la grande jatteIt is becoming increasingly apparent that the only way I will ever get my parents to respect my independence is by moving out. My mother still hasn’t gotten tired of telling me that I should contact my alma mater to ask them for help getting into the environmental activism field, because it’s been almost a year since I’ve graduated and apparently, my degree comes with an expiration date. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell her that maybe I’ll volunteer somewhere, but no more than that. She remains convinced that she just hasn’t brought it up enough times. Fuck her. There are only so many different ways to say no. Maybe if I move out and become (at last) financially independent, my parents will be forced to be nice to me or find that I stop taking their calls or even don’t come back for the holidays. (Will it come to that? Doubtful. But you can bet I’ll go there if they force me to.) They simply will not believe that I actually have some idea of what I’m doing. Surprisingly, I’m not too worried. Oh, there are countless horrible things that could happen to me from here, and some of them probably will. But they’re not the ones my parents are thinking about. I’m quite sure of that.

Is it just me, or does Jimmy Carter grow more focused and on point with each passing year? Some people grow senile in their old age, but time has done nothing to dull the edges of that man’s mind. He makes me wonder if we should award him the Nobel Prize a second time. (Oh, and before somebody points it out, yes, I do think abortion counts as murder if you are doing it just because you don’t like the gender of the child. Aborting a fetus because you’re not ready to have a baby is fine. Doing it because you don’t want to raise a girl is fucked up. Motivation counts, not just the act itself.)

It’s amazing how much of my time I spend digging things out of my head that feel like they got lodged in there somehow. After a while, they start to take on a life of their own. It feels involuntary, like the shit you’re writing will drive you insane if you don’t put it down on paper (or, um, in a blog). But it can’t be that simple, can it? I hate it when writers defend their writing by saying, “I didn’t really write it. It’s my muse working through me!” No, you made the decision to type the words out and publish them. At the same time, the screaming voices up here are very persuasive. So I guess there has to be a negotiation of sorts between what you want and what is actually possible. I don’t know what I’m going to do about that.

Let me give you an example of what’s bugging me: My father is out of town for the week, which means he’s letting me use the car. He returns next Friday. I work that morning, so I can’t pick him up from the airport. Rather than getting a cab, taking the train, or asking a friend to pick him up, my father wants me to drive the car to the train station, leave it there, and let him take it home from the airport, thus leaving me to get to work by myself. Fuck him. Oh, I’ll do it, because he pays for my food and the roof over my head. But I won’t always need him to do that, and let me tell you, when I’m financially independent, I will remember how my parents treated me when I was still dependent on them. I need this job. I need to get my own place. I have to get up as early as 4 some mornings in order to catch a bus to work. Do I look like a guy who has the time to make a useless trip to the train station just so his dad can enjoy a cozy ride home in his own vehicle?

I miss New York. I remember April in Manhattan. More importantly, I remember January, September, and July. I remember having to chug ice water, sleep with no blankets, and keep fans blasting around the clock because I was too cheap/environmentally conscious to buy AC. I remember being snowed in and baking cookies and watching Doctor Who to keep myself company. And I remember going way out of my way to find a Wells Fargo ATM just because I hate the way that most ATMs charge you for using them (along with Wells Fargo, which charges you for not using one of their ATMs). I didn’t want to leave New York. I never liked California. I have friends who like this place and want to stay here. I don’t know how we’ll keep in touch when I’m on the opposite side of the country again, because I don’t like traveling, and you can only Skype so much. But we’ll find a way to make it work. Some friendships can’t survive that distance. But seeing as how I have about four friends total (two of whom live in NYC), it seems like a good idea to try to hold on to the ones I have.

The thing that’s really driving me up the wall these days is concern. I’ve had enough of concern. I don’t need people, even my close friends and family, checking in just to make sure I’m okay. I don’t need advice, either, or if I do, I’ll ask. Just be cool, that’s all. My family won’t stop worrying about me. I’ll tell one of them I’m alright, then have to tell two more over the next few days, even if they weren’t all present during my supposed misbehavior. I don’t have the patience to explain myself all the time. I just don’t. So give me my goddamned space. Because if I can’t reason you into respecting it, I will take it by force.


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