Pen Pal

A pen pal is a luxury. I could never take it personally. 

Camus has a quote that I often use to contextualize all my relationships: 

“When I was young I asked more of people than they could give: everlasting friendship, endless feeling. Now I know to ask less of them than they can give: a straightforward companionship. And their feelings, their friendship, their generous actions seem in my eyes to be wholly miraculous: a consequence of grace alone.”

I’m currently in Chicago for work. I was in Portland from Thursday until today for a “sales meeting”, which really was no meeting at all, just a company wide white water rafting trip with one of our channel partners. I manage the northwest, and one of my distributors invited me and a colleague to join in on the activity. I thought it’d be an opportunity to bond with some of the sales guys, but it was just a rafting trip, then it was over. No real discourse or relationship building. My colleague and I did manage to go to some restaurants and drink heavily. 

I’m not a big drinker, but my colleague is. Definitely an alcoholic. He’s a muslim too— no pork, but tons of alcohol. Great guy. Kind guy. Gentle spirit. Anyway, I found his propensity to over drink notable. Finding an excuse to go out of his way to not only consume alcohol, but over consume it. And when I’m with him, I’m just along for the ride. It’s part of the bonding experience, I tell myself. 

Behaviors like this always raise flags for me. I tend to probe the depths of people, try and figure out what makes them tick. Ask questions, get vulnerable, and really explore their inner world and motivations. I find that when you spend time peeling away the layers, you find a very predictable machine. 

Well, during dinner last night I discovered probably the biggest reason he over drinks, though he didn’t say it directly: his father was murdered about 10 years ago. That’s heavy shit. His father immigrated from india, worked his butt off an a CPA, and managed to buy several small businesses. One of his associates encouraged him to go into the liquor business. He was about the sell it off and retire. A black guy and two Mexican guys come into the store and fire off rounds at him and steal $150. His father dies. Terrible tragedy. 

Now I understand why he has this vice, and I’m much more sympathetic to it. 

Anyway. I’m in Chicago. Laying in bed. My laptop is propped up on my lap, and the screen is illuminating my face, and the skyscrapers show outside my window, with all the little gems of light dotting the buildings beyond. 

It’s a strange feeling to realize that you’re not a capitalist, but also not an idiot. 

I’m struggling with feeling like I have a place in the world. I can do anything, but there’s not much it seems I enjoy doing. The thought of being a therapist resonates with me, but so does every other occupation. I just like understanding. I love reading, and problem solving, especially with people. I’ve been consumed with math and physics lately. I wish I had a mentor to guide me along, and direct my steps.

I’m an ENFJ. Though, sometimes an ENTJ. I’m not sure how accurate it is, or how much weight I should place in it. 

I drank several beers and had a burger this evening. 

I have a laboratory expo I’ll be attending until Wednesday, then I head back to the bay. The American Association of Clinical Chemistry. I’ll be meeting with customers, and colleagues from Japan and Germany.

Portland was nice. I could see myself living there. The fact that an apartment is $1000 a month blew my fucking mind. I pay $1800 and I have a roommate. A one bedroom apartment in the bay area is between $3000 and $4000+. Absolutely ludicrous. But Portland was low key. Not a lot of traffic. People were nice. Things weren’t expensive. Great restaurants and beer. And the trees. Oh my. I love trees, and nature, and pretty much environment that isn’t fabricated, manufactured, and sterile. 

Regarding the Russia bullshit… i just.. It makes me depressed. My father is a hardcore, evangelical, young earth, pro Trump republican. You can imagine our relationship. Although, I’ve grown less hostile to him, and more accepting. 

