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 From the virtual grave

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Dec 28, 2001
Life sux sometimes. One month you're on top of the world, filled with self esteem and the next, you're wishing you were a merchant seaman steaming to some no-named port with a hold full of minute rice.

WTF. Coming from a strong trolling background, then life gets in the way. Distraction, mortgage payments, relationships, money political correctness and just generally having to be a grown up. How did I get here?

I look back over the last 4-5 years or so and think of what I used to enjoy. Sex obviously, but coming in as a distand second used to be self esteem. Weather it be participating in stuff like the "legal troll" or actually doing something of merit. I used to do things that "I" enjoyed, things that made me feel good about who I was. Now, I just muddle through. My main goal is just putting one foot in front of the other, not pushing to hit that 130% that used to make me happy, but now pushing to hit that 30% to just maintain. How did I get here?

I know life deals you shit now and then, but what do you do when you've lost the desire to chase all that stuff that makes you want to be a part of real life? Man, I'm just tired of trying. Not depression in the osm sense, but a nice 20-30% of what it used to be.

Is there really anythign more than just maintaining?


Yes, there is. (none / 0) (#1)
by perdida on Fri Dec 28th, 2001 at 09:05:49 PM PST
This site, for example, has surpassed the wildest dreams of all of the editors. It is one of those glorious, unlooked-for surprises in life.

I choose not to have any dependents because it may make it easier to do 130%, both energy-wise and finances-wise. However, because of this I may wind up more lonely.

I have been having similar thoughts lately. My response has been not to think about it so much. This may or may not be a good response.

This is what democracy looks like

You communist. (-) (none / 0) (#5)
by tkatchev on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 02:32:38 AM PST

Peace and much love...

Maintenance (none / 0) (#2)
by Blarney on Fri Dec 28th, 2001 at 11:10:08 PM PST
Well, I've sort of been just barely maintaining myself these days, I'm maybe doing the bare minimum. I live on Marlboro Lights and Cola these days, I've been neglecting my research these past couple weeks but I haven't been vacationing either in the sense of going out and having fun, and I feel heavy twinges of guilt every time my boss quite reasonably asks me to do something because I know I should have done it already.

But part of what keeps me going is reading these weblogs and hoping for yet another brilliantly surreal OSM narrative, another well-crafted magical spell invoking the power of 3500 angry h4x0r demons, or one of Dr. Cortez's splendid wish fulfillment fantasies. Yes, the Web is important to me and helps me keep going sometimes.

Something else which keeps me going is answering my email and telephone, leaving my instant messenger on, and continuing the 3-week argument I've been having with an estranged female friend. I'd rather have her here, playing with Linux together like we used to enjoy, but I know that some Law of Nature actually makes this impossible. I know that Darwin would not want me to breed, were he still alive to care.

Another part of my life these days is doggedly driving my carless, jobless friends around to where they want to go, and otherwise aimlessly wandering around. Today I was too bored and disgusted with myself to do anything, so I was wandering the denuded post-Christmas aisles of Worst Buy hoping for a DVD-ROM that doesn't have some "generous" rebate scheme attached involving paying $200 up front for a $70 drive with the hope of someday seeing the $130 back (minus 6% sales tax, slight delay of 6-9 months ha ha ha we are good businessmen ha ha).

Do shreds of activity like this make a life?
Does a hamster, by running on a wheel,
  give himself more hamsterity?
If I get off my ass and reboot the cable modem,
 will the Internet start working again so I can post this?
If I actually fit that data which is only
  an ALT-TAB away, would I be a
  productive, happy human being?

Maybe the maintainance is a precursor to a better life in the future. Keep on truckin.

That's not the worst part (5.00 / 1) (#3)
by zikzak on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 12:50:25 AM PST
The ultimate kicker is that it's not so bad. You find yourself drinking expensive booze at 3 in the morning while you watch Harry and the Hendersons on cable, and it dawns on you that somehow, somewhere, something went very very wrong. And the only thing that's really bothering you is that you're not all that bothered by any of it.

