My Sobriety is…Meh

Today is my fourth day sober. It’s nothing to celebrate, but after the past month it kinda is. Before this recent streak, I had been drunk for nearly three weeks. Not perpetually drunk but just drinking everyday. The worst days were those where I pounded down 15 or 18 beers (although it’s hard to count after that many drinks) and the best days were those where I “only” had six. It was a mess and my life was a blur.

Only one day out of those three weeks did I stay sober. Somehow, during all the haze, I called the airport and scheduled a flight lesson to become current with flying again (three landings in the past 90 days). The night before that I didn’t drink because one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t want to fly a plane hungover; you get hot, you sweat, you get airsick, and everything is generally awful and uncomfortable. Add in the anxiety of an instructor judging your skills the entire flight and it’s a recipe for disaster.

The flight went okay, by the way. He was impressed with my professional flying skills, until my first landing that is. I bounced the plane three damn times and it was embarrassing like nothing else. Here you are trying to show an instructor that you’re good to fly and you bounce the plane a few hundred feet down the runway. Yikes. I vaguely remember trying to get the plane under control while muttering to my instructor over the intercom, “God…..damnit. Jeez…Man…” as we hit the ground, went back up, hit the ground again, went back up, until the plane finally decided to land.

The mighty Cessna 172 SKYCOCK

I told my therapist about my total two-week binge (it was only two-weeks at the time) fearing she’d shit all over me and tell me to get the hell out of her office. How I’ve fallen, how much progress I’ve pissed away since the start of the year. Remember the “drink once a week” goal from January? Whoops. Surprisingly she almost seemed supportive of it, mostly worried that I was drinking to cope. “No,” I said, “I don’t know why I’ve been drinking so much. I’ve been in a good mood and I’m not depressed or anything. It just seems like something to do I guess.” She kinda smiled and said something along the lines of, “Well, sometimes you need to do whatever works, and if you’re mood has been good…” That sounds really bad but it wasn’t worded that strongly; she didn’t seem to be encouraging me to drink. Like she was acknowledging that maybe there was some reason for it all and that maybe I had to abuse my body until I felt I was done with it or something. What she said felt very cryptic.

And damn if there doesn’t seem to be some good to it all. In the final week of my binge I was starting to feel pretty worn down. Just tired and exhausted and burned out all the time and feeling like I should take a break for a bit. Not for my mental health (because I wasn’t suffering from depression/anxiety issues for some reason) but for my physical health. Anyone who has drank that much should know what I’m talking about here. That ever-present exhaustion with life that comes with drinking all the time.

I also realized that I wasn’t taking sleeping pills every night either. I used to have issues with sleeping, but during my binge I wasn’t taking many pills to sleep. Sure, I’d stay up until 5 a.m. but I’d go to sleep “naturally” (minus the alcohol, of course) without the need for Benadryls or Alka-Seltzer Night TimeLemon Flavor. In my three-week binge totally abusing alcohol I somehow stopped taking sleeping meds like I had been doing the past three or four months. Is this progress?

And towards the end of my binge I realized I wasn’t even drinking coffee when I woke up like I usually did. Sure, I’d try to drink my usual three or four cups of coffee, but when you’re hungover, jittery, anxious, hot, sweaty, and nauseous the last thing your body really wants or needs is caffeine. I’d make my coffee, drink maybe half of it, and head off to work. As before, is this progress?

I decided I’d just stop consuming caffeine and sleeping meds during the final days of my drinking binge. The sleeping pills were mostly gone, but I was still weary of the dreaded caffeine withdrawal, most terrifying of the symptoms being the headaches. Caffeine headaches aren’t like any other kind of headaches, and luckily I can’t explain why they’re different because I weened myself off coffee this time. Sunday, I had two cups, and Monday I had singular cup of coffee, just enough to ward off the headaches. But Tuesday, my first sober day with alcohol, was also my first day with zero caffeine. I was mildly hungover and sleepy and really wanted a cup of coffee, but stayed strong and felt okay the entire day.

I did have a Coke from Chick-Fil-A today but that’s like, what 90 mg of the stuff at most? That’s not going to do anything and my main goal was to not require like hundreds of milligrams of the drug to function during the day which I’m glad to say I’m succeeding at.

It really makes me notice how much I’ve been forcing my body to do what I want it to do by using drugs. Can’t sleep and want to sleep? Benadryl/Alka-Seltzer. Wake up groggy and nonfunctioning (probably due to the Benadryl at 3 a.m.): caffeine! Hundreds of milligrams of caffeine! Can’t sleep because of the caffeine? Benadryl! And repeat this over and over. By not taking either of these drugs that seem to lead to the other, it’s like I’ve broken the cycle and don’t need them anymore. I feel worn out and tired at the end of the day and it’s a healthy and natural exhaustion; my body is ready to sleep and does so easily. Amazingly, I even wake up and not feel dead either! Who would’ve guessed! Sure I still need my nicotine to get going, but it’s tons better than needing nicotine and caffeine to wake up.

It’s strange that by abusing alcohol for three weeks I’ve somehow came to this random idea to not drink caffeine or take sleeping pills every night. I doubt this is what the therapist was hoping I’d do, but I still feel like I’ve made some positive life choices by abusing alcohol for three weeks. I’m not saying that if you want to stop drinking coffee or needing pills to sleep you should go on a three-week drinking binge (any week-long drinking binge isn’t smart for any reason) but I’m rather surprised that’s what it took to get me where I am. I’ll take any minimal form of progress I can and try to be happy with it.

The Verizon Karen Sucks (and something about repairing your phone)

So there we were waiting in line at the Verizon store immediately in front of some pregnant lady who was bitching on the phone to someone about her plight.

“I have an online order and I have to wait in line? What kind of shit is that? I’m thirty-two weeks pregnant and I have to stand here in this heat? Even if I have an online order? Yes, yes it’s bullshit? Total bullshit. Uh uh. Exactly. Yes, yes I might call and make a complaint about this…”

And while I was sitting cross-legged on the pavement I glanced up at my wife and took a massive pull from my vape. She met my eyes and we exchanged mutual looks. “Really?” We both asked without words. “Is this type of person really behind us?” A few subtle eye rolls, frowns, and glances up at the sky both communicated that we were on the same page here; we had a Karen behind us and we were both miserable because of it.

I said to my wife, “Wow, I wish I had my phone right now. I have some really good inspiration for a blog post. Lot’s of good ideas going on in my mind right now.” She smiled, knowing I have a blog called Everything Sucks where I bitch about random facets of life. She knew exactly what my “inspiration” was all about while Karen had no idea I was shitting all over her.

My Goddamn Phone…

This all has quite a backstory starting years ago. I’m cheap as fuck. I love to make things last. I’m a DIYer at heart. I like fixing things. I love learning new things. And one of the most difficult and cost-effective ways to utilize these traits is with cell phones. These bad boys, totally new, can run you near $1,000 (especially if you’re one of those Apple fanbois) and to me it’s imperative that you do all you can do to make them last as long as possible. Take care of them and repair them. To me, the longer you can make a shitty, old phone last the longer you can postpone buying a really expensive new one, and the more money you can save. Every month with an old phone is a month you don’t have to pay for a new one.

One of the first things that wear out with phones is the battery, and this is simply due to the chemistry and physics of how lithium-ion batteries work. Years ago you could actually buy and replace a phone’s battery, but now most phones have a permanent internal battery that you can’t easily access. This naturally limits your phone’s life to a few years at most before it doesn’t hold jack-shit for charge. The first fact of owning an old phone is the battery degradation and you must face that fact eventually.

So to breathe some new life into my old Samsung S7 I set about changing the battery a few months ago. I had to remove the back glass cover and tear a bunch of internal components out to get to it, but holy fuck, I did it. I was successful. I changed the S7’s internal battery giving my 2.5 year old phone a new life. Sure I busted the rear glass in the process, but it worked and I was proud of myself and proud of my new-found phone-fixing abilities.

Hell, I even replaced the cracked rear glass cover a month ago which was surprisingly easy. I was getting good at this whole phone repair business.

