Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Been trying to stave off the carpal tunnel inducing activities, so I've been off my typing game as of late.  But I'm back and had a lot on my mind as I recovered from a nasty sinus infection and a nastier reaction to the antibiotics I was prescribed.  I'm happily improving thanks to Singulair and Corticosteroids.

I think a lot by some people's standards, but my awareness of that puts me in the mind to intentionally avoid thinking at all.  For that reason I've had periods of my life where I identified with people with serious drug problems, escapism and desperation being the common threads that bind us.

I contemplated the crosses I bare, some heavier than others, and how they are weightless more often than not. The joy I've felt recently when leaving my Mother's home after visiting with her, my Stepfather, and this weekend, my Great Niece and Nephew, isn't defined by the family I've lost over the years, it's based on what will eventually happen.  My regrets and lessons of the past aren't informing my decisions as much as my desire to embrace what I have presently.

On the other hand, I've  been reminded of those losses, my Cousin Martez being killed 20 years ago, my niece Bugsy dying 16 years ago, who would have been 21 this year, and so much more.  Thinking about the quirks my family has and our lack of outwardly affectionate gestures through most of my childhood.  Our ambivalence to each other, and how this has reflected on my Warm/Cold tendencies, and comfort with physical and emotional distance/ superficiality.  The impact of that on my life can't have been a positive, but it has been self-serving in its own dysfunctionally practical way.

When I start to acknowledge my baggage, so much when I was just a child, and out of my control, that made me a jacked up kid: neurotic, obsessive, and selfish, the frustration I feel over my missteps, and failures as a friend, or just as a moral human being, really bother me.  I thought I couldn't hold a grudge when I was at the end of my teens, but it was because I was in denial of the grudges I had borne for so long, to the point where I ceased to acknowledge them.  But out they come, and as is the case with family, it's fine to bare them, but it's a crime when someone else makes light of them or casts a stone.  My biggest regret, the biggest plank in my eye, the deepest grudge I bare, the bitterest I have ever felt, is directed squarely at the one person who chastised my relationship with my family, how I treated them, how they treated me etc.  I took it in stride, realizing she was reacting to one-sided venting on my part.  She gave my family the benefit of the doubt, and ultimately I did likewise with hers.  We truly held each other accountable on that part, up until we got fed up with each other.

The catch is, we didn't remain friends, and the lackluster excuse-ridden rambling phone-calls and emails we exchanged only highlighted the animosity we held towards one another that wasn't going anywhere.  I'm still bitter over what went down in that relationship, and it permeates every bit of  romantic advice I give, or perspective I share on " certain types " of personalities and world views.  The circumstances of that train wreck of a relationship are something I can never look upon bereft of disappointment and unpleasant resignation.  It helps that I wasn't a stupid kid in the relationship, and after a certain amount of time, I was hoping she wasn't either.  Maybe she was, maybe she wasn't, at least in how she chose to relate to me and that particular part of her life.  Oh well, it happened, it sucked, and THANK GOD, Life Goes On, and it's been pretty good because I've been free to value what I have on my own terms, and still remember all those times that young woman harassed me about not being kinder, gentler, nicer to my loved ones.  We're still rough and tumble bunch, so what if the hugs aren't free flowing, and we can say some things to each other that will make others blush.  But we KNOW there's love in it.  That comfort and familiarity of family let's us let our guard down.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Every Day is Exactly the Same

I just don't get into Holidays, but as I've aged I've gotten more into Family days.  Any extended time I have to spend sharing my favorite activities with my kinfolk really makes me appreciate them and feel love in a way that I otherwise am devoid of.  So, with my off time, beside medicating to get over my Sinus Infection, and seemingly worse allergic reaction I had to the Levoquin generic, I have been stuck on repeat.

