February 6th, 2009


The Friday Night Syndrome

Picture with me, if you will, a Friday evening. I'm in Tacoma - don't ask me why - and I've got a bottle of Jack Daniels in a brown paper bag on the seat next to me resting on its side next to a 12-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. I'm in my dad's car, having just left a Safeway where I witnessed a couple in front of me not saying one word to each other as she bought an arm full of groceries and he bought a six pack of Corona, paying separately. I'm in my dad's car, on my way to Dairy Queen to buy the latest Blizzard treat, a Choco-Cherry Love Blizzard. In the drive-thru, with two pickup trucks in front of me, I hide the bottle of Jack Daniels in the back seat and I tuck the 12-pack of PBR all the way under the dash. Nevermind that the Jack isn't even for me, or the fact that I won't drink more than half of the beer tonight; I just didn't want anyone to see me, on a Friday evening, in my dad's car, with enough liquor to feed a small party, buying a Choco-Cherry Love Blizzard. On credit. No, I won't be needing a receipt.

Emotionally, I'm two different people right now. During the day, I can't stand anyone, wish they were all dead in fact, and I sure as hell couldn't see myself settling down with someone. Settling, as chance would have it, being the operative word at this juncture. But at night, when I'm getting ready to snuggle into a queen-sized bed by myself for the umpteen-thousandth time in a row, I look all around me and I wonder: Who exactly am I saving myself for?

Maybe I'd like to be more successful. Since being a big famous writer would be the one thing to make me happy more than almost anything else, if I had that under my belt, then I could see myself as someone worth being with. I have this theory about myself: I need to surround myself with people I find superior. It's not a complex, because I know I have my qualities, but this isn't about me feeding my ego. There are things I respect about each and every one of my friends because they all succeed in some capacity. Intelligence, sense of humor, personality, ability to land a good woman, ability to hook up at random, athletic prowess, overall good looks. Some of these things I have, some of these things I lack in spades, but every one of my friends has something about them so far and beyond what I could ever achieve, it's only natural for me to have the utmost respect.

Which leads me to the converse: I'm abysmally unattracted to people who I consider inferior. If you consider me the median in all things I just listed above, then anyone consistently failing to reach that median I deem inadequate. Which is rediculous, because who am I to deem anybody inadequate? Who am I to reject anybody?

The only thing you can really do is compile a list of traits you want in a significant other and hope somebody manages to match a portion. Really, in no particular order, of the utmost importance is someone who's interesting and someone who has a sense of humor. I couldn't be with anybody who's boring because I'm already as monotonous as they come. Somebody pretty but unconventionally so, and someone who hasn't been hearing all of their life how pretty they are. Conceit is quite possibly the most unattractive characteristic any human being could inhabit. Someone who doesn't give a fuck about fashion, who likes decent music, who'd rather drag me to something by the Coen Brothers before they'd ever make me watch Confessions of a Shopaholic. I mean, I'm just picking things off the top of my head, but it wouldn't hurt if they knew something about sports, or at least would sit by me as I attended a game or watched one on TV and had enough sense to shut the fuck up. Someone who would leave me alone when I want to be alone and someone who'd drop everything when I don't. Someone who's OK with knowing that I'll never change, but that doesn't mean that I'll stop trying. Someone who'd stay up with me and my brother until three in the morning, pounding beer after beer as we shoot the shit and watch a movie like Shine.

I'm not saying this perfect be-all being is out there. I'm not saying I'm waiting around to find someone who embodies all of those things. Like I said, I'd take a portion. A vig. 10% even. Just somebody who's interesting and down to earth.

I don't want to go out and Meet Chicks, though. I've been around that scene, it's not me. We went to that bar in Belltown called Twist, it was chock full of people who were dressed up like they were getting ready for the Red Carpet at the Oscars. Well, maybe not that fancy, but definitely well enough to make it in to an after-party or two. That's not who I am. I'm not attractive, I have shit clothes, and I don't care! I don't WANT to fit in with that kind of crowd. There's nothing appealing about people who get all gussied up so they can go to a bar, drink over-priced drinks, and stand around trying to look cool and gather the attention of other people standing around trying to look cool. Here's a newsflash: you're not cool. 95% of people in America are not cool. The Fonz is fucking cool. Samuel L. Jackson is fucking cool. David Cross, Zach Galifianakis, and Patton Oswalt are fucking cool. You, douchebag in the bar with the dress clothes, dress shoes, cologne, and meticulously-primped pseudo-Alfalfa hairdo, you are not fucking cool. The guy with the beard, the rolled up jeans, effeminate glasses, and hobo hoodie standing in the trendy bar who can't wait to get the fuck out of there so he can go pound some Miller High Lifes in a real man's establishment: THAT guy is fucking cool, man. And don't you fucking forget it!