A few weeks ago at work I busted the front screen of my phone. I don’t even know how it happened either. I put my phone into my pocket, went up into the airplane, and started pushing cans around to unload it. When we had some downtime I took my phone out and the screen was cracked. How the hell did that happen? I had no idea. Anyways, since I had such major success changing my phone’s battery and rear panel, I started to think about how difficult it would be to change the busted front glass screen as well. Amazon had replacement glasses for only $15, so I bought one and set about replacing it.

You can find a lot of useful information on the Amazon reviews of a product, and the glass replacement was no different. Strangely, most of the reviews said something like, “DO NOT TRY THIS REPAIR ON YOUR OWN, YOU WILL BREAK YOUR PHONE! This is a repair that should only be undertaken by those who know what their doing!” Yeah, whatever, who gives a shit. I’m a pro: I know what I’m doing.

So, Friday. I’m sure you can see where this story is going. I finally attempted to change my phone’s busted glass screen and totally fucked it up and bricked my phone in the process. Apparently (and like the Amazon reviews warned) the screen digitizer — the thing that actually is your phone screen — is placed like right upon the glass cover. I didn’t really realize this so totally pried the screen — along with the very important digitizer — up from the rest of the phone, cutting and tearing the hardware ribbon that connected it to the rest of the phone. I turned the phone on and there was nothing on the whatever-grey-thing that’s underneath the digitizer.

Ooops…

And Onto Verizon…

It was about 3:30 p.m. on Friday when all of this went down and I needed to have a phone. I use the damn thing so much for work and leisure and stocks and writing that I couldn’t possibly go without one. A quick Google search said our local Verizon store closed at 5 p.m. meaning we’d have to get the fuck out of the house quickly to get a new phone. You know, before the weekend. Before everything was closed. Before I’d be out of a phone for three days wondering what the hell to do with my hands in the meantime.

The Verizon store had a line outside of it (thanks to COVID) about 5 people long. I didn’t know how long this would take, but we had 40 minutes before the store closed. Everyone in the line seemed cool, patiently waiting their turn to go shop or pick up their internet orders or whatever. I sat on the pavement cross-legged and tried to look like a peaceful and wise Buddhist monk as we all fucking waited to be served.

Then Karen showed up. She walked right to the door of the store — right past the 6 or 7 of people clearly waiting in line — and tried to open the door. It was locked and she seemed pissed. I wasn’t paying much attention at the time because she was just some pregnant women trying to shop at Verizon and wasn’t a total Karen yet, but she soon made her name known. Some employee came out and talked to her, and she said something about her internet order that she needed to pick up, and was directed to the back of the line, right behind my wife and I. She promptly called someone and started bitching about the entire situation and how terrible and bullshit it was for her. As stated before, here was a thirty-two week pregnant lady who had to stand outside of a store for her internet order, and why couldn’t they just service her first? Because she was thirty-two weeks pregnant and hot and miserable and everything. And hell, her two-year old was sitting in the car with it running because she needed AC and she didn’t have AC because she had to stand outside the store waiting. It was total bullshit to her — some massive offense against her and her trials and struggles of being pregnant — and the company should be ashamed of itself.

Look, I try to be understandable to anyone and the shit they’re going through, but the instant someone seems entitled to something, any sympathy I have instantly disappears. Like, poof, gone, fuck you. Yes, I know being pregnant in June probably isn’t comfortable at all, but with all the bitching and appearing like you’re some fucking queen that needs to be catered to, please kindly fuck off.

I also have a zero patience for anyone bitching about problems that they caused themselves. It’s like if I woke up hungover and complained about it; well, I think maybe I had something to do with my misery so why bitch about it? Or my goddamn phone: yes, I tore it apart and fucked it up, but I wasn’t complaining about it like it was some random chance event that happened to me. A tree didn’t fall on my phone and break it. God had nothing to do with it. It was my fault so how could I bitch about it? But this lady was totally complaining that her toddler was in the car with the AC going wasting her gas? For fuck sake, take her out, shut the car off, and let her wait in line with you! Or her bitching about being thirty two weeks pregnant? Once again, I think she might’ve had something to do with getting pregnant (unless she’s Mother Mary #2), so bitching about it seems so…pointless, I guess? Like fuck, Verizon didn’t get you pregnant, and maybe you should’ve known that getting knocked-up in fall/winter of 2019 would mean that you’d be in your final trimester in the fucking hot and humid months of June/July/August. It should be known and accepted. And COVID? Fuck, we’re all waiting in line and no one is happy about it, but what else are we supposed to do? We’re all in the same goddamn boat waiting in line outside of Verizon on a hot and humid day and only she seemed like it was some affront to her humanity or her condition or something.

Not that I was in a good mood myself either. Everything in my life was going wrong. Any step I took to fix something somehow backfired. Hence the phone. I tried to save money by fixing it, and ended up breaking the fuck out of it because I didn’t know what I was doing. We had just gotten our car back from the dealership only to have it fuck up again on the way to work. Nothing was going right, and all I wanted was something to go right. I was at Verizon to fix a problem I had caused for myself and the entire trip was like some insult to my ability to actually fix my phone and have something actually work out. I’d soon be out about $600 because I fucked up. I needed some goddamn positivity and had about zero patience to deal with anything negative, especially some random lady bitching about her life behind me in the line. I was waiting for her to say something to us — anything — and was ready to blurt out a blatantly honest, “Look, I have enough bad shit going on in my life right now and I don’t need anymore negativity. Sorry.”

Eventually after about ten or fifteen minutes Verizon got their shit together, talked to her, found her order, and hauled it out to her. She kinda acted nice, said “thank you,” and waddled her thirty-two week pregnant ass back to her car, running with the AC on, with her two-year old desperately trying to undo her carseat’s belts and fasteners. I felt kinda bad for the kids — the two-year-old and the unborn one — because she seemed like a total bitch of a mom. Like one that will fuck their kids up in some unrepairable way in the next few decades. Hell, the kids might even end up just like their mom; another couple of Karens to haunt Gen A or Gen B kids (or whatever comes after Gen Z) as they wait outside stores during a pandemic. The cycle repeats, something about the Wheel Weaves and the Wheel Wills or something. I don’t know. 

Everyone glanced at everyone else in line, all kinda silently agreeing that “Wow, glad that bitch is gone. Geez.” and there seemed to be a thin form of comradery as we all waited in line and finally got rid of our Karen. Then everyone went back to their phones, conversations, and I continued to sit and vape, trying to play the part of the enlightened Buddhist monk outside Verizon on a Friday. Accepting of the universe and taking each moment as it came and went.

Reopening Sucks

George Floyd, the martyr in the recent round of protests against police brutality, was murdered May 25, 2020 (on Memorial Day), about exactly a month ago.

Conspiracy theorist always seem to get about the first 5% of things right before the next 95% of “facts” go totally off the damn rails. It doesn’t take a detective to realize that social media — and nearly all forms of media — are totally dominated by a fuckton of right-wing cultists spewing total bullshit about whatever topic is available to be bitched about. COVID, Black Lives Matter, vaccines, Trump, etc. But the 5% they’re right on, the first 5% that might be the jumping off point for some total craziness, goes something like this, “People listen way too much to the media. People believe whatever their told!” (The typo is surprisingly fitting here. Also pointing to the fact that they have their own forms of media that they blindly follow, i.e. a random dude on YouTube.) After that the craziness really ensues.

But fuck if they’re not right for that initial 5%. Not that the rest of their shit is right — COVID is a hoax, etc. — but the foundation seems true enough. As stated, George Floyd was murdered by police on May 25, 2020. And it’s hard to gauge, but as the protests around his murder really kicked off in late-May/early-June, America seemed to totally forget about COVID entirely. We’ve given up, decided it wasn’t anything to worry about, that we’ve beaten it, and we’ve decided to move on.