I have slept in, ate one meal a day (my mom's delicious Turkey-less Thanksgiving fixins) and watched movies at her place.  It's funny how I went through phases of intense animosity towards both my parents after their divorce and as I became more aware of their human faults.  I also had times as I got older where I developed intense respect for them as certain other traits resonated with me.  So taking that time to watch some popcorn movies and one head scratcher has taken precedent over house work and other endeavors.  There wasn't a whole lot of that in my childhood, so to have that time now really puts me at ease.  I can see how some folks I've known can resent their parents so much, cause maybe just maybe, they shared that kind of time with their parents a lot when they were young and have been denied it as they grew up and fell out of favor with their parents for one reason or another?  I'm just speculating.

Anyways, I did a little brainstorming, as I always do, but I had more time to do it these last few days, and it'll be that much easier to move forward and start putting things into motion, at least as far as blogging and journalism are concerned.  I have a title for the Interview Project, and I think it's a good one, all that's left is the logistics of publishing the content online, and uh... getting content.  Oh well, no one's getting paid, so no need to rush.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm So Sick (that one should be obvious)

I'm going to keep it brief because typing breaks the concentration I have to put towards breathing and managing my sinus content.  But since this isn't a music blog, I guess taking time to talk about how Music augments my body chemistry and allows me to be productive and energized at times when my body is literally breaking down and betraying itself is okay? Well it's my blog, so i guess i can do as i please. 

Being infiltrated with infection and bacteria, and my body responding by drowning itself in ooze in my respiratory tract does something to my mind and spirit.  Flyleaf will always have a place in my heart for this anthem that actually takes the guttural metal screams that I have no love for whatsoever, and makes it tolerable just that once, even though the version I first heard muted it out, or was it the other way around, where I heard it with the scream, but then a version without it went up in it's place later?  Oh well, it's one of those songs that helped to uproot me from a rut.  Anthems come in all flavors.  This one was Sour Apple.  Right about now, my nodes feel swollen like I had a piece of that Laffy Taffy perpetually on my tongue, but nope, just other green crap now and then when I cough hard enough. So grody.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pay this vessel no mind, alone remain, floating here

This isn't a music blog, and if I keep to the ethos I have in mind, it will never be.  And yet, and yet, it's a personal blog, and music has a profound impact on my state of mind.  That said, for once, the title of this blog, and the song it references, are the soul inspiration for it's genesis.  Someone was looking for help deciphering the lyrics of the song via the above posted youtube performance, which I listened to and corrected.  Needless to say, if ever there was a brilliant way to plant a song into someone's consciousness beyond tertiary exposure, that was the way to go, and boy oh boy did it work!

Dark Lonely Ocean by Naive Thieves

A shadow in the swell 
a weary old whale 
I'm drifting through the night 

blacker than tobacco spit 
abiding the water's writ 
I'm ready to head to port 

I hope you find 
uncharted seas beyond divides 
pay this vessel no mind 
alone remain floating here 

dark lonely ocean 

somewhere along the way 
a lantern upon a wave 
came crashing against the hull 

still crooked, I crane to see 
delicate company 
you said oh, it's trouble time 

I hope you find 
uncharted seas beyond divides 
may this vessel of mine 
alone remain floating here 

dark lonely ocean 

you anchored a family 
a dimming memory 
I'd held fast in your wake 

ill fated back and fill 
return me to the soul and swill 
let me sink into your arms 

I hope you find 
uncharted seas beyond divides 
may this vessel of mine 
alone remain floating here 

dark lonely ocean

The song can be found for download at as part of their EP or alone.  Either way, the song taps into an emotional condition that puts me in the same mood that Freedy Johnston's Blue Days Black Nights did, melancholy and adrift.  The thing is, for a change, I wasn't in a melancholy mood and came across this song which satisfied it. The power of this song compels me to be in that kind of mood to justify playing it on repeat.  Sort of like Mindy Smith's Love Lost, but you know, I'll be the first to tell you, if the heartache it takes to make this kind of music is a necessity for it's genesis, and appreciation, I'd forgo it and I wouldn't miss it. I'd be too busy enjoying the sweetness of life with no regrets.  I'd be spinning One by Sunny Day Real Estate 24/7;  Live  so you can see the energy they put in this one and the Smile on Dan's Face, and Studio so you can hear the anthemic perfection of this swirling epic.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Elephant's Memory

When I was a kid I had a neighbor who shared a lot of interests with me, except for one quirk.  He was more interested in aeronautics than I was.  It's funny how physical proximity had zero to do with our personal interests in common, but chronological proximity did.  We were five days shy of a year apart in age.

