Okay, I just spent ten minutes looking at pictures of female contortionists and I'll assume that you've done the same. Back to the discussion at hand.
I spent yesterday in absolute misery, and not understanding why. It may have been the postcards. The last week of my professional life has been spent in a great hurry to get a bunch of postcards addressed and shipped out, and we did about a hundred and sixty yesterday. I think that if this continues for much, or any, longer I shall develop a great anger towards postcards, and that one day someone will go on a nice trip and think of me and send me a picturesque little scene as a token of their esteem and I will explode at them with completely disproportionate rage. Either that or I'll refuse to get the mail ever again on the grounds that there may be postcards in it and destroy my credit AND my chance of winning 10,000,000 dollars in one fell swoop.
I don't think it was the postcards though. This was a deep seated life-annihilating misery that welled up from deep within me. The thoughts that pushed themselves into my mind were not of the "If I have to label and stamp one more postcard I'm going to shoot myself." Those would've been understandable and a somewhat effective coping mechanism for drudgerous work. The thing is, I didn't REALLY mind the work. It was annoying but it was also limited and mostly physical. Yes I had to use a Mac'N'Toss computer and yes Microsoft Word kept crashing on me (Using word on a Mac is kind of like dating a high-maintenance fat girl. You get all of the limitations of a one button mouse and unpopular platform with all the instability of Microsoft products from five years ago), but that's the kind of thing that should inspire cursing, not a dread of life itself. It didn't fade when work was over, either, which was troubling.
It might have been related to taking a class, something that has in the past made me feel like a complete and obvious failure. I didn't get college right the first time? I don't know everything worth knowing already, even though I have a degree? I know it's not rational, in fact people who don't take any classes after college are probably stunting their mental growth, but emotion is not rational. People who treat emotions as if they were rational actors that could be argued into submission irritate me to no end. They're the sorts of people who go on to be serial killers or worse, stock brokers. I hate asking for help, universally. I think it comes from knowing that people won't like me for my looks or my personality, but they might appreciate or respect me for my competence and, at times, exceptionality. When you are among the smartest then awkwardness gets smoothed over as people ask for your help and have their thinking changed by your analysis.
Take that away and I'm left with....just myself. Pretty scary stuff.
I don't think that the class was the reason for the dread though. It actually faded somewhat during the course of the 4 hours I was in there, and more importantly I didn't get that sinking pit of the stomach feeling I usually do when it's a particular location or event that has me flustered and on edge. Now that I've graduated, and after the progress I made over the summer as a person, school is less important to me than it was as an undergrad. It feels like something I've conquered and something that shouldn't dominate my life ever again, even if I can get into the graduate program I want. No, I think the reason for yesterday is something much simpler and something much less easy to deal with.
I think I was lonely. It may seem strange, irrational even, for me to be lonely now as opposed to over the summer where it was less of a big deal. I go to an office where I deal with my boss on a daily basis and spend quite a bit of time on the phone talking to women in Indian call centers, some of whom may be Hindu Hotties. I have a class now where I am surrounded by people of my own age and general intellectual level. That's not enough, though, and in some ways it's a catalyst. When you're out among other people you see them in groups of friends and lovers and you compare your own situation and find it lacking. The woman and her assistant across the hall chat constantly. It's about inane stuff that I wouldn't talk to anyone about even if it meant that Nicole Kidman would want to sleep with me, but it's companionship. I sit alone in my office and enter names of people I'll never meet into a database, then turn that database into mailing labels and paste those on to postcards. Maybe eventually I will be able to write something interesting about the nature of bureaucracy and mindless work and the alienation of capitalism from the experience. For now I feel very much alone. Then of course in classes there are always groups of friends and flirty couples and all that college age stuff I was never exposed to thanks to being an introverted commuter. That certainly doesn't help.
The truth is that it's easy to be alone in a crowd, especially in a city like New York. It's easy to float past people disconnected and it's a talent I developed long ago, only I don't want it anymore. I'm longing for some kind of close human connection with another person and have no idea how to go about getting one. It's beyond capitalistic alienating, I just suck at making friends. I don't think I've ever made a friend, to be honest, I've only been made friends with. Passivity does not appear to be a winning strategy.
So I'm lonely and frustrated and trying not to give in to misanthropic misogynistic tendencies by listening to the Counting Crows and David Bowie and reading fiction novels that lots of other people read but that are a bit lighter than what my tastes run to. And I'm documenting my misery in the blandest way possible to maintain balance and perspective. I think balance and perspective are very important things to have when you have a life. I don't have a life right now, but I'm staying prepared.
I'm not sure what to do about this misery though. I'd like to do the obvious thing, go out and find a group of friends who want to spend time with me, or join a codependent relationship with an equally lonely woman that we can claim is love until she figures out that it's hard to really be in love with someone whose natural emotional state is a combination of jealousy, regret, and hostility and leaves me for a Metrosexual who knows quite a bit about shoes and is extremely sensitive during sex in a way that her feminist tendencies tell her is "Very Appropriate."
I'd love to do those things but I don't have the necessary skill set. It's extremely frustrating.
Instead I'm going to my writing group tonight for the first time. I have nothing to bring with me, and I'm feeling so uncreative at the moment that I'm sure I'll be the least productive person in the in-group writing exercises. It's a recipe for humiliation and self-loathing. Normally I'd run away, but I need to get out there and get used to being humiliated and hated by others. It's a healthy part of the maturation process. At least if I'm the worst writer there I'll probably also be the youngest. That's important to me, for reasons that are both pathetic and contempt worthy.
Oh, one last thing. I saw my boss's film and it was...interesting. I loved the cinematography and music work, the acting was appropriate for the material if rather artificial, and there were some really good scenes. As a whole, though, it didn't cleave together as well as it might have and there were some awkward points in the script. It needed a little more massaging at the writing stage and it could have been something very solid or even special. I have no idea what to say to him. Whether I should emphasize the good points and come off as nicely respectful and sycophantic, or explain what I thought needed work and have a slim chance of him keeping me around to assist on the next project with my mad editing and polishing skillz. Okay, no chance of that, but at least I'd be being honest and showing my capacities. I'll play it by ear most likely. If he seems interested in my opinion then he'll get it. If not then I'll just rave about the stuff I liked and go sit in a corner silently about the problems.
Being the lowest man on the totem pole sucks when you're too big for your britches.