I partially blame the media, along with the 5% factual shit from above, for totally misleading the population, not on purpose but because that’s what they do for money/ratings. And I also blame the population for being so damn dumb that they only consider what is being reported as important, usually one big topic at a time. The world is a complex place and just because media doesn’t report on shit doesn’t mean it’s not occurring. Remember the Australian wildfires? Did those ever go out or did the media stop reporting on it as COVID ramped up? Remember the Brazilian rainforest being wrecked for farmland? Did we win that battle or did the media go silent? And was COVID conquered simply because the news pivoted to stories about protests and riots? You’d think so if you’ve only checked out Facebook or other social media. Everyone seems to be hopelessly fixed on the zeitgeist of the day/week and blindly follows it, whatever the media decides is important enough to report on at the time. I’m guilty of this myself, having written two posts about racism in the past week. As a blogger I feel I need to chase around “relevancy” in whatever form it takes, but somehow COVID has been lurking in my mind for awhile. Is it really over or did we just move the fuck on and decide we don’t want to worry about it anymore?

It’s obviously the latter: not that many people seem to be aware of it if it’s not constantly reported on. I had a COVID test about a month ago and was off of work for over a week until I got my results back. They were negative and I went back to work to find a slightly altered workplace. No one was wearing masks anymore and it seemed as soon as June 1st rolled around people stopped caring. The gas station I frequent for beer used to have a sign saying something like “A FACE MASK/BANDANA IS REQUIRED TO ENTER THE STORE” which disappeared when June rolled around. Another gas station, in the bumfuck redneck town of Winnebago, Illinois, had a sign on the door stating they required facemasks for all customers. I didn’t have mine so cautiously opened the door to gauge the reaction of people inside; no one had a mask on and didn’t seem to give a damn that I also didn’t have a mask on. No one gave a shit wherever I went after May ended. So I also didn’t give a shit which is probably the wrong thing to do.

“WHO GIVES A SHIT?! It’s an RPG boys, story doesn’t matter; it’s all about the action. Now let’s get down to business…”

-Videogamedunkey in his “Dunk Souls” video upon skipping the introductory cutscene and all the context of the game it offers. I’ve found myself blurting out “WHO GIVES A SHIT? STORY DOESN’T MATTER,” in regards to COVID recently.

I think in May our governor J.B. Pritzker tried to keep Illinois shutdown until July. He was then promptly sued because you know, rights and stuff — peoples rights to shop without a mask or work or something — and the court ruled in their favor. I still don’t know the details but it seemed Illinois would open up somewhat in June. Outdoor seating at restaurants, limited people in stores, with the stores opening at least among other things.

As a quick side note, I’ve realized that tagging these posts with “Pritzker Sucks” seems to rake in the views even though I support the guy. I won’t shit on him here because I think he’s done a good job taking COVID seriously, but I’m still going to tag this post with a “Pritzker Sucks” just to rake in those conservative views, and maybe anger some when they realize I like the guy and his handling of COVID. So yes, ironically, Fuck Pritzker. And Fuck Trump while we’re at it, but unironically this time. Thanks for reading right-wingers.

Social media has, along with the media, pivoted pretty strongly to being about riots. My knowledge of the news usually comes from trolling the front page of Reddit — anything newsworthy enough is usually upvoted enough to make it to the front page — or seeing the hyped-up dramatic shit I see on social media like Facebook. It’s pretty obvious, but in this environment COVID has all but disappeared. And it exits your consciousness where you’re not even aware that’s it’s still an issue. Luckily, gaps in the reporting still appear. I follow a chemist on Facebook and her main goal over the past few months appears to be to scream about COVID and how it’s still a threat. This doesn’t get reported but you know when a scientist/chemist is still screaming about something sciency, it’s still a problem. And even on Reddit the occasional post, like this following chart from r/dataisbeautiful, obviously show that COVID cases are still on the rise, especially in southern and western states. Let’s also not disregard the occasional r/news or r/worldnews posts with headlines like, “[State Name] has reported its highest single-day cases of COVID-19 with [number] reported on [date/day of the week].”

Something about seeing data in graphical form makes the trends instantly visible. It’s beautiful really. Source link right here boys.

COVID seems different as well because it’s a biological threat. Consider the Australian wildfires as an example; sure, even if the media doesn’t report on them they’re still raging, but this isn’t a direct threat to anyone in the United States or the rest of the world. In this case, ignorance is bliss and pretending like it’s not happening doesn’t really have a negative effect on the world. I think most news stories are like this — sure Trump conjured up a new stupid Twitter post to toss the media off his trail and allow the public to forget his last stupid Twitter post — but I doubt this has much an effect on anything. COVID? COVID, being a goddamn virus, doesn’t give a shit that it isn’t at the forefront of American knowledge because it’s going to do whatever the fuck it wants to do. In short, ignoring COVID — unlike ignoring Trump’s Twitter feed/the media’s reporting on it — will not benefit anyone. In fact it’ll only make the problem worse. As more people stop thinking that it’s a threat, the more that will let their guard down, and the more that will be infected. And they’ll go on to affect everyone else that’s let their guard down. And so on.

I find it strange that Americans have all but given up fighting COVID or being concerned about it. Shops, stores, and restaurants are opening back up. People are going back to work. States are opening up. Testing is still shit. But hey, it’s June, it’s summer, and people can’t wait to get out and live their lives that have been on hold for a few months. And holy hell is everyone ready to take off the masks that they claim they unironically Can’t Breathe in. We’re just going to ignore the climbing COVID numbers and pretend like nothing is happening. It’s the classic American way: close your eyes, plug your ears, and scream “La la la!” at the top of your lungs. Everything is fine. No, really. It’s fine.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Fear and Loathing on my 34th Birthday Sucks

Well, today is sadly June 22 and I’m officially thirty-four years old. I suppose this isn’t quite true until 9:50 a.m. but still, close enough. I’m thirty-four, and what does all of this even mean?

Probably nothing but I still can’t shake the dirty feeling that overtakes you when turning a year older, especially while in your thirties. It’s a mix of emotions that is hard to really process and make sense of. I feel old, but in a strange and unclear way. Not like old-old where I’m going to die soon and not old where I know it’s well past time to work on my goals and dreams. No, it’s like an intermediate old where you know time is running out and it’s about time to get working on your dreams and goals because it’s about past time when you can actually do these things. Over this time it’s time to settle down and find comfort in your life, relax, and reap the seeds you’ve sowed in your teens and twenties. But what if, like me, you haven’t sown any seeds? What if you’re still cruising through life at the ripe age in the mid-thirties still not knowing what you want to actually do in life? What if you’re so misguided that you still feel mentally like a damn teenager where the world still doesn’t make sense? At the cusp of my thirty-fourth birthday this is how I feel: like someone who should have everything figured out but who feels as dumb and clueless as they did nearly twenty years ago.

It’s hard to not shit all over yourself during times of reflection like these. They naturally led your mind to the thought of, “What have I accomplished? What does my life mean?” and I regretfully come up with nothing notable to mention. Thirty-four. Say it again. I’ve had thirty-four years to figure out what the hell my life means, what I want to do, and haven’t came to anything notable. Halfway to thirty-four? Seventeen. Still as clueless as I am now, but still somehow younger, naive, and more full of potential that I still haven’t realized. Fuck, halfway during my current life I was seventeen: Fuck. I don’t know how to even process that. It seems so long ago but yet still so familiar because I’m still the same person really. I feel just as I did halfway through my life years ago: still clueless, still lost, but with some hope that the future might clear something up for me. Protip: It Didn’t. I won’t. Time doesn’t clear shit up for anyone. If you’re in your teens and twenties and vibing with what I’m writing, you’re in for some shit. You’re just like me. You’ll never figure it out, you’ll never know what you want to do. And you better find solace in this fact wherever you can.

I project forward to when sixty-eight years old: the point that I’m halfway towards. I remember being twenty and projecting forwards to forty. There was still plenty of time between forty and the probable end of my life so it wasn’t a big deal. But now being halfway to sixty-eight? Doesn’t the average American male die at seventy-four? Seriously, I’m likely halfway through my life and haven’t accomplished a damn thing really. Fuck. This is scary. Halfway. I’m here. This is it. Time to clear shit up and get my stuff in order. Finish the race on a strong note.

