Clean Living

I missed a few days writing, but with good reason: not only did class start Friday, but I had two articles due for my freelance magazine gig. I have been writing and thinking about writing plenty; I do not have anything to prove. (I did draft one angry essay, but it was mean-spirited and petty–so I reworked it and have scheduled it to publish tomorrow!) Still, the ideas and stories were swirling; I just needed a quiet moment to collect my thoughts into the five-paragraph format.

On Friday, after meeting my class, writing encouraging comments about their introductory assignments, submitting my articles, and turning down an emergency request to write another (well, not so much turning down as politely setting firm boundaries), I dozed off in the living room armchair from 5:15 to 5:40 p.m. BECAUSE I AM YOUR DAD. I finally regained the will to live and started reading wonderful, inspiring articles on my phone and enthusiastically celebrating them in my reading journal (a holdover from my own student days). I then watched the public television report on homelessness in Austin while eating a salad. This was my Friday night.

As we moved into Virgo Season last week, Madame Clairvoyant had this to say: “Virgo is focused on health and care and living a good life inside this human form.” Her advice paired nicely with Jia Tolentino’s essay about chopped salads in the the Guardian (also in her new book of essays, Trick Mirror, though I have not procured a copy), which I have been pushing on damn near every female in my life. All of that paired nicely with the final episode of a beloved, bingeable Netflix show to form a clean-living philosophy that carried me through the last week and into that armchair to kick off my mild-not-wild Friday night at home with a kickass early-evening nap.

The seventh season of Orange is the New Black was released back on July 26, the start of Leo Season, not Virgo. However, since this was a show that himself and I shared (he hooked me by asking about one of the books in the prison library), we only got organized enough to finish the show together in the week before last. I actually watched the last two episodes without him (Something came up! He insisted!), which worked out well because I cried like a baby. In addition, without spoiling too much, Piper has a line about clean living, voiced over a shot of her hand-washing dishes and placing them in a counter-top rack to dry. The visual of such a simple ritual stuck with me.

On Saturday, after a date night that included a trip to the planetarium and some frozen yogurt, we were home by 9:30 p.m. I dozed off on the couch, phone-scrolling while the start of college football season continued on the TV. I swear I heard one of the color commentators, after a player eked out a touchdown from underneath a dog pile, declare: “That’s clean living right there.”

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