So, without fail, he was always a little more into things than I was, ahead of me.  Our toy collections, and predisposition for treating them like collector's items were things we had in common, but I was more into GI Joe back then, and he was more into Star Wars, but we were into each of them. Ironically, though it didn't register then, his dad worked for Mcdonnell Douglas & mine was an Army Reservist.  I think Decepticons put me off planes mostly.  Had it registered then, our preferences would have made more sense.  At least it seems so when I think about it in retrospect.

I'm thinking of my old neighbor because Radiohead comes to town around his birthday.  A few years back it dawned on me that back in 1986 when we had competing ideas for Transformers the Movie sequels his character Shockspearimus Prime's name might have been a play on Shakespeare.  Pretty heady for an 11 year old, and obviously over my head.  Maybe it wasn't?  I haven't asked.  I remember thinking my Titanus Prime (in retrospect that is an unfortunate name) was better cause Titan becoming Titanus Prime was superior to Hot Rod becoming Rodimus Prime or Shocker become Shockspearimus Prime.  But I was an Ego-maniacal prick as a child anyways.  I just thought Shockspearimus was an odd mouthful.  That was enough to sour me on the whole thing.  When your name is Willie, you tend to take nomenclature seriously.  I spent a lot of my life coming up with better names for myself than the one I was given at birth.

Now, I remember reading the dossier on the back of a GI Joe's package (I'm pretty sure it was Bazooka's), and knew to ask his mom how to pronounce the character's name.  She was an educator, but, I never remember being formally told so, I just sort of knew???  It was confirmed a decade later when in college my sophomore year RA mentioned having her for English class in High School.  If I had the combination of exposure to more information about my neighbor and contextual awareness, I would have figured out that Shockspearimus might have equaled a Shakespeare reference, and makes me wish I remembered more of his actual story to pick up on any other allusions or homages to the bard.  But I was a pretty unrefined kid at that point, and didn't really explore anything beyond contemporary comic books until I moved from good old Cool Valley and started thinking I was an Immortal and sparing with the neighborhood tough kid where I moved.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Man That Got Away

So, I previewed a blog about "How to Be Single".  You could call it "How Not To Be A Player" if we're dealing in terms of whack 90s movies.  So here goes, a break down of relationship breakdowns, a simple guide to losing your interest in being romantically involved (sans the really embarrassing details) :

As Pre-schooler, treat all girls you like as if you hate them.  Torment them for the sake of getting their attention.

Witness the archetypical relationship in your life, your parents, end the summer Tears For Fears Shout comes out, and Cruel Summer by Bananarama. Listen to, learn to love, but never question why there are copies of the 12" singles for Owner of A Lonely Heart & If You Love Someone Set Them Free (keep them in your possession for perpetuity) in your parents' record collection.

Starting with 2nd Grade never tell anyone flatly that you like them.  Keep it secret, beat around the bush, and then wait till the last possible minute to unleash some grand gesture and admission of your feelings, only to find out they aren't reciprocated or it's just not practical or wouldn't be moral if they were.  Also, set a song about a little girl to the Transformers theme music melody, slowed down to a crawl (cause their names have 3 syllables, all three girls I wrote em' for), be aware that its genius doesn't hold up over time.

Humor and then withdraw from the girls who are obviously and demonstratively "into you" for the warm comfort of  halfheartedly humoring the thought of being involved with someone out of your reach for whatever reason.

Become so self-involved and able to entertain yourself that having to find time for someone else becomes an alienating process and leaves you seeking someone with the exact same interests manifesting in the exact same ways, or at least ways that compliment your predispositions.

