Author Archives: TheBlackhairedGuy

About TheBlackhairedGuy

I'm a guy. And I have black hair. Well not really because it is slowly turning grey. I suppose TheNotquiteBlackhairedGuy doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it? I write the blog EverythingSucks.blog as well as dabble in some freelance writing.

“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for!”

Like many good stories, this one starts in a familiar way: “So I was really fucking drunk one night, and…”

Let me back up though. It was in November (I think) and we got a letter in the mail. A bright and obnoxious red envelope and it was obvious it was a card of some sorts. Greeting card, sympathy card, but most likely a Christmas card because of the red envelope. There was one problem with this letter; it wasn’t even addressed to us. It wasn’t addressed to our street or even our city. I don’t even remember where it was addressed to but it was certain someone at the Post Office fucked up somewhere. No big deal, I thought, and put the letter back into the mailbox and put the flag up.

[BIG NOTE HERE: Apparently my timeline is all fucked up here, but it still makes for a good story even if it isn’t 100% factually correct. More like 80% factually correct.]

A week or so later the same damn letter showed up. Okay. I tried to be responsible if a bit more forceful with this misaddressed letter this time. I drove to the post office and put the letter into one of the blue bins outside, forcing it to be sorted again. Bringing it back to the post office itself would surely get this letter shipped to its proper location. Someone would catch it this time, right?

Another few days/week later and you can guess what showed up in our mailbox for the third time. The Red Letter from Wisconsin heading to some other city in Illinois to people I was a stranger to. Damn. I basically gave up at this point, hauling the letter into the house and chucking it on the table. I nearly threw the damn thing away, after all it was most likely some shitty Christmas card and who cares if it got lost in the mail? Sure the people who sent it might be hurt, and the people receiving the letter might wonder why Grandma Edith didn’t sent her typical Christmas card, but it’s not really that big of a deal.

As the letter sat around the house, and as I glanced at it everytime I walked by something started to fester in my head. This letter, this unset letter, probably a card but what if it wasn’t? What if it had pictures in it, or if it was a sympathy card for the death of a close friend/family member? What if this letter was important and I was somehow stuck with it, given the chance to go above and beyond to deliver it or to be an evil and uncaring person who tosses it in the trash? What if I tossed it and caused a rift in the family: Grandma Edith apparently didn’t give a shit that James hung himself and she didn’t even send a sympathy card over his untimely death?

A few years ago at UPS I found a tiny slip of paper that fell out of an Amazon package. Apparently people can send messages to be shipped with their packages on a slip of paper and one of them fell out of the box. I found it in the plane amongst hundreds of packages we had just loaded. It said something like this, “We hope you enjoy your new, comfy socks Grandpa Bill. All of your socks have holes in them!” That probably isn’t accurate but it was about grandpa’s socks. I had an immense sense of bittersweet loss reading this, and it reminded me of this post from Waitbutwhy; it was only a slip of paper with a shitty message on it but the idea that this message would never be delivered, the grandkids had wasted their time crafting a message, and Grandpa Bill would never fucking see it was really depressing. Some stranger in Rockford, Illinois through tiny actions of the universe had found the paper inside an Airbus A300 aircraft at UPS and these people would never know it. I took the paper home and kept it for years — I might still have it somewhere — as a reminder of something. I don’t know what that something is though, maybe the cruelness of the universe.

This letter eventually had me feeling the same way as the Amazon paper slip did although this time I did have a path forward. An easy path forward.

So I was really fucking drunk one night, and was thinking about the letter. I had to get the letter sent to the proper address! It’s a mission — a grand quest — and only I was given the challenge of doing the correct thing! Like Frodo in The Lord of the Rings the ring letter was entrusted to me and only me and even if I didn’t want the responsibility it was mine. That’s simply how things worked. I was the reluctant hero given a choice between good and evil! So I made a plan. A really shitty and not-at-all complicated plan but a plan nonetheless.

Open the envelope, put the contents into another envelope, and mail it that way. Clearly write the address and slap a stamp on it and send it on its way. Easy. But I didn’t want to open the letter — that would be an invasion of privacy — so maybe I’d put the envelope itself into a new envelope. But then I’d have to fold the envelope (it being the size of a ‘card envelope’ and not a standard letter envelope) and what if there was a picture in there?! I didn’t want to fold a picture! So new plan: open the letter, check it out, and reseal it. No one would have to know that I opened it. I opened it, it was a shitty Christmas card (I think…remember I was really drunk), and I sealed it back up, folded it, plopped it into an envelope and sealed it, stamped it, and sent it on its way.

