Friday, January 24, 2014


I've decided that posting in two places in not necessary.

I'll be at

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Despicable Charitable Me

"So", said to me me nobody ever, "obviously, you're an excellent writer..."

"Do go on", I reply in British accent. 

"...and you're certainly funny..."

"Oh, you stop it!" I say coyly. 

"...and you're just so handsome*..."

"Okay, get on with it!" I snarl, impatient yet smiling.

"...but what's another favorite attribute of yours?"

I take several seconds, thinking hard while stroking my chin. Finally, I speak. "Well, after much consideration, I think that would have to be how philanthropic I am."

*Not three days ago I entered my bathroom and, before turning the light on, caught my own reflection.  "You know", I shouted to my roommate. "Sometimes I see myself and I think, you know what? I can actually be kind of handsome." I flipped the light switch onand saw my face again in the mirror. "NOPE!" I yelled. "ABORT, ABORT!"

What? What? What are you laughing at? I'm a nice guy, damn it!

Though to be honest, anyone who knows me knows I'm a bit... uh, how you say? Ah yes, cheap. I've mentioned this in passing before, but I'm really cheap. It mostly comes from a place of guilt; in essence, when I was spending my parents money I felt really bad about it, and so I thought that if I could make every dollar go as far as possible, last as long as it could, then in total I would be spending less of their money. Three dollars here by going to the matinee showing of a movie, two dollars there by saying I'm getting off at Palatine instead of Barrington on the Metra when I visit home*. I mean, we're talking pinching pennies. I still feel upset about the time when I guiltily paid only ten dollars to get into the Museum of Natural History (suggested price was like twenty bucks, but you could pay whatever you wanted) and then watched my cousin pay two dollars. Boy did that smart. For the rest of the day I was thinking, "I just threw eight perfectly good dollars down the drain." I missed that eight dollars.

I know this ridiculous, believe me.

*In my defense, they completely unceremoniously raised their prices several bucks without even asking me. I did not agree to pay such monies, and therefore I will not.

Now, in terms of my charitable contributions, I don't have that great of a track record. Examples include: .... uh .... um ... okay, I'm like ninety percent certain I put some of the change from my lunch money into those Unicef collection bins. And I live in a city with lots of homeless that I... no longer give to. Let me explain.

I am, by nature, a people-pleaser; I want everyone to like me all the time and I have a really hard time saying no to people*. So when someone asks me for change, it used to be an internal struggle: the discomfort of saying no to those people versus the unease of spending more of my money. And when I did give, all that would happen was the I'd pass another homeless person and feel really guilty (sensing a theme?) that I'd already given my change to the one before. "No I swear, I just gave to one of your contemporaries! So you shouldn't feel bad I didn't give you anything. You guys all talk, right? YOU KNOW I GAVE" felt like a... somewhat tone-deaf response.

*Regarding me having these qualities, someone recently said flatly, "that's really bad". I know.

Generally, I could say no if I was quickly moving onward, but if I was seated or couldn't escape the person asking for money, it was really difficult for me to turn them down. Once, I was waiting at Ogilvie for the Metra when a man came up to me. I was seated at the Subway eating my sandwich and was unable to parry. He explained he had lost his wallet and just needed seventy-three more cents for the train to Woodstock, that's all he needed, just seventy-three cents! With nowhere to go and feeling guilty, I counted out exactly seventy-three cents and gave it to him. He looked at me a little confusedly, said thanks, and moved on. Five minutes later I saw him in the same food court asking someone else for money. I was... not pleased. Not because of the money but because he had lied to me to get money out of me. He lied. Perhaps I'm too principled, but I don't like being lied to and inherently assume others aren't lying to me. Second, I believed the lie and was embarrassed. My embarrassment and disappointment in myself ran so deep that I resolved to be wary.

Like always, just be advised that I know how awful I am, alright?

*I once told a friend of mine's visiting relative, "Fun fact, all the homeless people are actors that have been hired by the city to generate revenue, so actually all the money you give goes into Chicago itself." "Really?"

I also dislike canvassers - my close personal friend Sean Maher agrees with me - I know they have a thankless job, but I'm sorry, if I'm walking down the street I clearly have somewhere I'm going and you're interrupting! And when they come to my place of residence? Know I'm aware I'm speaking as someone with a lot of privilege, but don't come to my home and then make me feel bad because I didn't give to whatever cause you interrupted my day to talk to me about, thanks. And believe me, I always feel bad.

