Relationships of a Misanthrope

Better Times

I finished reading Etgar Keret‘s collection of short storiesThe Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God – the other night, and something caught my attention. It’s the story before “Kneller’s Happy Campers” – which was later adapted into a screen play for the film Wristcutters: A Love Story. The story’s called “Pipes,” a first person narrative about a man – or woman, possibly, because I can’t recall if a gender is ever mentioned – who, as a child, is given a test. When he fails to see the problem in one of the pictures, the psychologist administrated the test classifies him with severe perceptual disorders.

He’s placed in carpentry until he realizes he’s allergic to sawdust. Afterward, he’s placed in metalworking and grows up to work in a pipe factory. After work, he builds oddly shaped pipes, not because he likes doing it, but because it’s something to do. In other words, he’s just going through the motions. One night he works on a pipe that contains all sorts of twists, turns, loops and whatnot. He starts shoving marbles into it, but they do not emerge from the opposing opening. Thinking the first few have gotten stuck, he starts shoving more into them and each one disappears. Then the idea comes to him. What if he builds the same pipe only bigger, maybe then he can crawl into it and vanish as well.

It takes him a few nights to build the pipe – piece by piece – but when it’s ready, he crawls inside only to find himself in – where else? – heaven!

I always used to think that Heaven is a place for people who’ve spent their whole life being good, but it isn’t that. God is too merciful and kind to make a decision like that. Heaven is simply a place for people who are genuinely unable to be happy on earth. They told me here that people who kill themselves return to live their life all over again, because the fact that they didn’t like it the first time doesn’t mean they won’t fit in the second time. But the ones who really don’t fit in the world wind up here.

So what happens to the cynical, misanthropic, teenage-angst ridden cliché when he grows up? Sadly, he probably looks a little like me with heavy existential issues, piecing together whatever he can to figure out what the point of it all is. Because the reality of it doesn’t make sense, but I’m being ushered into some new chapter in my life that both excites me and leaves me feeling scared shitless. I’m not sure if I’m cracked up to be the person who is dependable enough and allow the needs of others to thrive before his own.

Every relationship ends with me in such a way that I feel emotionally responsible for the girl’s sudden graduation into full-blown psychosis – though it helps that I do have a thing for the crazies, so it’s not entirely my fault. But they get over it. Some quicker than others. Me, I’m prone to walking long distances, spending money I really shouldn’t, and filling my world with so much negativity that makes the average, every-day hoarder look like an amateur collector of useless memorabilia.

And it’s not just romantic relationships, it’s friendships as well. Back in 2003, I allowed a friendship die because she forgot my birthday. That’s not the core of it, though. The relationship died because she would cry bloody murder every time I forgot hers, but did I get a phone call on mine? No. She’d fluttered her eyelids and give me some half-assed apology and that made everything better.

At least I had the upper hand when that friendship crumbled. Three years later, my friendship with Miranda was coming to a close. It was inevitable, really. Having already dealt with all her shit, I was tired of playing my hand in the proverbial poker game. Like the man said, “Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.” Only, Miranda seemed to have folded her cards before mine. While she – and by she, I mean, Meester Binx – might argue that I was invited to the graduation, I didn’t get a phone call, an e-mail or a fucking Myspace message. I knew our friendship was in the shitter, but the blade cut a lot deeper than I expected. It’s a wound that hasn’t fully healed and I’m sure if it ever will.

And now that I find myself at change’s door, I feel the wound beneath my shirt. I press a hang against it and reach for the cell phone to give her a call. If anyone can usher me into this new world, it would be Miranda. For the first time in my life, I realize that the only people who are surrounding me are those I’ve hurt me. What favors do they owe me? If anything, I owe them for putting up with my shit all these years and stuck around.

Because the truth is, I’m not really that much of a misanthrope. If anything, I merely hate and distrust myself. I just project said hatred and mistrust into others because I’m self sabotage my own relationships, my happiness. Right now, while I should be saving money for the future. Instead, I’m allowing my self deprecation to weigh me down and spend it on useless items (even though books are never truly useless).

Someone commented on a post I put up at the beginning of the month. She said I should jump. Jump into what? I’ve never been one to go feet first without looking into any situation, let alone life. People deserve better than what  is handed to them, you know? Sometimes I think I’ve got it good. Good friends that take my shit. A girlfriend who’s been patient with me. A mother who looks out for me when the crushing weight of the world gets me down. And a family…well, a mother who looks out for me, anyway.

But it’s not me I’m worried about here, in the end. People never get what they deserve, you know? The good get their beating, while the bad live their lives in peace. I don’t deserve half the people in my life. These are good people, you know? They deserve better. But they get me instead.


Listening to Slayer as I write this

weight loss exercise class
Image by ninahale via Flickr

I’m not going to say there was a time in my life when I was ever what you call “in shape”. In fact I went from being a thin line to a circle in a matter of two years. I blame self-loathing, midnight snacks to quench my insomnia and other things which I won’t get into. Fact is, I went from weighing 120 pounds to a 150 to the weight I am today – as of last night 177. Amazing, right? I lost ten pounds this summer which would’ve been a great feat if I didn’t gain them back in the end.