Let’s also not forget that my lifestyle will probably kill me well before I reach seventy, and sometimes I’m worried I’ll die before I’m fifty or fourty. And how do you deal with that fact that you could be 80% finished with your life at thirty-four years old?

As much as I love self-hatred, I still can’t get over some aspect of loving myself. I still think I have something to offer the world — that I’m special in some way — and that I haven’t realized how to channel it yet. It’s a struggle of how to view yourself that I can’t fully explain. I just can’t get over the fact that, yes, I might have something special and meaningful to offer the world and I just can’t seem to realize it and capitalize on it. Like I have all the talents needed to make something of my life but just can’t seem to put it all together into something useful. Like I’ve squandered any gifts that have been given to me and after thirty-four years I still can’t realize how to use the gifts that are somehow inherently what makes me, Jeremy, unique and special.

It leads to a feeling of uselessness: if I haven’t discovered this in thirty-four years, why would I learn it in the next year? The next five? The next ten? Or even the next thirty-four years when I’m likely to be near the end of my life? My life seems to be a mess of squandering anything good given to me in some twisted form of self-destruction. I could’ve been an airline pilot by now had I made the right choices. Hell, I could’ve been anything by now had I made the right choices. But what am I? Some blogger dude who works at UPS, still struggling and floundering to do something notable in the face of total failure that can’t seem to be proud of anything he has accomplished. Today is my thirty-fourth birthday, and it’s going to be a bland day indeed. Another day, another orbit around the sun, and another year of not doing a goddamn thing to further myself. Another day and year to squander my gifts. So, cheers, here’s to another year on the planet Earth…

My Own Racism Sucks

This is the second part to this post. At the end of that post I said something like, “My main racist crime?: I don’t use checkout lines with black people as the cashier. Like subconsciously.”

That’s kinda a lie really. It was a clickbaity end to my last post, honestly, and I feel kinda bad about it in retrospect. I’m not nearly that twisted of a person — claiming to be against racism while not using any checkout lines staffed by African Americans — and my own reality is much more blurry than that. Let me explain a bit.

Everything else being equal, I’ve noticed I choose white cashiers over blacks, with the key phrase here being everything being equal. Obviously if a black person has no one in their line and some white person has three people in their line, I’d choose the black person. It makes sense. I’m pragmatic as hell and I think this is how everyone should be; if all races are equal (as I believe) you shouldn’t even use race as a deciding factor to which goddamn checkout line you use. White or black doesn’t matter because I just want to get the fuck out of Walmart as quickly as possible. Simply choose who has the shortest line and get the hell out of there! I’ve taken solace in my coldness in choosing checkout lanes but I’ve noticed something strange when these two hypothetical lines are equal in length. Whose line do I choose: the African-American cashier or the White cashier? Surprisingly, this is when my latent racisms really popped into view. I’d pick the white cashier over the black cashier for reasons that didn’t seem really clear to me. And I never even really thought about it; it was just something that happened. Something about the white cashier seemed more ‘familiar’ to me or something. But once I realized this the question then turned into “Why am I this way?”

When I realized this I was kinda shocked. Like I said, I try to be pragmatic as possible — which line has the shortest wait because I really don’t give a shit who checks me out — but I found it strange that race would somehow be taken into account in absence of anything else. And it’s a quiet, subtle thing that’s hard to really notice or process because you’re not aware that it’s happening, especially when you view yourself as not racist or anything, but yet, here was this tendency to pick a cashier with a skin color closer to myself. It’s kinda scary when you realize your brain works this way.

The way my brain works goes something along the lines of “familiarity”: white people seem more “like me” culturally and socially than others with a different skin color which is totally bullshit but how it feels in the moment. That’s my natural tendency, like it’s harder to ‘understand’ the cashier if they’re a different race then you are. Once again, total bullshit, but this is what my mind does. It’s strange to realize this almost naturally naturally occurs. It’s something deeply ingrained and something you naturally do without questioning it, with zero ill-will against anyone involved. It’s just how your brain seems to work.

And racism in this form is a natural thing I think: it’s a holdover from our caveman days like everything else we suffer from. Here in 2020 with all of the fancy technological achievements we have, we are still hopelessly biological cavemen hindered by all the shitty evolutionary holdovers we have from the good ole days. You know, shit like social approval, success, being accepted by the group, etc. and this is one of them. I have zero references here but we are a hopelessly tribal species where our brains inherently group people into those that are with us and against us. I think this doesn’t need much evidence really because whenever I see someone with a Trump flag in their yard I instantly count them as “one of Them” while someone with a Bernie sticker on their car is “one of Us.” Us vs. Them always. It doesn’t stop there either. Football teams, the Bears/Packers rivalry, Republicans/Democrats, Liberals/Conservatives, and so on. We cut up teams based upon silly shit all the time and it’s no surprise that separate teams — subconsciously and unknowingly — in terms of race as well. White/Blacks. White/Mexicans. Americans/Immigrants. White/Arabic. White/Asian. Those similar to us and those dissimilar to use; those of the opposing tribe. Those not totally against us but those who aren’t exactly like us. A different team and a different tribe. An old evolutionary holdover that doesn’t make much sense currently but something that we’re all susceptible to because we’re all hopelessly prehistoric cavemen in a hopelessly complex world.

After realizing this tendency, it’s natural to wonder how you can even solve the problem. There is no easy way forward because you’re so hopelessly biased. But it’s freeing in a way to realize how you are, and this simple realization gives you a way forward despite any clear answers to your questions. After I realized this strange trait about myself — even with no answer to why I was this way — I could move forward. Just knowing my tendencies allowed me to counteract them consciously. Now, all things being equal at shitty Walmart, I make a conscious effort to change my ways and pick an African cashier over a White cashier. I don’t have any great success stories about this because with such a subtle problem it’s hard to see any clear benefits to changing your ways, but there are a few side notes. Black people don’t seem to judge the fuck out of my alcohol purchases the way old White women do, and they seem to be much more open and honest about how shitty their lives are. Everyone working at Walmart seems to hate their lives, and it’s only the White people that seem to try to put a cover of dignity over how they feel. I seem to have found some honesty that doesn’t exist with the White cashiers always acting and lying about how they really feel, and even if the African cashier is rude as fuck it seems to come from a genuine place of frustration that the White’s don’t seem to have. You can’t help but appreciate this honestly. This almost seems like stereotyping in the reverse, or still grouping individuals into groups, but still. I think I’m growing as a person in this way.

So as my Facebook friend suggested, and as I took it in a way totally unintended, I’ve been self-reflecting on racism and have stumbled upon the fact that I am an unknowing racist, albeit in a totally undramatic way. And tying this back with my prior post about “subtle racism” I think this is a fitting conclusion to the post. The problem with racism is that it doesn’t fly directly into your face as racism — it’s quiet comments from family members/friends and in the tendencies we all hold even if we aren’t aware of them — and this makes racism hard to combat. While we’re all willing to shout down Nazis on the corner of the street, it’s much more difficult to shout down your racist neighbor who talks about “those people.” It hides in the shadows. It isn’t obvious. And if there’s one thing I’ve realized, it’s so quiet that it might reside within yourself as a tiny and unnoticeable form that you might not even notice that you harbor the demon. Search within yourself. We’re all equal, and ask yourself if you really might be the problem you’ve been fighting all along.

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Subtle Racism Sucks

This is a topic I’ve been mulling over writing about for over a year now and it simply hasn’t come together, until now that is. I’ve been inspired to write this post because of some random video a friend of mine from high school shared on Facebook of all places. As much as I bitch about Facebook it’s nice to see someone pull through with a post that is heartfelt, meaningful, and gets your mind thinking a bit.

So about that video. She posted a five-minute long video that was just her talking. This person doesn’t fuck around on social media and if she posted a five-minute long video of her talking I knew something was being said and I wasn’t disappointed. She hit the current situation (the protests, Black Lives Matter, the police, racism, #AlLlIvEsMaTtEr, etc.) clearly, directly, and it definitely hit hard. 