So the other Friday, I was walking down my street after a really long day of a really long week at work. I was tired, I was sweaty, and I was starving. I just wanted to go home, make myself some pizza, and plop down on my couch. In the distance, there was a man on the sidewalk... as I got closer I saw he was dressed nice and holding a clipboard. "No, no, no..." I thought. "Excuse me", he said, "can I get thirty seconds of your time?"

Now, my biggest pet peeve in the world is rudeness. I abhor it. I don't understand why everyone in the world wasn't raised to be kind to others and to speak to people appropriately the way I was; the world could be a much better place if everyone took five seconds to not be an asshole. People are rude when they don't have to be, and that just baffles me. You don't need to be as deferential as, say, I don't know, ME, but you can still find a way not to be rude to someone who doesn't deserve to deal with that. So knowing this about myself, the fact that I was even ever so slightly rude to this guy shows me (in retrospect) how tired I must have been.

"You can have thirty seconds" I said curtly. I kept walking down the street towards my apartment, the guy turns and starts walking with me, and now I've forced him into a walk and talk like we're on The West Wing. He begins talking to me about this program as I start pulling the headphones out of my ears. "So basically," he continued, "if I can sell enough of these Chicago Tribune subscriptions they'll pay for me to go to college". What? I suddenly turned to stop and look at this person clearly... and suddenly I noticed how young he was. He looked like he was sixteen, seventeen maybe. He was a kid. And I suddenly thought about how embarrassed and nervous he must be having to approach strangers and jeez I didn't have to be such a dick, the thirty seconds remark and making him walk with me?! god I'm awful. I just thought, come on, I've been so spoiled - I never had to give a second thought to going to college; I didn't even really want to go. Here this kid is trying so hard to have a chance to do something that everyone who wants to should be able to do. "So how much is it, exactly?" I asked. "Thirty dollars." He said. I opened my wallet - I had exactly twenty-nine dollars in cash. I told him that I only had twenty-nine. "That's fine!" he said, "I'll put in a dollar, honestly it's fine!" He was so excited. He shook my hand and said thank you. I asked him his name - he said it was Farad. "Where do you want to go to school?" It turns out it was the school I graduated from... I told him as much. "Really?", he said excitedly, "I really want to play on the basketball team... were you on the basketball team?" "Do I look like I was on the basketball team?" I cracked. He laughed. He gave me a sincere thank you, I wished him good luck and finished walking back to my apartment.

As planned, I stuck on pizza onto the pizzazz, changed into lazy clothes, poured myself a soda and collapsed onto the couch. I flipped the TV on.

I didn't miss the twenty-nine dollars.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Quick Expression of Political-y Feelings

So without getting overly political or sentimental, I just have to say days like today actually make me have a little faith in the universe. Because I generally feel as though the world is a shitstorm and that the universe hates goodness and that America is basically Game of Thrones where good guys just get horribly stabbed and killed and the bad guys slink away. One of these three things - Stand With Wendy, DOMA, Prop8 - would've certainly been great, but having all three so quickly together gives me feelings, you guys. Because apparently, the bad guys don't always win. Sometimes the good guys win. The good guys beat the bad guys and right is right and it's as simple as that. We don't actually live in Game of Thrones all the time. The good guys fought, and they won these battles. It's almost enough to make me think about fighting for things and stuff.

And then I remember how exhausting being politically involved is. Back to watching TV and eating.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Of Food and Vanity

Not my favorite post ever, but it'd been a while...

I sit here on my couch, staring at the empty pizza box, which is now covered with crumbs and a crumpled up, sauce-stained napkin; its former inhabitants now inhabit only my stomach. I lay back onto the couch, feeling quite nicely full. Yet somehow, I'm not sated. Dissatisfaction lingers. A question sounds in my mind, over and over on repeat.

"So, how long do I have to wait until I can get Dairy Queen?"

