Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Radio Nowhere

We all enjoy silly things, and this is one of them. My brother was on the radio yesterday, discussing a very important, worldly topic. Basically, he discovered through extensive research, that there is a long-standing tradition of students wearing their pajamas inside out and placing a spoon under their pillow the night before a snow storm in the hopes that it will bring on a snow day the following day. I should point out that my brother is a high school teacher, and that even at 37, there has never been a person who prayed for a snow day more than him.

Apparently, this works, although I had never heard of it. Perhaps more important than the technicalities (Some people lick the spoon first, etc.) is why this is on the radio in the first place. I can see why it was in the Hartford Courant (who originally published the article written by my brother on this subject on Monday.), because it seems like cutsey, holiday newspaper fodder. But NPR? Really? Isn't there, like, a war going on? Do we care about this silly superstition enough that we have to have this expert on to discuss it (and take a call?) And I'm not knocking my brotehr. I'm pleased for him and his small-town celebrity status. But, NPR? Come on.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Powerful Realizations: Two-Prong Blog Post

Today, I returned home from the Gap (a store I would probably shop at even if I had billions of dollars), and found the electricity in my building was out. A quick evaluation of the neighborhood revealed that most of the area was out as well. As darkness approached, I realized that, while I have a gas stove, I couldn't see what I was cooking, and if I was not able to watch TV while I was eating, I might as well be married. So, I put on my extensive winter-gear and made off for Coolidge Corner and Upper Crust. As I approached, I realized how far-reaching this outage was, as many of the shops and street lights were also out. It looked sort of eerie. Thankfully, Upper Crust was still up and running and I was able to eat.

Oddly enough, while I ate, I read an essay from Chuck Klosterman IV about how for years people have been making movies about machines rising up against humans and fucking us all over (Terminator, I, Robot, etc.). Chuck is a brilliant man, by the way, and his analysis of why we do things is hilarious. Why wuld we keep making these movies unless we unconsciously fear that one day it may happen? Even beyond that, I saw real irony in the fact that I was reading this essay about technology at the very same time that I had fled my home because I had no power and so couldn't eat, couldn't watch TV or couldn't even write this blog. Klosterman was right; the war is over. Technology has already won.

The second prong of this post is that while there, I was approached by Wayne, who used to work at the BU post office that I used to frequent when I was at the height of ebay selling period. I always thought Wayne was a surly man who hated his job and hated everyone. One day, he (rightly) berated a law student who asked for a money order for eighty dollars and balked when Wayne told him that it would cost him $81.50. "What'd he think? They were free?" he asked me. From that day on, I made sure I had everything in order when I went to that post office. When I heard that Wayne retired, I was shocked because he didn't look that old, but I just figured that he'd had enough pf people and quit.

Tonight, he seemed to be having a ball. He was checking out a reading at Brookline Booksmith with his girlfriend and visiting his grown kids who lived in Brookline. He had seen me in the window and came in to say hello, and he said he often wonders how his customers from BU are doing. Um, what?

The point is you really don't know people, I guess. That's why I get overly concerned with how I am viewed. I don't necessarily need people to like me all the time, but I want them to know the truth about me. I'd like them to know who I really am (even though most of them don't. i don't even know if I do all the time.) I'm not some surly, old cynic all the time. I'm not the guy that I thought Wayne was. He had a girl and was a huge Red Sox fan and liked books (he even asked what I was reading). And I'm not just some weirdo who hooks up laptops. I have a life, too. We all do. We all have stories. So, I guess I learned my lesson to try and find out what those stories are.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Last Night on Earth

I may continue to keep naming my posts after U2 songs until someone objects. I guess I'll know if anyone's been reading.

I'm on my last regular shift at Harvard right now, and I know I've been beating this one into the ground, but I was inspired to put the final touches on it (I'll probably get a call to sub next week sometime and be poor and a wuss so I'll go, so it will all seem moot then, but this is my last scheduled shift.) Tonight, I decided to get one last meal at Crazy Dough's, where I have journeyed for pizza many a night over the last three years or so. Mostly because they have a deal of 2 slices and a drink with unlimited re-fills for $4.00, but also because the pizza is very good. So, I thought, "This'll be my last opportunity for awhile, so I might as well go for it one more time. Besides, I have no food in my home."

I may have been a tad over-excited over 2 slices of pizza, but my expectations were not met. There was a bit of a crowd at Crazy Dough's tonight, so the guy who seemed to be doing all the work there ended up leaving my slices in the oven a lot longer than the usual two-minute heat-up time, while others who came in after me got their orders first. Of course, when I got mine, they were burnt and crusty. And yet, I wasn't that disappointed.

For one, thinking about it, Crazy Dough's pizza probably has never really been that good. It was the experience that I could shove it down and make it to work relatively on time that I enjoyed. or the fact that I could stop there on my way home if I had a few drinks after work and needed to eat something. I guess the ease always enhanced my enjoyment, because it went along with the madcap life I think I sometimes lead (Ha! I'm single! No one is telling what I can and can't eat!) But really, it's just sauce, cheese and bread, and it's sometimes burned to a crisp. So, I'm glad tonight's serving was kind of lousy, because it made me realize that now I won't have overly enhanced memories of their pizza, or this job, or the last few years of my life. Everything will be as it should.

I may be stretching the metaphor a bit, but it is a lot like my job here. On paper, it is ridiculously easy (which is why some of my colleagues are happy for me, because they wish they could bring themselves to quit a job that is so lame and yet to simple. Or so I've been told.) I show up, work for about fifteen minutes, basically turning keys the whole time, play around on the internets, and then go home, and get paid $13.75 an hour to do it. I must be crazy to quit a job that has no responsibility and no labor put into it at all. But there's the rub.

