I immediately hearken to “10:15 Saturday Night” by The Cure, although I’ve long stopped waiting for the telephone to ring. It seems that that long, dark tea-time of the soul hits me long before Sunday, and it’s kind of sad that I’ve forgotten how to enjoy a weekend on my own.
Usually, I take that 2 hours drive up to L.A. to see my parents and my brother, and even if they’re not around (since my brother has a girlfriend, and my parents have an unhealthy fascination with Native American casinos), at least there’s the dog for some company. So I haven’t really spent that much time down here in S.D. hanging out by myself.
Thus far, I have yet to find my niche.
In a fit of restlessness, and inspired by my explorations of the iTunes Music Store, I end up driving over to the Tower Records in the Midway area, which is happily open 24 hours a day. I haven’t really gone out there much past midnight, but it’s nice to know there’s somewhere to go when everything else is shut down.
Naturally I ended up spending quite a bit of money that I don’t have. I bought enough music to last me on a one-way trip from S.D. to S.F. if I so chose to head out there, but what with the holiday weekend coming up, I fear that that wouldn’t be the most pleasant of drives. I long ago swore off driving up and down California on holiday weekends after that one epic Thanksgiving where I nearly burst my bladder. (Ah, bittersweet memories of senior year of college, but I won’t go into them here.)
Ridiculously, I already have about a month’s worth of music on my hard drive (and yes I actually own the CDs, in case the RIAA is reading this) so God only knows I don’t need any more music. The size of my collection long ago outstripped the capacity of my iPod (I’m coming up on 60 GB, whereas my now ancient iPod is only 20 GB)
While at the Tower Records scavenging for random CDs I had previewed on iTMS, I slipped into a typical reverie. My cousin is getting married in about a month and a half, and naturally, my mom oh-so-casually asks me whether I’m bringing a date to the wedding. The answer is “no,” and of course she gets defensive about bringing it up, what with her passive-aggressively harrassing me to produce her some grandchildren these past few years. And I’m sort of resigned to the fact that, unless I manage to break out of my isolation cell and somehow grow emotionally and perhaps learn to trust people again, I’m going to live the rest of my days by my self. Not the worst fate in the world, and surely I have some adventures ahead of me nonetheless, but what disturbs me is that this state is in many ways entirely voluntary.
Meaning that if I had the strength of will, I could probably change and grow, and learn to trust, and learn to give of myself.
The key thing I need to learn and grow into is the almost alien concept that people actually like being around me. The mere thought of this leaves me laughing inside in disbelief, but without faith in this basic tenet, there ain’t no way anything is going to happen.
Pretty much since college, I’ve been in a defensive stance, not letting anyone past my emotional defenses. I made a few friends in med school, but I think a lot of that is simply the comradery of shared trauma. Not that I don’t have good friends from that bleak and barren time in my life, but the rest of my experiences merely reinforced my distrust of humanity. I probably met the worst people I will ever meet with whom I had no choice but to interact with. From here on out, while there are some unpleasant folks whose paths I will cross now and again, I pretty much get to choose who I work with, and I have little patience for assholishness these days. The concept of “my fist to your face” comes to mind whenever I ponder someone’s thoughtlessness and lack of understanding. (I swear I’m not a violent man. Not usually.)
The thing that sucks is that deep down maybe this is all just rooted in an elitist mindset. Fact of the matter is that I have limits with regards to other people’s idiosyncracies, and I think maybe I get annoyed too easily. I would say that the only person I can really stand is myself, but even that’s not true. There are days where I stew in self-loathing. Sometimes even weeks. Or months.
And then there’s this whole transferrence deal. Surely if I find most people annoying if I have to spend too much time with them, then they surely feel the same thing about me. Probably more so, since I’m likely more odious than most people.
Realistically, it’s just a deep-seated fear of rejection. Because chances are, people will find something they dislike in me long before I find something I dislike in them, and I don’t want to be the needy guy tagging along with someone who finds me annoying.
No one likes desperation.
And yet: how do you not act desperate when you are desperate?
What I need is a more bullet-proof ego, but I can’t see how to go about obtaining one without succumbing to self-delusion. I’m just not the kind of guy that everyone likes being around. I’m not the fun guy who’s always going to parties and always having a good time. Not that that’s my ideal in life, but I’m so not that guy that it’s not even funny. I think I probably spend most of my time brooding morosely on how fucked up the universe is and being pessimistic. Not exactly the ideal dinner companion, you know?
I just seems safer to keep my neuroses to myself. But safe never really wins people over. I think that life, and love, is all about how much you’re willing to risk, and without the risk of loss, there is no chance for success.
What I need is a psychiatrist, whom I can spill all these ridiculous fears to, who will tell me that this is normal, or more likely, that this is abnormal precisely in a way that they’ve seen before.
Naturally, all these thoughts spring upon me as I am beset by a rather attractive woman with whom I nearly collide with in the Pop/Rock aisles as I obsessively wade through the stacks and stacks of CDs. She patiently says “excuse me” and suffers me to pass by her despite my invasion of her personal space. I’ve seen her here before, actually, and it seems she’s a regular denizen of these parts, but there’s just no way in hell I’m brave enough to try to start a conversation with her, so I head out to the counter and pay for my stuff, leaving me to ponder my inadequacies.
I also ponder a woman I work with who has apparently recently hooked up with a guy I know, who once commented that I was way too nice. (The figurative gunshot through the head.) And then there is the woman who is engaged to be married with whom I can’t have a normal conversation because I am too enamored with her and I always end up stammering and looking like a total moron, an event that repeated itself once again yesterday as I passed her by in the hallway at work.
Some part of me is forever stuck in high school, or worse yet, junior high, and the rest of me is too cynical to ever nurture that romantic part of me into adulthood.
I think the only reason this bothers me so much is because of my overachieving attitude. I’m the type of person who knows that the easy way is the coward’s way. This is exactly the machismo attitude that shanghaied me into my current career. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love what I’m doing, but sometimes I wonder where I would’ve ended up if I had decided to forego the path not taken, and simply went with the flow instead.
I’m the type of guy who has to always do things the hard way. To quote a character from Neuromancer, “I never did like to do anything simply when I could do it ass-backwards.” This, unfortunately, tends to cause severe and sometimes unspeakable emotional pain, so I’m sort of trapped in this “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” type of universe. I suppose it could always be worse, and clearly I am not suffering as much as I used to (thanks mostly to the wonders of the pharmaceutical industry), but it’s still the same old dilemma. To sit here and suffer, or to take a risk and suffer.
One of these days, I’m going to have to learn a little about hope. Where to begin, I wonder?