It can’t be a good sign that I feel the urge to apologize to everyone who reads this post even before they even read it. I started with what I thought was a simple enough of idea about what I wanted to say, but despite several rewrites it’s still rambling, messy, and probably unclear. I’m posting it despite that because it’s apparently the best I can do at the moment.
I have a problem. I really enjoy December. The Christmas lights and the parties and just the specialness of this time of year. But, I really don’t like the cold, dead, boring months of January and February. One of my favorite bits of A Game of Thrones was the Stark motto, “Winter is coming.” because they seem to just get me. The problem: my extreme dislike of winter gets in the way of properly enjoying Christmas every year. Early in December the spectacle is enough to distract me, but by Christmas Eve January is starting to loom large because I know the fun stuff is almost over.
And now, I digress…. I’ve been spending my commute listening to the Nerdist podcast lately. They have a lot of celebrities and comedians on, but at its best it’s a bunch of friends sitting around ragging on each other and shooting the shit. They close nearly every show with the line ‘enjoy your burrito’. It’s one of those in-jokes that they’ve built up over 100+ shows and I, being a newcomer, didn’t get it until I listened to episode 39 with Rainn Wilson.
One of the co-hosts, tells a story about his early days in Los Angeles. It’s been a few weeks since I listened to that episode, but to paraphrase….. He moved to LA from Hawaii in order to work in show business and/or be a comedian, but he hadn’t gotten much of a break yet and was working at a record store to pay the bills. During his lunch break he would visit his favorite burrito place, but by the time he was halfway through the burrito he was already dreading going back to work and slogging through the rest of a crappy day. It was bad enough that the highlight of his day was his lunchtime burrito, but he couldn’t even fully enjoy that because he was dreading what came next. He finally realized he was ruining a good thing by looking ahead to the bad and he had to start trying to enjoy his burrito.
I’ve always found the little self-help clichés to be annoying with their seemingly easy self-empowerment messages that boil down to “Choose how you feel” or “Live in the moment”. It seems so easy, but if it was a simple choice then none of us would have this problem in the first place. What “choose how to feel” really means is “fake it until it’s true”. The same can be said of enjoying your burrito. It’s a cute way of reminding yourself to live in the moment, but how do you actually do that? I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but it mostly consists of distracting the Magpie in my brain with something shiny. This is where ‘enjoy your burrito’ comes in handy for me. I’m cynical to the point where if I try to tell myself to live in the moment I immediately get annoyed because the cliché feels stupid to me. So I’ve replaced that with ‘enjoy your burrito’ and the catch phrase distracts from whatever non-favorable event I’m contemplating. It’s a testament to the power of a catch phrase, not to mention the power of distraction.
We’ll see how well that works out for me over the next week or so. If you hear me muttering “Enjoy your burrito” under my breath this explanation probably won’t make it any less weird, but at least you’ll understand the reason for the weirdness this one time.