To sum it all up, she said something about self-reflecting about the beliefs we all hold. Easy, right? I’m not racist at all so there isn’t much to reflect upon. She also said the stupidly deep line that went something like, “It isn’t our black friends that need to solve racism; that is up to us to solve, because we are the problem.” Obviously not all white people are the issue and the ‘we’ is a generalization of the white race, but racism is inherently a problem with non-black people by definition. Well, I’ve never thought about it that way before; until now I’ve viewed the recent protests as a conflict between the cops and blacks — I’m not black or a cop so what can I do about any of it? But regarding systemic racism and me being a white person? Maybe I do have a part in it after all. Maybe I am part of the problem? Maybe I am part of the solution.

But I’m not racist, at least as far as I know. But here at this blog I try to remain as open and honest as I’m able and have been wondering if I’m part of the problem after all. One thing I’ve noticed about racism is that it’s really subtle; it isn’t people in the streets chanting that they hate ‘niggers’ or anything. It’s much more quiet and repressed than that.

Subtle Racism in the World…

I recall a conversation in college about PC culture. Political correctness if you’re unaware of the term. The question was this: does PC culture help eliminate racism/hate or not? Most of the class seemed to agree, thinking that if it was taboo to call blacks ‘niggers’ or gays ‘faggots’ that it would somehow solve the problem. If everyone is too scared to say the words in public, it’s like the problem doesn’t really exist. It never has room to grow into full-fledged hatred. I was one of the few dissenters, arguing that eliminating language or making it unacceptable didn’t remove the true feelings behind the thoughts; people will feel what they feel even if they can’t put it into words. To me PC culture was an utter failure because while it dissuaded people from being vocal about their feelings, those feelings still existed, and to me it felt like a ticking time bomb.

Racism still exists in subtle forms, and I really think this might be due to our heavy PC culture in the past few decades. I think of my dad and how any black man walking along the street is “looking to buy drugs,” or whatever. Not like any African American can actually enjoy a walk or anything: they’re always assumed to be up to something shady. Or the fabled, “He’s one of the good ones,” when a white person has one as their friend. As if blacks have to prove they’re “one of the goods ones:” implying that they’re bad or flawed by default. There are a few other examples about Mexicans being lazy or criminals, but I don’t have any specifics to add here. Once again, racism isn’t white people calling blacks ‘niggers’ or anything; it’s much more subtle than that and we overlook most of this closeted racism.

I suppose my worry with this subtle, quiet racism is that given the correct environment (basically our current environment…) racism like this can grow and fester like a disease. Sure, people can’t say the n-word due to political correctness, but what if it becomes the norm? What if hatred to other races becomes acceptable and even desired by the dominant social trends of the day? Then it becomes cool to call blacks slurs, to hate openly instead of hiding it within. It becomes public, a sort of demon that no one can stop, and this is the Real Racism — like 1930s German Racism — that I find so damn terrifying even if it doesn’t currently exist. I’m sure a large portion of the population feels these quiet but repressed feelings of hate where there’s only some fragile, poorly-fortified damn stopping these feelings from spilling over into the mainstream. And this damn is us quiet, timid, well-meaning people of the world.

My Facebook friend’s main point in her video seemed to be about correcting your fellow humans about subtly racist comments and actions that your quietly-racist uncle/dad likes to randomly spout out. Show that you’re not accepting of any form of subtle hate. Make a stand. Say something. Don’t make it okay. Sure, someone who blurts out, “That’s gay,” I would correct, but this seems obvious and easy enough to implement and only requires courage to actually speak up. But with self-reflection I began wondering if I had some subtle form of racism that I wasn’t aware of. And here’s where we get to the old blog post that I’ve never gotten around to writing: Yes, I’m prejudiced. Yes, I’m biased. And it’s in a way I’m not even fully understand. It’s also in a totally undramatic and seemingly harmless way that sounds stupid and pointless to write anything about. My main racist crime?: I don’t use checkout lines with black people as the cashier. Like subconsciously. Bear with me in this silliness; I’ll post the second part before the weekend is over. I promise.

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Dealerships (and Electric Cars) Suck: Part 2

This is an impromptu continuation of this post and is a post I didn’t think a continuation was necessary for. But, life happens, you’re aware of that. Shit happens, plans change, things go to hell, etc. And I don’t know why I ever expect anything to work out as planned. A friend of mine likes to expect the worst because then you’ll either be prepared or pleasantly surprised; I think she might be onto something. Damn me for being optimistic…

The plan today was to drive the twenty miles to nearby Belvidere, Illinois (a shithole I despise going to for any reason) to pick my shitty Ford Focus EV up from the dealership. It was fixed, or more precisely as they said, “We’ve fixed everything that could be wrong with it, *implied shrug over the phone*, so you can pick it up tomorrow.” We drove there, I paid the $427 for the repairs, and walk to car in the parking lot. I start it and everything looks alright beside the twenty-one mile range left on the car; they didn’t even bother to charge the thing! It’s about fifteen miles to our house so to be safe I planned to charge it on the way home. “Looks like I’m stopping at the park on the way,” I texted my wife. (A park five miles from out house sports two EV chargers.) Whatever. I’d make it work.

About halfway home on East State Street (the busiest damn street in Rockford: a big three lane road in both directions) the car popped the infamous”Stop Safely Now” warning. I was stopped at a traffic light — in the middle lane nonetheless — so there wasn’t much choice of where to stop safely. The car wouldn’t let me drive it anywhere else so I sat there in heavy traffic stranded in the middle of the tree lanes.

THIS IS GOING TO BE MY MOST USED IMAGE

Luckily, I trained for emergencies while learning to fly and feel confident in my ability to not panic and deal with the situation, so frustratedly turned on the emergency flashers and sighed. Here I am, I am safe, and what do I do now? Kinda checked the right and left lanes of traffic and wondered what the hell my options were. Call a tow truck? Push the car to the side when traffic cleared? Who the hell knew. Either way I was pissed and stuck in the middle of the road with a dead car.

Another high-quality image from r/THE_PACK, my most favoritest subreddit. AROOO MFER LET’S CRANK THE HOGS

I tried the typical “shut-if-off-and-turn-it-back-on” trick that is standard for troubleshooting anything and luckily IT worked. I waited until traffic was clear to the right and zipped into a parking lot. Old Chicago if you’re really curious. I probably should’ve went in and had a few beers to really think about this issues.

I pulled out my phone and called the dealership and one of the ladies at the desk answered. “How can I help you?” she asked.

“Yeah, can I talk to someone in the maintenance department?”

“Sure, is this involving an appointment or an issue with your vehicle?”

“Well, I picked my car up twenty minutes ago and it died on me halfway home…”

“Oh…I’ll transfer you then.”

“Thaaaaaaanks.”

Luckily Mike, the guy who gave me my keys twenty minutes earlier, answered the transfer. This was also a fun conversation.

“Hello, this is Mike, how can I help you?”

“Hey, this is Jeremy, the guy who just picked up the Ford Focus like twenty minutes ago. Uh, I made it about halfway home and it popped another “Stop Safely Now” warning in the middle of State Street and I couldn’t move the car at all. Luckily, I shut the car off and turned it on and it allowed me to drive but I mean I don’t want it to happen again where I need to have it towed. Should I just drop it back off to you guys?”

“Hmm…so it wouldn’t let you drive it at all?”

“No, not until I restarted it.”

“…”

“…”

“Yeah, it could do that again, huh?”

“Yeah, I have no idea what caused it. It seemed really random.”

“Well, that’s not normal. I’d say bring it back in and I’ll have a technician look at in on Monday.”

Since range wasn’t an issue anymore (because who gives a fuck if they get an EV with a dead battery) I drove like a maniac back to the dealership. I parked the car, sulked into the place, and handed my key back to them. Chris, the guy who fixed my car a few other times, seemed genuinely upset that I hauled it back twenty minutes after I had picked it up. That dude knew what he was doing; how about he fixes my car this time? Andy, the guy who handled my shit this time, apparently didn’t know what the fuck he was doing.

On the ride home with my wife, I received a call from the dealership. Already? I thought. It was one of the desk girls again asking how the service was that I received. Was everything okay with the car? So it was very satisfying to just monotone-plop out a reply of “Yeah, actually the car just died like thirty minutes ago and I dropped it back off. So, yeah…” Her reply went something like, “Oh! Well…we’ll get in touch with the service department and talk with them.” Yeah. Fuck you guys.

