Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I might have a problem... Might

Soon I will be 35 years-old.  Most people seem to think this is okay.  Probably because some of them have done it already, and some of them haven't.  And let's face it, regardless of how you face it, it's coming.
None of the people who have said it's no big deal to turn 35 have a huge collection of Jokers.  In that, I stand alone.
In fact, I'm not exactly ashamed of this fact.  The Joker is an icon, after all.  Not some silly cartoon character, but equal parts jester, clown, lunatic and sociopath.  Some have actually analyzed him the way scholars pull apart Hamlet or Macbeth.  I haven't, because while I like to believe that I am so intelligent that I could come up with a really accurate psychological profile of the Man Who Laughs, the truth is I just think he's pretty cool looking.
So, it's not the bookcase full of Jokers at 35 that makes me feel strange, because everybody needs something to do.  Maybe it's more what I don't have at 35 that gives me pause.  Namely, anything else.  Poll most 35 year-old males in this country and I'm sure a large percentage will have one, if not all, of the following items; car, house, spouse, offspring, place of worship and a semi-regular vacation destination.  My life is bereft of all of these things.
While I am almost 100% to blame for this, some look at my life and think that I have the freedom to go and do whatever I want all the time.  Except now at 35, I feel like the list of "whatever I want" has gotten smaller.  I really don't find myself wanting to do much of anything any more.  I think what these people mean is they wish they didn't have the obligations they do.  And probably wish they too could come home from work, take a nap, cook some hot dogs and eat them in front of the TV, before surfing the web a bit and then going to bed.  But that's basically it.  So, sorry to burst the bubble, but the whole freedom thing isn't so glamorous.
Still, what exactly should I be doing?  Solving the climate crisis?  Owning things for the sake of owning them?  I honestly don't want a car or a house.  Or offspring.  I figured out awhile ago that you can't take anything with you, and while it's nice to have something to offer when you're courting someone of the opposite sex, I find experience is the best currency anyone can have.  Besides, if you are doing anything like that simply to get someone to sleep with you, then your problems run deeper than you think.
I don't really have any answers on this one.  All I really know is that years ago I made a decision to live my life this way, basically on my terms, and I have done that.  Yes, I have searched for that special someone, and yes, the search continues, but even that is on my terms.  And yes, holidays and certain other occasions are boring when you're mid-30's and alone with your Jokers.  But the bottom line is, what, really, would I change st this point?
Perhaps I'm not the best-suited to answer that.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Indifference of Heaven

Yesterday was apparently Valentine's Day.  Now, it's not a day I traditionally observe, like Guy Fawkes Day or Yom Kippur, but i usually am aware of it's presence.  In fact, in the past, I often hated it with such a passion, that I think if i put that much passion into celebrating it, I wouldn't have had to hate it because I would have had some love to celebrate.  Granted, hate is always much stronger than love, but maybe even a portion of that hate would have done the job.

I even believed that I once had a tradition of writing something scathing and bitter every Valentine's Day, but a look at some past February blog posts has yielded nothing of the sort.  I only went back a few years, but I think that was sufficient.  Enough to tell me that the hatred is gone.  Replaced by love's true opposite: indifference.  Not only did I not hate Valentine's Day, it barely registered.  And I wonder if I'm the only one.  I'm sure the cards were bought and flowers were sent, but not too many people even talked to me about it.  Perhaps out of fear?

Anyway, Valentine's Day is simply one of many things that I have chosen to feel indifferent about.  In fact, other than money, which I worry about quite a bit, I'm pretty much indifferent about everything.  Years ago, when my engagement was literally flushed down the toilet, the Hate E-mail that my ex wrote me soon after blamed me for the entire break-up, saying that I had crushed her "loving spirit" with my indifference.  When my last girlfriend announced she wanted to move back to Connecticut to be closer to her family, I pretty much said, "Have fun!"  This is who I am, apparently, and to be honest, it's starting to bum me out a little.  I mean, how do you make yourself care all of the sudden?

Lately, I've been trying to seek out the little things that I used to enjoy.  I watched some old cartoons including Disney's animated Robin Hood and the original Transformers series.  I downloaded "Sweet Child o' Mine" from Amazon the other day.  I even bought a box of Fruit Roll-ups a few weeks ago.  All in an attempt to find something that I won't be indifferent about.  I don't believe my life is going to be significantly turned around by cartoons, Slash or rubbery, sugary faux fruit products, however.  A greater shift is required.

Or not.  Who knows, really? 

Monday, February 07, 2011

Loose Connections

This may get a little graphic.

As I rapidly approach 35, and possibly another 40 years of this, I find myself more and more asking that unanswerable question: why?  Not, like, "Why are we here?" or "Why can't man right his own evil?"  More like, "Why is the world like this?"

After another failed would-be romance, I recently found myself at a bit of a crossroads.  I could simply get back on that horse, sign up for another dating website, log into some chat room or something, and see if I can find The One.  Or I can very easily not do any of those things and retire from dating.  I've tried both, and neither of them seem to bring much satisfaction, but the retirement brings fewer gray hairs.  In the last couple years, I went on several first dates (more than I ever thought I would go on in my entire life) and each time, when I e-mailed seeing if they wanted to go out again, they said the exact same thing: "I just didn't feel a connection."  Now, I have (finally!) come to terms with the fact that some people just don't "feel it" when it comes to others, especially in a dating situation.  I have not "felt it" sometimes, but I was usually willing to give them a second try.  Maybe it's different with men, because we can not feel anything and still usually "perform" in the physical sense.  I suppose women do need to feel stuff in order for them to allow men to do *that* inside of them.

Still, I am left wondering what is it that makes me so unconnectable?  I mean, I know I'm not supposed to connect with everybody, but should I connect with somebody?  My friend told me that because I'm a nice guy, and relatively easy-going, I sense a connection with almost everybody I meet, which leads me to say ridiculous things or perhaps come on too strong.  Probably a fair point, but I think I've been around long enough to know when a connection pretty genuine.  And think about this; looking at them now, I doubt very seriously my mother felt a strong connection for my father when they met, but here they are over forty years later, still married.

There's the rub, my friends.  Times have changed.  Forty years ago, people just met, dated, got married.  A simpler time.  They didn't even have to pay for cable or internet or DVD's,... No wonder they could stay together.  Where were the financial troubles?  Now, we need connections.  We need to be connected by our phones, via twitter, facebook  We need to shop around when we're dating.  It seems that even though people have become more tolerant of race and color, we have lost a tolerance for the little things ("Now, Joe, I have no problem with you being black, but that noise you make with your teeth?  There's no way we can stay a couple under the circumstances.")  I don't know when or how it happened, but it did.

Most importantly, I don't know why.