It isn't very dramatic, but at least it won't give you an ulcer.

WHOA LOL (none / 0) (#13)
by ttm on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 08:35:02 AM PST
You nailed it~!


Take all things in moderation, Including moderation.

Wow, is it winter already? (none / 0) (#4)
by RobotSlave on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 01:36:58 AM PST
It's so hard for me to keep track in this wet, tepid "climate" that the locals are so smug about.

This malaise you speak of seems to start every year around the holidays, with pretty much everyone sucked in by St. Valentine's day. It gets better a little while after that, what with the distractions of budding trees and chirping birds and explosive allergies and so forth.

Just find yourself a comfortable bar-stool to sit on until St. Patrick's day, or thereabouts. Everything's going to be just fine.

[non-editor's note] by RobotSlave:
Slave appears to be avoiding any serious discussion of real depression, which ttm is clearly suffering from. This is most likely due to Slave's fear of disturbing his own "black dogs." Also, he doesn't want to look like a wuss.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

I suspect you'll discover (none / 0) (#6)
by chloedancer on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 02:35:48 AM PST
that this is just another one of those fabulous reoccuring motifs in life, much like the ebb and flow of the changing tide. While the disenchantment isn't particularly comfy, the relief and wonder you'll likely experience when you eventually hit upon that thing that inspires passion once again will be all the more potent, tangible and sweet.

Almost twelve years ago while on vacation (has it really been that long?), I spent an evening sitting on the front porch of my brother's house watching a lightning storm miles away from us, somewhere over Mira Mesa. We were talking about what was going on in our respective lives. I explained my employment situation to him (back then I was a grantwriter for a non-profit biomedical research facility where the scientists shared a common goal of thwarting parasitic diseases) and he quietly responded by saying, "I never have been able to understand how you and Dad could be happy working at a desk pushing paper around all day long." Although that wasn't exactly how I'd describe my work, it did set off a banshee wailing in the back of my mind for the remainder of my visit.

A few nights later we went to the Gaslight Festival and I spent the evening listening to Marcia Ball and Zachary Richard, dancing my ass off and generally having a world-class blast. By coincidence, the weekend before in my hometown I'd worked as a stagehand for the annual arts/music blow-out fest at the stage where these same acts had played. After the show I stayed and chatted for awhile, waiting to see if my brother and his wife might still be around; it was one of the best evenings I'd enjoyed in a long while and I realized that I was more comfortable with other kindred souls (gypsies and nomads) than I'd been in my day-to-day life for longer than I'd have liked to admit. The banshee seemed to have noticed, too, and upped the shrieking ante accordingly.

The next day I found myself at the counter at the airport checking in and damned near exchanged my ticket "home" for one to Monterey (the next stop on the tour for the bands I'd seen the night before). I decided instead to return to the place where I lived, thinking that if I'd made the choices that had led me to that place of maintaining instead of living out loud, I could also do whatever was necessary to work my way out of this coma-inspiring rut. I boarded my flight, still a little unsettled, and decided to try some tuneage as a means of restoring calm. Without much conscious thought, I settled in to listen my "The Best of the Band" CD and, well, things got rather surreal at that point.

The first song on the CD is "Up on Cripple Creek"; in retrospect, it may have subconsciously inspired what happened next (given that it contains a reference to Lake Charles, LA -- but I've decided that it's okay if the mystery never gets resolved, for what it's worth). The second song is "The Shape I'm In"; it reflected my mood-of-the-moment with a degree of accuracy that was uncomfortable to acknowledge. The third cut is "The Weight" -- quite possibly my single favorite song ever. At that point I completely and utterly lost it (any semblance of composure) and pretty much dissolved into a puddle of misery in about ten seconds' time; I remember feeling really sorry for the poor guy seated next to me who looked like he'd rather be anywhere else...

And then I heard The Voice.