Never learn how to comfortably communicate with couples, only individuals one at a time in isolation, so that all social interactions involving couples become ultra-awkward and frustrating. It doesn't hurt to loath couples-based activities either.

More to come...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Go To Sleep

One of the unfortunate side effects of letting yourself get out of shape, when in the past you've been very athletic, is that when you "kickstart" your metabolism it goes full throttle.  That happened to me this past weekend, and as a result, I have slept no more than 4 hours each night for the last three.  I'm running about 11 hours in the last 72 and I don't know how I made it through today without a nap or anything.  I had a few facepalm zone-out moments in the morning, but it didn't last long.  I think the key was staying busy to the Nth power at work, and then when I got home, up until now.

It was like Jenga, but Memento style, disorienting and treacherous if you don't pay attention, but also pretty straight forward.  That was my day today, and I'm worried about a crash, but so far so good, I'm rolling along, and just hope I don't catch a "Second-Wind" the curse of the revitalized athletic metabolism, which is this weird thing, where, when you should be tired and drained, you push through it, and have to force yourself to rest, or embrace that you don't actually need to rest to continue.  It's a strange way to be, akin to what soldiers tap into during war time when sleep is a luxury you can't always afford.  I'm hoping to get back on track today, cause tomorrow is Hump day indeed, and getting over the hump is a whole lot easier on a full night's rest.  Maybe I can eat myself to sleep?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Enjoy the Silence

I passively accepted that I would not use this blog to ramble on about music.  It's been so much of my existence and identity. My joy of it seems less because it was ever present for so long. These days quiet is the constant in my life, at work, at home, anywhere I find myself stationary.  Music has been reserved to a movement specific indulgence.  I used to be late all the time, to school, to work etc. cause I was always trying to finish a song before I left. That's the honest to God truth. I didn't put thought into how long a song or album was when I would wake up or get ready to music, my mind was focused on the emotional reaction it inspired.

I don't know when the turn from music began, but I know it really settled in when I started Biking.  No distractions allowed was my motto, focus on the road, the vehicles, the pedestrians, cause they're probably preoccupied.  Then I got my driver's license after all these years, and wanted to really focus on driving. Once I got comfortable, music and driving because a lockstep procedure.  Only when I thought there was problem with my car did I turn off the music.  And so it's remained.

My knee jerk reaction to being dumped twice over in years 4 and 5 of a relationship was to write about the concerts I went to, journalism as therapy.  It was a win win given the lack of coverage for so many artists I liked.  After a while journalism got in the way of my enjoyment of the shows.  I would rather just move and emote, I didn't want to have to think about setlists, memorable details.  Concerts where zone-out experiences in the past, and after a while I chose to let them be that again.  Same with listening to cds. A cd review in my head became a simple 5-point scale lfrom like do dislike.  The details of what I hear just don't vary enough for me to sustain a regular practice of writing about music.  I'm really only writing about my perspective, not the music itself.

So writing about music is a byproduct of genuine inspiration.  The music is so good that I have to go beyond moving and emoting to vocalizing my appreciation of it.  Instead of trying to explain how good something is to each of my friends who might be interested individually, I might write a article about a band.  To expose more people to the artist I might pursue and interview.  These are the little things I do, but more than anything I'm content to thank them if I see them at a show, and support through a purchase of some sort if I can swing the cash and don't have the goods or have someone to gift them to.

