I’m roughly halfway through my yearly vacation. This year I took all my vacation time in a solid three-week block and do not return to work until August 3rd. I could also take a fourth week off until like August 10th but I’ll probably work that week because I have the option to work it; it’s basically an extra paycheck for free so why not? But the current three weeks? Those are mandatory and I have zero choice but to not work. This sounds great but…well, I’ve written about that struggle before.
To recap: I’m lazy, unmotivated, and too unstructured to do anything on my own volition. I didn’t enjoy school but it gave me something to do and added some structure to my day. The same is true with work — I don’t like it because it’s something I have to do — but without it I just can’t get myself focused, hyped up, or motivated to do a damn thing. I require work for some structure and purpose and I feel aimless and lost without it.
People usually tell me to “relax” on my vacation, but I think relaxing is something I’ve never gotten the hang of in life. I hate sitting around. I hate doing nothing. Fishing? I hate fishing and never understood it because it seems to me you sit around and wait for something to happen. I hate sunbathing and never understood how my mom could sit outside for hours in a day relaxing. Or the drunkards that sit on the porch relaxing with a few drinks. I can never do any of these things for extended periods of time because I just get bored and antsy.
(Fun fact: I complained to my therapist about my ‘vacation dread/anxiety’ and she laughed and said something like, “Wow, first-world problems, huh?” I immediately felt like an ass. Yes, I was complaining about how hard life was since I couldn’t work for three weeks and that does seem like a ridiculous thing to complain about. But I’m going to complain more here.)
Despite complaining about being bored and my inability to relax, I’m a week and a half into my vacation — about the halfway mark — and what have I done? Nothing. I’ve pissed it all away. Before my vacation I promised myself I’d make it worthwhile. I’d go on bike rides, go to parks, hike, write tons of shit, read, figure out how to be genuinely happy, find a career I really want to pursue, meditate, eat better, look for another job, be a flight instructor — basically figure things out in a big way — and what have I actually done? Nothing. Nothing at all. This is only my second blog post despite being on vacation for as long as I have. A blog post takes an hour or two at most but I’ve never gotten around to it, so you know damn well I haven’t done anything ‘big’. And fuck relaxing.
In fact I totally spiraled into alcoholism the first week of vacation. I literally drank everyday from Friday to Sunday and I mean the next Sunday and not the one immediately after Friday. It was a 10 day drinking spree of like 12 or 15 beers every night. I’d wake up the next day, stay sober until about 3-5 p.m. and do it all over again. It’s no surprise I didn’t do anything that first week. Once again I wasn’t relaxing during this either.
This week is looking slightly better because I realized if I’m trying to figure shit out drinking wasn’t going to cut it, in fact drinking seems like one of those big things I should be figuring out. Drinking is a great motivator sometimes but after a multi-day binge you find all motivation to do even the smallest thing disappears. I found myself procrastinating texting someone, going outside to look at a comet through binoculars, or paying my credit cards on my phone; little things that’d only take a minute to do I couldn’t drag myself to do, and I didn’t even listen to music while driving somewhere. I didn’t have the motivation to decide on what to listen to! It was a bad time. Not a bad-depressing time, but bad-blah time. Bad-bland. Bad-“is this what I’m doing for vacation?”
I haven’t drank since Monday last night (but I did go three days sober before that…) and am already feeling more motivated. Hell, here’s this post which is something, and I even went on a 14-mile bike ride yesterday. I’ve posted like three things on Instagram too! I still feel like I’m nowhere near having anything ‘figured out’ by the time I return to work but it seems like I’m finally off to a good start. Sadly it’s taken half my vacation to reach this point. Baby steps, right?
It’s another one of these posts where I feel like a sellout. Let me explain. I strolled home on Friday with a case a beer to cap off the end of a shitty day. Not just a singular shitty day either because Friday was my last day of work before a three-week vacation. Not that I don’t mind not working, it’s that work is kinda what I do and gives me some semblance of routine and progress, something to be distracted by, and without work I just feel lost. I’ve already written a few posts about that (although I’m too lazy to find and link them now) so I won’t get into it any further.