What is wrong with me? I just ate an entire pizza. Yet, like Ariel... I want more.* We all know that I'm a former fat kid at heart, and apparently I've maintained the appetite and eating habits of one. I love food; going out to eat is my favorite thing. And my obsessive need to feel like I'm getting my money's worth means I will always clear my plate. This is not good, since I unfortunately also suffer from a debilitating disease known as "former fat child syndrome". FFCS affects thousands, yet no one ever speaks about it, likely for fear of social stigmas**. But I will be that brave soul, that man among men, to open up about this difficult subject.

*my food network show would be called 'Today in Unnecessary Eating'
**and also because possibly they don't know about it since I made it up

Symptoms of FFCS include, but are not limited to:
  • Being thin and flabby
  • Feeling guilty about everything you eat
  • Arbitrarily deciding to order something marginally healthier than what you were about to order
  • Staring at your stomach, feeling sick to it as you notice how it's expanding over time
  • Refusal to go swimming, be in a bathing suit, or otherwise shirtless*
  • Deciding to cut back on eating, followed by eating indiscriminately
  • Looking at yourself in the mirror pitifully
  • Worrying about having multiple chins
  • Intense body envy of people that are 'in shape'
  • Unwarranted belief that everyone is in shape but you
  • Saying "I'm so fat" or "I'm gonna get so fat" and annoying the crap out of your friends who see you as a very skinny person

Your friends will think you're fishing for compliments and that you're obnoxious; this is not the case. I have never fished for complements in my life - these are, in fact, genuine feelings and concern of fatness. Your friends will not understand why a skinny person would be constantly worried about being fat... but once you've been fat, you know that at any day could be the day when you go back to where you were. Frankly, I didn't do all that much work to get thin, it just sort of happened suddenly, so it's not an illogical hypothesis that therefore I could also get fat suddenly and without warning. Look, my stomach has heft it didn't used to have anymore, okay? IT'S REAL. I packed on some weight this winter, and believe me, it ain't pretty. Fortunately, as the per the above rules, no one is allowed to see me shirtless, so no one can really tell I'm getting heavier. But since they can't tell, they again think I'm being overdramatic or exaggerating - it's a lose-lose-lose. Lose.

*you better believe swim unit in gym glass was my own personal hell

I know my lot in life... my body is the before picture, and everyone else's is the after. See, if you have FFCS, you will no doubt be more attuned to the ridiculously perfect bodies of everyone who is not you. Somehow, everyone seems to just automatically be naturally fit, those jerks. "Now, now", you're saying, "they're probably gym rats". This may be the FFCS talking, but I THINK NOT. I think yeah, some people work out, but everyone starts with some base body. Some people, me included, have a flabby base with which to work. And other people got a starter set that was way muscle-y. I had a friend in THIRD GRADE tell me he had a six-pack. I had no clue what that meant at the time, but the point is that HE WAS A THIRD GRADER WHO HAD A SIX PACK. What is that madness? Nice of his genetics, I suppose. But everytime I meet someone, it's like, "oh of COURSE you have a great body, because you're everyone else on the planet". 

I find people with good bodies annoying and a personal affront to me; as if they're doing it on purpose, flailing their effortlessly perfect physiques in my face. Another symptom of FFCS is that you only remember seeing in shape people and filtering out everyone else, so despite reason telling me there are plenty of flabby people like me, my gut* tells me no, in fact everyone else is ripped. My roommate was showing me pictures of her co-workers, and sure enough, every guy was swole like Uwe Boll**. Stopping on the last co-worker, I began my frustration.

     Caitlin: Why does it bother you so much?
     Me: I just feel if I looked like [co-worker], I'd be happier and my life would be better and perfect.
     Caitlin: Yeah, but [co-worker]'s an orphan whose parents died and he lived with his grandparents and had a really sad childhood.
     Me: Would I kill my parents for that body??
     Caitlin: [Stares]
     Me: [Biting on my nails]
     Caitlin: [Still staring]
     Me: I mean, obviously I wouldn't kill my parents!

I blame FFCS for my brief momentary lapse into psychosis there. You see how it works? It's dangerous!

*pun intended
**not an actual phrase but what else rhymes with swole? Bob Dole? Gary Cole? A sourdough roll? Mmm, sourdough...

