Archive for category Stumbling

Blog Like Each Post is Your Last

Posted by on Thursday, 20 June, 2013

I never specifically decided to stop blogging, I just lost interest. After this post, it is hard to say when or if I will ever post again, so…

I have been aware for some time that I seem to feel that I deserve absolutely everything that happens to me, good or bad. Consequently, I tend to be extremely ungrateful when people do nice things for me, but on the other hand, I am not very indignant when bad things happen either. I have discussed how few times I have lost my temper in my adult life. In trying to analyze why that happens at all, I eventually concluded that I get angry when I feel that I am not getting the respect that I deserve. Which was an anticlimactic revelation; isn’t that why everyone loses their temper? Yet it does not happen to me very often, because most of the time I simply do not feel that I deserve much respect anyway. In fact, the times when I really get hot seem to not be specifically about me at all, I become incensed over the idea that the person would treat ANYONE that way.

Ultimately though, I have been puzzled by my own attitude for some time, as it implies a certain justice/balance/karma to the universe that I do not subscribe to intellectually. Do I also feel that everyone else deserves everything that happens to them? Not particularly, but them I am quite narcissistic and can not say that I spend much time thinking about other people, especially in those terms.

It was only recently that I dug even further into myself and realized that, if I get exactly what I deserve, yet I want more than I have, then the only way that I know to acquire it is through deceit and trickery.  To try and advance above my station, as it were. Though the details are hazy with the fog of time, I recall a moment many years ago, long before I ever even considered setting foot into a church. In a dark place emotionally, I had, not so much a plan, but a thought, a desire, a whim; to reinvent myself. To fool the Universe itself into giving me… something more than what I had.

 

And it didn’t work.

Low

Posted by on Sunday, 23 September, 2012

I happened to find myself hanging out with an Iraq war vet last weekend. I know for a fact that this guy has lived through and seen things that i could not begin to imagine, nor would I want to. Yet several different times, he mentioned that he thought I was brave because my mother died.

This was utterly baffling to me for several reasons. First of all, being brave is not about the things that happen in your life, but rather your response to them. I can not remember if I have stated this before, but I have certainly said it to myself often: everybody’s mother dies. They may be young, they may be old, but sooner or later it happens to everyone. (And if it does not, on the rare occasions that a mother outlives the child, then THAT is the real tragedy.) Everyone’s mother dies, but most people manage to still be a functional member of society afterwards. Me – not so much. Nothing brave about that.

I do not know if it was solely because of this conversation, or if there were other factors as well, but I had a particularly bad week, in which I was even less functional and productive than usual. Nothing brave about that either.

Opposite Effect

Posted by on Monday, 23 July, 2012

Someone on fb (who am I kidding, it is always the same person) posted something about the number of abortions in the U.S. and China. The China figure was significantly higher than the U.S., but when adjusted for population, apparently China has roughly double the number of abortions per capita. Which is still a lot, so that point is neither here nor there.

No, what I have been pondering for the last week or so was a comment someone else left about how the aborted babies are “immediately with Jesus forever.” I do not know that there is Biblical evidence to support this, I think it is merely assumed because God is not a d-bag*.

I started thinking, academically, about what part of you actually goes to Heaven. Specifically, whether or not you retain your personality and values in the after life. I have to assume either that these unborn babies with Jesus will either have no personality, or that our personalities are in no way formed by the experiences of our mortal lives. Or that that which is aborted is not actually a person. Or that the whole thing is hogwash and there is no such thing as Heaven.

And with that simple comment, I felt as though the entire concept of eternal life came tumbling down like a house of cards.

*Although the Biblical evidence for THAT is somewhat open to argument.

Defeatist

Posted by on Monday, 9 July, 2012

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matt. 7:3-5).

I have been struggling lately with character flaws in others that are also a problem in me. This is happening at work, in social circles, among fb friends, you name. I am very non-confrontational to begin with, but I keep wishing I could say to people, “You know, this would work a lot better if you were not so _____.” Then I realize that I am quite ____ myself, and am in no position to criticize.

So what then? Are we to merely accept that people are inherently flawed, that criticism is not constructive, and that we must lower our standards and realize the futility of our goals?

