I’m suppose to be studying for an exam tomorrow morning, but I’m buying time, looking for excuses to stimulate myself with something more exciting than calculating for net present value. I’m smoking a cigarette, sitting on my porch, typing, wearing a massive wool sweater, which is totally unnecessary considering how favorable the weather is tonight.
I came out here to smoke a cigarette. To allay some of that anxiety, to feed my tendency for procrastination. I thumbed through my phone, checked the time, and realized that, at this point in my life, there’s no one I care to share or exchange thoughts with, especially at this hour. And I couldn’t imagine anyone who’d actually be willing to chat it up at 130 in the morning either. This struck me as odd. For the vast majority of my life I always kept a list of those close confidants, those kindled spirits who share my enthusiasms and curiosities and would always be willing to talk whatever the hour. Maybe we’re getting older and our priorities are changing. But that really wasn’t what I thought. What I really thought was that I was becoming a misanthrope, slowly growing more and more disenchanted with people, their endless pantomimes and mindless banter. This left me feeling slighted. I love people. This is what I tell myself. I love people, but some people are better left alone, would rather tread water than explore the depths. And I really haven’t the patience for those folks anymore, despite whatever experiences we shared in the past. But then I thought again, maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m being too hard on them. Maybe I’m projecting discontents I secretly harbor against myself. Then I begin to think, what exactly am I so disenchanted with? What is it that I’m not fully appreciating here, about myself, about my life? I can’t seem to come up with anything, but I’m not surprised when I think about how deluded we are when it comes about assessing and being real with ourselves. Whatever that means.
My room mates are gone. Ones asleep. The other is out gallivanting into the night, rejoicing that finals have come to a close.
I spanned my memory bank and remembered someone who usually reciprocated curiosities and conversation. I reached out.
I haven’t been speaking to one of my room mates, not for any specific reason really. I guess it’s for more general reasons regarding the chemistry or expectations of our friendship. In a nutshell, and I’m not ruling out that I’m unjustified, I demand a certain level of respect from people. I give my friends leeway, specifically if it’s in mutual fun or jesting, but when I sense that there’s something else going on, where they aren’t giving me the respect I demand of myself, then I begin to question what their feelings are about me, what perceptions they hold for me. If someone challenges me in a way that consistently places them above me, as if to disrespect, for any reason whatsoever, as though they know me and my worth and are making value judgement that don’t align with how I perceive myself–I disengage. I disengage and pull away and remind myself that they don’t know me, and that I probably don’t know them. That anyone who did know me would know my worth, would know the pains made to realize that worth to my self, as a friend, as a person, as a thinker, irregardless of whatever value I ‘seem’ to be demonstrating at any given time. We are creatures of flux, and I maintain very personal and evolving values and aspirations according to whatever context or time I find myself in. Anyone who places me in a box lined with expectations about my worth, my ability, my potential, is no friend of mine; no true friend anyway.
There are some people who never touch the tops of trees,
I don’t tap the vein. I slash the jugular. There’s nothing dramatic about slow attenuated suffering. There’s shock and awe to bleed out all at once, to let the heart pulsate and pound to its fullest, till the very last beat fills the room with silence.
It’s funny when I think about what makes me happy, what past times I enjoy and cherish. It’s peculiar when I look back and observe the various preoccupations strewn about my past, from partying to sex to drugs to reading to studying to extracurriculars and leadership activities and relationships and a wide spectrum of friends, great, average, and lousy. All of these pursuits had different value at different times and I allotted my priorities accordingly. In fact, I made sure I went to the extreme and indulged as far as any one could indulge. I made sure that I was getting the most out of whatever I was doing, that I licked the experience clean so that no morsel of pleasure or perspective would go to waste. Sometimes, when I find myself dysphoric and unimaginative, I let myself believe that I had it right at some point and that now I’ve gone astray, and I try to recapture the same pleasure, the same lifestyle that left me with that favorable impression. As most menial past times often play out, however, I always find that the novelty of these chases wore off long ago.
So I content myself with where I’m at and evaluate my life and experiences and the perspective it affords me as something to be cherished with patience. No need to escape from the moment. No need to get hung up on the past or carried away with the future. My current state is unique and I should press my mind into its folds as deeply as I can. I mustn’t waste an opportunity to gain such a fleeting perspective, as they always are, or so they seem. Maybe I don’t go out as much, maybe I don’t like people as much, maybe I don’t skateboard or lift weights or explore as much as I did in the past, but I’ll be damned if I’m not learning something. There’s nothing wrong with parsing out your lifetime with alternative measures now and again. Sometimes it’s a good thing to remain still, contemplative, relatively unhampered by necessities stemming from social stimulation or livid living.
Can I blame people for not thinking more? That’s like asking if I can blame people for not swimming more; or climbing more. When the hell do people actually do these things? Rarely ever, unless they’ve developed an interest, that is. It’s probably a good thing they don’t leap into thinking like they’d leap into swimming or climbing; they’re liable to get hurt. Bad too. But I guess I like to imagine that, given how much weight we award to thinking, given how much we like to talk and appeal to thinking like it’s within our reach and possession, that people would actually consider what it means to think. But that would require thought as well, so I guess I’m being too hard.
I suppose I’d prefer to live in a world where people were more aware, or honest, with their situation, their condition. What would this world look like? Why, people would never argue in terms of what they thought, they would simply talk in terms of what they felt. I felt this or that, so that’s why this should be this or that way. Or, I’m unreflective, and I know it. Or, geeze, you better watch out what you tell me, I’m liable to believe the craziest horseshit. Something along those lines. This world would not only be more honest, it would be more realistic, cause as it stands, that’s about the extent that people do think. They may regurgitate a little here and there from whatever media or magazine or NYT best seller they happened to read the back of, but for the most part people haven’t a damn clue why they think or know or believe or do anything. You ask them, they get flustered, overwhelmed. Holy shit, don’t ask me to explain why I went to school for X. My god, how am I suppose to know why I like cars or sports so much? Heck, it’s cause my parents raised me that way and the bible says its true, that’s why.
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