Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Making Peace

Many years ago (although I can't find the actual post now), I wrote extensively about how much I hated my night job at Harvard, mostly because I had to take a bus to get there and worked two three-hour shifts a week. Bad business when you factor in the fact that I used to rush home from my day job, shove dinner in my face, book it to the bus stop, wait for the bus for awhile, then basically sit around from 7:00 until 10:00. And one semester I did it three nights a week. I did this because I didn't think I could make it from BU to Harvard in an hour, because I'm an idiot.

Nowadays, I work one night a week for five hours, and I leave BU at 4:00 and make it by 5:00, every time. So, all that rushing around because I continually told myself that, as a diabetic, it would just be easier for me to eat at home. Because I'm an idiot. I wanted to quit so often (in fact, I took some time off and had decided that I was never coming back. Then I got really poor again).

I have now made my peace. I realized this recently, but the bottle of wine given to me by one of the professors I helped out a bit this semester helped the realization along a little (I was also given a slice of pizza by a different professor, which didn't hurt a bit.) This was a first for me, and I've been at Harvard for a long time now, but I don't think the Old Me would have been given wine (but he would have supplied a lot of "whine." Nyuk, nyuk.) Obviously, I wasn't doing anything for gifts or praise. I was doing my job, which I always did, but I think I was much happier doing it now, and these people maybe sensed that. Old Me used to bitch about coming in here and not getting anything done, even though I have no idea what I would have been doing otherwise. Probably nothing worth noting. Idle hands and what-not. These days, I don't get much done either (writing in this blog, scouring facebook, reading comics), but I don't get annoyed with myself. I have made peace. I feel like some kinda Born-Again Christian, when they come back and get all regretful about how they lived their life as a godless heathen.

Well, I'm still a godless heathen, but I am enjoying it more now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

50 First Dates

Okay, maybe I haven't hit 50 yet, but it must be getting close. I can't remember them all anymore, so that must mean something. Something bad.

For a guy who said he would never try Internet Dating, I have tried the Hell out of it. And there have been stories, from Drunk Russian to Broadway (Date to cabbie: "You can drop him at the T station and then take me home." Shrewd way of telling me I wasn't getting any.) to "I Love You" Text, I have compiled quite a list. And here I remain, single. And this has very little to do with me being too picky or whatever. Honestly, some of them never called me back, so that ain't my bad. But still, I can't say that I've learned a whole lot from all this, except to be less trusting of people than I was before. And the fact that I am not terribly heart-broken or depressed by all of this, but I am really, really annoyed. Going on first dates in annoying. That's why we do all this in the first place. We want to find someone we can hang out with so we don't have to do this anymore. It's not paying for dinners and going to decent restaurants that bugs me, either. It's the constant getting-to-know-you conversations that try my patience. Can you blame me? It's like every night is the first day of school.

A friend of mine was recently comparing a job interview to a first date, and I realized why I had held onto the same job for ten years. I'm not quite sure what it is, really, but obviously some personality quirk is coming through and keeping people far away. These are people who are contacting me, too, and then once we go out, maybe dinner, maybe a few drinks, and then, y'know, yada-yada-yada, I never see them again. Okay well, not the Seinfeld version of Yada-Yada-Yada. That would be okay, really.

While I have always had a hard time pinpointing my own flaws, I have recently begun taking some inventory. Flaw #1 may in fact be that I can't pinpoint my own flaws. I also know that I am cynical, self-deprecating and rather shallow. But I don't see these are things people can pick up on a first date, while I am on my best behavior. No, I believe the real flaw is in the system. The real flaw is that Internet Dating makes us all shallow. We date by trading card and we expect people to live up to high expectations. It's the way it works. I don't blame people for not settling if I don't set their world on fire (I would never settle, so why should they?), but in the end, sometimes a spark isn't enough.

Sometimes, you need to fan the flame.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

More than Meets the Eye

The other day, I hiked up a mountain. Mt. Monadnock to be exact. After more than 34 years of never doing anything remotely close to such a thing, I hiked up 3,165 feet of solid mountain, and then back down ("Down's much easier," everyone said. Funny.) And I can honestly say I'm glad I did it, but I'm still not sure why people do these things.

A few days before the journey, my friend Brom called and asked if I wanted to do this. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I was told to bring water and snacks. I made jokes about if I would need one of those funny hats, or a bandanna to wear around my neck, or brown socks. Not so much, but I was told that, in the yoga world, this mountain supposedly holds a certain kind of energy that signifies transition and change (or something like that). So, this is a good mountain to climb if you're facing that kind of thing. Which I don't think I am, but then maybe I should, so maybe this was a good mountain for me.

The hike itself, while strenuous, was without incident. I did run out of water as we neared the top, and Brom was kind enough to share his with me, and the flies were horribly annoying, but overall, it was a fun thing to experience. At least, I did better than the bickering couple I saw at the top (Him: "Are you excited? You first mountain climb." Her: "First and last.") I was indeed tired, but I didn't collapse when we reached the bottom. I felt okay. I'm not sure what people actually think of me, and I know I am a total city slicker, but some people actually thought I could die, so yeah, I was proud of myself. But for a skeptic like me, that was about all I was gonna get. Brom even asked me at dinner later that evening if I felt the energy of the mountain. "I feel the energy of accomplishment. Is that the same thing?" Hmmmm, I hope I didn't just poke a hole in the entire yoga philosophy.

Perhaps more fun than the hike itself, though, was the drive home. As I sat and decompressed, Brom thought we could enjoy a trip down memory lane, so we played the original Transformers: The Movie soundtrack, the 1986 animated one, not the Michael Bay atrocity. Maybe playing Transformers went along with his whole energy transition/change thing, but to me it was just a bit of nostalgia with an old friend. As we listened to some bad 80's keyboard solos, we recounted stories from our youth, and I tried to remember how many times I had seen Transformers in the theater, and how I had that soundtrack on record, and listened to it hundreds of times (Bear in mind, I was ten.), and life was awesome. Looking back in that context, I can't imagine ever being that happy again. And I guess, when you put it that way, it's kind of sad. But it still happened.

There's a great line in Glengarry, Glen Ross, where Al Pacino says, "When you think of the great fucks you may have had, what do you remember about them? To me, it's probably not the orgasm." While I will remember climbing Mt. Monadnock, I can safely say I didn't feel the energy of the mountain flow through me like The Force, and I don't think it turned me into a hippy or anything (I'm still a city boy). But the little bit of nostalgia may have opened my eyes a little bit. See, I've always been hung up about living in the past, or I tend to look back and wish I had done things differently or been smarter or less of a whiney bitch. But it's possible to appreciate the past and look back fondly and not hunger for it. I certainly don't want to be ten years-old again, but it was nice for those few minutes to truly recall what it was like, without the cynical bent. Maybe that was the magic of the mountain working on me after all, or maybe it's just part of growing up.