I suppose the bad body thing wouldn't be that bad if I had a nice mug, but let's face it - I have a writer's face. As previously discussed, my face is not terrible when taken on it's own but when put next to a nice face it starts to look like a Picasso. My one attribute that I had going for me was my hair, until - to my horror - my haircut lady pointed out to me that my hair was thinning. I'M TOO YOUNG TO BE BALD. First I'm too young to have wrinkles, and now my hair is peacing out? She explained that it was probably due to stress, which made sense given my personality. So, in keeping with that, I immediately began stressing over how to stop stressing in order to keep my hair. A foolproof plan it is not. Frankly, it's not like I know what to do with my hair anyway - I don't know how to style it or anything - but I'd like to keep it just the same.

In dire times like these, I try to remember what Caitlin said to me following the above conversation.
"Listen, we may not be the best-looking people out there, but there are people who are WAY uglier than us. So we got that goin'."
Look, it may not be the St. Crispin's Day speech, but I think those are words to live by. I mean at least I don't have a hunchback. And frankly, I don't know where I get off being so vain. It's an odd thing, because I don't care at all about it until suddenly I do. Anyone who knows me could easily point out I have no stake is my physical appearance... like I've said, I don't know what to do with my hair, I dress in an entirely non-descript fashion - I'm certainly not trying to impress anybody. So if I'm not trying to impress anyone, why do I care? What does it matter if my stomach is hanging more precariously than it was six months ago? Is it for my esteem? Would a better body or whatever really make me happier? (Strangely, I believe it would.) Is there anything I can do?

I've got two hundred dollars in gift cards that have been burning a hole in my pocket for a couple years now. It's incredibly frustrating because I feel like I have money but it's locked up in a safe that I can't reach. I beg and plead with everyone I know to buy them off me, since they claim to use Amazon all the time. Instead of seeing the logic in that, they just tell me how ridiculous it is that there's nothing I want to buy on Amazon. It's not ridiculous at all... I don't need things, I don't buy stuff; I have too much stuff as it is. I'm not gonna waste my money and something I don't need. The only things I spend money on are rent and going out to eat (and the Veronica Mars kickstarter). That's all I need. I'd rather get $200 worth of meals from Chipotle or spend money traveling (I wish) than an iPad I don't need. Amazon can help me with neither my rent nor with food*, so I feel like my money is in its very own episode of Locked Up Abroad.

*oh and you better believe I tried to buy food gift cards off Amazon. I made it all the way to checkout and then found out you can't use gift cards to buy gift cards and had a tiny rage-induced aneurysm.

My co-workers began suggesting things for me to buy. "A digital camera!" No, I'd use it like one time. "CD's? Music?" I laugh, as if anyone buys CD's anymore. Even if they did, I'm not into music enough to want more than one song from anybody. "Well, what do you want?" They asked, frustrated. "There's gotta be something you want!" I stood at the copier, thinking. "Can I buy abs?" I realized excitedly. They laughed, cause I'm so hilarious.

But seriously though.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Privilege of Doing Nothing

NOTE: I found this post supremely uninteresting, but hey, that's what happens when you write when you have nothing going on in your life to write about. It's either this or just stop writing like I did for about a month (as some of you kindly pointed out to me). So... yeah. Damned if you do and stuff.

When you're working hard for the money (so hard for it honey) free time is a rare commodity. Oh, to have free time", you say to yourself. "What I would do with it... I would sail the oceans, I would write a symphony, I would find and create meaning in ways I'd never imagined for myself."

And by that, what you really mean is you're going to sit around getting fat and surfing the internet.

Take this weekend, for example. I work almost every Saturday, but even with that egregious injustice I still had an entire day and a half to myself, free of work and all the heinous people and situations that arise there. "This'll be great", I figured. "I'll actually get to spend time with people who make me happy, I'll get to work on that screenplay and use the creative part of my brain. I HAVE SO MUCH TIME!" As you might have guessed, it is now Sunday night and I did no such thing. The small free time I'd built up was extinguished with the ease of blowing out a candle.

Where did it go? What did I do with it? I remember eating a sleeve and a half of almonette cookies, so that definitely happened. And I vaguely recall getting into an argument with one of the cats. The rest of it... like, there wasn't even TV on for me to watch. Normally I burn through most of my time trying to catch up on my TV, but I'm reasonably confident that this was not the case this weekend. What did I do?

What must have happened is that I fell into an internet abyss, refreshing Twitter and Facebook and going from article to article, video to video. Honestly guys, I genuinely don't remember if that's what happened, but I'm going to go ahead and guess since my free time was apparently sucked into a black hole.