And Time

Posted by on Sunday, 10 June, 2012

The summer concert series for which I set up sound equipment started again this week. This means a few things. First, someone is going to die. Secondly, last year I started the habit of setting up for the event, going home, blogging, then going back to tear down. Even after the concert series was over, I continued blogging roughly once a week for what would have been a year now, except that twice in the just last few weeks, I have not bothered to post anything. Of course, I would be pleasantly surprised if even five of those posts from the last year were actually important reading.

Most significantly, the sound guy was immediately interested in what I had been doing since last summer, and I simply had nothing to say. Yes there have been some memorable incidents and quality time spent with people and so forth. Yet in terms of long term goals and life accomplishments, the past year may just as well have never happened for me. Nor can I say that the next year is likely to be much different. And as I have commented before, no amount of blogging is going to change that, much as I still foolishly wish that it could.

The Office Depot Incident

Posted by on Friday, 18 May, 2012

I had some things on my mind that are not strictly relevant to this post, other than that I was a little more on edge than usual.  I try to imagine how things might have gone differently if I had been my normal calm, collected self, and I honestly have no idea.

Last week, I went to Office Depot. Immediately upon entering, I was greeted by a young man. In addition to the standard “How are you today”/”Fine” exchange, as I am walking passed, he says to the back of my head, “What brings you to Office Depot today?”

My mind often goes blank when I am put on the spot like that, so it is possible that I could not have told him had I wanted to, which I most certainly did not, so I weakly mumbled, “Stuff…” as I kept on walking.

I quickly found the section of the store that contained what I wanted, and as I am looking at the display, a different Office Depot employee comes up behind me to ask, “What brings you to Office Depot today?” At this point, I am staring directly at what brought me to Office Depot that day, so I was trying to come up with the best way to completely ignore this person’s existence, without, you know, being rude about it. Failing that, I decided just to screw with her. “I want an extended warranty.”

I know that a lot of retail stores require their employees to attempt to upsell extended warranties, which is mostly a way for the company to make more money for absolutely nothing in exchange as the majority of people do not understand, or would even know how to invoke the warranty if they should need it. To be fair, I do not actually know if Office Depot has this policy, so I might have been way off base with this. In any case, she did not get what I meant and I had to repeat my desire for an extended warranty.

“On what?”

“On anything. Doesn’t matter.” I was really starting to get into it. “In fact, if I could just get the extended warranty without having to buy anything, that would be great.”

The whole time I am talking, I am also trying to actually make am informed selection from the display in front of me, but of course, I do not multitask well. The poor girl was thoroughly confused by this point; she was neither playing along nor, more importantly, leaving me alone. I do not exactly remember what she said next. I want to say that she simply reset to the beginning of her script, but in any case, with the next words out of her mouth, I snapped.

“You know what, forget it, I’m leaving,” and I stormed out of there with a parting, “Forget you people,” under my breath. It did not occur to me until afterwards, but by “you people”, I obviously meant “Office Depot employees” and NOT “African Americans”, which the young lady in question unfortunately just happened to be.

I do not lose my temper often, and this was actually fairly benign example. The thing is, angry as I was, I do not remotely blame the poor girl. I actually worried that some manager might have witnessed the exchange form afar and that it would reflect poorly on her semi-quarterly performance review. My problem was that both employees asked me an identical question, which meant that they were acting out some corporate policy, no doubt the result of market research saying that customers should be welcomed and engaged. However, when employees approach me in a store, I can not help feeling that it is because they think that I am going to steal something.

I can naively hope that I may have sent some kind of message up the corporate ladder, but I highly doubt it. I do not dress well, nor do I do not shave often, so if anything came of the incident at all, it was probably, “Some crazy, racist, homeless guy came in ranting about an extended warranty and then ran out.” Maybe in this case they really did think that I was there to steal something, in which case, good job getting rid of me. If not, in the week and a half since this occurred, I have yet to come up with a single thing this woman might have said that would have made my office supply buying experience in any way better.

So what did bring me to Office Depot? It sure as Hell was not for the inane chit-chat.