I think if this job had some labor and responsibility, I could at least look back on a night's work with some satisfaction. Truly, it's the easiness of the job that makes me despise it so, because I literally feel like a high schooler working because his parents made him get a job. I have no personal stake in it at all, because no matter what goes wrong, I just say, "Fuck it! Someone else will take care of it tomorrow." Paradise, right? No way. Where's the challenge? Why spin my wheels for very little money and no satisfaction?

The fact that we get paid to do almost nothing falsely enhances our perception that this is a good job worth our time just like my dining experience enhanced the taste of Crazy Dough's pizza (get it?) I came back here after several years because I had good memories of my first run at Harvard, but, looking back, it was all falsely enhanced enjoyment because I was happy to have any job. Now, I'm older and have a real job, and I'm realizing that just the fact that I'm earning money isn't enough to make me waste my precious time here (Maybe if it was a lot more money...). And that lesson I've learned is more important than any paycheck I could get here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Stuck in a Moment

I'm at my second-to-last shift here at Sever Hall Media Services (Hopefully forever, but who knows?), and I am realizing that I started here almost ten years ago (I believe September of 1998), and I haven't come very far in that time. And here I was criticizing Marvel Comics for making Spider-Man "forget" his marriage to Mary Jane and start living life like a kid again, with all the financial problems and girl trouble he had when he was sixteen. Um, I have all those problems, too, and I'm probably older than Spidey (in the world of comics, he's about 30.)

So, yes, it's strange, but I'm working on it. I just registered for my first class since deciding to go for my Masters, and it starts tomorrow. I'm three courses in, with seven to go, but the last one is my thesis, so it's six really. Doing the math, if I take one each semester and one during the summers , I can have a degree by at least 2010. Technically, I could take two summer courses since there are two summer sessions, but I'll be good to myself and say one. What's the rush?

Sometimes, I haven't changed at all, but when I think back to just five years ago at this time, when I was engaged and searching for apartments with Keri, and now I'm living on my own in Boston and going for a Masters, then I guess I have. I guess I've also grown more cynical, and developed quite a taste for alcohol, but those are minor alterations really, ones that come with adulthood. Going back to when I started here almost a decade ago, well, then we're talking a fake marriage to fool my friends and splitting time between here and the video store. Guess I'm pretty glad none of that panned out.

While not all of this is anything to really be proud of, I look around and think about some of the people I know who probably would have benefited from these kinds of experiences. Not to get too Captain Kirk, but it made me who I am. Experience is the best teacher, and it does make you a more well-rounded individual. Hey, how could I be angry with the world if I hadn't gone out and experienced it?

Not that I wouldn't go back and change a few things if I could. I don't buy into all that "I wouldn't change the past because every situation leads you to where you are" bullshit. I would go back to high school and tell myself to not be such a wimp, and to talk to women, and to dress better. I would go back to college and tell myself to forget about Audra and fuck every woman I could find, just because it was college and everyone at Emerson was fucking except me. I would have broken up with Keri at the first sign of trouble, and not taken three days to do it, and I would never allow her to find out that I had made out with someone else.

I would do all of these things, and there ain't no one that can tell me that it wouldn't make me a better, less angry person today. Maybe that's what experience should teach us: what we've done wrong, and why we would fix it if we could.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Questions that Plague Me

Last Friday, I went out with a girl on a sort of blind date (We had e-mailed and spoken on the phone, and I had seen pics of her), and I had a great time and so called her a couple days later to set up a second. And now I am waiting for the callback. And waiting... The interesting thing is that it has me wondering why I, and everyone else, go on dates. Is it a quest to find that special someone, who I doubt even exists? Is it because all straight men want a really hot chick on our arm, if only to stick it to the other straight men?

As I wait, I wonder why it all concerns me so. If I'm so content being single (which I am), then why am I worried if she'll call so I can go on a second date? Why did I even go on the first one? Certainly not to get my jollies, since I'm fairly certain I'm not the type of guy who goes all the way on the first date (I rarely go all the way ever.) Why do I even care about any of this? Why am I even writing about it?

I think I know the answer, and it has nothing to do with the girl. Like I said, we had a good time and I enjoyed her company immensely. The answer has everything to do with me and my ego. Ego is the only reason I went on the date (and I guess the prospect that perhaps one day down the road I may have sex again.) Ego is the main reason I'm wondering why she hasn't called me back now. Obviously, my brain knows she has a life of her own and she'll fit me in sometime (I suppose), but my ego doesn't realize this. My ego says that I'm Dursin, and there is no way she has better or more important things to do, because I'm the best thing ever in the history of the universe that anybody could be doing. Other than Britney Spears, I may be the least self-aware person on the planet.

This ego of mine, which I do nothing to suppress, is the only reason I do anything, really. I do 150 sit-ups every morning because I want to look good, not because I want to live a long and healthy life. I pay a bunch of money to get my thinning hair cut every six weeks because I really am that vain, when I could probably go to some town barber and get the same results for ten bucks. But who the fuck am I trying to impress if I'm so happy being single? If I simply allowed myself to grow fat and bald, being single wouldn't necessarily be a lifestyle choice, would it? So why do I bother with it all?

Probably because I do want to be ready in the event that (very) special someone comes along, who will see it all my way and not be controlling and be hot and great in bed and have her own life and be everything else I always yammer on about. This is a pretty particular list, so I have convinced myself she isn't out there, and that is why I am content being single. However, there will always be that asterisk in case she is, so I want to look good.

Or I may be severely fucked up.