Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Post-Collegiate Depression - Part 1

It all started in the Winter Term of my final year of college. Because before that term I had things all figured out. I had a plan for what was going to happen to me after college. It was easy. I would graduate at the end of term, go on my spring break trip to Mexico, and then come back to a promotion at my summer job. I would work full-time (plus some) and pay off the debt that I had accrued at college.

This plan was quickly derailed in the course of one week. Plus something happened to me during the term, I'm not exactly sure when it was, although I can remember the moment. I was at Stever and Marjorie's place hanging out. I walked into the kitchen to throw a piece of trash away and it hit me. I thought of myself as a writer. That was what I wanted to do with myself. Now my summer job was waiting tables. I was set-up to be a supervisor upon graduation. Then I went to work on Valentine's day.

(A quick aside. There may have also been a girl that I really like that I went on a date with the Thursday before Valentine's Day that may have affected my wishes to move back to Central Oregon. There was only one date, but I didn't know that that was what was happening until later. And good luck getting that story out of me. Turns out I'm something of a moron.)

I went back to work at Kah-Nee-Ta for a weekend. The whole time on the way back I was complaining about how I didn't really even want to work. How I couldn't believe that I'd ever agreed to such a purely preposterous proposition (alliteration is funny). So I worked the whole weekend, I got like 24 in two days or some such nonsense. I was not enjoying myself at all while it was happening.

(Another quick aside. I loved my job at Kah-Nee-Ta. I mean I loved it so much. I was good at it, heck, I was great at it. But then, well, that's what I'm explaining isn't it.)

So towards the end of it all, it's like noon on Sunday and right after work Dennis and I were headed back over the mountain to school, I start talking about the upcoming spring break trip. You see my friends and I scheduled a spring break trip to Mexico every year and never went. So I was trying to get everyone to go this year because it was my final spring break. Some of the guys, the guys who worked at the resort all year long, said they couldn't go because the boss had them working that whole week. Later she overheard me talking to other people and she let me know that I too would be working the whole week of spring break. I let her know that I would not be doing that. Then Dennis and I returned to school.

It was at that moment when my boss, who I'd had a crush on since I'd started working there three years earlier, put my spring break at jeopardy that I decided that I would never work for her again. (I did work for her again, for one more day, to help pay for my spring break trip.) So I went back to school intent on not having my future be out at the resort. I went to the career fair, the only booth that interested me was the Peace Corps booth, and began to apply for jobs in the Corvallis area. I also spoke with my advisors about staying for one extra term (really it was just not graduating early, but now I feel like I'm bragging).

The Peace Corps thing went well until they found out I didn't have any community service hours at during my collegiate experience. It was hard to fit that in with my constant drinking and smoking, plus the homework and the working on odd weekends. Plus road trips and nights of poker. Video games and movies. I mean I could have done some, I guess, but I didn't. So it was decided that I wasn't going to the Peace Corp. (I'd be about one year in right now if I'd gone.)

Shortly after the career fair I called my boss, Marie Kay, and let her know that I would not be starting full time at the end of the term, instead I was going to stay at school for one more term and enjoy the end of my college experience. I had no plans for what I would be doing after college, when all through college I knew exactly where I was going. It was at this point that I began drifting. I just didn't know it yet.

To be continued...

Monday, February 20, 2006

My Life is Boring

So I thought that I'd give a little bit of an update as to what has been going on in my life. Not that there's much news, but I find that once I start writing this type of thing that there is way more news than I could have imagined.

First big piece of news isn't really mine, it's my brother's news. He is getting married in June. Within fifteen minutes of hearing the news I'd already heard three different people (my brother, my mom, and my dad) crack jokes about how now the pressure is on for me. I don't think they're very funny.

I am still working for Wells Fargo in a shitty dead end job. It would be different if I was actually hired on by the company, but I'm still just a temp. Hopefully my employment takes a turn for the better in the near future.

Lately I have been spending a lot of time delving into the world of comic books. It's been a lot of fun, but a tad spendy. I really needed some sort of hobby though, and why not go back to one that I loved so much as a kid? Been having some ideas for my own comic bouncing around in my head. We'll see what comes of it, especially since my four year-old niece draws better than I do. My new favorite comic writer and artist is Jim Mahfood. Maybe it's just because his company is called 40 oz comics, or maybe it's that his characters drink and smoke like I do. Who knows?