All in all, I've found it easy to just be mellow and quiet, I've conditioned myself to it over time, and it works for me.  I spend more time hearing my voice in my head than I do using it thanks to text messages.  The other twisted satisfaction I get is when I see people making mistakes driving or blathering into their cells arguing with someone about something in public and think, "I used to be that person all the time, tethered to communicating with someone for some purpose that was a cautionary tale at best."  I see them, and I see bondage.  I make sure they don't run into me and go about my merry way.  I used to say that love was about comfortable silences.  I knew some people who thought that was a really nice idea/ ideal to pursue.  I didn't really understand the depth of what that means when you are deeply involved with someone.  It means, being comfortable enough to not care whether or not someone is acknowledging when you are near or far.  It's faith in the notion that when the time comes they will acknowledge you warmly, but are fine not hearing from you until that time comes.

i'll proof this later, time to build...something.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Quick One While He's Away

I could go for laughs on this thing, but I only pull that off when I'm uniquely inspired or playing off people who are funnier than I am.  It's a shame or is it a blessing, cause my sense of humor is, how do you say?  A Hot Mess.  I make a habit to visit this one place, it's not really a City, but it's got a sense of being a place with lots of people with good senses of humor and they do a good job of putting me in a mood not far from how I act with my family and closest friends, as far as "being funny" goes.  Sometimes we're caustic and harsh, but it's seldom ever anything but all in good fun, even if it is at the expense of someone else.  I know that's horrible, but there was this whole period of 1996-97' where I would joke about my Red Sweatshirt making me feel evil, and that I'd "woken up on the dark side of the force in the morning." so I guess it's par for the course that I take pleasure in coarse humor.  It could be a lot worse, cause I've heard and said worse than what typically flies across the blotter in that Burg of Laughing folks.

There was a point 12 years ago when I wanted to start a comedy publication, along the lines of The Onion, which I was seriously loving back then, called The Rag, pun intended.  I was probably at my worst as far as my humor was concerned, and pretty unhinged and uninhibited in my delivery.  I was in the midst of a descent into complete irresponsibility, and running from the ominous feeling that the College Town I was in had this Final Destination like bead on my mortality that I had to escape.  To get my mind off my Fight or Flight crisis, I took to cracking crazy jokes to bide my time and mask my unraveling.

One great thing that came toward the decline of that period in my life was the true story of me being Trapped in a Stall in a certain public restroom at a certain public university, with a toilet I had freshly clogged.  It was a Crazy story written immediately after my successful escape from the stall and bathroom without being discovered.  The jubilation I felt resulted in what I consider the funniest thing I have EVER written.  It was a Victory lap of an email, of which I have little to NO recollection with the exception of a line that acknowledged my crime when it was probably later discovered  "Who was the father of that funk???"  Yeah, that story was CRAZY.  I could rewrite it, but it would lack that manic zeal.  And of course none of my friends are the kind of nuts that have kept every email ever sent to their account over the last 12 years... like I have.  Too bad I wasn't saving sent messages.  That one was a gem.  Anyway, I have my moments when I'm hilarious in person, but only when I'm telling true stories or riffing on goofy and wicked ideas, but it's really easy to jump the shark in mid-stream, so yeah, no jokes on this blog.  Well, at least not yet.

We Don't Have to Breed.

