One of my former students emailed me the other day for the third time saying, “We gotta hang out, drink some coffee, talk about writing again.” Actually, to be precise, this guy was never my student. He was just a really interesting kid who came into the English department last year looking for someone who would read his writing. I did read, and his writing showed promise. Incredible promise. He has legitimate talent.
But to get back to the story…he emailed me and wanted to hang out again, which is great. Very nice of him. The problem is, I have no time. I’m not exaggerating. I truly have no time. It’s not that I don’t do anything I want to do. It’s that after I’ve finished writing, teaching, grading quizzes and poems, hanging out with my family, eating three meals, checking emails, and reading, I try to sneak in a work-out (preferably climbing).
I’m not joking. I’m doing a set of push-ups, a door-jamb hang, and a set of squats between each paragraph right now.
(Short paragraph: Pause while I do three sets.)
And that’s what being an “everyday dirtbag” is all about. I can’t be a classic dirtbag. No matter how much I want to be in the Josh right now, sleeping on the desert sand, bouldering pad-shredding granite eggs, climbing sustained handcracks, I can’t. Not with my job. Not with two kids. Not right now.
So I’m an everyday dirtbag. I climb the sides of bike cages with my daughters, mantle the corrugated roofs, do campus workouts on random construction ladders, get in an hour of solo laps in the dark at my local trad area. Because that’s what I have the time to do.
But this is not a whine sesh. I love my life. It’s an excellent life. In reaction to reading Laurence Gonzalez’ book Deep Survival, I do feel that “my life is abundant with meaning and purpose”. I’m quite positive. It’s just not abundant with time.
And while I’d love to hang out with every cool person I know, like I said, I don’t have time. I really don’t. But I’m guessing that the, “Do you know what it’s like being an everyday dirtbag?” excuse is not going to work. So, instead, I’ll find some other lame reason to explain why I only have one-friend-in-the-entire-world. And that will have to do.