My novel that I "finished" back in October has finally begun making it's rounds. So far four people have finished it and I've interrogated two of them. The other two should know that at some point I'm going to give a call and ask some odd questions. I also have a couple of other people that I'm supposed to send the book to. Hopefully I'll have it really finished before the end of the year. I already know that there needs to be some pretty significant changes.

I'm still waiting on the t-shirt that Abel said he'd make me. It's going to be a good one. He's doing it to make fun of this very blog. Oh, how exciting.

The internet is working at home again. I'm quite excited about it. Now I'll be able to actually check my e-mail on a regular basis.

And that is the update of my currently not so exciting life. But then the fun part is that I have no idea what this week will bring. Maybe something fun and exciting, or maybe me playing too much video games and reading a bunch of comics. Either way I'm sure I'll enjoy myself.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Justin - or a study in inaction

I once knew a man who did nothing but burn bridges. It wasn't an active burning of bridges so much as he just refused to put out the flames once they had started. He could have, but at the same time he'd rather be alone on an island than take the effort to put out them flames.

I first met him as he was trying to reaquire a group that he could belong to. You see he had had a falling out with a group of people and refused to associate with any of them (he only had a problem with a couple of the people, but as the group tended to hang out with those two people he was left unable to hang out with any of the group anymore). I actually knew the group he'd had a falling out with but I rarely associated with them (I see them more now, not sure why).

So we began to hang out and had a pretty good time together. Did all sorts of stuff, I mean we were hanging out almost every day. Parties and bars and drugs and runs to the corner store. Movies and video games and even a camping trip. I once wrote a story about a camping trip that I took my freshman year in college. The story moves on to tell how that group of people that had such an amazing time camping eventually fell apart. I could retell that story of Crater Lake except substitute the people from freshman year for the people that I met this year. But instead I'll just concentrate on the one, the rest of them are way too depressing to talk about too much.

So you are probably asking yourself how it all fell apart. And I will tell you. It wasn't all his fault, nothing ever is, but inaction is a choice that people make and it was his inability to choose a course of action that led him away from the group. My first sign that things were not going to end well was when I first began to hang out with Pauline. It's all coming back to me that this is why I began to hang out with the group that he no longer did. I'd known them all since college, but Pauline was new to me so I started hanging out with them more often. Which meant that buddy boy, Justin, refused to come and hang out when they were around, equating to me seeing less of him. You see, he could have tried to make amends with his former friends, they wanted to reconcile with him, but he refused. He took their stoner move as a stab in the back. Admittedly they missed his birthday, which I would be super pissed about too, but not so pissed as to ostracize myself from them.

Fast forward to a few months later and we still hang out, but not quite as much. I basically come home from work every day to Jemma and Justin, with an occasional Rachelle or Roman thrown in there, sitting in my living room smoking pot. I didn't know it, none of us did (maybe we would have if our minds weren't so clouded by the smoke) but this little set-up spelled trouble. You see (just an aside here, my readership is very small, I'm guessing around three or four people will actually set eyes on this, but I'm practicing for the future so I'm actually trying to explain as much as I feel is necessary for a person who knows nothing about me and my friends to understand what the hell I'm talking. Also, thank you to you three or four readers.) Jemma was dating Abel. But Justin and her were developing a friendship. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just you should always remember when making friends with the opposite sex you have to make sure to be on the signifacant other's good side.

So what happened? Well Jemma and Abel broke up. Which meant that Jemma was no longer able to greet me at home with offerings of marijuana. Which meant that Justin was no longer around with offerings of marijuana. Which was fine. It does not bother me to come home to an empty quiet house, it just means I get to read in piece. But it meant that Justin and Jemma were now hanging out, unchaperoned, outside of our pad. This in itself is not a crime, the transgression comes later.

I actually talked with Justin a little bit after the break-up. I remember telling him to be careful after he told me he was going to continue hanging out with Jemma. You see I knew that I didn't want to even mess with that. I'd done it once before, sorry Jake, and definitely took things farther than Justin did, but when I was confronted I didn't piddle around and put off confrontation. Okay maybe a bit but I'm getting sidetracked here, not everything is about ME you know.