Besides, no matter how attractive she is, if she stands in a bar and belts out the words to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" as it's being played by some DJ with a bunch of sweaty dancing white folks in a fashion that's anything but ironic, I could never respect myself in the morning or any morning for the next month.

The bottom line is, I'm tired of going to bed alone. Yet every morning I wake up all the happier for it. Because I know I didn't crack, I didn't break down, I didn't settle. And there's still the chance that I'll meet someone who embodies a majority of the aforementioned attractive traits. A celibate life now hopefully leads to a more worthwhile arrangement in the future.

Status Of The Union

I got a raise of sorts.

By the way, go listen to my podcast. It's fucking hilarious, especially my dad. Don't think, just go.

Anyway, I got a raise. And a promotion. As of February 1st, 2009. And I almost quit this week.

The raise was a dollar and ten cents, I'm almost at $19 an hour now. Just in time to start pumping 5% of my earnings into a 401k that'll never see the light of day. The only real reason I didn't quit is because - like most Americans - I can't afford to. I can't afford to start over. I don't have any real skillset outside of administrative: I can file, sort, and enter data like no other. And the one time someone tries to teach me a marketable skill that I could use to further my earning capabilities, I get the nagging, panicky desire to turn tail and run.

It's not that the work is more difficult, or that it's something I won't be able to handle. People who've never stepped ass into a college class have done this job with the greatest of ease. But, my stress level has skyrocketed. I can't eat during the work day, I can't fall asleep at night, and in the morning I can't get myself out of bed. Not because I'm necessarily so tired, but because I physically can't bear to face the day ahead. On Monday, Friday feels like a decade away. Whereas in my last position I could sleepwalk through the months hungover with diarrhea with the greatest of ease, now I trudge to a slow and ulcer-inducing death.

This is the make-or-break point. If, as I've stated (or maybe not), I'm going to stick this job out for a good three years at the very least, I've got to make this thing work. I can't go back now, the department can't get along with me just being the administrative assistant. They need me handling more responsibility, and if I'm not up to the task at hand, then they'll find someone who is.

On the plus side, I had my best day of the week today. I was able to accomplish more in one day than I had in the previous four, though mainly I attribute that to sheer luck. The majority of my job doesn't depend on how well I budget my time or how effective I am at prioritizing my tasks. The majority relies on the availability of others. I'm a man on a telephone now, and I'm supposed to make calls, gather information, and arrange things so I can bring these claims to a swift and concrete conclusion. It depends on people being available, being willing to talk, being willing to be civil, and doing what they're told within the bounds of the laws we're provided. Likewise, there are certain guidelines set up by people within the department to ensure our efficiency in getting these claims closed. And a whole shitload of minute details to pay attention to. Lots of interaction with people, lots of things to learn, and lots of opportunities to make mistakes.

Ever since I started temping, somewhere around a year or so after I graduated college, I have prided myself on being cool under fire in work situations. What's the worst that could happen? I get fired and I go find another job. Having that as my mantra has prevented many a sleepless night. But, I've really brought a lot of this upon myself with all this debt I've gotten myself into. And the fact that I'm unable to save money. And the fact that I'm unable to live at home in a cushy situation that would be more than conducive to saving money and avoiding further debt. Now, I've got this low-interest loan (at least, a lower interest than would be my normal credit card interest) that I've plowed nearly 10 thousand dollars into, to consolidate my debt, and I can't renege. I've officially got Grown Up Debt. Credit cards are one thing, school loans are another. Any 20-something more than likely has some of one if not both. But a loan, an actual sit-down-with-a-banker loan, where credit histories and W-2's and pay stubs are brought into play; where I've got to sit by the phone waiting to see if my application has gone through ... that's fucking heavy. Instead of a minimum payment somewhere under 200 dollars, I've got one payment near 400. Due, without question, every month, for 36 months. There's a deadline for completion! An actual end in sight! If I manage to not put anymore debt on anymore credit cards, I will be debt free in 3 years or so (not necessarily counting the 3 grand I have in a no-interest credit card for 6 months that should be ending anytime now).

Let's face it, there's no quitting now. Factoring in the economy and the fact that I'll never make as much as I do right now in any other position, let's be serious: I'm pretty much married to this job for the rest of my 20s.

I'm going to be 28 next month. I'm officially older than I ever thought I'd be. And in two years I'll be officially old. You don't want to be around me when I'm 30 and everything about me is exactly the same.