Except I was drunk. I was in the mood, the mood of grand adventures and quests and here I was doing something totally strange and heroic. Putting so much goddamn emphasis on a shitty Christmas card from some strangers hundreds of miles away. A normal person would’ve pitched it in the trash, but I’m not a normal person apparently. Plenty of chances to turn away and give up the quest, but no. I should’ve thrown it away, but I didn’t. I was fixated on the idea of ‘doing the right thing’ and living in the adventure of it all. The world being full of darkness and danger and that the light will shine out the clearer. I kept thinking of The Lord of the Rings again, especially the speech by Sam at the end of The Two Towers.

“What are we holding onto, Sam?”

“There’s some good in this world Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for!

-Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

And because the clip itself is so fucking good I’ll post that too.

I grabbed a piece of paper — once again stressing I was drunk as fuck and it seemed like a good idea — and wrote a letter to these people. I don’t even remember what I wrote, most likely rambling drunkenly about how there are good people in the world, how I couldn’t stop thinking about this letter, and how strangers can still be good people, and all of that shit. You might know how it is from a few of the posts I’ve written while drunk: just rambling and writing freely about whatever is on my mind. I took a picture of it because at the time I thought it would make a good blog post but eventually thought better of it. Here it is, and I haven’t read it and have no idea what I wrote but, yeah:

This is embarrassing, but total blogging honesty wins out. Apparently I really hate the Postal Service. Also, big fucking LOL on the ‘have a wonderful 2020,” part. If only they had any idea…

The letter was sent, I did the right thing, and whatever. Life goes on.

Fast forward to yesterday.

I walked to the mailbox to find a single letter addressed to me. Hand written, not some junk mail from businesses or anything, and who the fuck were Pam and Steve? Pam and Steve…hmm…that sounded familiar for some reason, but…what? Huh? OH SHIT. My actions a few months ago came flooding back. I wrote these people a drunken and scrawled letter for their shitty Christmas card and they wrote me back. Jesus Christ, cue the anxiety about it. It was time for me to leave for work so I chucked the letter in the car without opening it from thanks to The Fear and set about my day.

I told a friend at work about this story months ago and mentioned my letter I had just received. I mentioned I didn’t even open it because of the anxiety. These people probably called me a heathen from writing drunken letters to them — even the handwriting was slurred! — and making zero sense in the process. Fuck, the paper itself probably smelled like cheap beer even after a few days in the mail. It was all bad stuff, and nothing good.

She pointed out that the only people who send Christmas cards are probably quaint suburban grandmas and/or cute nuclear families who would probably be really appreciative of my actions, drunken or not. I had a slight bit of courage to open it and read a few words with it still folded inside the envelope. Hand written, on lined paper (unlike my printer paper scrawlings) and a few words like “thankful” here and there. It was a good letter to me. But on the backside I could’ve sworn I seen something like “medical issues” and “difficult times” and, what? Were these people also drunk and writing me back? Am I now a penpal to some Steve and Pam from another city in Illinois? Do they even know I’m writing a blog post about them now? The universe is a strange place indeed.

I wish I could tell you guys how this ends, but I don’t know. I haven’t taken the letter out of the envelope yet. It’s still in the back of my car, mostly unread besides those few key words. It’s almost like my anxiety to replying to blog comments and such; what if people don’t like me?! Why do I care so much about some strangers’ opinions of me? As much as I bitch about how life is some mundane, boring, and pointless, sometimes things like this happen where I equally think “Wow, sometimes crazy things do happen,” and, “Wow, I’m a drunken idiot sometimes and why do I do these things?” But I guess I do take some solace in knowing I did the right thing, even if it was kinda silly, over the top, and fueled by cheap beer. Being a hero doesn’t have to be glorious, right?

Streak Day #30: Untitled

“So, how have you been the past two weeks?”

Perfect. Happy. Depression was a thing of the past. Totally conquered. I had finally discovered myself. A toolkit of ways to fend off the bad vibes and thoughts. Perfectly comfortable in my skin. Cool, confident, and quiet. Problem solved! Problem solved…Problem solved?

Two days ago. Spiraling. Pointlessness. Anxiety. Depression. Dread. More sleeplessness. 5 a.m. with the sun coming up wondering what exactly life is. Benadryl to sleep; a drug to crutch along. Sleep at any cost. Where’s the purpose? The point? What am I meant to do here? Wasn’t I out of the woods? Wasn’t I happy? Weren’t those damn pills magical and finally fixed me?

“Where do you see yourself in the future.”

I shrug. “I don’t know. I feel like I’m floating through life too scared to make any choice.”

“Sometimes it helps to visualize where you want to be in the future. This will give you purpose and something to work towards.”

Every path is miserable, only changing certain pros for cons. More money, less happiness. More possessions, more responsibilities, less freedom. More attachment. More stuff. More freedom, less security. The grass is always greener everywhere else. Not knowing what I’m meant to do. Knowing there is nothing I’m meant to do and it’s up for me to decide. Being unable to decide anything for fear of what misery each path holds. And all paths hold misery; I always make the wrong choice. Is floating such a bad thing? Is pointlessness such a bad thing? Is there anyone that knows what the hell they’re meant to do, even if there is nothing we’re meant to do? Is anyone as blindly confident that they know where to go? Is this another form of blindness? Is blindness happiness?