My two hopes for the weekend: a) socializing and b) writing? Fail. My friend did text me about going to her friend's birthday on Saturday, but I declined. This would have entailed having to dress up*, a half hour bus ride to Wicker Park, having to pay for alcohol**, going to loud, crowded bars where I'm only going to know like three people anyway and pretending like I'm an extrovert, AND a cab ride home. In short, this was not going to happen. I'm an eighty year old man inside the body of a twenty(ish) year old one - this sounded just. totally. exhausting. I'm burnt out all the time, and this sounded like some major exertion for very little in return.

*'dress up' for me means putting the most minimal effort into trying to look halfway decent
**which as we've established I don't even like all that much

And working on that screenplay? Nope. Didn't do a damn thing. I feel really guilty about it too... I feel like I'm wasting my life, spending every precious second not doing anything meaningful or worthwhile. This morning, I remember getting up, eating lunch, and getting on the computer. It was roughly noon. "This is great... I have eight whole hours until The Good Wife is on, I'll get so much done." And now it's 10:30 and I didn't even make a dent. What's wrong with me?

Is this what working people strive for? Theoretically, you work and you work and you work so you can treat yourself, so you can have the kind of things you want to have. Does this mean what I want is to do nothing? Am I working so I can have the luxury of not working? At a glance, this seems to me to be... how do you say? Ah yes, completely fucking insane. It means all that crap and sweat and inanity is all done in the name of me laying around getting fatter? Really? This was what it was all for? That's why I put up with rude people and stress all day? This is the meaning of life and work? This is what deep down, I really want? Is to be lazy and let my creativity wither away? Now call me crazy... it doesn't really seem worth it.

Maybe for other people, they enjoy their work; they make meaning with their work. And maybe when I'm doing that someday, it'll make sense to do nothing with my free time. After all, if I'm writing at work, I don't have to write when I come home; it's already done! So I can laze around guilt-free knowing I did something worthwhile. That will be a fine day.

But today is not that day.

However, I'd like to point out something I'd forgotten, which is that there is a joy in doing nothing. Maybe it's not just laziness - when you work six days a week, there's a childlike glee in having nothing to do all day. I think I'm definitely selling doing nothing way short, because come on... you know it's fun; I have to admit it. So if it's that glee I'm chasing... and not simply me carving out time to waste away - then it ain't so bad.

Besides, I sat down and wrote this little ditty out? So that's something.

But seriously, screenplay next weekend. This time I mean it?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

In Which the Author Exposes His Criminal Side

If and when you were to meet me, you'd probably assume I'm not a dangerous guy. Too skinny and muscle-less to be at all physically intimidating, too self-conscious and self-deprecating to be threatening with my personality.

That, my friends, is where you would be wrong. You see, I have a darkness in me - a rebellious side, something I can't control or suppress. I have a hunger for crime that must be sated, and only one thing will quench it's thirst*...

...I must steal food from the office kitchen. 

Oh yes.

*I mixed my metaphors, going from hunger to thirst but I ended up liking it so SHUT UP ABOUT IT

Before you condemn me, listen up; I'm not stealing any individual co-worker's lunch or anything. I may be a superhardcorerebel* but I'm not an asshole. The food I am stealing is communal food; the office provides food for everyone to share. Technically, since the food is for everyone, I'm not even actually stealing. BUT IT FEELS LIKE I AM, and that, dear readers, is a thrill.

*Listen, I'm way bad, okay? I got a detention one time - that's where the middle school boys get separated from the middle school men (who are also boys)

The office caters in lunch on Mondays, which is, granted, incredibly generous. My goal: make that food last me through at least Wednesday. Last week we had Jimmy John's, and a pile of sandwiches were laid out across the kitchen countertop. One for lunch, sure. And now that my work scheduled me without asking to work until seven every night, I think the very least they can do to apologize for their general heinousness is buy me dinner as well. So another sandwich it is.

Now here's where the game gets fun. See, by this point, there's sandwiches left in the fridge - but not enough for everyone to have one for lunch the next day. Someone's going to get to eat them... it might as well be me, nay, it should be me, since I appreciate free food like no other. GOD I LOVE FREE FOOD*. 