I guess that’s what brings me to this post. I did something silly the other week. I ordered The Belly Off! Diet from Amazon. It came in today and I started flipping through the pages to see what it’s all about. So far, it’s nothing like the other diet book that graces my shelf, barely touched in the years that I’ve owned it – The Abs Diet. Now, I had no illusions that The Abs Diet was for me, but I was going to use it as a stepping stone to my weight loss goals. Sadly, that

It makes better sense in here

didn’t happen.Instead the book became one of the several getting-into-shape books that are more than forgotten until I glance over my shoulder and see them.

So what am I going to do differently? Well, first off, I’m going to try and stick to this diet. I’m also going to use that contraption that occupies most of my living room floor. I’m also going to keep a journal (online or the old fashion sort) to catalog my progress.

I’m not saying that this will work out and that this book won’t just end up on my shelf like all the others, I’m just hoping that I can continue what I so painfully started this summer.

Hopefully, I can just find something better to listen to other than Slayer. Because this just isn’t doing it for me.


For your consideration

son and father
Image via Wikipedia

I know its absurd that I bring you up now, blame you for my sleepless nights, but the truth is I’m running out of scapegoats. So listen to me as I put these words on this page, writing down my doubt-riddled soul because it’s been seventeen years since we’ve last had this conversation.

I’m too old to wonder how things would’ve been if you had the balls to stick around, drop the bottle and picked us up once in a while. Many you forgot how it was to have a family, or how it was to be a man. Maybe you didn’t know what it was to be loved, or tolerate people who just happened to be weaker than you. Maybe you knew that life might’ve been better without your abuse, without the angry words at night, stealing the infant to the backyard with a knife, threatening anyone who tried to take him away from you. And the fucked up thing is that infant was me. So why’d you stop fighting for me? Was addiction better than the warmth draining from my body? I’m tired of asking questions to these walls. I’ve spent fifteen years of my life blaming myself for your leaving, wondering what I could’ve done to make myself a better son.

Maybe I should’ve taken the beatings like a man, toughen up when you pinned me beneath your drunken body. Should’ve have cried when the belt met my flesh, or accepted the venom pouring from your mouth. Maybe I should’ve forfeited my childhood on the days you were recovering from hangovers.

How many restless nights did you have thinking of me? Do you wonder how things might’ve been if you didn’t turn and run, giving up your family for an addiction that has nearly killed twice? In secret, I watch your body begin to die. You’re losing this war old man, and where do I stand? The child you made promises to only to break them? I gave you the chance to be in my life, but each time you chose something else instead. I’m tired of leaving the door open, the draft is chilling this home. And you come around, it might just be too late. Off to the streets to you, off to die alone in some gutter. And I’m sorry if my words are aimed to draw pain from your heart. Twelve years without you in my life and I still turned out to be just like you.

Writing & Writers

We’re supposed to be grown up, no?

via: WeHeartIt

It’s  a reoccurring theme by now, but you keep smacking that gum as you chew and I can’t think of a single thing more annoying than that. I’m singling you out because right now should a plane just fall out of the sky and crash-land on the scene, I’m hoping it takes you out first. You seether.

Cue the Katy Perry track. Fade the lights just a tad where only you and I illuminated. Cue the dancers. Cue the music video clichés as you and I take center stage and perform the orchestrated dance move we call living. Because lately, I just feel that I’m going through the motions of this world, piecing together the what-shoulds and not what-coulds or the what-woulds. Pause. Turn. Smile at the cameras. Return to our seats let it all dissolve to what it is not this wonderful teenage dream we both had back in the day.

And how many times have I kept you from drowning? How many times have I’ve sacrificed myself to your whims? How many times did I keep you from the rip tide, held you close when you tried to hide the feelings of suicide as it sneaked up your spine? You told me that we were going places and I was riding shot gun. And now we’re on two different paths, laughing at the same lame jokes, hoping that we would somehow meet at the crossroads, but I’m afraid these roads are parallel and I’m trying like hell to run back to the beginning while the world is sailing by, leaving me in its wake.

And don’t tell me that life is already predicted, that we’re stuck in our positions as long as we’re alive. Because some of us are born to live and some of us just wait around until we die. It doesn’t make sense. We’ve become to complacent to feel anything. Where are the designer drugs? Where is the party? Where is the alcohol and the syringes? Instead of being responsible, we’re marching the trenches of our own personal wars, attempting to be grown ups while we’re nothing compare to those that came before us.

Has it been ten years now? Ten years since I said goodbye to whatever innocence I had left and entered the world, pampered and unprepared? Let’s play chess. Let’s let it all bleed away.

But you’re popping your gum again. And I’m just waiting until that flash of light that consumes us all in the end.


“That’s not nice,” he said

I might be embellishing when I say I had it out with one of the players tonight, but I did stand my ground. Even if it took all my strength not to show a flicker of fear. I tried to be calm, breathe. I tried to be sensible. But with some people, you just have to be an asshole.

Oh well, things were resolved. I supposed some of the other players calmed him down – probably because they knew if he pissed me off enough they’d all suffer. Well, everyone minus the coaches and batboys.