November 3, 2022

A ramble

I’m going to have to do a separate session where I just brainstorm about things to write about. I don’t mind diving in to a topic if I actually have one, but tying the process of coming up with something to write about with the production work of actually doing it is rather a trick. It’s what I ran in to yesterday when trying to get out that abortive botch job of a post (seriously, it’s bad.) Not that the idea itself isn’t there. And it’s not really just another Huge Honkin Console post so much as it is an expression of the realization that getting what I think I want won’t solve the problem I think I have.

I’ve certainly understood this in other dimensions just fine. (Boy that sounds like a more interesting sentence than it is.) Take moving half way across the country: I wasn’t actually deluded that “my problems” wouldn’t follow me. I know I am something hopefully little more than, but certainly inclusive of all my baggage.

One of the things I was trying to do with that move, and as much as I hate to say it this way, now that both of my parents have passed away I can speak somewhat more freely, is to figure out how much of my baggage was just my baggage and how much of it was…well, environmental isn’t QUITE the right word. But you know what I mean, “tied tightly to situations predicated upon geographic proximity.”

I love my parents, magnificent lunatics that they were. But there have always been aspects of their parenting that, while well intended, really rubbed against my soul like a rasp across balsa wood. But that’s an incompatibility in temperament more than anything. Take the standard cultural trope of the jock Dad who has the bookish son and doesn’t know how to deal with him and extend it a bit. There’s little fault to be had (not that my father was such the jock or that I was so terribly ‘bookish’, but the analogy scans pretty fucking well otherwise.)

There came a point where the way we communicated, which is what relationships really distill to, if we’re being honest, represented a fundamental incompatibility. Now, my language is being cagey and perhaps a bit vague because I don’t think I want to “go there”, here. I may change my mind, but it’s pretty fucking tough to unring a bell, and you never know who the fuck is going to read something.

And, while precipitated by other events surrounding other personae non fucking grata, the idea of just blowing the popsicle stand of upstate New York, getting my dolls and dishes and heading to Music City seemed a damned good idea. I’d take my baggage and go someplace else. “Home” wasn’t home any more and hadn’t been for decades.

I’ve felt every bit Colin Wilson’s (no relation, I don’t think) Outsider for decades, never quite taking root anyplace. So I’d all but given up on the feeling of feeling at home. Well, I considered, why not capitalize on that? I mean if I’m not home here I can be not home anyplace else. So why not roll the dice. I took my baggage and brought it to Tennessee.

And, in a near perfect violation of where I thought this tangent was going to lead me, it really was what I expected. I got to come down here with my nonsense and figure a bunch of crap out.

Regardless of my expectation the fact of the matter is that the process of the experiment, even with the presumed outcome being verified, was worth far more than I could possibly have predicted.

I did NOT expect to have other relationships in my life outlined so starkly by the distance, to be able to see so much more so much more clearly. Turned out I was more right than I thought about a SHITLOAD of stuff.

And in so learning, I realized more about the boundaries of my own psyche, what about my experience is actually a part of me and what’s situational. You might have to be a student of Alan Watts (who, while really smart was mostly full of absolute fucking crap) to understand his deconstructionist perspective on the self as being (in my words) little more than a harmonic of forces, not really having any definable substantiability at all, to get what I mean (and you might not. I don’t know what you know.) Watts is fun to listen to, but he was always a bit too deeply enamored of his own arguments. Anyway, enough about Watts. Go listen to his stuff. It’s marvelously entertaining and worth the listen.

Those first couple/few years were really a form of Monk Mode. I knew nobody other than people I worked with and there wasn’t much value in that. I hung out in a bar or two across the street from my apartment and across the street from my office.

I got to see a bit more clearly what my own strengths and weaknesses were. Of course I was surprised, I expected to be surprised. What I didn’t expect was that I would be pleasantly surprised, that I’d see things THAT much more clearly.

Of course that gets me into a metacognitive tailspin on a thermal. But I’m inclined to indulge myself.

One of the great unexpected benefits of this kind of “Monk Mode” living was that I’d started from scratch socially, completely. I’d had no friends down here and I was able to be very intentional about who I associated with, cultivated friendships with and more importantly who I didn’t. Pearls before swine and all.

But that was five to seven years ago. After having fallen back into some easy bad habits I’ve pulled myself out of the gravitational well of “only hanging out with people I work with” that I’d been mostly sunk in for the previous few decades. I mean there’s only so much fucking programmer talk I can bear, but I do need some.

I’ve got some pruning to do, perhaps more than a little. I’ve fallen over the last 18 months into a bit of a pattern I’m not real happy with. Though my ambient social interaction is of a tier I couldn’t possibly have imagined even two years ago, it’s a baseline. I’m not stretching myself enough and that’s just not acceptable.

I’ve no concept of what it is I’m capable of and I’m tired of rising merely to the level of external expectation, even though that is higher than it ever has been. It feels as though I’m pushing a 69 Charger rather than winding it out.

Everything is not enough.

The journey continues.