I recognized immediately that it wasn't didn't belong to my "Internal Committee" even though I was only hearing it in my own mind; it was a voice I'd not heard before nor since. (Auditory hallucinations are not uncommon for folks like me; I've learned how to play along as long as nothing harmful is proposed :) The words I heard, spoken quietly and with infinite patience, were these: "You're going to move to Pennsylvania and make peace with your father. Then you're going to move to New Orleans." The waterworks went on "pause" at that point and my thought-speak response was as follows: "There's no way in hell I'll ever do the former and, as for the latter, isn't New Orleans the asshole of the U.S.? Why on earth would I want to go there? It's never crossed my mind to even visit that city and I don't know a soul who lives there." The Voice didn't reply, and after a few seconds of mental silence, to my great surprise, I heard my own thought-voice say, "What have I got to lose?" That was the clincher; the emotional storm I'd been experiencing subsided almost instantly, the rest of the flight was internally calm, and I was relieved to realize that the damned banshee had finally stopped tormenting my backbrain.

Kerry, one of my oldest and dearest friends, greeted me at the airport. I told her about my trip, and about what had happened only a few hours before... She has admitted since that she had to fight the urge to drive me to the local psych ward instead of taking me to my apartment, but she didn't think I'd actually go through with it. When we arrived at my place, I set my bag down and reached for the phone. I'll never forget the look on her face as she watched me call my Dad and announce that I was thinking I should go and live with him for awhile, that I wanted to reconnect with my family again. She had long been aware of the degree of volatility between us and of the fact that I'd left home at the age of 15 because I'd decided that fending for myself was infinitely preferable to fearing him. It also proved to be another instance of good timing; my Dad had wanted to talk to me about assuming a co-guardianship responsibility for my mother (she has chronic MS and is had recently become debilitated to the point of being an invalid at that time). If I were to agree to do so, I'd have to live there for a period of time to make it happen. The next day I gave two months' notice at work. It was mid-September 1990; on December 7th, I hit the road (all symbolic connotations intended :).

In September of 1991 I returned to my former hometown to hang out with my best friends for a few months; having been raised as a military brat, it was the first time in my life I'd ever returned to a place I'd actually lived previously. It took a lot of work and was, on occasion, downright unpleasant, but my father and I managed to build the foundation of a healthier relationship that has generally served us quite well since. We also successfully established a co-guardianship arrangement to ensure my mother's long-term care and I was ready to move on in life again.

Truth be known, I was still unsure about moving to a city I'd never even seen without a job waiting for me, but I'd already purchased a one-way ticket and still figured that I still had nothing to lose; I could always move back or go somewhere else if it didn't suit me. At the end of December, my four "allies" saw me off at the airport. As I was walking away from them to board the flight, crying and laughing simultaneously (it really wasn't hysterics; in some ways, it was actually hysterical), I remember experiencing the oddest sensation: my heart and my head were telling me to be sensible, to turn around and go back to these people that I loved completely, but my feet just kept moving forward -- it was as if I was on autopilot at that point and I just had to keep going.

Within 48 hours, I'd rented a room in the French Quarter, established a post office box address and a voice mail account, had interviews scheduled with three employment agencies (my one guaranteed job-procuring skill being that I type 120 words per minute), had discovered the watering hole that would serve as my "living room" for the next five years and had started making new friends. (When my brother and I were little, we'd play this game where we'd imagine what we'd do if we ever were suddenly swooped off via helicopter and released in a place we'd never been to before; while the mode of transportation was slightly different, I was delighted that I'd actually passed the test when the opportunity presented itself.)

I remained in New Orleans for five years and it was quite the adventure; while I know without a doubt that it's a place where my soul lives well, I'm also the first to admit that the quality of life there, in general, didn't measure up to the place I'd adopted as my personal "hometown" (the first place I'd ever decided to live after having been shipped around incessantly courtesy of the U.S. military). In one sentence, New Orleans is a city of contrasts: on the one hand, there's the scent of night-blooming jasmine -- the best scent I've ever encountered in my life; and on the other, there's the stench of the sidewalks early in the morning before folks have had a chance to perform the ritual of hosing away the often-abundant evidence of the previous night's revelries. I still visit frequently, if only to get my ya-yas out -- it's where I go whenever I'm desperate for a mental health break and I never doubt that I'll always be welcomed.

