I have been quitting a lot of things lately. I quit the class I started this semester after I realized (or perhaps admitted) that there were many things I'd rather do on my evenings and weekends than read and research. I just quit the ushering gig I started just last week (more on that some other time), because it was disrespectful of my time. I've been quitting books with more regularity, and with less provocation, not to mention movies. And this morning, when glancing at a comparison of the presidential candidates' positions on funding for the arts, I decided that I am quitting this election cycle. It's not as if I am one of the undecideds David Sedaris is so fond of. It is precisely because I am not that it makes absolutely no sense for me to listen, watch, or read anything else about the upcoming showdown. I'm voting for Obama, not because I necessarily want to, but the ascendancy of the anti-Christ does foretell the whole Rapture thing, and I have better things to do in the next 7 years than be tribulated. I am infuriated about all sorts of things, but to be honest with myself there's not a damn thing I am going to do about it. I didn't get out the vote, I'm working through Election Day so I'm not going to be fighting the good fight at the polls, I'm not giving any money to anybody (except Wall Street of course). If I had/was planning on doing any of those things, keeping abreast of the latest bullshit-storm would make sense. I'm not, so it doesn't. And that's that.
Since I did the major quit last year, the absolute worst quit, the one our society, Greek tragedies, and even most of the people I love do not understand, it suddenly doesn't seem too bad to step back from a volunteer obligation, put down an award-winning book, or symbolically tell politicians to eff off. And I am realizing that, for me at least, the act of quitting holds hands with that other favorite of mine, honesty. I don't really want to take classes: I just want to prove that I'm smart. I don't really want to volunteer for something that is devoid of meaning, even if it means ostensibly getting something for free. At the moment I don't really want to volunteer for anything at all. If I am honest with myself, I'd be happier spending my time and energy in other ways. And that's okay, even if it inconveniences other people, or leads them to think less of me.
The thing about quitting is that it is more freeing than perhaps anything else. There's a reason I think why the word for leaving a place is the same as leaving a relationship, a job, or a dream. Quitting prison must be wonderful. Gaining anything, even money, would not be as freeing as the fact of giving up something that is not good for you. Gaining anything comes with its own obligations, which is fine if you're willing to pay them. As for me, I am not quitting the running, my marriage, or my friends, but everything else is fair game. Job, you have been warned.
But I am serious about the politics tip. There is only so much outrage I can cart around with me at any given time without feeling defeated. I haven't been sleeping well, and I've been anxious for weeks, and there is still nearly two weeks to go (if not, god forbid, much longer). So goodbye Caribou Barbie, and your 150K wardrobe. Goodbye scary old wrinkly man and your filthy mouth and makeup. And goodbye even to you, my beloved Savior. Don't fuck it up, and you'll have my undivided attention for the next 4 years, no quitting. Honest.