Ready and Waiting

I’m ready to move. I’ve been researching this and that, towns, houses, town-houses, trucks, trailers, schools, furniture, I’m champing at the bit. Even the local news is trying to tell me to go, with some time-to-get-out-of-here type stories, nasty stuff.

Let’s do this already. It feels like I should be there, not here. I’m just waiting for the finances to kick in. I don’t know how that process works exactly, but I expect any day now my bank account will have sufficient funds.

I think they call it magic. The secret to my success will be wishes and magic. Since I’ll be moving, no one will wonder why I was an overnight success. They’ll simply assume it was years of hard-work mixed with talent. When asked for evidence of my endeavors, I’ll just say I’m a writer, writing under a pseudonym for privacy.

I think I can pass off the well-educated writer vibe. I wear glasses and have a little beard, and for whatever reason I dress more formally nowadays — button-down shirts and such. After achieving success, I’ll recognize all that came before as worth it, remembering the tough times fondly.

Sometimes I think about Lennie asking George to tell him about the rabbits, and how my wishful thinking won’t get me anywhere. But I have faith in life. For instance, when life looked bleak and lonely, my friend arrived. And the time we moved from my parents’ house, our new place appeared like an oasis in the desert. And when it looked as though a little-one would never come, he did. When we needed a nest to bring him into the world, a small one materialized.

So I have no reason to doubt life is providing me both the idea and the means to implement it. I’ve noticed life likes to build up the anticipation and suspense, as if what I want is never going to happen, but in the end, all of a sudden, boom, there it is.

Of course I’ve tried to work for things, over many years I tried various means to achieve my ends, but in a sense, I was attempting to force an outcome, and those endeavors always fell flat. Only when I stopped pushing, only when I relaxed and let things happen, did the things I want manifest. You can’t force a flower to open, the result won’t be pretty.

I don’t know how life works for everyone else, but for me, things have to come at their own pace, falling into my lap. Impatiently striving has only ever been a recipe for frustration. I can’t take what I want from life, it has to be given, and the receipt of such gifts brings forth my appreciation. And so with that in mind, I’m anxiously anticipating, awaiting my Christmas miracle.

Advertisements

Two Tiny Wings

When I was a boy my parents took us to Florida every year to spend two weeks in Disney World. We’d go in February when it was bitterly cold in the Northeast. We’d drive in our motorhome for about 28 hours, making a stop or two along the way, oftentimes staying at South of the Border, an odd Mexican themed rest-stop between North and South Carolina.

At Disney, we’d stay at their Fort Wilderness campground. I loved it because I could ride my bike anywhere I wanted, it was freedom. Sometimes I’d even go on my own for breakfast at the Trail’s End restaurant, my favorite was the french toast, three triangle slices encrusted with sweet cinnamon-y goodness, covered in warm syrup. One year I met another little boy and we’d meet for breakfast like two adults discussing whatever it was.

Another year, me and a family-friend took stacks of newspapers out of the dispenser and delivered them to people’s campsites, just for fun. When I was a little older, we’d ride the transportation (boats, buses, and monorails) to the other resorts to play in their arcade or eat in their quick-service restaurants. All of Disney was open to us for exploration, again it was freedom.

Eventually when my parents retired we moved down to Florida. When the opportunity presented itself, I moved right next to Disney World in a quaint little place called Celebration, a community designed by Disney. I used to walk to the Market Street Cafe, sit at the counter and order an Open-Faced Meatloaf Sandwich and a Coconut Cream Pie or I’d go to the Celebration Town Tavern and get Lobster Chowder and a Blackened Prime Rib sandwich, finishing with a Boston Cream Pie. We’d often walk the streets of Celebration, sometimes going as far as Aquila Reserve or Artisan Park.

When we lived in Celebration, I liked going to Downtown Disney — after eating a Full Montagu at The Earl of Sandwich in the Marketplace side, we’d head over to the West Side for a Haagen Dazs Mint Chip Dazzler, walking past the Lego store and Pleasure Island (as it used to be called). We’d also drive to all the resorts just to look around and walk, or we’d go to Epcot to walk around the World Showcase, often listening to Spelmanns Gledje at the Norway pavilion or the Voices of Liberty in the American pavilion and ending with a Napoleon at the Boulangerie Patisserie in the France pavilion.

My sister used to work at Disney, she’s very short and used to dress up as Mickey Mouse and take photos with people. My mother has worked at Disney since moving down, showing people to their table in a restaurant. My wife used to work at Disney, floating between a bunch of different jobs, from resorts to theme parks to call centers, and even in the animation building that they no longer use for actual animating. You could say I bled Mickey red. For a time I wanted my ashes sprinkled about in the backwoods of Fort Wilderness, because to me, Disney represented fun and freedom, something I lacked back home growing up.

Having immersed myself so much in Disney by living there, I kinda got it out of my system. Plus, they did get rid of some of my favorite childhood memories, such as in Epcot’s Future World they dumped Horizons and changed the Imagination ride — and in the Magic Kingdom they dumped 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Mister Toad’s Wild Ride. And the last time I stayed at Fort Wilderness, there was no French Toast, we had to bike over to the Wilderness Lodge and get some at the Whispering Canyon Cafe.