Anyways, on WordPress, I somehow drunkenly stumbled upon something called “WordAds” or something like that. It said I could run ads on my blog and get paid for it. Huh. Even though I was drunk I still had a healthy bit of skepticism — you need a ton of viewers for any real income — and assumed I wouldn’t actually make anything notable. But why not? I thought. I was more curious about how much “WordAds” would pay me than anything else.
This blog doesn’t get a ton of view in the grand scheme of things. Somehow I cracked 2,000 views in the month of May and even though that is something I can be proud of I’m well aware that this isn’t really notable at all compared with other blogs. Running ads on my paltry blog might provide me with like $0.50 a month, although I’m just guessing and have no idea what the real number will be. I’m just aware that it won’t be anything to note. Either way I’m curious as to how much cash 2,000 views a month can provide. Consider it a science experiment of sorts.
Making money was never my prime motivator for blogging because it seems like the wrong way to do anything. I always put passion or “having something to say” above “making money” so don’t actually care about trying to turn this place into a cash machine. It’s a hobby, a way to get myself to write, to get myself to do something, but damn would it be nice to get paid to blog. Make a living out of doing what you enjoy doing (sort of!) and not have to work for someone else. I think it’s the dream most if not all of us want, and is probably the prime reason behind the success of shitty MLM schemes. “Make money doing what you want to do! Be your own boss!”
Not that this is how the world really works. To get paid, you must provide a service of value to people, and one thing I’ve learned reading the random economics book here and there is that the market, any market, is stupidly efficient. There are no get-rich-quick schemes that work because someone before you has already figured it out and jumped into the game. It reminds me of when I thought about selling vape juice during the early stages of the pandemic — there was demand and a market but I dragged my feet — but after a month or so most vape shops had already perfected an online ordering system and totally grabbed the market again. For my birthday my wife bought me six vape pods and I thought I could be a capitalist and sell half of them to my work buddies. Ya know, totally scalp them because they’re all desperate for new pods. I sold two of them for $20 while the two cost her on average $16: I made a $4 profit on this sale. Fuck. That’s not getting rich quick at all.
Blogging is even worse. Once again, how the hell does anyone think they’re going to make money by writing and posting shit on the internet? Well, some do, but it’s a very small percentage. How many bloggers are actually providing a service to anyone? Creating interesting and enlightening content? Is there a market we’re all desperately trying to sell something to? Not many, and It surely isn’t myself or this blog. Anyone looking to make quick money should turn away from blogging and just go find a job. Work for someone else, grab a paycheck, and save as much as you can. I think this is why I never understood the “blog for money” persona: why did you pick this as a way to make money?! Fuck. At the very best it’s a hard thing to do, and at the very worst it’s nearly an impossible time sink to eventually make money.
So I feel like a cheap sellout now. I checked this blog a few days ago and saw “Duck Duck Go” ads plastered all over the place. One of my motivators for having a WordPress Premium Plan (or whatever) is that your site is ad free. Free WordPress plans plop up ads wherever they want which adds a tacky feel to it all. I also like to be in control, knowing that my page is displayed as formatted and no one is going to plop their bullshit ads in the middle of my rants. And I do all of this a few years ago only to run ads on my own to make money. Jeremy, please go fuck off, you’re not understanding how this is supposed to work. But eh, like I said, I’m more curious than anything about how much I could actually make. I know it’ll be useless and pointless, but let’s try it out. If it doesn’t provide a damn thing (like I think), I’ll cancel the ads. Artistic integrity over everything else, but damn would be it be cool to make a living off of writing.
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.
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 Time — Lemon 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.
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…
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.
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.
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.
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.
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.”
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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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…
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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.
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.
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.
I see my therapist every two weeks now. It happened by accident a few months ago when she was off on vacation but we’ve kept to a biweekly schedule since. I think this is the plan all along, although I’m still new to all of this stuff. It makes sense if they think you’re improving that they ween you off of their support. As you grow stronger you don’t need them anymore and can function all on your own.
I was surprised when I was able to stick to this biweekly schedule after the past two weeks. When I was picked up by the cops and hauled to talk to a counselor two weeks ago, they suggested I make an appointment with my therapist to help me work through my current predicament. I agreed to this but mostly so I could get the hell out of there. Not like they had any leverage over me once I left. After I hauled my camping supplies back home and started to drink heavily, I did think about scheduling another appointment. But no. Something in me was stubborn and wanted to face reality and my problems on my own, even if I was limping along in life with alcoholism. Maybe that says something good about my mindset; even in the depths of feeling like total shit I still had confidence that I’d get through it and I could talk to the therapist about it in a week and a half. That’s what I did and I saw her last Friday.