Five steps forward and six steps backwards. Seven, perhaps. No progress. No sense of empowerment. No moving forward. Self-discovery? No. Self-confusion and self-loss. When I think I find myself it disappears. Too much effort, too much work. The tools in the kit take too much work to use. Constantly being on-edge, looking for the next crisis. Playing chess with your own brain, trying to bring up thoughts as pawns to try to stop yourself from checkmating yourself. And the opponent is so much more motivated than you, the bad vibes are effortless. The chess grandmaster in your head; checkmated in less than ten moves. When are all my pawns gone? When do I run out of motivation to fight? When does it become easier to give in?

Awake after twelve hours of sleep: still tired. Still groggy. Still sleepy. Five cups of coffee, eight cups of coffee: still tired. But shaky. Just enough semblance of being awake to function. Nicotine, caffeine, give me any -ine you can find, maybe I’ll eventually wake up. Constantly shaking and tired. Constantly anxious. Enough awakeness to write low-quality posts. Not enough motivation to work on a story. Writer’s block that never ends. The constant fight towards some goal you don’t even have. And the tiredness. And time always moving forward. And you not moving anywhere at all except towards old age, failing mind, and death. Float along the river until it’s too late to change your course.

And sleeplessness at 5 a.m. once again. Still tired but awake.

“Is it possible that I like being miserable? Is that a thing?”

“Yes. Misery is easier than working to be happy. It takes less effort.”

The comfort of depression. Not caring. Knowing you don’t care. Knowing you’re functioning as a basic animal just staying alive. Food not for enjoyment but so you don’t feel more miserable. Water because your mouth is dry. Work because of bills and money. Write because there is nothing else better to do. Silence around people — you’re a piece of shit and are miserable to be around — why make everyone else miserable by being a piece of shit? Blaming your mood for being a failure. The comfort of depression. The comfort of giving up. Thirty years of nothing. Thirty years of zero progress. Thirty years of depression. Of never knowing yourself. Of never knowing anything. Of being totally lost, blind, and stumbling through life. How many more years?

“I woudn’t say this if it wasn’t true: you are making progress. I can see it. You just need to keep discovering yourself and moving forward.”

Values. What are my values? I don’t know. Blank slate once again. I am a nobody. The blank whiteboard waiting to have a purpose. The blank piece of paper waiting for a story, a picture, or spilled ink: waiting for anything.

I’m not cut out for self-discovery. I’m an idiot hiding under a mask of being smart. Maybe I shouldn’t know myself. Maybe I should stay blind to everything. The trivial defines me. Deep down? I don’t know. Why do I do the things I do? No clue. Ram through another wall and find another. The wall is well-constructed this time. Smash through this to find an iron gate. And another taller iron-gate. On and on from one problem to the next.

“Self-discovery is like an onion; it has many layers.”

Infinite layers. The radius never shrinks, the circle never gets smaller. One layer leads to another layer. There is no core. There is no bright and shiny center. So much goddamn effort to peel anything away. Years of grime and dirt that doesn’t make any sense. If it does makes sense you can’t do anything with the sense it does make. One more layer down and onto the next. More confusion than before. More paralysis than before. More dread then before. Why am I this way? I hate myself for being this way. Helplessness knowing I can’t be anything else. This is me, and I hate it.

“Bring yourself to the source — whatever that is — and bask in it. Recharge.”

“Think of the love you hold in other peoples’ lives. Think happy thoughts. Think how you’re part of the whole.”

“Decide where you want to be in the future. It’ll help give you something to work towards.”

“Break a large goal down into smaller goals. Take small steps towards the goals.”

“Decide what your values are.”

“Think, ‘Is this thought useful to have right now?'”

“Maybe set boundaries with yourself in your interactions.”

It’s Friday. March 27th, 2020. 5:09 p.m. Now what? Always: Now What?

Streak Day #29 (and some stuff about therapy)

Time? 11:34 a.m. My therapy appointment is today at 1 p.m. and I’m dreading it greatly. With work at 4 p.m. that will give me around two hours to kill in between. Not enough time to really do anything (especially since everything is closed) but too much time to easily pass. I think I started the post a few weeks ago like that when I was sitting in the McDonald’s parking lot typing. I’m tempted to do that again, but McDonald’s WiFi is shit. Typing in the car is shit. Might as well get #29 done while I can.