After I left Florida they built a neighborhood of luxury houses literally right beside Fort Wilderness. For a time it was a dream of mine to live within Disney itself. Yet even if I won the lottery, I don’t think I’d consider moving there though, I mean it might cross my mind, but I think I’ve moved on. It was my childhood home of sorts, the place I remember most fondly — but when you fuck with my french toast, that’s unforgivable.

Successful Search

I don’t get the impression that life wants me to be successful. In this context I define success as having adequate financial resources along with admiration from others. Currently I live in a single-wide mobile-home in a trailer-park and my income is below the poverty line — I’m at the other end of the success spectrum. I’m not in a bad situation though, so I have that going for me, I just don’t have the success defined above.

I’ve certainly tried working hard and following my dreams. I dedicate myself to a particular endeavor for YEARS and nothing comes of it. For instance, when I was younger I would train with weights to the point of being the most muscularly developed guy amongst my immediate peers in high school. I constantly watched fitness shows, worked out at home, went to gyms, studied nutrition, and eventually received an actual Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science. But being the size and body type I was, I never looked all that impressive.

I was in college during the rise of the Internet and the Dot-com Boom (but I studied fitness remember). I loved being on the computer so much that I used to go to the computer lab between classes and play around. At home I networked my families’ computers and installed server operating systems, replaced parts, added switches and routers, and tinkered with everything I could. Eventually my father was impressed enough that he asked me to help with the computers at his small business. I redid their entire network, ran some CAT5, new server, added workstations, printers, and helped them use their proprietary industry software.

Not satisfied with mere network administration, I eventually got into programming. Again, I spent years in front of the computer, reading computer science text books as I worked on software development projects as practice. I tried selling some of my creations but nothing much came of it. After that I became an at-home independent contractor for a small software development company. A couple years later the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 happened. The demand for software seemed to lessen and I had a falling out with the guys I worked with.

I tried to get back into development and sell my own software again, but it just didn’t generate enough income. Plus, I seemed to have lost my drive to work with software. Then came writing. I’ve been writing consistently, uploading most of it to this blog, for the last 4-plus years. I’ve self-published 2 short books in relation to the material I discuss here. And in that time, the blog attracted a bit over 500 subscribers and receives from 0 to 7 “likes” per post. So like my software, it seems my writing is not exactly popular.

Sometimes I imagine that life is giving me a hard time in the beginning only to surprise me with something grand in the second half, and I suppose I’m fine with that. Or perhaps I can only be successful in ways that no one else recognizes (ha) — I guess that’s fine too. But, the lack of recognizable success certainly doesn’t provide a sense of belonging or community — who likes to play a game they’re terrible at? I’m pretty good at sitting and watching though.

Now, I’m not complaining, I’m merely documenting my experience. Because of my detachment, I don’t ultimately care. I’m usually happiest just sitting and thinking. But you see, it’s not just me I have to deal with. My major weakness is that I need a friend in my life, just one, and I’m satisfied. But it’s not so easy for people to disregard their expectations of life, so my friend is far from satisfied with her living conditions. And of course, her frustration is something I must contend with.

For all that she’s given me, it’d be nice to shower my friend with gifts, providing her with the life she expects. A nice house in a friendly neighborhood in a cute little town with plenty of activities and an exceptional school. A place in which she can bake and garden and take pictures of all the pretty things she sees. I know that the external parts of life don’t ultimately satisfy, as a Level 7 I’m well aware of this, but it’s easier to change the scenery than talk someone into enlightenment.

Again, I’m not concerned, as it’s just one of the typical dilemmas life throws at people, and frankly it’s pretty tame. That life is providing me fodder for thought is something to be thankful for. Although I may never get to dwell in them, I research towns and look through listings of houses with the intent that I might live in one. But I must always remember: life is a silly little place, filled with silly little wants, in which we partake in silly little endeavors. To recognize life’s nonsense is to be satisfied with the silly little game we’re playing here. Fun comes when we engage lightheartedly.

Remember the 90s

As a kid in the 80s, I disliked the music, it seemed the opposite of cool. It was either men with teased hair wearing tights singing about hot bikini babes, or it was dorky adults with skinny ties singing about the rain. Honestly I have no idea what they were singing about, I wasn’t interested. I was envious of the 60s whenever the oldies came on.

But then the 90s happened. Music was raw, and cool again. I didn’t understand all the lyrics and didn’t know names of songs, but I didn’t need to, I felt it. I was in high school, then college, it was our time man. The angst of the age was transmitted through rock and rap.

Whereas the 80s gave off an inevitable post-apocalyptic vibe, the 90s gave off a hopeful “Star Trek, The Next Generation” vibe. The Internet became mainstream. Voices were being heard. The Dot-com boom blasted us into the future. Times were changing and money grew on e-trees.

That’s an idyllic remembrance of course — to be honest, things were a bit messy. The emotion in the music came from somewhere after all. Eventually the authenticity of the era faded. Intensity, by its nature, is brief. But the music allowed frustration to be aired and the Internet introduced new avenues of exploration.