*My freshman year of college, my cousin would always ask me to swipe her into the dorm dining hall so she could eat the food there; she was always so excited when I did this, which I couldn't comprehend. It was just cafeteria food! Only later, when I no longer lived in a dorm, did I truly understand the magnitude of a free-for-all buffet. I had a freshman friend of mine bring me into the dining hall several nights a week, taking plate after plate of hot food. So. Satisfying. Guys, food is the best. Food is way better than everything, WAY better than sex. 

(My friend came back from Europe and told me that whenever she and her friends met people on their travels, they would ask a simple question that ALWAYS led to heated debate, and defined what kind of person you were down to the core of your very being - if you had to give up one of these two things FOR LIFE and keep only one, which would you keep: cheese or oral sex? Um, CHEESE, is that even a question?! Ossers versus cheesers, as they referred to it: the debate that defines a generation.)

The trick now is to get out of the office with the most sandwiches as possible without letting anyone notice, because while technically I'm not doing anything wrong, it's pretty tacky and classless. Very me. So it becomes a little challenge, a thrill to spice up my day. I slip a Jimmy John's up my sleeve or hide it behind folders and quickly get it over to my backpack. I've now banked one sandwich*. This is only the beginning. I leave that sandwich in my fridge at home, then take one out of the fridge "for lunch" the next day, but instead place it in my bag. Then, at lunchtime, I take another from the fridge. I just banked two more sandwiches. I'll eat free Jimmy John's until Thursday.

*remember to say "BANK" when you get your sandwich or you could end up being The Weakest Link

There are more opportunities. On Fridays, the higher-ups get a bunch of desserts catered in from a bakery... these are delicious, hot-ticket items. Once they finish their meeting, the leftovers remain on the conference table, and we underlings fend for ourselves trying to get to them first. These missions are especially dangerous, because it's in full view of the office, and I don't want anyone to see me taking a brownie, pecan bar, AND a miniature bundt cake (see above, re: tacky and classless). So you have to be lightning quick... you need to just act like you're perusing, maybe you're not really hungry.... then BAM, grab as much as you can, quickly wrap it in a paper towel so it looks like you took just one, and then get it back to your bag to eat at home at your leisure. You could be caught at any moment... but if you're cunning, you won't be.

But that's not all! I've managed to get out of the office with hot peppers, pizza, entire trays of chinese food, and of course, there's that crystalline moment when you take a bottle of cholula from work. It's the simple things in life you treasure.

But let's examine this phenomenon: why does it give me such a rush? Well, the first thing I should consider is that I might be a kleptomaniac. I doubt it though, since I don't shoplift... much.* So what else could be driving this insane, pulse-pounding need to take free food? I think my love of free food meets this desire to rebel, to stick it to the man. "You're gonna treat me like shit? Well I'm not going to take it lying down! I'm going to take it home with me in a container!" I feel like since I can't speak out, I stand up for myself in other ways. Wonderful, tasty food ways.

*no but actually I don't shoplift

It's like the other day, when one of my bosses spoke to me with such rude condescension. Did I mention I love being spoken to like I'm an idiot?* It happens all the time. Two days ago, a not-so-nice lady acted like I was a moron for asking her if she wanted to take a call that was for her. She responded to me like I was an idiot child. Do I get to yell back at her**? To I get to call her out for being rude? Nope. But she'll pay... oh yes, she'll pay.

In brownies.

*no but actually I don't like being spoken to like an idiot
**In my head I imagined screaming at her, "I TEST VERY HIGHLY!" and running away

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Click is a Lie

I was going to start this post - since it somewhat gets into the genuine, scary depths of my crazy - with my traditional apology for being semi-serious this week (especially since last week wasn't exactly an upper). But I've decided to officially retire the "sorry that I'm being not hilarious this week" intro permanently. I just figure that A) if you're here reading, you're at the very least mildly interested in my thoughts, and like any person they're not always chipper and B) I may be crazy, but I don't think I'm the only person in the world who's gone down spiraling down the crazy thoughts rabbit hole; so maybe someone out there will find this relatable.

Or maybe no one does and I'm an anxiety-ridden nutbag. One of the two, definitely. Either way, like Hannah Horvath before me, I'm going to write a blog that exposes all of my vulnerabilities to the entire internet.*

*Having said that, I'm shooting for something more light-hearted NEXT week, don't you fret. If this is your first time with us, go ahead and check out some of the early posts. I'm sometimes funny, I'm told.