So now it’s a wait until Monday to hear anything about it, at the very least. It could take longer, who knows. Obviously, my entire weekend is shot now because this was the singular positive thing I was looking forward to to jumpstart my life. I’d get my car back, it’d be fixed, and I could get on with the other issues in my life, move onto bigger and more difficult things if you will. Maybe start flying again. Nope! Fuck you, Jeremy: life fucks you again. Que The Big Lebowski: “You see what happens?! You see what happens, Larry?! See what happens? This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass, Larry!”

That rant wasn’t very much called for, but, still. I don’t even know. I keep thinking this entire car purchase years ago was a mistake. Some flawed thought of me trying to move into the future and be part of the leading wave of brave electric car owners. Those who walk the path before others comfortably take it up. I envision us as the covered-wagon folks traveling to California in search of gold in the 1800s. Pioneers and such leading all others. Taking risks. Being brave. Etc. I remember as a kid in like 1996 telling my grandmother that I’d own an electric car because they didn’t pollute as much, and when I bought the car I kinda remembered that moment. Yeah, I actually accomplished one of those wild childhood dreams somehow. I did it: I was an electric car owner for real! Wow!

But now? Mistake. The damn thing was a mistake. I bought the cheapest piece of shit EV — a compliance car by Ford, let’s recall the popular acronym Found On Road Dead — and I was paying out of the ass in repairs. But don’t EVs not have any moving parts? What wears out? What can wear out? Why is it so hard to repair them? That was my initial thought but this thing has been repaired more than the damn 1998 Cavalier I owned for more than a decade. Why? How? Wasn’t I doing the right thing? Wasn’t I saving so much money in gas? Wasn’t I cutting down on carbon emissions? Maybe, but at what cost to my own bank account and well-being? Maybe it’s just easier and cheaper to drive a shitty gas car and deal with the problems and upkeep with that.

So I’m feeling pretty beaten down again and heavily drinking because I really don’t care anymore. Give me some chemicals to futilely pick me up. It’s going to be another one of those weekends I can already tell…

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Dealerships (and Electric Cars) Suck: Part 1

I have about two hours until I leave for work and I’m basically sitting next to my phone waiting and hoping for a phone call from the Ford dealership. They’ve had my car for over three weeks now, and as far as I know, they’re only changing the regular 12 Volt battery in it. That’s it. Three weeks to change a 12 Volt car battery. How much will this cost me? About $310 they said. For a 12 Volt car battery. Some readers might not know much about cars, but this is one of the easiest and cheapest repairs someone can do on a car. It’s also something that routinely wears out over the years, so any long-term owner of a car should be familiar with changing a dead battery.

Sadly, I didn’t have much of a choice here. I own a 2013 Ford Focus Electric which is a fully electric vehicle. I had a dedicated blog for it to enlighten anyone curious about vehicle electric ownership to the pros and cons of the things although I have slacked off and haven’t written anything over there for over a year. But if you’re curious, please check it out. Despite loving the car for its endless list of perks over a gas car, it does have one glaring flaw for me: I can’t really fix anything on it.

The car has much commonality between the stock Focuses (Foci?), mostly the mechanical bits like breaks, shocks, tie rod ends, etc, but everything else is unique to it being an electric vehicle (EV). If anything goes wrong here, I’m pretty fucked and a tow to the dealership is required. Making this even worse for me is the fact that the car doesn’t really tell you what is wrong with it. Given a severe enough problem the computer in the car won’t let it drive and only flashes a “Stop Safely Now” warning. Here’s a picture of the damn thing.

It’d be nice if the “Stop Safely Now” warning only appeared in dire situations (which it did last time when the main drive battery had a cooling issues and a voltage leak) but this time, after having it towed 20 miles away to the nearest Ford Electric Certified Repair Dealership…) the only thing they could find wrong with it was the damn 12 Volt battery. The battery I could’ve replaced by literally walking down to Farm and Fleet and buying an $80 replacement. And the labor cost for me? Nothing. I work for free if it’s something I’m doing. So when they called and quoted me $310 for a battery I was pretty pissed — that’s all that’s wrong with my car? — but didn’t have much choice. I suppose I could have it towed back home (and probably have to pay for that), replaced the battery, and hoped it worked with the finicky Ford Focus EV computer, but it was already there, so fuck it, sure. Change the battery.

To tie this back to the rant two paragraphs ago: the Focus Electric also shares the basic 12 Volt based system with the rest of the Foci meaning I could’ve totally pulled of this repair on my own had I known this was the issue at hand.

I wish the car would tell me more. I like to compare them to airplanes where the plane loves to tell you exactly what’s wrong with it. There’s all sorts of gauges and information at your fingertips — oil pressure, oil temperature, manifold pressure, RPMs, fuel flow, amperage to the battery, resettable circuit breakers, a battery switch, an alternator switch, fuel valves and cutoff switches — all sorts of shit you need to troubleshoot any issues. And in a car? Speed, RPMs, coolant temperature, a “battery light,” and a “check engine light,” that’s it. The “check engine” and “battery light” especially can mean issues with literally a hundred problems the car could have.

And the EV is even worse than a gas car. A gas car will still let you drive it if something is wrong and doesn’t have a computer to tell you “Nope, car is broken. Fix it please. Oh, what’s actually wrong with it? Naw, I can’t tell you that. You don’t work for Ford.” I’m sure newer gas cars have shit like this as well, but for now the clunkers I drive (the 1997 Saturn and the 2006 Civic) are champs and let you drive them no matter what. This lets you troubleshoot and isolate the real issue, key for a DIYer such as myself.

Obviously, this all comes down to money hidden under the guise of “safety.” Maybe I’m cynical, but doesn’t it make sense for Ford (or any other massive car company) to basically force you to go to a dealership to get your car fixed? DIYers don’t make them money, and only the schmucks who have no choice but to haul their cars to them feed the capitalistic monster. I imagine if you really got a Ford executive into a room and forced him to answer why they don’t make the cars easier for the DIYer to troubleshoot he’d probably say something like, “Well, we don’t want people to repair their cars in an unsafe way! They and their families and kids and mothers need to ride around in a vehicle that has been safely repaired by our Certified Ford Technicians using all their fancy tools and procedures to properly fix the car.” But, I’d then ask him, “Motherfucker, how do you install a 12 Volt battery unsafely? How can you possibly fuck up installing brake pads? Oil changes? I need a certified repair technician to unscrew a bolt and an oil filter?” To which he’d simply send me to the Ford PR department for any further questions/comments.

I hate inefficiency. I hate bloat. I hate things that don’t make any sense. I like to have a central authority that I can call for information. Ford (and every other car company) is so damn detached from their dealerships that there seems to be no accountability to anything. I can’t call Ford, the company that actually built my car, and really bitch about anything because they’d just say the dealership is in charge of any repairs and to call them. The car’s manual simply says for every issue to “contact your Ford Dealership.” If one dealership fucks you over, you have to go to another one, and that seems to be the only choice you have. And if that one fucks you over? Hell if I know. Like Ford builds the cars and if something goes wrong you have to wrangle warranty information with the dealership and it’s so damn inefficient, a hassle, and expensive, let’s not forget expensive! It reminds me of the medical system: people not calling you back; people not emailing or faxing shit; just expense and costs everywhere because you the consumer have to support some bloated system above everything; no one you can really talk to without being referred to another department or given another phone number to call; legal words tossed at you in every piece of paperwork you see; total bureaucracy and that’s about it I guess.

So I suppose that rants over. I figured I might as well make a blog post about it.

Note: APPARENTLY THERE IS A SECOND PART TO THIS POST. Check it out if you’re interested.

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Cops Finding You Illegally Camping In the Woods Sucks

Note: This post is a mess. I originally wrote the first part while, well, sitting in a Rosecrance waiting room. I never got around to actually editing and posting it though. The draft of this was about three weeks old and I have some moderate frustration over the entire thing, like I went through hell a few weeks ago and think I could’ve made about five coherent blog posts about it all but just never gotten around to tying it all together. So it’s a mess. But this post kinda occurs after this post but before this post if you’d appreciate some chronological order behind it all. I’m serious, the narrative of my life is currently chaos but maybe I’ll make another post tying all of it together, but until then, here ya go.

