I’m not sure if it was due to my general irritability of late, my lack of sleep last night, the fact that I had to change my route because of an accident that caused a two-mile backup, or just the fact that it was Monday morning, but it sure seemed like there were a lot more assholes than usual on the road today.
Pretend We’re Dead
Sometimes you run into an old song, one you might not have cared about all that much at the time, at a point in your life where it suddenly seems more important because it reminds you of another, earlier point in your life where things seemed a lot simpler, and maybe even happier in some ways.
I’m thinking right now of Thanksgiving, 1992, when I’d just moved to San Francisco. It was the first major holiday I’d spent away from North Carolina. I had dinner with the lesbians on Potrero Hill who were friends of my roommates, all of us expatriate North Carolinians. We were all different flavors of happy and excited about how we’d escaped and were carving out new lives for ourselves in a place that still seemed exciting and new.
My God, it’s been a long time. I was so young then. Everything seemed new and exciting. It’s just not like that anymore for me, and I miss it sometimes. I’m happy with a lot of things in my life right now. I love my boy, no matter what. I love my new career; in fact, it’s one of the only things I consistently enjoy these days, even though it comes with some stress of its own. And I’m OK with where I live, if not terribly excited about it. I’m not unhappy per se (I sort of am tonight, obviously, but that’s another story) but there’s this lack of intensity.
I know a lot of that comes with age. I’m not 28 years old anymore. I don’t have my whole life ahead of me. In recent years, I’ve become a lot more serious about attempting to have the career I never had when I was younger ad cared more about having a good time, mainly because I woke up one morning and saw myself heading down a path toward becoming a 62-year-old greeter at Walmart and it scared hell out of me.
Some of this lack of intensity or whatever is likely related to the lack of a social context in my life. I’ve never really been a social butterfly, but in recent years, I almost seem to have given up on the idea of having friends. I can see the progression; a lot of it started when Mark and I coupled. I’ve always been a person who needs a lot of time alone, and once we started living together, I became more and more stingy with the time I might have shared with my friends. Moving to North Carolina, where I really didn’t know anyone anymore, really increased my isolation, especially after Mark started working in San Francisco so much. Most of my closest friends probably had no idea what a dark period that was for me because, well, I wasn’t sharing it with anyone. I was unemployed, spending most of my time completely alone in an apartment on the east side of hell, and not doing much else. Throw in a little bit of cancer, the loss of any measurable self-esteem, and a financial paranoia that made me give up many of the things I still enjoyed (random, spontaneous travel is a good example) and you have my first two years back on the east coast.
It got better, obviously. I’ve reinvented myself these past few years and I’m generally happy with the results. Again, I’m not in my twenties anymore, and things will never be quite the same as they were then. My priorities have changed. I don’t drink and smoke. I’m not looking for a party. I don’t chase boys around till all hours of the night. And I have absolutely no desire to start doing so again, even though I have no regrets about doing it before. That’s not how I want to spend my time now. Alas, I’m often not sure how I do want to spent my time (which is a pretty big problem for me lately) but I’m pretty clear on how I don’t want to spend it.
Maybe I’ve just become too serious or just given in too completely to my midlife crisis. I feel like I’ve aged about ten years in the past two months. Granted, there have been some major external forces involved in that, but it didn’t happen in isolation. I very much fear becoming a boring, vaguely sad man that no one wants to be around. I also don’t want this to become a boring, vaguely sad website that no one wants to visit, so I’ll shut up soon.
I miss 1992, but it’s not coming back, and the 1992 version of me likely to return. Neither is the 2001, the 1986, nor the 1997. The trick is to figure out what the 2011 model should look like.
Sorry. I can’t let the new logo go, I guess…
A couple of email messages and a post I found on another site recently have clued me in to the fact that a lot of people seem to think I’ve moved to Pittsburgh. I guess I can see how the casual observer might come to this conclusion, what with my (relatively) new job, the fact that we own a house in Da Burgh, the fact that we’re trying to sell the house in Winston, the hubby‘s recent abandonement of San Francisco, etc. But the reality is that I still very much live in the Triad. Full-time, even. The reason we’re selling the house is to eliminate the thirty-mile commute to Greensboro that we both now face on a daily basis.
Again, we do still have a house in Pittsburgh. Mark has done wonderful things with it. And I visited it this weekend for the first time in almost five months. It’s a nice house in a nice city. It’s just not where I live.
I wanted to make that clear, since geography is inordinately important to me.
The whole insomnia thing has been getting much better of late, but last night was a big exception. A combination of factors kept me up most of the night, the aforementioned factors ranging from a really exhausting quick weekend trip to Pittsburgh to multiple work deadlines to some personal stuff. I’d prefer to have skipped the whole sleepless night, but since I was up anyway, I went ahead and drove into work really early and found that (1) the traffic was quite light at that predawn hour and (2) I was surprisingly productive once I got to work.
But it’s only 11:30 now and I’m already beat. Plus I have two more meetings to go today. I’ll update you if I care enough to bother by the end of the day.
Don’t hold your breath.
Hooray for random optimistic 1970s pop songs.
I have a Giant Eagle Advantage Card because I’m in Pittsburgh a few times a year. Like most of my other supermarket cards from around the country (yes, I have a lot of them), it’s registered under my Winston-Salem address. There’s not a Giant Eagle within about four hundred miles of here. You’d think their mailing list database software would recognize that based on my zip code and that I probably wouldn’t get postcards in the mail inviting me a to a one-day seafood sale on Saturday. You’d be wrong.
This isn’t really what I wanted to write about today but, hey, whatever…