I’ve been procrastinating on this blog for a few days.  I know exactly what I want to write about, but haven’t got around to committing it to text.  The subject is intellectual reproduction supplanting biological reproduction.  Or in layman’s terms, not having kids, and living on through your example or the ideas you share with others.  Consider it a very personal form of reducing your carbon footprint.
In the realm of emotional costs and benefits, commitment vs. liberation, having a family is a noble and worthwhile expense for people who can make that leap.  It seems, based on the behavior of a lot of people, that they can’t afford to make that leap and stick to it.  Their relationships don’t last, they emotionally divorce themselves from their families emotionally etc. etc. etc.  It’s all one manner of alienation or another.
I’m not alone in not having children.  I know a decent amount of people in my generation, and a growing number of people from the previous one, that don’t have any kids, and may never have any, for whatever reason.  Some of these people are childless by force of nature, some by circumstance, some by choice.  In some cases our priorities aren’t topped by procreating, and that pursuit isn’t a pursuit at all.
Back in college I met a Barista who expressed a desire to remove their self from the gene pool.  I think being exposed to their thought process played a part in me recognizing how biological reproduction, at its best, was a pretty powerful demonstration of acceptance of yourself, and your partner, physically and mentally.  Ideally you are putting everything that is yourself biologically in a raffle with the same of your partner, and in addition you’re bound to your partner to raise and provide for this being who will be a reflection of your biology and your personalities via your mutual or exclusive efforts to be parents.  That person-to-be goes forth into the world as your legacy.  That’s not always how they are treated.
The worst-case scenario is that in biological reproduction a child is just a consequence of an impulsive act of gratification devoid of any consideration of your or their future.  Another worst-case scenario would be children conceived solely to be bred as replications of their parents regardless of their own will and desires.  I personally find that to be incredibly egocentric and potentially counter-productive since one of the key features of adolescence is self-actualization and differentiation.  Authority figures and rigid impositions of will don’t usually go over well with teens trying to assert their identities.
All that considered, it dawned on me that I may be removing myself from the gene pool, but not from life.  The push to maintain our health and emotional well being via a sort of recreational perma-adolescence rings true, but the balance required to achieve this and also be a responsible adult (not to mention parent & romantic partner) is something very few of us are prepared for.   Our culture hasn’t really put a lot of value (actively, because actions speak louder than words) in commitment and perseverance when it comes to negotiating relationships.  “the Heart wants what the heart wants” after all.  Who cares if the heart has been sold a bill of goods with the shelf life of a worm on a line?
I value family greatly, and understand the functional utility of one generation supporting another, and the love that engenders motivating the young to care for the old when they are unable to care for themselves.  I find myself actively and passively deciding that my only contribution to the world will likely be of an intellectual and material nature (if only in my personal sphere of influence).  Part of the reason I grow more content with this comes from the realization that most of the good I’ve shared with people in my life comes from sources that predate most of the people who’ve been involved in my education.  There’s nothing novel about my experiences in life, or my families, but they are Personal, and that is important, if only to us.  My biology doesn’t limit whom I can share that with.  The only thing required is empathy and understanding.  If you embrace those things toward a person, the nature of the relationship and communication your share with them stands to influence you as much as one with a relative might.   Being kin to someone gives them a head start, a certain amount of built in credibility, but it’s no guarantee that you’ll have a positive relationship with that person.  It’s wonderful when you do, but with this generation of folk I’ve known, as was the case with the previous, there is a rift between generations and a lack of identification.   It’s changed as we’ve gotten older, but there are some cultural rifts related to the lapse of certain values and traditions.  The result, as far as I can tell, is that people identify more with their peers and mentors of their choosing.
As far as I’m concerned, I realize that if I choose to not pursue parenthood, then it’s my responsibility to create a means to provide for myself in my old age or if infirmity renders me incapable of providing for myself.  That, or I have to share enough good will and love with the people in my life to inspire them to willingly share the same when I am in need.  No matter where you stand on having children, you can’t shake your connection to the rest of humanity other than self-destruction in the most literal sense.   I value life, and recognize the selfishness of that act.  I may be selfish and self-centered but I also value the people who constitute my social existence and the ideas that have made me value them and life itself enough to want to communicate them to anyone who’s interested and discover more of the same.  That exchange of thoughts and feelings is one of the finer things in life as far as I’m concerned, and satisfying enough for me to not see any purpose in furthering any Abrahamic ambitions in the proliferation of my genes.  It doesn't hurt that people are sharing their genes, but not much love and wisdom, and there's a generation of children in desperate need of the things I have to offer as an empathetic adult who doesn't have biological children to share with.  Working where I do, I'm hoping I can share what wisdom and empathy I've got with the next few generations in a positive way.  If I can, that might just be contribution enough for me to satisfy any internal need I have for a legacy in this life.  Time will tell.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

For Shame

Shame is an emotion I have been familiar with for most of my life. Whether it be for things I was exposed to without knowing how foul they really were before I was old enough to know better or wickedness I committed as a response to some unfettered emotional response I had when I was a child and older. I don't let go of it, I'm haunted by it. I still feel shame over things I did when I was 4 years old. Wrong is wrong. Those feelings of shame and disappointment in what I did, who I was, are the greatest force in keeping me from repeating those shameful actions. No measure of learning or embracing of some uplifting perspective have served to modify my behavior more than those shameful memories have. 