About three or four weeks ago I mentioned in one of my posts (to hell trying to find that one to link to it) that I was thinking of keeping track of my mood twice a day. It took a few days to start it up, but I’ve been doing just that over the past three weeks. It’s been really boring actually. The antidepressants, while not supposed to do anything for nearly a month, have had me feeling really calm and out of it nearly constantly. I don’t know if it’s them causing my mood, but I don’t know what else it would be. The past month my mood could perfectly be described as Blah. I just don’t care enough to be happy or depressed. I guess. That’s how it feels in my head at least. I wish I could explain how this works because I sure would’ve liked to know before getting on meds. Not a list of side-effects, but how people’s moods change on them. What it actually feels like I guess. Maybe that’s why I keep writing about this stuff.

That was good and all until yesterday when my mood totally cratered. My consistent list of 4 to 6s out of 10 turned into 2s and 3s. I know what caused it but don’t feel like elaborating here. It’s another crisis, and a crisis that I’ve had my guard down over for the past month or two. When you’re feeling okay you forget what it’s like to struggle and I guess I was thinking maybe I found the fix and I’d never be depressed ever again. It hit like a sledgehammer. I’m not ready for this and I don’t want it but here it is.

I don’t even know what I’ll tell the therapist today. I feel so goddamn helpless and worthless right now. Not just depression, but depression like I haven’t made any damn progress on anything. I want to go in there and tell her, “Remember the first time I came here? That’s where I am. It’s like the last three months haven’t existed. I feel the same. I haven’t learned anything. And the things I have learned I suck at putting into effect. I suck at growing as a person. I’m lazy. I’m a slacker. I’m worthless.” Like I’ve learned what I should be doing, but can’t bring myself to do those things. Coping techniques. Happy thoughts. Shit like that. Maybe that’s what I’ll make the theme today, I don’t know though.

My dad is now over bitching about Pelosi and her $45,000 gold pens for the impeachment hearings, supposedly. Jesus Christ I can’t deal with this right now. 11:49. Less than an hour left.

Like she told me a few ‘coping techniques’ I guess, like try to bring yourself to a safe/happy place which sounds great in theory but is really hard to practice. Or to visualize and plan for where I want to be in my future. I don’t want to choose anything to do because I have this feeling that no matter what I pick for my future I’ll be miserable. It’s only differing degrees of misery that I still don’t know which one will be less miserable. It’s hard to move forward on anything when each path ends in misery and doom. Or to think if a thought I’m having is useful to have at the time. No thought at 2 or 3 a.m. is ever useful but try making yourself not think that thought at the time. Try to shut off your dreams somehow so you don’t wake up in a shitty mood.

Maybe the festering but subtle coronavirus anxiety can get a mention too. I’m not panicking or anything, but I’m slightly on-edge all the time.

I don’t know what else to write but I also want to piss time away until I need to leave so I don’t have to think. I hate sitting around waiting for anything.

I think after therapy I’ll go sit in the park for an hour and zone out. Or something. Listen to music, write, brood, whatever. Maybe if things really go downhill I can write a cathartic post and have it ready to go for tomorrow. Then I won’t have to worry about that at least. I’m dreading this appointment so goddamn much, you have no idea. I want it to be 1 p.m. so I can get it over with. Part of me wants to simply not show up, but I think if you do that someone will get suspicions. Depressed person doesn’t show up for therapy and doesn’t call or anything? They’d be on me instantly. Probably not, but that’s what I’m going to think so I drag my ass there and talk about how fucked up I feel.

Well, I’m done. Fuck it.

Streak Day #28 (and some stuff about not caring)

Day twenty-seveneight. Christ. I’m getting so burned out here. Three two more days until thirty. And five more days until the end of March. No, six. Next Tuesday. Less than a week. Shit. March has thirty-one days as I’m well aware by now. I’ve never been able to recall which months have thirty-one as opposed to thirty days but if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that. March Has Thirty-One Days. I’ll never forget that fact.

Years ago I took up a project like this with running. I began January 19, 2015 and set out to run at least a mile everyday for a year. And I did it. Rain, snow, bitter cold, burning heat and humidity, day or night, sick or drunk or hungover, I ran at least a single mile everyday. I even kept going when I had my wisdom teeth removed which was totally against their recommendations, but I did it anyways. In 2015 I ran 1,236 miles over 189 hours. I kept it going in 2016 running 1,041 miles over 171 hours. This was seven days of running each year!

I kept this up until (apparently, I still have the spreadsheets I tracked everything in) February 25th, 2017, two years and a month after I started. I gave it up because it was mentally taxing to continue running everyday. I dreaded it. It wasn’t fun anymore. It didn’t feel like an accomplishment. I felt like everyday had this dread hanging over it that I had something to do — run a fucking mile — and towards the end I started doing the bare minimum. I’d run a mile slowly around the neighborhood, clocking some totally pathetic 11 or 12-minute miles. Just not giving a fuck about it until I finally threw in the towel.