Brink (Things That Almost Were)

Posted by on Saturday, 7 April, 2012

I debated letting my last post stand as THE last post of the blog. It is nice that I have been able to keep up my one post per week average for so long, but the times when I have anything meaningful to say seem to be getting fewer and farther between. I am concerned that even if I were to say anything of value, it would only get lost among the nonsense. I really do not know what I hope to accomplish by maintaining this blog anymore. Whatever goals I may have had in the beginning have long since vanished. I mentioned before that the discipline of writing something every week was more important than whatever I had to say, but it is sad to think that I have so little accountability in my life that that would even count as an accomplishment. And yet here we are still.

I have a friend who is constantly posting religious and political things on FB that drive me crazy. I have to fight not to say anything, and I have unfortunately lost that battle a few times and no good has come of it. I could always unsubscribe, of course, yet I still feel that there is value in being exposed to other points of view. I was thinking one day about why it bothered me so much, and I had the idea to just throw caution to the wind and go through and read and  comment on every single post. Then I thought that might get boring and considered getting a bottle of Jack Daniels (which I also find distasteful) and taking a swig between each post. Last Sunday was April first, which I thought would be the perfect day for this exercise. However, when the day came around, I had not slept well the night before and was not feeling well. Plus I started panicking  when it suddenly hit me that my plan for this year was to finish with the bathroom in January, and then looking for a job in February, and here it was already April and I was nowhere close to accomplishing either of those things.

I did no work at all in March. Neither in the bathroom, nor for my part time job. I have no idea where the time goes. Towards the end of last year, I devised three rules to attempt to increase my productivity. The first was, “No going on the internet between 9:00am and 6:00pm.” The second, “No eating in front of the computer.” The problem is, once I settle in front of the computer, I can not get myself to leave the chair. The third rule was, “Do the dishes before bed.” It was not really related to the other two, but I used to be fanatical about dishes when I had a bunch of roommates, but living on my own, I had gotten quite bad about letting things stack up for days.

These rules were pretty simple, yet I repeatedly violated all of them, and then at some point, I just gave up entirely. I no longer struggle with personal demons. The demons have won. I just hate the fact that I have to admit defeat again every single day, as if one day I might wake up and suddenly decide NOT to be a complete waste of a human being? I do not even know what such a decision would look like at this point.

So anyway, I did not go through with my April Fool’s plan, because it was already a rather mean-spirited thing to do, and if I could not at least have fun with it, I would just be being nasty for the sake of it. I could still do it another time, but I thought it might minimize potential defriendings if people wrote it off as an April Fool’s prank. As if she somehow knew my intentions, she has been posting a ridiculous amount of stuff in the last week, and I just shake my head thinking, “I would have to post on all of that crap too now?” I do not want to do that.

I have actually been considering starting a new blog specifically about my guitar projects. However, that would obviously require that I actually be doing guitar projects in order to blog about them. There was one night this week when I actually could not sleep because of this mad idea that I had for a guitar. I have thought for a while about modifying cheap guitars into new and strange creations, but I am hardly the first person to have that idea. This idea was for something different. This went beyond typical level of madness into true evil genius. I could say it has a steampunk/post-apocalyptic flair, but even THAT has been done before. This guitar, if I could adequately describe it, you would laugh. Everyone would laugh. But if I could build it, I would show them. I’d show them ALL.

That is not a project to just dive right into though. I would have to work my way up to that, and I already have an overabundance of ideas for other projects. Enough for a whole other blog even. So I actually got excited about that, and this week I was out and about to various craft stores and ended up buying supplies to use toward FIVE different projects. Which, considering my reluctance to complete even one project seems more than a little overambitious in retrospect.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with fixing the bathroom or getting a job.

In Which the Author of a Nominally Religious Blog Mentions Religion for Once

Posted by on Tuesday, 27 March, 2012

I was thinking about how I was in a dark place before I ever started going to church, and how I was in a dark place while attending church, and now not having been to church in many years,  I am in a dark place. There is an angry, bitter part of me that desperately wants to blame religion and the church for at least part of my current woes. Yet if I am being intellectually honest, I have to admit that as far as my mental/emotional/spiritual well-being is concerned, the church is really quite irrelevant.