Remembering how foul I can be, and not dismissing it is one way I humble and check myself. I tend to recall the things I've done more than the things I've been subject to. When I start to drudge that stuff up, it's less shame, and more helplessness. There are things you don't want to put out there to people because of the grave nature of the subjects, or the potential misinterpretation they might garner. Whatever the reason, it's another manifestation of a sort of shame. I hate to think that any righteousness I may come to understand in this life is the byproduct of my own exposure to, and perpetration of immorality. The reality might just be that. Maybe I'm a slave to dualism, fixated on dialectic reasoning to ascertain any understanding? 

Some things you don't forget and they shape you, and sometimes those are the most important things that happen to you in your life. If the last time you see a child face to face, they are asking you if love them because you just told them "No." when they asked for something they wanted, for whatever reason, and the last visual you have of that child is them crying and waving goodbye as you leave to go away for months on end, you will regret it. You'll feel ashamed that the last time you could have seen her you were running your mouth talking to a girl who was hardly interested in you, instead of being somewhere near your own dorm so you could see your sisters and their children, who decided to surprise you by bringing up your winter clothes when the first cold snap hit that fall 15 years ago. I'm always going to regret that, and feel a certain amount of shame for not being able to see them all and hold my niece that one last time, and maybe when she left she wouldn't have tears in her eyes?

Sometimes I just don't get it.

I have a hard time investing in nuanced thinking and things I consider concrete or matter of fact. It’s no fault of anyone other than my self. In a way I’m being oblivious, or on some level obstinate. I’m at my worst when someone is being ironic or sarcastic about something I haven’t considered in regards to them. My tendency is to take things at face value. I can turn skeptical or cynical at the drop of a dime, but that’s usually just a defense mechanism when, for one reason or another, I’m put on the defensive. I’m predisposed to take things as they are.

Usually someone deadpans a line about something that I didn’t expect, and I think “Huh?”, “They can’t be serious?!?” and I will say something in response that takes what they say literally. The usual response I get is, “I’m not serious Will(ie).” I usually say, “Oh, I didn’t think you were.” Which is a half-truth. It’s hard for me, and hopefully everyone else, to not be judgmental.  We can’t be indecisive in life and also be responsible. Judgments in a colloquial sense are choices and predispositions towards one thing over another. So, to not be judgmental I’ve become pretty ambivalent about things that happen “in the moment” as far as what people say, what people do, what happens. I just don’t know people deep down, all I know is what they give me and what I presume. When this is just based on what people say and do, and I don’t get to see a lot of that, my reaction to people is to not react. When I do react, I’m probably not going to react the right way because I’m already assuming I’m not going to get it. I have learned over time that this is really frustrating to people. I also know that I can be really insulting when I react by throwing out the weak assumptions I can recall in response to something someone says that was sarcastic or said in jest. I’m doing myself a disservice because I’m throwing out assumptions I’d already kicked to the curb, and by bringing them up I sound like I’m judging someone. The reality is I’m just confused as to why a person would bring up those kind of things.

It gets confusing for me because there are two tracks of humor that I apparently get mixed up: Self-Depreciation and Satire. I know a good number of folks who make light of their lives by putting their flaws out there, making light of themselves. I also know a good number of folks who make light of situations by pointing out how ridiculous they are through personal examples or anecdotes. Anymore, it gets hard for me to tell one from another because I’m ambivalent about so much. I don’t assume I know who one person relates to or how another person relates to their self. So, I just fall back on not assuming.  I don’t know enough to have a valid opinion, which is fine as long as I’m content with some level of apathy. As long as I don’t really care about a person or a situation, my detachment goes unchecked. But when I am actually invested and motivated to Feel, that’s where I have the most potential to completely screw up and alienate myself by saying something half-cocked, off-base, insulting, and contrary to my intent because I’m throwing out those weak assumptions and ideas trying to figure out what someone is getting at when they are being sarcastic or satirical while I was in my literal la la land.