In the beginning it felt like I had something I was working towards. I had a grand goal to run 365 days in a row and I was also working on training for half-marathons and actually improving my times. My first half-marathon took longer than two hours, and in the midst of my running streak I set a goal of a sub 2-hour half marathon time. I did and pulled off like a 1:40 time or something. I felt great. I felt accomplished. I went on to shave my 5k times down as well, sometimes placing in the top three of my age group. Making this adventure even more epic; I ran barefoot. Yes, barefoot. Why? Because I could. I had nothing to prove besides that it was possible. If I abused my feet enough to where I got blisters, I’d put on some Luna sandals, but nearly every run was done without footwear. The half-marathon, the 15-mile trail run at rock cut. Blistering 5k runs at a sub 7-minute mile pace. I don’t brag much but I’m definitely bragging here. I was a barefoot badass and it felt amazing.

But then I realized I was not cut out to be a runner, genetically, and that no matter how hard I worked I could never be first place or even in the top ten overall. I’m not built to be the perfect runner and no amount of practice or dedication or heart could make me run faster. There’s this thing called VO2 max that basically measures how much oxygen you can use during exercise. This is mostly determined with genetics and dictates how fast you can run. If you’re not born with exceptional VO2 max, you’re not cut out to be a runner. Sure, you can improve it somewhat, but there is a limit to how far you can go. It just isn’t physically possible if you’re not born with the genes. Once I discovered that there is some inherent limitation to what you can be as a person, albeit in terms of a physical sport, it kinda crushed my spirits. I always talk about shit like “am I born to be a writer?” or other bullshit like that, and I don’t think it applies to the arts — you can do whatever the fuck you want — but with running. Yes, you totally can be born to not be a runner. Even if you love running and it’s your passion, you’re simply not cut out to do it. It’s depressing.

I like to say I learned something from that grand adventure but I don’t think I did. If anything I learned how shitty it is trying to do something consistently everyday. It wears on you. You start to not care. You wonder what it’s all about. You wonder if your time and motivation is better spent elsewhere. I don’t have anything grand to say about feeling this way because it caused me to mostly stop running and I still have no regrets about doing so. When I stopped, suddenly I had so much more motivation. I started to write more. I started to play video games. It felt like every ounce of my being was expended daily to run a mile, and when I stopped I felt reborn in a way. Like one chapter was closed and I was ready for the next. I felt like a failure, but also like I chose to be a failure. I made a conscious decision to stop, and I did, and while there was some slight pang of regret and failure, I knew it was time.

Big rant about running aside, this is how I feel about blogging and this 30/31/33 day streak, whatever it turns out to be. I think I’ll finish March off, if I can, but I’m really starting to not give a shit. I have that same dread of waking up and forcing out a post before work. Or the dread of forcing out a post after work. I haven’t even thought about my fiction stories or the Morrowind story this week. I haven’t written in my journal .doc in three weeks. Each day is focused on thinking of a blog topic and churning it out. I feel mentally sick when I open the computer screen, the same as I felt walking outside and taking the first few lethargic steps on my mile run. But it isn’t so bad once you warm up. I’m having fun with this post, and I know I’ll have a wonderful sense of accomplishment when I tidy this thing up and post it. And I know I’ll continue on to the end of March and feel another sense of accomplishment. And then I know I won’t post more than a few posts in April. As the books I’ve been reading say, “The wheel weaves as the pattern wills.” Or something like that. Yeah.

Like with running, I’m wondering what the hell all of this is for. Am I learning anything? Am I gaining some sense of routine? Am I turning into a better writer? Am I writing more without thinking of what I’m writing? I’m getting a ton of views this month which is nice — I might break my monthly viewer record today — but is that even for anything? Is my slow decent into madness obvious to everyone that reads these or am I holding it together enough to fool people? Maybe that’s the point of this: a case-study in burnout and giving up. *big sigh* I’m rambling again and I always seem to ramble about shit like this. I don’t even recall the past three weeks of posts. What have I already talked about? What is new? Has anything been insightful? My mood today is one where I could carry on and on about everything. My antidepressants and how I’m wondering if I’ve always felt this way or if I’m somehow changed. Wondering whether this is good or bad. Pondering how March with the virus has been a great time to do this streak thing, how everything is working perfectly somehow. How I still feel trapped in limbo by something. Something about anxiety and insomnia and synesthesia. Yes, synesthesia. And cough medicine. And serotonin. Okay, I’m done with day #27. Onward!

Streak Day #27 Sucks (and some stuff about the economy)

We went to Meijer on Sunday as it’s my shopping day. The whole ‘drink on Sunday’ resolution has also meant that I have a regular grocery shopping day as well. This has been working out nicely since the start of the year. No more late night post-work trips to Walmart to get a box of crackers, milk, or whatever other random shit we need. I keep a list throughout the week of items we run out of and buy them Sunday. It’s a good system.