Of course, then I want to say that the church’s entire purpose is to be relevant, and thus blame it for not fulfilling that purpose, but that feels petty.

Impasse

Posted by on Monday, 12 March, 2012

I had more to say in my last post. I started to write it, then I got distracted, then (perhaps ironically) I had to go to work, and two days later I decided to just post what I had written so far.

I inherited some money and investments a few years ago. Without going into detail, one of those investments has failed and I am no longer getting checks every month for not doing anything. Ultimately this is good, because it really is not to anyone’s benefit that I was able to do that for as long as I did. As that was my major source of income for the last couple of years, I obviously need to find something else now.

The thing is, I still have a fair amount in the bank, it is just getting smaller a whole lot faster now. There is part of me that insists, “Don’t I owe it to my family who provided me this opportunity to pursue my dreams until every penny is gone?”

Well, perhaps… Yet the fact is that I gave myself a year to see what I could accomplish. I did not accomplish much in that year. I did not accomplish much in the year after that. I was in the process of organizing and equipping my garage workspace in order to be more productive, then my bathroom exploded. Fixing that became my top priority, but as I was reluctant to do it, and I could not in good conscious bring myself to start a different project while that was incomplete, I ended up procrastinating for the better part of another year. When my financial situation changed, I finally became motivated to finish this, and as I said, I was starting to feel like I was almost finished and once again began to get excited about all the projects I had put on hold. Then I again reached a point where I did not know how to proceed, and I have accomplished almost nothing in the last month. This bathroom is my white whale.

However, even if it was finished, when it comes to my other projects, the only thing that I have managed to prove in the last few years is that I am completely lacking the self discipline to actually do anything. I was given the amazing opportunity that most people will never have to work on whatever I wanted for YEARS without having to worry about money. I completely wasted it. While technically I still could (and keep telling myself that I should) be working on anything I want, now I am worried about money. Whereas I have always been reluctant to spend money, in the past it was more of a procrastination issue. I did not want to buy something until I was sure I would use it, because it is annoying when I do occasionally buy stuff for some project that I never end up doing. Yet now I am afraid to spend money on a project knowing that it could very well mean a day in the future when I do not get to eat.

Case in point: I came very close to buying a vintage guitar on eBay today. I have been talking about investing in guitars for some time now, and I there are several models that I routinely search for, but they always are way more than I would want to pay. I finally came across one that I thought was very reasonably priced, and I even went so far as to transfer the money from my savings to my primary account so I could cover the cost, but then I panicked when I saw the new balance in my savings account. For the fact is, I do not have a job, at least not one that comes anything close to paying the bills, and I really do not even play guitar anymore. I would be buying that guitar just to have it, and I could survive for at least a month on what I would be spending. Then there is the whole thing about can I trust the seller, and was it TOO reasonably priced that I should be suspicious…

So I did not buy it. I am not sure I made the right decision. No matter how logical and justified it may be, I always seem to go with the option that means not doing anything. Even if it was a mistake, just breaking that pattern may have been worth it. There was an apropos webcomic just last week. To quote:

Woman: You look like you’re going to spend your life having one epiphany after another, always thinking you’ve finally figured out what’s holding you back, and how you can finally be productive and creative and turn your life around. But nothing will ever change. That cycle of mediocrity isn’t due to some obstacle. It’s who you *are*. The thing standing in the way of your dreams is that the person having them is *you*.

Man: I think I need to go home and think about my life.
Woman: It won’t help.

It does not matter what I think, or what I realize, or what I blog about, because none of that ever leads to any change. It pisses me off to even be writing about this. Am I actually whining about not having to work for a living for the last three years while everyone else has been struggling to make ends meet? SHUT THE F*** UP!

Crash

Posted by on Sunday, 4 March, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I naively thought that I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel on this project that has been hanging over my head for a year now. I began to think about what my NEXT project would be once this was finally completed.

Then I remembered, my next “project” is to admit that none of my silly ideas and dreams are ever going to be a reality and to get a real job, like an adult.