For the last six months or so, I'd had a plan for the near future. Having a plan is fun, because it's a way to trick your brain into thinking you have any control over or sense of what the future holds. It keeps you from losing your mind the way you would if you spent every second going, "WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN? WHAT WILL BECOME OF ME?" I'd applied to a couple grad school programs in California, and been contacted by one of them to do an interview. This was certainly encouraging, though I wasn't putting too much stock into it. I don't even know that grad school is what I want to do - getting a creative degree doesn't even guarantee you success, and grad school is hella expensive. To top it all off, I'm not even certain the area of study is even what I want to do with my life.

But those concerns aside, the plan was the plan, and I was happy to go along with it and not feel completely lost in the world.* Fall: move to California. A plan, a plan. Last week, the aforementioned educational institution contacted me to let me know that they actually would not like me to come in for that interview and that also they would not like me to come in ever in any way shape or form. Yes, in addition to the interview being rescinded, I was informed I was not accepted into the program. The reason it stung is because I had been asked for the interview; I felt like a child who'd been offered candy, suddenly considered eating the candy and started to like the sound of it, then suddenly had the candy torn away. And then his parents got hit by a bus or something, I don't know. The point is, it didn't feel good. This all was on top of the generally unfun current state of my life - all work, no play. Like, seriously - I have no social life, I don't do anything creatively fulfilling... I just go to that damn office all day.

*Baseball and deluding ourselves - the two national pastimes. 

So later on, I was half-watching the season premiere of Smash. Before you make fun of me, know that I have my reasons; firstly, as someone who enjoys being part of the critical conversation about TV, Smash is show that comes up a lot, and I like seeing things for myself so I can have my own opinion. Second, it's a show I only need to half-watch so I can do other, more important things while it's on.* At some point during the episode, some of the young characters went to a party at someone's Brooklyn apartment. I suddenly got sad. It was a bunch of young, creative people in a great city having fun** and enjoying themselves. I wanted that. I wanted to feel excited. "Maybe I should move to New York", I thought.

*By important things, I of course mean looking at stuff on the internet. Because I am nothing if not an exemplary couch potato.
**What is this thing you call fun?

I think it speaks to how deep my longing must be that a thin, barely interesting scene of young people sort of having mild fun from the TV show "Smash" was all it took to snap me. Clearly, I may have been fragile to begin with. Because with that tiny thought - "Maybe I should move to New York" - the plan (location, career path) I'd been sitting on for six months just evaporated. Gone in a second; like being outside in Chicago winter and suddenly having your clothes disintegrate - the protection is no more. The bottom fell out and I suddenly began to free fall. Hollowed out completely, I went to go lay down, my mind racing:

Oh (lowercase g) god - maybe that plan wasn't even the right plan. There are six million different plans... what do I do? If that wasn't the right plan, what is the right plan? What am I doing with my life? What should I do next? I need to move, I need to get out of here; I need a new start*. I feel like somewhere there's a fun, exciting, creatively fulfilling life and I'm missing it. I'm wasting my life away doing nothing worthwhile, and someday I'm going to be old and full of regret**. I think other people are living the life I want to live and I hate them, I'm just jealous and angry and sad, and that's not very becoming so I hate myself for being so petty. I want to tear my skin off and combust and be a whole new awesome person and fly away somewhere and start something. A new version of my life - life 2.0. I feel like I've spent years and years now just being lost. I'm tired.

*My mind suddenly became fixated on the need to move - for some reason, in my brain moving meant an amazing exciting life. Because that's TOTALLY how that works.
**And REALLY gross-sounding coughs.

There's this constant hum, always buzzing inside of me, this worry that time is running out by the second. That I'm not there yet, that there's still more work to do.

"What do you want?" my friend Andrew texted me. "Like, what would make you happy?"

Belonging somewhere. Contributing something. Feeling like I'm a part of something and that I matter or I make things better, and that I'm not wasting my potential and all these big things I hope for myself aren't a joke, because maybe I genuinely am special or something. The thought of never amounting to anything... it makes my skin crawl, it makes me sick. What a disappointment I turn out to be.

And then also, of course, I have tons of cool, awesome friends who I'm constantly doing cool, exciting things with, and we go over to each other's places and laugh and laugh because we're just. so. cool. Obviously.