If you're still reading at this point, you might be asking yourself, "For crying out loud, what's her friggin' point? She's loony-tunes and that just doesn't apply to me..." You've already recognized yourself that you're just going through the motions, just another somnambulist... I have this theory that there are only 396 real people in the world and the rest are simply "done with mirrors" -- and maybe you're one of the "mirror people" at present. I know from experience that it this particular state of mind isn't a fun place to live; truth be known, I've accumulated more than a decade's worth of mileage since taking the "left turn at Albuquerque" I've described herein and only recently realized that I'm again sleepwalking through life more than I'd prefer to myself these days; c'est la vie. Me, I'm waiting for a sign, an odd opportunity that will likely come from out of the blue. And when it does, I'm so ready to jump on it without hesitation or reservation. I've learned that life is an adventure; I know also that I'll only lose if I'm too frightened for whatever reason to act when that moment arrives. I love a good surprise; don't you?

Pay attention to the lightning strikes and keep an open mind; when it's time to wake up again, you'll know.

somewhere (5.00 / 1) (#7)
by osm on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 03:05:54 AM PST
in the middle of the first sentence, i glanced up at my Natalie Portman poster and forgot to read the rest.

Are you trying to upstage ttm? (none / 0) (#8)
by RobotSlave on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 03:16:57 AM PST
After a point, Chloe, it would be more polite to leave someone else's diary alone, and post your own entry instead.

I know, I know, you don't plan things that way. The words just rush out of your fingers. But you might want to think about doing a word count before you post, in the future.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

Whatever, Roboserf. (none / 0) (#9)
by chloedancer on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 03:31:59 AM PST
What I lack in succinctness is easily eclipsed by an unbridled enthusiasm I suspect you'll never know. I see no harm in responding to what inspires me and will post entries to my own diary when the genesis is unique.

Does being so-very-jaded and rigidly playing by the rules come easily for you? What a shame, really ;)

Eh, you see what you want to. (none / 0) (#10)
by RobotSlave on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 04:12:02 AM PST
Anyone paying the slightest bit of attention around here knows that I'm more than capable of an "unbridled enthusiasm." And a bridled one, too, for that matter.

Does disregarding the feelings of others in the rush of your own "enthusiasm" come easily for you? What a shame, really ;)


This is weird, Chloe. I've never met you, yet I treat you like an ex. If shoeboy weren't around, I'd be tempted to put on some Al Green and offer to cook you dinner.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

The Reverend Green... (none / 0) (#11)
by chloedancer on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 06:53:12 AM PST
I'd say, actually, that you're more of a one-liner kind of guy with talent; I"m a just a storyteller. There's room for both and, like it or not, you did read it to the end -- I suspect that's likely what bothers you the most.

I think I'll let ttm be the one to determine if I've wounded his feelings, if it's all the same with you.

"Let's stay together..." A New Orleans native, that fine gent.

Ever notice the similarities between Seattle and New Orleans? Both are port cities with a a strong history of prostitution and corrupt police forces. They're the flip sides of the same coin, both with their masks firmly in place (Seattle's perpetual smiley face and New Orleans' Mardi Gras comic/tragic fool).

Afterthought (none / 0) (#12)
by chloedancer on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 07:15:54 AM PST
Oh, and I make a terrific ex-wife. I've even got the references to prove it.

Now I've got to hustle to meet Shoeboy to head for the airport; time to blow town for a few days and try something new.

Fascinating. (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by RobotSlave on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 12:42:45 PM PST
I won't dispute your characterization of our different "styles." Close enough. But to be perfectly honest, I didn't finish reading your post before I replied, because I assumed I'd read it all before, probably three times over.

And you know what? Now that I've gone back and finished reading it, I can safely say that my assumption was correct. Clearly, your reconcilliation with your father and move to New Orleans is an achievement of utmost importance to you, so much so that you appear to be compelled to repeat it at intervals, almost in a chant, like a children's story.

