not a monster!) I’ve had nightmares where I get drunk. That sounds fun. It never is. And I always wake up like THANK GOD that didn’t happen and I don’t need to deal with that or quit again. Phew!

Had one of those lately. I was in some diner. Way time worked was, every sip of the beer I had was another day. So it was a time elapsed dream. And Garth Brooks was sometimes sitting in the booth next to my table but he looked like a clean shaven Timothy Olyphant. (Is that his name? Seth Bullock, Deadwood, that guy.) Anyway, by the end of a few beers, after months and deep into the night, I was pretty plastered. I could tell because my posture was very bad. And that’s usually where the anxiety nightmare picks up steam. But, in this case, the server, a sort of big-haired down-home, redheaded country lady, whom I had become aquatinted with over the months, just sat down with me, and gave me a hot coffee. “I thought you could use this.” I thanked her. Everything was cool. Nothing went haywire.

And I had one where I was back at the grocery store. Coming back from break, some guy wanted to buy sausages. My co-worker who should have been at the counter was not. So I was like “Sure, just let me wash my hands” and the customer was like “fine and good to see you again by the way” but then he wanted his sausages fried. I was like “Unless something has changed here since I’ve been gone, we don’t do that.” He pointed out the bowl of fried sausages on the counter. I was like — “that’s odd.” Saw one my old co-worker and asked him about it and he was like “We don’t do that.”

“So what are those?”

“Oh, those are for me.”

So that’s a fuck-up. Like, cook all the sausages you want but if the customers can’t have them, don’t leave a big bowl out where they can see them. That’s asking for trouble. But the customer was fine about the whole thing. And then, in a nice detail, turned out my co-worker had also blown up the microwave frying the sausages. So that was a mess.

Thing is, that wasn’t even anxiety inducing. It was just pretty much exactly the sort of three-point fuck-up that dude produced whenever he did anything. Nothing to worry about.

Then I just sort of had a slightly better than normal day of work. I said “hi” to a lot of people I haven’t seen in a while. And everything was fine.

There’s other examples but you get the drift. Anxiety dreams set-ups without anxiety.

No idea what any of it means, if anything. I suppose the sausages could be a big bowl of fried dicks but that doesn’t exactly clarify things. And we did sell a lot of sausages so . . .

오늘은 헌국어 숙제해요. Kind of went into the weeds with the writing of my oral presentation. It’s not even worth all that much as far as points go but I feel like it’s a thing I should be able to do. But it’s so hard! This sent me into some sort of disheartened spiral of ‘why can’t I get this, why am I so fucking stupid’ and all that sort of thing. This ended in a lot of ice cream and a pizza. “Ended” might be a bit strong. It paused there.

I’m having some sort of difficulty with this class aside from the basic difficulty of learning a new language. Some of it is the ZOOM thing. We get these lectures but there’s basically no contact with our fellow students. It’s weirdly isolating for a class about communicating.

It’s also being taught like math. Sort of very top down. Here’s a rule. Apply it.

That’s no doubt important but language is so applied. It takes so much practice to get your mouth to make the right noises, to say and understand things without translating or thinking about rules. You have to build habits. It’s kind of like hitting a baseball. You just have to practice until you don’t need to think about the rules. But, right now, I have way more rules than skills with any of them. So my swing is all fucked up.

I feel like I just need to stop and practice the fuck out of a few simple things before I get a new thing. Like, I want to practice some of these rules with very simple words and, instead, we’re getting new words with new rules and my brain can only do so much. It’s tough.

And the words! Thing about school is school mainly teaches you a lot about how to be in school. I can say all sorts of shit about being a student. We cover that. We have learned the word for “economics major” but we haven’t covered the first thing I learned here — left and right. Why do I know “economics major” but not what my hands are called? I had to stay after class to ask and learn the word for “bag.” Believe me, you get asked whether you want a bag a lot more than you get asked if you have an interest in fucking economics.

Yes, I have been shipping these characters for months. Degenerates and perverts, the lot.

The characters in the textbook are all students or office workers. I need a textbook with a different set of characters. Fish Lady, Cabbie, Barber, Store Clerk, Chicken Shack Gang, Stranger’s Dog, Old Man Drinking Soju Alone On the Beach While Listening to Sad Songs on a Cheap Radio and Staring at the Sea. People I actually deal with. In situations I deal with. A werewolf is on the loose! The cats are making a conspiracy! I need to know what my hands are called!

I don’t even know if my feeling is right. I do seem to be learning. Looking back on early lessons, which were once so difficult, they now seem dead easy. Probably, I’m just stressed.

But outside of the sheer necessity of learning, which is a really great motivator, the only thing that keeps me going with a project this fucking difficult is forcing myself to step back, take a breath, and be like: “Fine. I am having a hard time. I have been struggling since the start. That’s not new. It’s fine to feel like this. It’s fine to struggle. Learning is uncomfortable.”

And then l have to look back at what I could not previously understand. Like force myself to remember the basic shit I was so clueless about. Then I can see — I might not be where I want to be but I’m a little bit better than I was. That will have to do.

And, honestly, this will probably take about ten years.

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