Something Is Hollow

My mother rarely takes my side in arguments. This is not to say that she never agrees with me, only that she insists on seeing the good in everyone and thus always has to counter my misanthropic hatred with some insight about how the object of my hate might be just misguided, confused, or whatever. On occasion, she’s right. I still remember one day in high school in which I lost the runoff election for student body president and a speech contest. I, of course, would have preferred to win both, but the speech contest stung just a little bit harder, firstly because it came second, and secondly, because I really felt like I deserved to win. The topic was the role of the internet in our society and after I argued (persuasively, I hope) that the internet could be a tool for spreading democracy, some girl got up and said that the internet could be bad because it has ruined people’s lives, but it could be good because Mapquest (that seriously was her argument in its entirety). When the judges gave her the victory, my faculty sponsor and I were speechless. Even my mother flat-out said, “You were better.” But sometimes–and I’m going to sound really self-aggrandizing here, but whatever–the good guys lose.

I used to wonder what made me give up studying literature, theatre and the arts to study the environment and political science. At first, I thought it was because I couldn’t find any practical use for my artistic pursuits, but now that I think about it, that’s nonsense. As Tyrion says in Game of Thrones, “A mind needs a book like a knife needs a whetstone.” Art can’t save people’s lives, but it can help them keep the other parts of their lives in alignment. By challenging them with new ideas, we not only entertain them (hopefully), but get them to think critically about all other aspects of their experience. Math and science are also important avenues for innovation, but if you have a truly out-there idea that will either mark you as one of the greatest minds of your generation or a total batshit loonball, an artistic medium is probably the best place to express it. I intend to keep in touch with my old theatre and English major friends for as long as they enjoy hearing from me, but I’m starting to wonder if the politics and environmentalism crowd might be more “my people” after all. I don’t make friends quickly, so it’s hard to say, but I think I’m making inroads.

My life is starting to resemble my years as an upperclassman in high school. Everything is moving too fast, and I can’t seem to find the time to properly engage with anything. Strangely enough, I’m not too worried. As I write this, I have only a couple months to find a job before I graduate, and some of my debtors will start collecting payment right away. If I couldn’t find employment and became completely destitute, my parents would most likely step in, but it’s a little bit frustrating that I think of them every time I wonder how I’m going to do this. It used to be that my first idea every time I started to have trouble in school or finding housing was to drop out and move back to California. I think I’d like to stay in New York, however. Manhattan isn’t bad. It’s pricy, but I’m generally conservative in my spending. Brooklyn is a little cheaper and pretty “cool”, too. So I might stick around after everyone else has gone back home.

I get less bitter about Valentine’s Day with each passing year. I used to devote it to masturbating and hating all of the happy couples in the world, but these days, the couples I know are much more low-key. I’m getting old, I guess, although I’m fairly certain that I won’t pass my physical prime for a while yet. I’m nearing my mid-twenties, and I’ve still never been on so much as a proper date. So I think I’ll just post this–which is what Valentine’s Day cards would look like if I were in charge of the world–and move on.

Something very irritating happened on Monday. I don’t feel like discussing it yet, and maybe never will in this space, suffice to say that I got very, very angry and spent basically the entire late afternoon and most of the evening throwing a tantrum. I threw so many objects across the room or smashed them against my desk or cried out in rage so many times that I am amazed my roommates didn’t bang on my door and ask what the fuck was going on. The funny thing is that I slept better that night than I had in weeks, perhaps months. Maybe I exorcised all of the aggression that had been building for a good, long time. Last Friday, I got very angry when the IKEA deliverymen showed up hours before they were supposed to and instead of calling me and leaving a message, simply called me over and over again until I got so annoyed that I ducked out of the meeting I was having with the human resources person who had called me in to discuss a possible work-study position to answer. I got the job (which is at a library!), but was late for an appointment with my therapist and suffered undue stress and aggravation.

For the longest time, I wondered what drove me to abandon my study of the arts and move across the country to study environmentalism and politics and stuff. It’s taken a long time for me to realize it, but I think I might actually be better at this shit. At the very least, it’s easier to set aside. Acting has a way of getting under your skin, of making you wonder where you end and it begins, or at least it did for me. Writing can do that too, although I like to think that I can still keep a couple of secrets if I want to. One thing that I have learned about myself in these past few months is that while I might have some talent for cooking, my real culinary talent lies in baking. So far, I’ve only made simple things like cookies, brownies, and occasionally muffins, but whatever I do is almost invariably a big hit. By contrast, I have attempted to make sweet and sour chicken no less than three times, and in each case, I ended up with a bizarre concoction in which the batter had slid off of the chicken while frying (something I did by just dumping the chicken pieces into hot oil) so that blobs of batter floated around with the chicken and vegetables. It didn’t taste too bad if you mixed it up and ate it really quickly, but the texture was all off. I’ll try again someday, and maybe I’ll get it right. But for the time being, it’s kind of refreshing to say that I don’t know how to do something.

I haven't cleaned this much drool off my keyboard since the last time Jon Hamm did something.

I haven’t cleaned this much drool off my keyboard since the last time Jon Hamm did something.

One more thing: Last semester, I wrote an essay that will someday become a chapter in my memoirs about my struggle to find suitable housing. After Robert kicked me out, I wondered if I should revise the essay, as I had written it under the assumption that my housing difficulties were finally behind me. I chose not to. Robert kicked me out because he honestly didn’t give a shit about me. The other two kicked me out because I, Robot King, rubbed them the wrong way. Given the choice, I’d take them over Robert.

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