Now, what's really fascinating to me is that I've seen this sort of behaviour before. In particular, I've seen it in friends and acquaintances who share the syndrome you've described in your diary. These people seem to have a better memory than I do, but they also seem to be somewhat trapped in the past, or slave to it in some way. Also, they tend to have some degree of difficulty recognizing forms of intelligence (in others) that do not stem from exceptional memory.

As to ttm, fair enough, but I'm sure you realize that depressed people are a lot less likely to tell you when you're stepping on their toes. (aside to ttm-- yes, depressed. Not suicidal, or "osm depressed," but depressed nonetheless, I'm guessing).

Never been to Nawlens, but my ex-step-sister lived there for a while. She, too, had a difficult father in the military and an institutionalized mother. How's that for small world?

I'm still tempted to offer you dinner (apologies again, shoeboy). You're a hell of a lot more interesting to me than most, though perhaps not for reasons you'd prefer.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

How about me? (none / 0) (#17)
by nathan on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 10:16:49 PM PST
Am I of any interest whatsoever?

[ panting, rolling on back to display belly in gesture of subordination ]

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

Now if I could just manage to overlook (none / 0) (#20)
by chloedancer on Thu Jan 3rd, 2002 at 04:34:08 PM PST
the undeniable points of similarity between yourself and the fictitious Dr. Hannibal Lecter in terms of how your last missive reads, I'd be more likely to indulge my curiosity. I also gave up justifying my existence to pop-psychology addicts as this year's resolution, alas.

While I'll not deny that there are others whose circumstances may bear a great deal of similarity, the number of conclusions you draw and your rather absolute conviction that I'm somehow repeating the same dance steps over and over is laughable. Even my Grandma says one should touch back to the things that have hurt you to keep from becoming afraid; thereafter I'm the master of starting over, if only to keep moving forward -- a phoenix requires fire and ashes for its rebirth, no?

If you should reconsider, and are able to suspend your cynicism and smug censure long enough to take a walk on the wild side, I'd be up for a real-life 'lo at the Eastlake Zoo some evening, especially if you'd be open to a game or two of pool (no darts, though -- I'm not sure that you're to be trusted with sharp objects if you're making ex-spouse comparisons so readily).

this is pretty cool. (none / 0) (#19)
by derek3000 on Mon Dec 31st, 2001 at 08:18:29 AM PST
I've often thought about doing this sort of thing myself, but have got caught up in the logistics of the stuff. Like, how much money did you have when you moved? How much stuff did you take, and how did you get it there? Any encouragement would be much appreciated. I'm a little better off than before, but still understand too well what ttm is going through.

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

BTW (none / 0) (#14)
by ttm on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 08:36:38 AM PST
Thanks folks, and I read a lot, but don't post much anymore. Good to be back.


Take all things in moderation, Including moderation.

blame jim henson's ghost (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by dirty monkey man on Sat Dec 29th, 2001 at 09:29:25 AM PST
children's television is to blame. we were fed a nonstop stream of crap about how special and unique we all are. of course now we're all dissatisfied with our grey pathetic lives.

i'm thirty years old and there's still a voice in my head saying "hey man big bird himself said i was the most important person in the whole wide world, so there must have been some kind of mistake, i'm supposed to be in a palace somewhere underneath a couple of supermodels or driving around in my rocketcar with a head full of acid. this whole work, sleep, repeat thing was not meant for me."

IMHO things would be a lot easier if those fucks at children's television workshop had worried less about creating a magical make-believe world where children could learn and grow, and instead did their job and produced functional drones.

why not (none / 0) (#18)
by kip on Sun Dec 30th, 2001 at 02:48:57 AM PST
seek out an indonesian bride? surely care-free asians will cure your blues.
The south-pacific also might work wonders. Hot climates are helpful - the cook islanders are reputedly care-free. I suggest evacuating yourself to somewhere where the only recreation is fucking and low-grade coconut toddy.


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