The thing I like most about therapy is how she doesn’t bark commands at me or tell me exactly what I’m doing wrong. It’s easier to get people to listen to you if you feel like they’re learning shit on their own. This is why arguing on social media never works; calling someone out on their flaws, even if true, won’t make them very receptive to your views or opinions. The therapist does this wonderfully and I wish everyone would someone adopt this technique. She guides me along and kinda hints at solutions but never tells me exactly what I’m doing wrong. She allows me to realize things on my own which really helps a person interalize their realizations.
This post is about one of these realization friday. Something about one of my flaws. About how I’m never happy and at peace. This is most relevant with relationships in this case, but it applies everywhere. I’m not happy at work; I think I can be happier elsewhere. I’m not happy writing because I think I could do a better job at it. Take this blog and my views over the past few months for another perfect example. One of my goals this year was to have 1,000 monthly views which I finally cracked last month. I think I ended with 1,200 or so. I was happy for a few days but then it disappeared. I did it, sure, but now what should I do? This month has over 2,000 views already, and think about that. I doubled my goal for this year and how do I feel about it? Perfectly fucking blah. I’m so happy and thankful, but I know it’s a temporary feeling. Those two writing awards I received years ago in college? Cool at the time, but so what? I haven’t won any awards recently so it seems silly to still feel good about them. Oooo, I finally got my commercial pilot’s license last July? Same thing as always; I felt good for a few days and then stressed out and wondered what my next step should be. As soon as I achieve something the happiness wanes and I need to do something else. I’m seriously never happy.
Now that I think of it, a friend at work asked a question that most people seemed to find very enlightening to think about. It went something like this. “Imagine you are 50. You’ve made all the money you’ve wanted to make. You’re happily married or in whatever situation you hope to be in. You’re drinking your favorite beverage on the porch in your dream home watching the sun either set or rise, whatever. Life is perfect. You’ve made it. What music are you listening to? What are you feeling at the time? What are your current thoughts?” I think there was more to it but this was a month ago so I forgotten about the details. The general gist should be fine.
The few people I heard answer the question actually answered it. I kinda frowned thinking about it and when asked said the premise was totally off for me. I knew I’d never have that singular moment where life was totally complete, finished, and I was content and happy. If I was in this spot I’d still be antsy always looking for some other project or goal to work towards. I’ve basically accepted this fact about myself: I’ll never be happy because I need goals to chase and such. Or maybe since I’m never satisfied I need goals to chase. I don’t know which one drives the other really, which one is the carrot and which one is the horse.
Enter the therapist appointment. I don’t know if she said anything, but I’m sure she did, and I came to the realization that, hey, wait, what if this major flaw of mine is a good thing? Something bothers me when I see people totally stagnant in life with no goals, dreams, or hobbies. I wonder if this bothers them. Do people really sit around and enjoy the weather? Do others really rest, relax, and chill? Really? You can even view it in a darker way as well. Think of hopeless alcoholics who drink daily working a job they hate and they just exist in that environment for literal decades. Does this bother them? And does it bother them enough where they want to change it? For some people this answer is certainly “no,” and this is frightening to me. It sounds like someone whose soul is dead and they’re only physically alive. Honestly, this was myself last week, but it wore me down. Something seemed off. Something within me didn’t like the entire affair. I was giving in to being lazy, giving into my current situation, giving up on life, and content with just existing as a drunkard with no dreams or goals. And I don’t want to be that way.
This flaw I have about always needing something else, if viewed correctly, or as the therapist mentioned “directed,” it’s an amazing gift to have. It keeps me from giving into the dreariness of life, or the blandness of not moving forward. It manifests in negative ways in relationships obviously, but knowing my tendencies could help me redirect the energy into a positive way. What I always thought was a flaw — maybe I just had to learn to be happy with where I am — also can manifest as a drive for more that if used right is an amazing gift that many others might not have. Sure this causes me a great deal of suffering, but so what?