To update anyone to this ongoing saga of mine: I’m in a Rosecrance waiting room right now feeling super sleep deprived and mildly hungover. And I’m not quite sure how I ended up here. It’s all a blur to me right now.

I slept better than the previous night but was awaken by a female saying something. I don’t even recall what she was saying. Asking if anyone was there, asking if I was okay, and maybe a few other questions that I’d forgotten. I mumbled “yeah” and groggily stuck my head out of the tent. And hey, the female speaking was a poliece officer. Fuck. Not something you want to wake up to at 8 a.m. after only three or four hours of sleep and heavy drinking. She had another officer with her, some dude with a fucking assault rifle. Jesus Christ! Was I imagining this shit? Nothing seemed clear in the moment. No: this guy was totally standing behind a tree with an assault rifle ready to unload the entire clip on me if I did something shady. Not something you want to wake up to, once again. To stress the point some more. Being shocked at sticking your head out of a tent and see a guy with a goddamn AR-15 behind a tree. Anyways, here we go. I fucked up. I was camping illegally in the woods and the cops found me. Whoops. And just to stress again that one of them had a goddamn assault rifle.

“Step out of the tent please. Do you have any weapons on you? I’m going to peek in the tent. Did you know drinking in a park is illegal? And smoking? Yes, we can’t have people smoking in the park; you could cause a forest fire. We can hit you with a ton of tickets.”

Fuck. Me. I was honest and told them that I was dealing with some marital problems and chose to hide in the park away from life and civilization and they the nice female cop were was nice and accepting enough to my plight. She agreed to not write me any tickets and they gave me 12 hours to get the hell out of the park. I didn’t know where I’d go for the next night but I had plenty of time to worry about it later.

My main fuck up was when they asked if I had any thoughts of harming myself. “Why, yeah, of course, here and there. But they’re passing things and I know I need to work through this. I’ll be fine. I’m in a good mental state really.”

Apparently this was not the correct answer. Once again it’s kinda blurry because I was so tired but they basically said, “Alright. Well, would you like to go see someone?” in that vague cop way where you’re not sure if you have a choice or not. I initially declined — “No, seriously, I’m okay. I’m not going to do anything,” — but then the female cop said “No, you really need to come with us.” Fuck. I didn’t think I really had a choice here. Tired and hungover and feeling adventurous I decided to YOLO it. I fucked up with my choice of words and I was being hauled off to a mental instituition. It wouldn’t hurt, right? Who cares, let me follow the adventure of life wherever it takes me.

They searched me for weapons and such and chucked me into the back of the cop car. She was nice enough and tried to talk me into religion while I pounded my Bang energy drink and vaped totally unhandcuffed in the back of the cop car. I was so tired, exhausted, and confused and just wanted to take a goddamn nap and relax. Like the last night was supposed to be the relaxing night where I finally succeeded in the woods and then this was happening. Man, life is shite.

I walked into the clinic along with my armed escort and plopped down with a silly smile on my face. I was totally lost and stricken by what life had just tossed at me. Was I really sitting here in a Rosecrance facility because the cops found me in a park, work me up at whatever a.m. hour it was, and thought I had mental issues. What? Really? I didn’t even know how to process the events of the day thus far. I felt disconnected with reality, feeling like a video game character experiencing life from the third person, watching myself outside as someone going through a really strange and disorienting morning. I could laugh about it in a way and I got my phone out to write a blog post about it, which is what I’m doing here. If my day is spiraling out of control, why not grab the demon by the horns and document it at least. Not like I had anything else to do. Just sit and wait feeling delightful detachment from what is confusingly my life in the moment: this is me and this is what’s happening to me and it doesn’t make any sense but holy hell this is my reality. It’s good in a way being able to view a terrible situation in an impersonal form where you can realize in the moment that wow, shit is crazy today. At least I’ll have a good fucking story to tell about it.

I talked to the counselor/therapist/whatever she was and did my best to prove that I wasn’t really suicidal and that those bad thoughts were just a natural reaction to what I was currently going through. Passing thoughts really, the random idea of how easy it’d be to go buy some rope and dangle myself from the trees that are naturally plentiful in a forest. Not that’d I’d really go buy some rope, just pondering how easy it’d all be to do, almost too easy in a way. The fact that you have so many easy ways out of life is really scary when you think about it. Luckily, she knew my current therapist on personal terms because she used to work there. I busted out the name of Michelle Johnson and she was instantly sympathetic to me. Yes, I was seeing some she knew and was on good terms with and, yes, I was making the correct steps to heal my flawed and utterly fucked-up mind. She seemed to thaw a bit during this revelation and things became much better after that.

She released me because obviously I wasn’t crazy or anything. I asked if I could go outside because I had a “raging nicotine addiction” and at first she was hesitant. If I wandered off into downtown rockford after I’d left it’d be her ass on the line. But she called the female cop again (officer Hodgkins I think) and she was only five minutes away, so she let me go get my nicotine fix. I sat on the sidewalk and vaped to my heart’s content pondering what the hell exactly I was doing with my life. Two days earlier I was happy and content and now everything was spiraling out of control and I felt like I was in a dream. Wasn’t I a writer? Wasn’t I blogger? Didn’t I have a job that payed well? Didn’t I have two stock investing accounts? Didn’t I have a college degree? Wasn’t I a fucking legit and certified commercial pilot? Wasn’t I successful enough and immune to any strange mental occurances in life? Is this what my current state really is? Wow, what a chaotic and hilarious mess; no one is immune to the problems of life.

Officer Hodgkins hauled me back to the park and drove like a fucking maniac on the way there. What sort of fuel mileage did these police SUVs have? It had to be dismal. She was stomping on the gas like we were in a race against someone and made strange radio calls about “Anna Page Park” and shouted out time frames and estimates. What would it be like to be a cop? I had no idea and my curiosity took hold of my mind. I tried to analyze and decifier what was being said and appreciate all the silly mundane and stupid pressures of her job. Hauling drunken campers with marriage issues out of parks at 8 a.m. trying to decide weather to toss the book at them or to have sympathy. Or to decide in the spur of the moment if I they were really going to kill themselves or not. And mostly, trying to decide in a minute or two if they’re worth the effort to save or to toss them to the curb; do you consider them a lost cause and remove them from society as effectivly as possible or try to save them? As much hate as cops get lately, she was genuinely kind and I found myself conflicted by it: weren’t cops supposed to be cruel assholes? Surely the jackass with the AR-15 was your stereotypical militarist police officer dickheard but Officer Hodgkins was a legit good person who commanded authority in an appropriate manner. We arrived at the park and I sheepishly agreed that I was going through some shit and that I’d be out later in the day. And she was understanding and we talked in the parking lot for about ten minutes. She gave me a card to her church’s pastor who had a YouTube channel and I held onto it as a genuine souvenir. (I’d link to it but in the past few weeks of chaos the card has went missing which is very sad to me…) Yes, people do care, strangers and cops none-the-less, and she showed me some grace and understanding where I could’ve very well found myself into some serious, expensive legal trouble, and probably jail. Officer Hodgkins, the middle-aged, very motherly cop in Rockford, Illinois probably won’t read this, but if she did I’d just want to say something like, Hey, thanks for being open and understanding and just helping me along in this bullshit struggle in life. I do appreciate it…

I walked back to my totally illegal campsite and drank some Alka-Seltzer and tried to get my life back into order. Maybe I could salvage the day and get my shit back together? Just a minor hiccup in the day surely. I passed out from the drug and the exhaustion and tried to grab some sleep before work. It was like 10 a.m. and maybe I could get my rest, find peace, and get about my day and feel comfort in my shitty situation. And I did drift off until around noon. But I was awaken by a strangely familiar voice screaming from a quarter mile away, “JEREMY?! WHERE THE FUCK IS YOUR CAMPSITE?!” But that’s probably another story altogether…

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Deleting Facebook is Awesome (and Something about the Riots)

“The raging mob has lost its nerve

There’s more of us but who goes first

No one dares to cross the line

The cops know that they’ve won”

-Dead Kennedys, “Riot”

Christ, what a time to return to Facebook. I deactivated my account two weeks ago, more or less, and reactivated it Friday. Why? Because I’m trying to do the whole writing thing. In short I have my shitty author’s page on Facebook and I’m not quite sure how much traffic actually gets driven to my sites from there, especially to Wattpad. I think most traffic at this blog comes from Google search results (which is good) or WordPress itself, but nothing else seems to have that benefit. By trying to get my life and writing back into some semblance of order, well, I’d need that damn author’s page back.