Abel and Justin had a talk too. Abel laid down some very simple rules for Justin. I don't actually know what the rules were, but I'm fairly certain that they wouldn't be too hard to stick to. Anyway, one night Abel and Dennis and I are drinking. We decide to invite over Adam and Casey. Abel asked me if I'd talked to Justin lately. I said it had been over a week. Abel said that he'd been trying to get ahold of him for three or four days without any sort of success.
(Here's a good time to explain a fine point in dealing with ex-boyfriend's. If you are their friend, and are hanging out with their ex-girlfriend and your friend calls, you should answer the phone. If you are unable to, too stoned, drunk, in a movie, coitus, whatever, then you should call them back. That same day. If you don't then you are guilty until proven innocent. We're not the American Justice system here, we're a bunch of confused young adults who need to do everything we can to look out for ourselves.)

So Casey and Abel have a little talk. I still don't know the details of the talk. I just know that Abel came out of that conversation with a look of rage in his eye, achilles style rage. It had a been a really long time since I'd heard him yell like that. And he hasn't done it since, I'm sure he will, because that's part of who he is. And, unfortunately, Abel called up Justin at around 1:30 in the morning and proceeded to yell most furiously at his voice mail. I tried to explain that Justin would be sleeping and it would probably be best to talk to him in the morning, but then Abel reminded me of the calls that Justin had already refused to return. So Abel yelled mean threats at Justin and declared that he was banned from stepping foot in our apartment. I would have protested if I had not already banned a couple of other people from ever stepping foot in my residence. So instead I just understood where he was coming from and went with it.

I visited Justin once after this happened. The point was for me to go and talk to him and urge him to speak with Abel so they could get the whole stupid thing behind them. But inaction was what Justin wanted to go with. He sat and watched as his bridges burned. He was now out of the group. He had Jemma and her cohort as part of his new pseudo-group, but unfortunately for him Jemma reappeared as a character at our apartment.

The really quick break-down is that Abel and Jemma broke-up. This caused Justin to be banished. Does it make any sense, no, of course it doesn't. But that's what happened. If he ever wanted to get a beer, I'd probably do it. But he sure has made it hard for me to be able to hang out with. I'm a group jumper and he is now not allowed around two of the groups. It's just too bad it had to go down like that.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Using People

I've seen these survey's on the internet that people fill out. And some of them ask the question, "Have you ever used somebody?" And everybody always says "no". What type of bullshit is this. I mean, do people just not realize what they're doing as they use people? Do they lie to themselves as well as the world. Because obviously everybody uses people. So I'm letting everybody know that I use you. But that should be okay because I know that you use me too.

Por ejemplo. This weekend I am going to use Will. I've already discussed it with him and he seems okay with it. You see it is Superbowl Weekend and Will owns a big screen high definition television. I do not own such a quality piece of electronics. So, I am going to go to Will's apartment on Superbowl Sunday and watch the game. Now he lives in a small apartment with extremely limited seating, so he is going to use the fact that I have four foldable chairs. You see it is a give and take. I use him, he uses me. We both end up happy.

Now that may be a bit of a simplification, so I'll give another example. Someone breaks up with you and you're all "Woe is me, woe is me, I feel like crap and I need to do something to make myself feel better" (I actually do feel sympathy for both sides of a break-up, but that totally clashes with the tone of this piece, so let the sarcasm reign). And so you go out and find that hot little something to comfort you for a while until your self-esteem is back to its normal level where you can be okay with being single. You're totally using that person. And do you know what, that's okay, because most people let that person know. They don't usually just come right out and say, "I'm only going ot be doing this for a little while so enjoy it while you can," but they say it in code. You know, "I just went through a really tough break-up" or "I'm not quite over my ex yet." People drop those hints, and people know that it is like someone flashing a big fat warning sign saying, "At the end of this you are going to be hurt because I don't like YOU, I just like how you make me feel right now." At the same time it isn't like the "victim" isn't having a great time. The guilt free sex, the seemingly never-ending honeymoon period where your love feels like something out of a Hollywood romance. I mean, you're using the other person too.

So my point is that everybody is constantly using everyone else for their own reasons. And this is okay, and I think everybody should be conscious of the various ways that they are using people. Because it is when people become truly careless, or maybe callous, that people begin to get really hurt by being used. It's okay to call up a friend that you know doesn't mind being the designated driver, but you should probably call them other times as well. It's alright to use your friend's big screen TV, just make sure that you let them use your chairs. It;s alright to use someone to make yourself feel better, just don't be too angry when someone does it to you. And always remember the time that you're the most dangerous is when you think that you aren't using someone at all.