The store was unsurprisingly empty. I got the best parking spot in the lot and there was only ten or fifteen cars there total. The place was dead as you could expect. This was shocking because despite the statewide quarantine I assumed people would still be blowing up the grocery store. Apparently not.

The drive to the store didn’t give many clues about the quarantine. Traffic was nothing like it usually was, although the streets weren’t barren of life. When I drive anywhere it feels like a Sunday. Few cars on the road and it feels like constant sleepy, weekend mornings.

But apparently the economy is grinding to a halt. People aren’t working and are only buying the bare minimum that they need. (That still hasn’t stopped me for dropping $100 a new solar panel; I’m going to charge my phone via solar no matter what I have to do!) I’ve heard stories on Reddit and Facebook (yeah, I know this sounds bad) about polluted and smog-filled cities clearing up now that humans have mostly shut down their economies. Animals are out and about because we’re laying low. The world is getting a break from us humans for once. And for the time being were mostly doing good, right?

I think lately I’m struggling with this whole idea of a ‘booming economy’ and how it’s required for society to function. It seems with everyone chilling the fuck out the planet isn’t being destroyed nearly to the degree it usually is, and isn’t this a good thing? In my idealistic mind I can’t stop thinking “Can’t we do this all the time?” Of course not: once people run out of money and start starving things will get very bad very quickly.

One thing I’ve learned from reading a few basic, shitty, introductory economics books is that the economy is linked together in a complex web; what affects one part of the economy affects the rest. With society grinding to a halt this past few weeks, everyone will be hurt eventually. I have some safety net by working at UPS (the whole ‘life-saving medication thing) but if people run out of cash where they can’t order a fuckton of trash off Amazon, UPS can and will cut the workforce down. And then I’m one of the people not buying shit and causing other people to lose their jobs and so on.

Now that I really think about it my anxiety is starting to tick up once again. It feels like we’re on a timer set to trigger a bomb to the economy itself. I’m still an ‘essential employee’ but I’m only essential for some undefined time going forward. Not that I’m condoning Trump’s plan to get everyone back to work by April 12th — that’s a terrible idea and would nuke the economy with possible millions dying — but I do hope things kinda get back to normal, or some sense of normalcy, soon. The plan working its way through congress won’t do shit in the long run either: how long will $1,000 last an adult in the United States? Maybe a month, at most. Don’t even get me fucking started on these corporate bailouts. Motherfuckers can’t save some cash as an emergency fund and now us taxpayers have to bail them out?! Come the fuck on. I know, jobs and all, but still, fuck them.

This post was boring and uninspired and I have to leave early to borrow my dad some money. He has some medical issues and is off work the rest of the week. Having no savings, any disruption to his income requires me to help him along. If that isn’t a fitting end to this post, I don’t know what it is.

Streak Day #26 Sucks (and bitching about coworkers)

Today is Monday, my hangover day. It being my hangover day, I’m usually dragging my ass through the day trying to scrounge up any and all motivation that I can find. I woke up at like 8 a.m., and feeling really shitty and hungover drank the remaining three Coronas (lol) from the 12-pack. I felt better and went back to sleep. I woke up at 2:20 p.m. giving me about an hour until I needed to leave for work. I chugged a Bang energy drink and sat around doing fuck-all until work.

I went to work and had another Bang energy. 600 mg of caffeine in three hours. Yeehaw. I had electricity running through my veins, a nervous shaking fueled by my hangover, caffeine, nicotine, and it being cold out. There was probably a moderate risk of me having an anxiety attack or a heart attack but I survived.

But what about the blog? Wasn’t I double-shifting tonight? Yeah, whatever, I’ll figure something out later. Put your back against the wall and fight against the midnight deadline. I’d have to post from my phone from work, but surely I could churn something out.

Work went to hell quickly with our first plane showing up a whopping two hours late. Somewhere in the two hours we got like a half-hour break and I sat in our crew van trying to muster some motivation to do anything. Read Wheel of Time? Write the damn blog post? Listen to music? I didn’t want to do anything.

And then a coworker started talking to me. Well, wait, let’s backtrack a bit.

I like to take my breaks mostly alone and in silence. I don’t eat food, I don’t socialize very much, and I try to lay low. The past year I had a tiny break room all to myself, and then we hired a bunch of seasonals that started shitting the place up. I then started bringing my bluetooth stereo thingy into work and camping out in the crew van listening to music. I had a little safe zone of solace, but apparently no place is safe anymore.

We have this one guy who I won’t name who is impossible to be around. He is literally one of the dumbest people I have ever met. Despite this, I still can’t quite put a finger on what bothers me about him, it almost seems like a little bit of everything. Something about him is so immensely frustrating and grating on the nerves that I can’t stand being around him for more than a few minutes.