"But, like, what specifically would you?"

Well, if I knew that I probably wouldn't be freaking out, would I? That's the problem. I wish I knew exactly where I supposed to go, because then I would just go there. I wouldn't be constantly tearing my hair out feeling like I'm not finding this place I'm supposed to be. I don't know what it is, but I'd like to actually spend my days doing something, anything that uses my intelligence and skill. I'd be way saner if I knew exactly what it was, because I'd know what I'm shooting for and I wouldn't feel so adrift. I don't know, writing maybe, working in TV or film or even writing about pop culture, or blogging or really just working in any field REMOTELY adjacent to ANYTHING I like or have to offer. At my job I'm constantly made to feel like an idiot, but I am, in fact, NOT an idiot. Maybe I'm not meant to be involved in TV. Maybe I'm going to pull a Single White Female on David Sedaris and write short essays. But I know I feel pointless and like I'm wasting the few good qualities that I have.

The future is so vast, so empty, so enormous that staring into it strikes fear into my heart. That hum starts, and I feel like I can't breathe because I'm just nowhere near the place I need to get to, and oh yeah, I don't even know where that place is so good lucking finding it. I'm trying to steer the ship in the right direction but it's like I don't even know what directions are. It feels so horrible, like I have this knot in my stomach all the time. Sometimes, I think it would be easy to just give up and stop fighting it, to stop thinking about my future and how ambiguous it is. I see people in my office who've settled comfortably into numbness*, and I think that might be nice - to stop thrashing against the waves of the water and just float and let the waves push you along.

*In a moment of weakness and daydreaming, I imagined taking a chair and smashing out the window of my 35th floor office, shouting goodbye forever to the office, and taking off flying into the horizon, the air rushing past my face. I said, smiling to my co-worker, "What if someone just blasted through one of the windows and flew away? Can you imagine? What would you even do?" She took a moment. "I'd pray." She said.

My roommate tried to tell me this is just part of being in your twenties, but I think that's a lie. Several of my co-workers are in their thirties, and if anything, i've learned that your thirties are just more twenties*, so we're all just fucked, aren't we? Is this it forever? Is all of life actually spent just scrambling around, grasping at anything that seems like happiness? If so, boy, was I lied to. My whole life I was led to believe that at some point you figure things out and you click and life settles in and things will be okay.

*The thirties are the sequel to the twenties, tentatively titled "Twenties 2: Electric Boogaloo", coming in spring of 2014 from TriStar Pictures.

But the click is a lie. And ninety percent of my anxiety is because I want that click, I'm waiting for that click, and I feel wrong - deeply wrong - for not feeling that click... the click of security, of certainty, of confidence, of whatever it is I feel like I'm missing and am searching for. Of knowledge in what I should be doing, in feeling whole and right and feeling direction. The click is never coming, I think.

I wish we didn't lie to our kids. I wish we didn't perpetuate this fantasy that you grow up and things get straight and you're happy and life is hunky-dory. Maybe if we were honest about that fact that life is confusing and scary and there's no way to guarantee anything for certain, crazy type-A people like me won't beat themselves into an emotional pulp for not feeling this fictional emotion they're supposed to be feeling. I wouldn't feel the hum of "you're not perfectly happy yet, you're not figured out yet, YOU BETTER GET MOVING BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE IS". If the click is indeed a lie, then nobody else is. We're all in this thing together, right? This big mess is all of ours.

And so that's, I think, why I wrote this bizarre, lunatic episode down. If anything, this weird stream-of-consciousness is my hope that everyone else is with me, that everyone else is just as lost or messy as I am. Maybe the click is real, and you're all perfect and fine and together like your Facebook status updates would lead me to believe.*

*Everyone's "MY LIFE IS AMAZING" posts do nothing to alleviate my feeling that I'm failing. Everyone, stop faking it. Seriously, you don't need to try so hard.

But I think - I hope - that the click isn't real. And if you feel that way, and you tell me that, and I know that it's fake, and that this sudden feeling of certainty and security and tranquility that I'm waiting for isn't coming... than maybe I can stop worrying about it. I can stop feeling bad that I don't have it, because maybe it's an impossible thing to have.


Get back to me, would you? Kthxbai.