I don’t have to explain much, but boy did I jump back into a total dumpster fire and was probably the worst time this year (so far!) to get back on social media. You know something has people hyped when there are countless posts about #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter with zero subtlety to the subject at hand. Sure some posts seem to realize that this is a messy situation, but there’s always the majority that are either totally for the cops or against the cops, and in turn for black people or against them, although it’d never be worded that strongly. No one says they’re ‘against black people.’ Something about rioters breaking property and that’s…well…that’s just taking things a bit too far. Fuck everything in the world right now. But before all of that let’s talk about the pros and cons of deactivating your Facebook account.

Deactivating/Deleting Facebook: How the Fuck do you Do That?!

First off, deleting your account is permanent. You cease to exist on the site and when you commit to this option, it’s final. All of your pictures, posts, and other bullshit are permanently deleted from the site with no option to get any of it back. Before you delete your account, maybe use the option to ‘download your data’ or whatever, which packages all your shit into a handy .zip file (at least that’s how it was a few years ago) so you have all your photos and such. Deactivating is also exactly what it sounds like; it’s temporary until you reactivate your account by simply logging on and your stuff still exists, it simply isn’t accessable by you or anyone else. Consider deactivating like a social media coma whereas deletion is like social media death.

Facebook naturally makes it difficult and unintuitive to deactivate/delete your account. Why? Because they want you addicted to the shit so they can rake in that fat advertisement money. In short the more people on the site the more people they have to advertise to and charge advertisers for. I don’t want to get too detailed here because I don’t even remember, but somewhere in the ‘settings’ menu you can find a tiny and hardly noticable text link that says ‘deactivate/delete your account.’ It’s not a big, fat, giant, noticable button, so hunt around until you find it.

Oh, there it is. At least on the desktop version.

It’s not over yet because Facebook still tosses a few random desperate questions at you seeing if you really want to leave the site. “Are you sure you want to deactivate your account? Think of the friends you’re leaving behind!” as if the only place to interact with people in our apocalyptic society is on Facebook. Deactivating Facebook also comes with the option to ‘automatically reactivate’ in a set time frame, if you choose to do so. No, fuck you Facebook, I’ll choose how long I want to disappear for. They also ask you why you’re leaving, as if you owe the multibillion dollar company a reason for leaving. Once again, fuck Facebook.

To reactivate your account, you simply log in. It’s way too easy and the temptation to log back in is way to high. Just be warned of this beforehand.

Another fun fact about Facebook account deactivation is that, and this is a big one for many people, Facebook Messenger still fucking works. Your actual profile is gone, you don’t have to worry about seeing peoples’ shitty social media drama and Hot Opinions, but you can still message people on the Messenger app. Go figure, right? Some people who only use Facebook for the messenger app should take note of this. There really is no downside to deactivating.

What Happens After you Leave Facebook?

In short you become happier and less burdened by the worlds troubles. I’m serious. You’re not bombarded by a constant stream of hype and outrage and in your cute little home/apartment the world almost seems not that bad. Sure, you might be aware of everything spiraling out of control but it never seems as ‘important’ as what social media would lead you to believe. It’s a kinda mild detachment from the world’s problems that, while they’re still occurring, they’re not being constantly thrown into your face about how polarized and opinionated everyone is. The power is placed on you if you want to give a damn, be an activist, or whatever.

You’ll also have a ton of free time on your hands. I don’t think any of us realize how much we lurk around on social media when we’re bored and taking this away gives you tons of free time. Sure, you’ll be bored at first and wondering what the hell you’re supposed to do, but you’ll adjust fine. It’s similar to weening yourself off a drug or alcohol, it’s hard at first and you feel kinda lost but then you get your shit back together and work through it. When bored, the temptation is always there to smash the Facebook app icon and scroll mindlessly for some length of time, and when this is gone, you’ll feel lost like you don’t know what to do with yourself. But use it to your advantage and do something to benefit your own life. Stop giving into the boredom and pissing away time on social media.

I suppose you also might get in tune with who you’re real friends and family are, not just the Facebook friends that you might believe are ‘real friends.’ I have a handful of people who I interact with regularly on the site even though I never talk to them or see them in real life. This isn’t a real friendship and is only a vague ghost of what a true friendship is like. Quarantine aside, go hang out, text, and talk to real fucking people. Ask them about their lives, their hobbies, and get to know them. Sure, you might know know what their latest Hot Opinion on [topic] is, but who gives a fuck anyways? If you’re really curious, ask them. Facebook is not real friendship.

About the Riots: Outrage on Social Media

This is a prime time to deactive/delete your account too because social media is insanely toxic right now. I try to do at least one post whenever one of these ‘social outrage’ incidents happy not because I really have much to say about it, but to rake in views. How many people are Googling ‘Riots’ and ‘Facebook‘ right now? Might as well seize the opportunity right? Something about turning lemons into lemonade. Not that blogging about people rioting, dying, and police brutality feels good or is a noble cause; no, I’ve just realized that no matter what drivel I write here will be totally useless. The only person I’m actually in control of is myself — the only thing I can ‘fix’ is my attituide on things — so I might as well make a post. God, I sound like a selfish asshole here, but hear me out.

This seems like fifth of sixth post I’ve written about the pointlessness of social media outrage, and the last one that comes to mind was my silly post about The Little Mermaid casting choice. Remember that quaint time? Despite that being relatively harmless and unimportant considering what is happening now, the same fundamentals seem to be true: solidarity between opposing groups. Simplifying arguments. Groupthink. Outrage. No subtlety except to prove your point. “Delete me if you agree with [opinion], I don’t want a friend that believes [thing].” And so on.

And…I don’t even want to think about or analyze anything right now. My mind always boils down it down to something like this: will anything ever change? Probably not. I’d love to see real change, but it never comes. Remember Trayvon Martin? Nothing happened. Remember the Parkview shootings? Nothing. Remember all the high school kids protest for real change? Remember how nothing actually happened. Remember the Las Vegas shooting? Nothing happened. Remember the one preschool that was shot up years ago? Nothing. Remember Ferguson, Missouri? Nothing. I hope you see a pattern here. Despite people being more passionate this time around, I have no hope for real change to occur and I’m actually hoping the protesters burn everything down because maybe that’s what we need to give us real, lasting change, not that I’m hopeful. Why? Nothing has changed before, why would this time be different?

Ah, there goes my pessimism again and my mind is racing. I still can’t decide if this post should be about deactivating Facebook, the riots and the bullshit social media outrage over this Hot Topic, or my reaction and pessimism to it all. Maybe it’s a good example of what I was talking about: you can obviously see how pessimistic and shitty my mood was in the last paragraph, and why is this? Because I’ve been on social media for a half week and my mood is already degrading. It’s…ah…it’s a fucking mess. I think I’m done here. There isn’t anything to say that hasn’t already been said before. Somehow I think by not saying anything I might be saying more than everyone else screaming on social media for change that’ll never come.

One last thing that is obligatory for any ‘bitch about Facebook‘ posts: I wrote a book a year ago that was just one long rant about how shitty social media is and how it’s the cause of everything wrong with our society. Or it’s a microcosm of everything wrong with society. If you’re interested, please check it out, it should be free to read on Kindle Unlimited or whatever the hell it’s called. And if you really enjoy it or are interested, consider buying it. It’s only like $5 $3.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it. For example:

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all.