So I sat there totally spacing out trying to figure out what to do. Obviously this coworker was still camped in the van for some reason. It’s not like it’s my van, my personal break area on wheels, but it also kinda is. He usually goes upstairs and lurks (sometimes in my old break room; another reason why I don’t go there anymore) but for some reason he’s been camping in the van the past few weeks.

I grabbed my book which usually means I’m about to read and he started talking to me about…you guessed it, the goddamn coronavirus. Jesus Christ. I’ve complained before that I’m sick of hearing about it; sure it’s okay to talk about in passing but I’m just sick of having big elaborate discussions about it especially since I’m losing so much goddamn money in the stock market. It’s a sore subject for me. And of course that’s what he talked to me about for ten fucking minutes. “When is this quarantine supposed to end? Yeah, I hung out with my friend yesterday — I think the media is blowing it out of proportion — the H1N1 virus wasn’t that big of a deal.” And something about the federal government and quarantines. Somehow this guy was totally lost on the fact that the states are the ones tossing up quarantines, not the federal government. Anyone ever hear of the federal system? I was about ready to scream, yet being my usual kind and thoughtful self forced myself to sort of socialize with him even though I was dying by 1,000 papercuts to my ear and my brain.

Luckily, my friend hopped in the van shortly afterwards and I gave her this fucking wide-eyed scowl and just stared at her; it was obvious what my problem was and she knew it immediately. Everyone on the crew feels the same way about this guy. Luckily I was able to direct my attention to a conversation with her and mostly ignore the other guy. I felt kinda bad but also not very bad. I hate talking to this guy and sometimes you need to look out for yourself. It sucks not being a saint or a Buddhist Monk at all times in your life, but I’m neither of those and am as flawed as anyone else. I’m guilty of being a douchebag but sometimes I don’t have the patience to suffer out of politeness.

Last week we were all in the van and I was trying to read. Another frustrating thing about this guy is he’s the type to force his way into any conversation no matter how oblique he is to it. It’s okay to be around two people talking and not be part of it if it doesn’t relate to you at all. Someone mentioned that they went out and did yard work this weekend and he had to point out that he hates gardening; he can’t make plants grow and they always die on him. Big conversation about gardening and how he’s awful at it. Okay. Someone had food in the van; he had to mention that he likes cooking and then shit all over his wife because she isn’t a good cook. She got her terrible cooking skills from her dad because he can’t cook either! Awesome bro! Good to know!

ANYWAYS, I was trying to read and he was butting into every conversation going on in the van. He even asked me what book I was reading. I said Wheel of Time and he asked if it was good. Well, I probably wouldn’t be reading it if I fucking hated it. How do you even point something as obvious like that out to someone? He then talked about how he can’t read anything that’s long or boring (I’m assuming without pictures too…) and just, urgh. He kept talking and I kept trying to read but anytime he talked my mind would instantly lose focus and direct attention to whatever dumbass thing he was going on about to my coworkers. I couldn’t do it. I had another two hours on break and it took about five minutes to read a paragraph because of him talking and his voice. Eventually I abandoned ship van and headed upstairs to the supervisors’ office. I don’t like to barge in there and shit the place up, but once again sometimes you need to be selfish. I made sure to stress that I just wanted to read and wasn’t trying to socialize with the bosses or intrude onto others: I just needed a quiet and safe spot away from my dumbass coworkers.

We are trying to make some effort to accomodate the guy so he doesn’t feel left out of forgotten about at work. This is good in a way, but it’s also making him more talkative which is stressing everyone else out. You know, try to see everything in a positive light and appreciate everyone as their own, unique person. Everyone brings something to the table, right? Thoughts about how people pissing you off is your own problem, and maybe you can learn something from them in how they make you mad. All of those wonderful and all-encompassing views of humanity and how we’re all the same, struggling through the same problems. This view works great with people you love to be around, but this guy makes me think that maybe all of that lovey, dovey bullshit is, well, bullshit.

And I don’t like to take the Taoism approach of “bad people make the good people good” because goddamnit it’s frustrating. I really think I could appreciate the people I appreciate without a coworker who’s grating on the nerves, but maybe Taoism in onto something. Who knows. I wasn’t trying to make any big or grand points to teach anyone anything here; I just wanted to bitch and bitch I did. Mission Accomplished.

Streak Day #25 Sucks (and some stuff about choice)

I stopped by my dad’s house Friday to get his phone payment from him. We have some shitty system in place where I pay for our phones and my parents are supposed to pay me back. Supposed to. I see it as a win-win for everyone involved. We get a slightly cheaper phone bill with me autopaying the bill, and dad’s military service also nets us a $10 monthly discount. They don’t have to worry about a due date, so no late fees to worry about; I don’t mind floating the charges until they get around paying. No fear of having the phone shut off because I’m taking care of it like a responsible adult.

