I’m old, Gandalf. I know I don’t look it, but I feel thin, sort of stretched out, like butter scraped over too much bread.
—Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring
I’m going to kill my father. No, I’m not. I am, however, sick of his trying to control my life. Earlier today, he called me and told me that he might be willing to send me some money to help me through grad school if I just show him my finances. Not gonna happen. It was painful enough for me to move back in with him and ask his permission every time I want to buy groceries because things weren’t working out for me in the city where I used to live. I didn’t choose that. I don’t choose to do most of the things I do. Sure, most of us feel that way, but even if you feel like you have no choice but to go to your kid’s recital, you probably chose to have kids, right? And yeah, going out with your spouse on a night when you felt like staying in might seem like a drag, but unless you live in one of those places that still has arranged marriages, you chose to marry that person, didn’t you? I don’t care how expensive Columbia is. I’ll blow sailors for $5 each before I ask my father for any more handouts. I hate my life enough as it is.
My best friend abandoned me not too long ago. That’s not an exaggeration; it’s a statement of fact. We used to meet with a group of our friends semi-regularly to watch Doctor Who. Back in September, he told me that he didn’t want to do it anymore. Just like that. I haven’t spoken to him in almost seven months. He decided that he didn’t want to make room for me in his life, and went on with his as if I’d never existed. I tried to get over it by deleting his number from my phone and unfriending him on Facebook, but that didn’t really help. All it did was make me anxious for the day when he would realize his mistake and come crawling back to me. But since our last meeting shortly after the aforementioned encounter, he hasn’t called me, texted me, or Facebooked me to ask how I’m doing. He doesn’t know that I’m leaving for grad school in less than two months. If I died, I’m not even sure he’d attend my funeral. Even though he’s no longer a part of my life, he still manages to hurt me.
Sometimes I want to ask the people who mistreat me if they realize what they’re missing. I am, in all modesty, the greatest person who has ever lived. When a person chooses not to spend time around me, they are saying that they’d rather pass up my charm, wit, intellect, charisma, and stunning good looks than make even the tiniest allowances for me. Last summer, I took a road trip with a few other guys to Sacramento to visit a friend on her 21st birthday. We went out drinking that night and slept overnight on her floor. I don’t drink much and prefer sleeping in my own bed, but I had no problem doing all of that just to make a certain woman feel special on her first night as a legal drinker. On my birthday, she stayed home to write a paper. All I was doing was watching Doctor Who with a small group of people, but she doesn’t much care for that show and besides, that paper was really important to her. I understand.
Sometimes it’s useful to take a good, long wallow in self-pity. It helps a person gain perspective on the things that they do have control over. I’m not going to take any more money from my parents than I absolutely have to. And since I can’t have the guy I had, until recently, a major crush on, I’m not going to dwell too long on that. But it would be nice if, just once, I could get what I asked for. I don’t have much left to give, not very much left at all. There is a tendency, after investing so much time and energy in something, to ask what one did all that for if not the thing one wants. The answer, in my experience, seems to be that I had to learn an important lesson about learning to accept what I have. I refuse. I don’t know exactly what I want my life to be, but I’m 100% certain it isn’t this. And I take my breaks where I can get them.
Back when I was young enough to do things like rush fraternities, I was contacted by my school’s gay fraternity and asked if I was interested in becoming a member. I declined. As far as I’m concerned, I have exactly one thing in common with those fellows, and it’s not even the most interesting thing about us. I’ve never had much patience for the rainbow flag-waving homos of the world, projecting their sexuality onto everything as they wake up every morning, put on their gay slippers, pour gay milk on their gay cereal and head off to their gay morning economics class. They’re cute, and they make for decent party friends, but I just can’t imagine living my life that way. It may feel comforting to take refuge in a community where people will love you without knowing anything about you except one basic, boring fact, but I prefer to get to know someone a little better before deciding I want them around me. I’m not judging the fags over at my alma mater’s gay fraternity. They’re providing a safe space for people who need it, and as far as I can tell, they’re having fun. But that’s not my idea of a good time. And it never will be.