These Days

They say that as you get older, you don’t change so much as distill. A lot of the people I knew in high school just bore me these days. I saw Y Tu Mama Tambien when I was fourteen and didn’t get much out of it. The explicit sex wasn’t a problem (for me, it was kind of a turn-on to see Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal going at it), but I just couldn’t feel engaged by the main characters. They just seemed like a pair of sex-obsessed dirtbags. Of course, that’s what most teenagers are, but it took me a while to appreciate that. Even though I was a teenager myself at the time, I somehow couldn’t identify with it. That did change over time, however. Looking back, I think it’s a fine film. It’s weird to think that you could drift apart from your best friend until you realize that you don’t have all that much in common anymore, but it’s happened to me at least a few times so far. And I don’t even have that many friends.

I think the reason I find myself drifting away from some of these people is that I see so many of them “settling down”. I put that in quotes because to some people, that seems to mean finding somebody they want to marry, as if all you have to do is find somebody you want to spend the rest of your life with and then you can spend it with them. But once you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you have to actually spend the rest of your life with them. Deciding that you want to spend the rest of your life with them is only the first step. I always get bugged when I hear people talk about their relationship as something that is going to last the ages, because so far, it’s lasted a couple of fights, maybe a handful of personal and professional setbacks, and that’s it. I’ve said it before, but my future husband had better be tough as nails. It’s not even so much about whether he’ll be able to handle me as whether or not we’ll be able to spend all that time together and not get bored. Seriously, let’s take it one step at a time.

I hate the expression “follow your bliss”. Joseph Campbell originated it, I think, and he’s the one who wrote about the hero’s journey and how certain storytelling tropes can be found in every culture and shit. I know what he means; I just hate the sound of it. It seems almost fatalistic, and I am not a fatalist. There is no “meant to be”, there is only what is and what isn’t. This might seem at odds with my own spiritual beliefs, which are more pantheistic than atheistic, but I don’t think it is. If there is a God, He doesn’t have a plan for you. It’s not a simple as just living the life that was preordained. Instead, you just have to live the best life you can, and maybe if you’re lucky, the Flying Spaghetti Monster will meet you halfway on occasion.

Let’s talk, for a second, about In-N-Out Burger. Actually, let’s talk about Chick Fil-A. A few years ago, CEO Dan Cathy stirred up controversy when he said that he did not support gay marriage. You might reasonably ask what gay marriage has to do with fast food, but that’s exactly the point: Who the fuck asked him what his views on gay marriage were? Obviously, you can continue to eat there even if you don’t share his views, but that leads us to my next point: I really like In-N-Out. It’s the only fast food chain that I patronize on anything more than a once-in-a-blue-moon basis (I honestly can’t remember the last time I ate at McDonald’s or Burger King), but something tells me I don’t share the CEO’s views. The Texas-based family that founded it is, I believe fundamentalist Christian, and if you look on the bottom of their drink cups, you will notice the words “John 3:16” printed on there. But that’s irrelevant. None of the chief executives have, to my knowledge, issued any public statements on gay marriage. They also pay their employees a good starting wage. So even though I brought this up, I think I’ll just call it off. Because nothing beats a double-double animal style.

When my father had cancer, he would take me along to support groups because I was a toddler and there was nowhere else he could leave me. He would tell everybody there that I was “shy”. I don’t think I am. Socially awkward, maybe even withdrawn, but not shy. In the right setting, I can be the life of the party. Ask anybody who’s ever gotten a real conversation out of me. But not when surrounded by people with metal voices and/or missing limbs and shit (my father used to be a smoker). He said that what he got out of this was a sense of perspective: surrounding himself with people who were even more fucked up than he was made him feel better about his own situation. I feel like that’s why I’m on OKCupid. Nobody ever gets everything they want, but I have a nasty feeling that I’m not going to get to be with one of the jocks that I spent all of high school (and most of college and, yes, probably the years after that) lusting after. I suppose I can live with that, but it’s nice to know that there are some folks who are interested in me whose interest I don’t return. Hey, I’m allowed to have standards, too. I just have to figure out what’s reasonable.

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