I’m at my weakest when I fall back on knee-jerk reactions to reconcile my confusion about a situation, taking shots in the dark just to get my bearings back. Does that make me a simpleton? Maybe it does? Then I think, is all this sophistication necessary, or is it just alienating people from one another, a means to differentiate one group of people from another? Like inside jokes and things like that, that create an atmosphere of inclusion and exclusion? My gut reaction is, that’s beside the point if I’m offending or alienating people because I miss the point of something they say in passing to make light of a situation or themselves, or both? The problem is, sometimes I can’t tell the difference, and regardless of that person’s intent I get confused, and wind up in a Catch-22 situation. Do I ask a question and ruin the joke? Do I try and play along when I’m obviously confused? Do I do a combination of both and make things even more confusing? All I know, is that by doing anything I run the risk of offending and alienating myself from any person I was being social with. I don’t know of anything more alienating that feeling like you risk being judge by what you say and do, by people with which you want to establish or maintain friendship. Because of that, I know it’s got to be really disappointing when someone you thought was your friend throws out assumptions about you that attack your character and motivations, regardless of intent. Having those extremes, would anyone want to be friends with someone if things could go that bad, that easily? That’s what really disappoints me right now, acknowledging the distance that really exists in my relationships with friends, family, acquaintances, etc. In general I want to keep the apologies to a minimum in my life, not because I don’t feel I have anything to apologize for, but because I don’t want to make people feel hurt or offended. Knowing that I have is disappointing. I am disappointed in myself, but I’m also mindful that self-pity is veiled passive-aggression as I understand it. Overplaying shame for pity's sake, seems disrespectful of another person‘s emotions when they are offended. Out of respect, they should be allowed to reconcile their emotions on their terms, in their time. So, it’s a challenge to stand for something, for sake of argument let’s call it Righteousness, and not offend someone, without everyone being forced to have a relativist viewpoint. There’s something “off” about imposing relativism. If we don’t have relativism across the board to some degree, peoples’ opinions are always going to potentially offend someone.

Knowing that I probably will offend people, particularly people I care about, with any political, spiritual, philosophical, or otherwise view I hold and express in action or word is an alienating proposition. That’s what led me to ambivalence in the first place. Ambivalence feeds my confusion and apprehension. Confusion and apprehension muddles my reactions. Muddled reactions undermine and compromise the communications I have with other people. So why communicate with me? The alternative would be for me to be as decisive in my communication as I am in the personal action I take in my day to day life. In the end you get the same result, people will judge me on what I say and do, the positions I take or reject. Or not. There are so many outlets for social interaction, so many relationships we can maintain through mediums that would have evaporated decades ago because of distance and time, outside of conventional correspondence. I think about the deterioration of society and our ability to relate to one another in ways that aren’t superficial, and I feel like even the things people used to call “deep” are superficial, because we can only go so far with them before we alienate ourselves from each other. Thinking and feeling like that makes you wonder if it’s worth it to try? Is it just better to shed situations that require compromise and more effort to communicate and relate? To be honest, I don’t have a solid opinion, because the obvious ideal answer should also be the practical one, but what I observe in reality undermines it. What does it matter what I think is correct if everything at work around me is working towards negating it?

I just know I don't like making people feel judged or misunderstood, and I don't like feeling judged or misunderstood.  I do accept responsibility when I am wrong, be it malicious intent or haphazard/ careless actions, or any other manner of ill I inflict.  I know the feeling well, and want to avoid it as much as possible.  I also understand I bare the responsibility for my actions when I do royally screw up and run rough shod over a friend or stranger in the process of sorting my thoughts and feelings out in words and actions.  It's an ugly process unfortunately, one I prefer to keep to myself in all honesty, and my failure to do so is a failure indeed.  You have to learn to know better, and you have to know to do better.  I've been lazy, and it's time to learn again.