Usually we view our traits as totally positives or totally negatives with little thought about the contexts we apply to them. Being “giving” is usually viewed as a good trait, but it can also be a flaw. If you’re so giving to others that you gladly give money away to bums at the expense of yourself or your family, this is bad. “Greedy” sounds bad, but it might also allow you to save money and have a large safety net of cash on hand. This might be old information for those wiser than myself, but I’m pretty happy I stumbled upon this little gem. So think about the traits you have, whether positive or negative, and try to see them from a slightly less biased perspective. Many of the negative ones might be awesome traits that can be used to benefit yourself and others. One of my flaws, always needing more, might be a blessing in disguise that I only thought was a flaw. It’s all on how you view and use your traits I guess.
Now the question is how to use this apparent gift of mine? Well, I have this blog post to show for my efforts. That’s a start…
I got my COVID test last wednesday, May 20th. They told me it would take 5-7 days for me to get my results. The earliest I could expect them was monday, but since that was a holiday I was counting more on tuesday or wednesday of this week. I awoke tuesday and hopefully looked at my phone: nothing. No missed calls, no emails, nothing. And the mailbox also had a pile of junk mail that only got my hopes up. Bills, junk, advertisements, an Amazon package, but that was it. The same story happened wednesday although I did finally get my vape juice and pods in. That was the one highlight of my day and something I could be happy about. Maybe things were starting to look up.
Today, thursday, and nothing. It was the seventh day, or eighth if you want to count Memorial Day as an actual day, and knew I had to do something. Everyone knows testing still is a fucking joke and I was dreading not being able to find out anything. Then what? What do I do with no results at all? If I was totally lost in the system?
Let me digress a bit. I discovered my uncle was also tested last week and got his results friday, after only a few days, so I knew I should’ve heard something. Even worse is they called him. Where the hell was my call? I could’ve been back to work making money and having a routine but I’d been patiently waiting for a call. I didn’t want to be a bother. I’m sure the health department is swamped and didn’t want to be a demanding pain in the ass when there are plenty of them already in the world.
So I had to do something today. I called the clinic that was listed on the paper. After playing “push 1 for english, press 2 for our COVID hotline, for [whatever] press…” for about five minutes I finally talked to a fellow human. She said to call the Winnebago County Health Department and gave me their number. I didn’t have a pen and I’m proud to say I memorized the number on the spot. 815-720-4000 if you’d like to call them for some reason.
So I called the health department to be greeted by more number pushing. “If this is a medical emergency, call ‘911’ immediately. If you feel you maybe have COVID or have symptoms of COVID, please call your primary medical provider…” I eventually ended up on a recording requesting me to leave a message. What? So I hung up and tried again. I expected to get the same spiel all over again, had my phone on speaker sitting on the couch ready for disappointment, when a real human said “COVID hotline, how can I help you?” Oh shit. I grabbed the phone, turned off the speaker, and started my request.
My test was negative. Duh. I probably had a cold and overreacted. “Could I have an email to confirm that though? Just in case work needs it?”
“Sure, send an email here: ‘c’ as in ‘cat’, ‘d’ as in ‘dog’, reporting…at…”
I texted my friend/boss and told him my test was negative and followed that up with my request: CAN I COME BACK TO WORK NOW?!
“Yes, please,” was the reply. Thank God.
And then more anxiety. More dreading. I was gone for a week and what would people say? What would people ask? Would I have to explain myself or redeem myself for being off work for over a week? No, probably not. Think if one of your fellow coworkers took off for a week unexpectedly; you probably wouldn’t miss them much. Everyone does their own thing — you included — and most people really don’t give two fucks if you’re at work or not. I don’t know why I’m so anxious over every single thing that happens in life. Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten into a new routine of being miserable and bored just trying to piss time away as quickly as possible. So that routine’s over and I have a new routine, the same routine I had over a week ago but which I’ve forgotten already. I’ll have to socialize. I’ll have to function. I’ll have to be productive. And as much as I dread it I know it’ll be fine. As soon as I pull into the parking lot it’ll feel like I was never off. So what the fuck am I worrying about?
And that’s it: I’m going back to work. Yay?! It’ll be nice to have a purpose again that isn’t decided by me. It’s a pain when you have too much free time because you have to decide what to do. That’s a hard decision indeed and usually leads to total indecisiveness. That’ll be nice to sidestep a little bit, but for now I have two more hours until I must leave. What to do with that time?