These people live in an alternative reality, and while I understand that reality, I also struggle to figure out how reluctant they are to engage with the same “facts” that seem so compelling and persuasive to me. Like, at the end of the day, I don’t have a stake in any agenda. I just want to observe facts as they comport to reality, in the natural sense. I don’t want to distort in an effort to twist things in favor of assumptions that are ideological, or emotionally charged. I want straight logic, and I want that logic and the objective realizations to speak for themselves, and paint a picture thats irrefutable, and universally obvious. But somehow, there are alternative narratives that seem incapable of doing this… the extreme right and extreme left. And they both just sicken me. 

Trump is everything I loath. Everything that associates with him is just garbage, lies, trash. It’s just such an embarrassment. 

The Russia thing is so impossibly obviously true, it blows my mind. 

I still cannot believe that anyone questions it. That there are people who deny it, who think its the media, or deep state. I just… I just… I don’t know. 

I just hope Trump doesn’t do irreparable damage. He’s fuckin up all kinds of institutional structures, seeding federal courts with ideologues, and just undermining all kinds of conventions that brought stability to this country. 

I dunno. 

I drank a few beers tonight, and I feel drained. I didn’t do anything but travel today. 

I’m reading the book The Three Body Problem. It’s damn good. 

I’m suppose to be in a good place in life. I make good money. I work for a good company. I have a great job. I live in a great neighborhood, in the Bay Area. But I suffer from a perpetual existential crisis. I wonder if its chronic depression (my most recent psychotherapist things I have some kind of deep depression, like maybe genetic, or inflammation, or something). I just think that I grew up morbidly depressed, that’s due to a crazy ass upbringing, and now its my default mode. But the thing is, I’m not sad. That’s what I tell people. I’m not sad. I just don’t feel. I’m not “happy”, though I certainly can be. Life is gray. It’s trivial. I think, however. I think of enormous possibilities. I have these inspirational enthusiasms that take my imagination to all sorts of places. But I’m simultaneously discontent. It’s like a spiritual issue. Whatever that means. Like, there is no value. I have my ideals, and I clutch to these at whatever cost, but I often find myself clutching nothing at all. My ideals are made of nothing. So I reach and try to grasp, try to find footing, try to hold onto something worth while, something that’ll provide some existential stability, and I continually come up empty handed. 

So what is life. Another degree? A challenging degree? Consistency at work? Savings? A professional title? Influence? Power? Writing creative works? Producing art? Making businesses? Getting involved with politics? Instagram pictures of a picturesque life? The dog? The girlfriend? What is it? Is it being a traveling blogger? Being one of those four hour work week bros? Going into medicine? Health? Is it looking good? Or… is it being content? Satisfied? And just… accept what is. Not desiring or asking for anything more than what I have. And just… be a vegetable. Grow nice and healthy, without wanting more. Is this what billions of years of evolution has fated for me? 

So what is it? No one can answer these questions. My therapists don’t have a clue. I feel like no one has a god damn clue. 

“The meaning of life is to create meaning”. 

Like… thats great. On what timeline. How long can I sustain that meaning? Because, I can have meaningful things for moments, minutes, hours, week, months, even years… but I can’t sustain it forever. Meaning and fulfillment seem like sick jokes. Is that what life is about? The will for meaning? 

In all honesty, I just want to live. In the woods. Escape from people. I want my books. Maybe a few dozen. Maybe all of them. And journals. And nature. I want to kill and cultivate my food. Cook it by fire. I want to struggle. I want to suffer. I want my suffering to provide my meaning, not these social psychological games that seem endless. And I want to bath in the beauty of nature. I want her to try me, to teach me. I want to watch her, to learn from her. I want me and nature as close as possible. If it kills me, so be it. But the psychological games society plays, the branding, the signaling, the manipulative propaganda, the hive mentality, the irrationality. 

There are great things happening of course. I just struggle to frame all the greatness into some cohesive purpose beyond “self preservation”. Perhaps that’s all it is, but there’s no moral imperative guiding it. Framed in that way, its whatever it takes, and right and wrong is a justification of survival, of the tribe, of the greater good, of the greater good that I identify with. 

Anyway. I’m rambling. 

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