Some Guy

Sometimes I analyze my character, wondering what my role is.

While in school, I was complimented for my performance (and my good behavior), but I found school boring and just did what was needed to get by. I performed well on tests and seemed to grasp the material better than most classmates. If I was motivated to read the textbook, I got an A. Family wise, my academic performance was beyond that of my parents and siblings, who were a bit below average.

People assume I’m an avid reader, but I’m not. As a child I watched endless amounts of television, but many of those shows were educational or informative. In general, I just seem to know things. I can sound authoritative at times, but other times I just babble on and people wonder why they ever listened to me. I seem capable of understanding complex topics and have demonstrated a practical application of this at times. Other times, I’m incapable of doing the seemingly simple.

But as in school, I only seem to do just enough to get by. To be honest though, active participation has never been that interesting, I’d rather sit and think. Consequently, in terms of income, I’m below par. That’s not to say I want to live in poverty, I’d much rather live in a place that aligns with my preferences. I’ve often thought that I won’t be appreciated until I’m older — and from what I’ve gathered, the peak of career success is typically during one’s forties and fifties. I’ve always felt and behaved as a much older person, perhaps when my physical age and personality align, things will work out more optimally.

Who am I supposed to be while I’m here? Am I someone people should listen to? I’ve chatted with others and they’ve told me how wise I sound. But I’ve also been told I’m an idiot, which is why I don’t advocate anything in this blog — I’m not claiming to speak as an authority, it’s more of a reality show staring my thoughts — people can make of them what they will. Personally, I enjoy reading this blog and find the material fascinating. Oftentimes I write through different voices, and no one really represents me, not even this one.

Is there a role for everyone to play — or are we merely drifting along? Ultimately, I don’t care and it doesn’t trouble me. It’s just another thing I think about.

Hometown Goodbyes

It’s been 10 years now, that I left my hometown of nearly 30 years. In pictures it’s a lovely little place, a coastal suburb outside of Boston. I lived in a not-so-picturesque part of town, with a major roadway abutting my backyard. I slept in the same room for almost three decades, then abruptly moved when my parents retired to Florida.

To remember my hometown is to summon an uneasy feeling. There was no specific incident, it was just a confusing experience filled with incompatible people. It left me thinking, “what the hell was that all about?!” I did not enjoy my time there, or form any significant bonds. I spent most of the time sitting quietly, either in class or in front of a television.

In a way it felt like a prison sentence, I was wary of other inmates while waiting out my time. It’s a bleak remembrance, but that’s how I felt so much of the time, either anxious or bored. But after twenty years in solitude, as loneliness started to set in, the Internet came into existence — I could reach out and communicate with others outside of my surroundings — suddenly life seemed interesting.

On the Internet, I explored the world beyond my room, I experimented socially with ease, eventually meeting my best friend in a chat-room. In a way it feels like I spent two decades just waiting for the Internet to be invented. After my best friend arrived, the last few years weren’t so bad, and I was able to experience the locale through someone else’s eyes.

People Types

I first heard of the “Myers–Briggs Type Indicator” stuff many years ago, assessed my type, and moved on. But recently, I happened upon it again and found the description so accurate, that it struck me in a new way. I’m a particular character it seems, one of only sixteen — and by simply reading the description, someone would know the essence of me and why I do what I do.

And if I’m such a definitive type, I’d tend to speculate that the other types are at least somewhat accurate — meaning the world is comprised of these few personalities, repeated over and over. It suggests I’m a stereotype, a set character in a fixed narrative. I’m often drawn to the idea that the world is really a computer simulation in which I have little to no control — so in my mind, these copy-pasted personalities tend to lend credence to the idea.

It appears that I am an INTP, a thinker. According to the description, this is me: I value logic and reason above all, living within my mind, wrapped up in theories, ever attempting to solve problems, I see myself as important and powerful, dismissive of the standing social order, needing to fix and improve, always finding patterns and devising explanations. I think rather than do, spending my time and energy on ideas attained through logical conclusions, socializing is secondary, feelings are secondary — a bit robotic or perhaps Vulcan — coming across as overly critical, sarcastic, or just negative. I express myself as accurately and succinctly as possible. Independent and unconventional, I dismiss tradition, seeking new analysis — I am not a leader or a follower. I simply seek to understand the world.

Solitary, I maintain minimal relationships. For the few I keep, my love is intensely focused and uncomplicated, faithful and pure. I am intrigued by intelligence. I have simple daily needs and can accept criticism. I tend not to externalize the intensity of my feelings. And to understand the feelings of others, I analyze, closely monitoring behavior, as I tend to lack intuition for such matters. I approach conflict analytically, which is not always appreciated by others. As a parent, I am easygoing, allowing my offspring to grow into themselves, leaving their lives unplanned, listening to their input, and enjoying their company.

And I like that description, it certainly seems fitting. I think the larger picture is this: if we are all comprised of predictable traits, then it would be in our interest as a society to identify and provide avenues of expression for each type. Otherwise, when people are not allowed to express their natural tendencies, there is bound to be dissatisfaction and frustration. We can also see that one definition of “normal” is not enough — but, we’re not all that different, as we share the same qualities with those in our type.