Thursday, February 3, 2011

If There Were No Negative Consequences

1. I'd blow off my other work and spend hours writing fiction every day.

2. I'd go up to the people who camp out at the coffeehouses with their laptops and their cups of coffee that they finished drinking two hours before and say, "Are you going to let other people sit down, like, EVER?"

3. I'd rent a car and go on a cross-country road trip, especially because I haven't traveled anywhere for fun since college. I'd take a lot of pictures, and I'd write about everything. I'd go to New York City and be just like all those tourists who bug the hell out of me here in Chicago. I'd wear one of those Statue of Liberty hats and really big sneakers and point at things.

4. I'd take the laundry that my neighbors leave in the washing machines and dryers for hours after they're done, and throw it out on the lawn, preferably when it's snowy or rainy out. Or better yet, I'd wait until it's really icy out, so that when my neighbors came running out to fetch the laundry, they'd slide down the sidewalk, shrieking, while clutching their sweatshirts and underwear.

5. I'd go up to the nice graduate student who I've had a crush on for years and ask him out on a date.

6. I'd track down all the mean customers I encountered when I worked in the Expensive Clothing Store. I'd find the ones who held up the lines and insisted that I refold their clothes until they were perfect (some would yell insults at me and make me refold the clothes two or three times while I tried not to cry) before I put their purchases in their bags. I'd go through their drawers and closets and throw all their clothes on the floor, and then I'd yell, "Refold that, MEANIES! Ha!"

7. I'd travel through Europe and visit the hometowns of famous authors, like James Joyce, Jane Austen, and Charlotte Bronte.

8. I'd go up to the cliques that inevitably form in grad school, particularly the ones that made me feel bad because I wasn't invited to the party that apparently everyone else in the planet went to. I'd say, "High school is over. GROW UP."

9. I'd skip the gym for a week and spend the time that I would've spent exercising on all the things I never have time for anymore, like look at paintings in the Art Institute, go to inexpensive plays in tiny theaters, and walk around my favorite neighborhoods.

10. I'd find a way to raise money for schools so that they could increase the salary of every teacher. That way no one will ever have to say, "Teachers are underpaid." Then I'd go up to the people who criticized my choice of profession and said, "You do realize you will never be rich, right? Why don't you do something more lucrative?" I'd say to them, "Why don't you use all your money to buy yourself a new personality?"

What about you? If you could do whatever what you wanted and you didn't have to worry about the consequences, what would you do?


  1. I never work a day in my life. I'd max out my credit cards. Except there'd be no max because that's a consequence, so then I'd spend some more! I'd drink every single night and smoke and do drugs and have at least four boyfriends. I'd build random, huge sculptures in my room and throw them out the window when I was done. I'd buy a million books and read only what interested me. I'd make huge Pollack style paintings, constantly.... apparently I secretly want to be an artist because the biggest thing I want to do is paint and paint and paint... weird... but the truth is I do love that and the only reason I don't is that paint and canvas are so absurdly expensive.

  2. I love it! Especially the neighbors' laundry and the ice and the shrieking and clutching.

    I'd quit my job and go around the world, following disasters and helping clean up after them.

  3. Hi gem,
    I like the idea of using the credit cards, since I could fund all my traveling that way! And in my fantasy, I'd still get those credit card rewards points so I could earn prizes. That's interesting that you want to paint. I didn't realize that art supplies were so expensive. It would be fun to spend a lot of time painting and creating art.

    Hi FreeFlying,
    That's nice of you to help clean up after disasters. Not to mention you'd still get to travel and meet new people.

  4. I'd chew out my ex boyfriend. Except I wouldn't, because I've been thinking about what to say for over a year, and I'm pretty sure the carefully written speech I have would emotionally maim him for life.

    So instead I'd travel and write and flirt shamelessly with boys "out of my league"--but only if good consequences were allowed.

  5. I think no. 5 is do-able anytime.

    Just ask him: "I'm going to xxx. Wanna come along?" :D

  6. Hi judyrocket,
    I think there's at least one person that everyone would want to speak their mind to, especially if we didn't get the chance to say it before. On TV they always get their chance to say what they want to say. Sometimes I wish life were more like TV. :)

    Hi Anonymous,
    I can't because he's in a relationship with someone. But if he were single, then maybe I could.

  7. Great list. I like!

    I'd quit both of my jobs and finish my manuscript. Then I'd take Michael to Europe, show him all of the places I know and then spend months discovering new haunts. I'd take a cruise around the of those cruises that lasts 6 months.

    Not as exciting as your list, but it's a good start.

  8. Hi Shannon,
    I think your list is exciting, especially the idea of a world cruise. It'd be fun to go on one of those ships that offer lots of great food and activities on the ship itself, so that you'll be entertained while you're traveling. I also like the idea of being able to write full-time; someday, when I can afford it, I'd like to do that.

  9. I love you mixture of enjoyment, philanthropy, and revenge.

    What would I do? I would write, write, and write some more. I'd ride my bicycle on every nice day. I'd take yoga more and maybe martial arts. I'd travel with my husband and kids. And I'd definitely spend a month or two in Paris. I'd give more to charity. I would give family members nicer gifts once in awhile. I'd send my mother to Bermuda because she wants to go again but can't afford it. I'd sleep more and play more.

    I wish I didn't have to do report cards today.

  10. Hi Theresa,
    Riding your bicycle sounds like fun. I often see people riding bikes by the lake during the summer, and it's something that I've always wanted to do. (But I don't have a bike.) A month or two in Paris would definitely be cool. I'd want to write in cafes just like Hemingway wrote about doing in A Moveable Feast.
    Sorry you have to do report cards. Grading is one of the things that I like least about teaching just because it takes up so much time.

  11. What a fantastic list! I smiled, laughed and thought i should do that, whilst reading this. Make the meanies refold their own clothes!

  12. Hi Alice X,
    I wish I could make the meanies refold their clothes. I especially wish I could have done it when I was working in retail. But unfortunately, the customer was (supposedly) always right (even when they were totally wrong), so I couldn't say anything. :(