Anyways, this post isn’t supposed to be about my parents’ debts to me or how irresponsible they are with money. No, it’s meant to be about TV and choice. Which fucking sucks.

I used to love TV. I remember watching TV as a kid where I was a huge fan of educational channels such as the History and Discovery Channels. I also recall my grandma shitting all over me for it. She didn’t have cable and had to watch the shitty four local channels. I told her how awesome cable was and that I didn’t know how she managed to survive off four shitty channels all the time. All she did was watch a single shitty soap opera in the day as well as the local news at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. I can’t believe I used a variation of the word ‘shit’ in each sentence I had written.

Sure I watch stupid cartoons and Power Rangers, but in the evening I loved watching the History Channel and Discovery Channel. I learned a lot of random facts from them and consider myself an armchair historian regarding World War 2 due to all the History Channel shows I watched as a kid. Hitler invaded Russia on June 22, my birthday! Cable wasn’t just something to vege out in front of, and as I tried to tell my grandma, I could learn stuff. I watched the Weather Channel during hurricane season and became a child weather expert. I knew hot and humid weather ahead of a strong cold front meant we’d have storms. I knew southwest winds carried the hot and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico thousands of miles away. And so on just collecting random and mostly useless knowledge about airplanes, history, weather, and whatever else was on.

As I was visiting my dad I was greeted by the show Two and a Half Men on the TV. He was watching it passively, not really engaged with the show and simply had it on to have something to watch. I used to watch Two and a Half Men years ago when my ex-girlfriend and I lived together. We, like my grandma, had a shitty antenna TV and had to watch the four local channels. I was a ‘fan’ of the show back then I guess with Charlie Sheen actually shitting up the show as he was supposed to be doing. Charlie was meant to be a total douchebag and Sheen played the part well. It was funny and witty enough and was better than anything else I could find at the time.

The Two and a Half Men that was on as I visited my dad was the shitty new version with Jake being all grown up and Ashton Kutcher playing, uh, I forgot his characters name Walden (what the fuck sort of name is ‘Walden’ anyways?). And for some reason, either me maturing to where I didn’t give a shit for the show anymore or the show actually being shit now that Charlie Sheen was gone, I didn’t find it funny at all. I mean the grating laugh track was giving me social cues to laugh at the jokes, but they weren’t that funny. In fact it seemed like the show was making the same jokes it always had been making. Alan being a bum. Rose being crazy. The housekeeper being a smartass. And so on.

My dad laughed passively at the jokes and I just sat there feeling dead to the world. Was this what TV was? Was this what American life has devolved into? Has it devolved at all or was this simply what ‘normal people’ like my dad did with his entire day? Stare at some unfunny TV show because doing fulfilling and life-improving things is too much effort? I can’t even blame him the coronavirus for him devolving this way either; for the past two years he’s sat blindly at his couch and watched TV. He used to enjoy photography and taking walks but has given them up over the last few years, probably due to depression (that he won’t acknowledge). Maybe TV isn’t the cause but the symptom here.

What bothers me most about TV is the lack of choice involved. Watching TV for him is already a lack of choice — he only watches because there is nothing else to do, at least in his mind — but TV pushes it even further because you don’t have a choice what to watch on network TV. You get what they give you and the eight channels or so offer him no real choice for what to actually watch. Cable TV, as shitty as it is, offers hundreds of channels so if you’ve given up and want to watch TV you at least have a choice what to watch. It’s all about choice for me, I think. If you choose to watch TV, that’s fine, you do you, but if you’re mindlessly watching for the sake of watching something, anything, that’s where the problem is.

Maybe that’s why I’ve always been a fan of the internet: you can choose almost endlessly what to give your attention to. I can watch anything fulfilling or interesting that I want to watch on YouTube. I can watch total shit on YouTube if I want. In many ways I think YouTube has taken over the role of TV, at least the educational show aspect which I used to love so much as a kid. That’s probably it’s own topic on its own though. The internet is a great tool, but it comes at a price. Since you can find almost anything to occupy yourself, you need to have a great deal of self-control to not let yourself devolve like my dad has done with TV. The power to choose comes with responsibility, the responsibility I don’t think many of us have. I myself am not perfect and this is probably why I’m on Reddit until the early hours of the morning. But what about the people totally addicted to low-quality social media drama, and shitposting memes on Facebook? They’re like my dad in a slightly different way, only social-mediaing it up because there is nothing else to do and people are scared of boredom. Keep busy at all costs, even if you’re not consciously choosing to do so.

Think about what you’re doing and what you choose to give your attention to. This is your life, and it’s always up for you to decide. Is this what you really want to be doing? Is this what you want your life to be? Are you really happy reading this shitty low-quality blog post? Have you learned anything? Is there something else you’d rather being doing?