How to know what you don’t want in life: Or the great Suburban Staycation (Part 2)

(Need to catch up? See part one of this post here)

The staycation would have been excellent, and by many metric for such things it was truly wonderful. We drank a lot of wine, we ate a lot of excellent meals, made numerous cocktails, had friends over, barbecued, and even partook in the pretty much daily joint. There was also a lot of reading, writing, dog walking, cooking, and listening to music and pleasant conversation. The only truly unpleasant part of this whole ordeal was the fact every now and again I would have to clean out the cat litter and, mostly due to my reluctance to chance the cat litter with any kind of frequency, clean up the occasional cat turn from the floor.

I quickly came to hate cats, but that is beyond the point of this story.

I was undoubtedly having a good time. But this however would slowly start to change as a certain marijuana fueled paranoia started to sink in [1]. One night as I was completely out of my lunch on pot and doing the dishes (I become extremely domesticated when I am high, and I start cleaning the house pretty thoroughly. It’s mostly me trying to do something route to get my head out of its own ass) when I had the uncanny drug fueled delusion that everything I was currently encountering was a prophetic warning about how my life could turn out in the ashes of the American dream.

As I sat there washing the dishes I got transported back to my childhood where every night after dinner I would be obliged to wash up after the family meal. My brother opted out of family participation at a young age, and I being the dumber of the two siblings stayed around for an extra dose of responsibility. But as I would do this chore my parents would slowly begin to squabble about something about just about everything. Squabbling ultimately turned into real arguments, and I would try to get the fuck out of dodge as quickly as possible. There was only one problem; I lived in the suburbs, and in the suburbs there was nowhere to fucking go.

[The suburbs? I should here mention that I have never been a fan of them. Memories of walking up route 50, lined with nothing but low-grade restaurants and car dealerships, because I had just missed the bus and it would be faster to get where I am going by foot then to wait for the next one, really proved without the shadow of a doubt that American ‘cities’ where not scaled with humans in mind. In a very un-american manner, I never really had a desire to live my around a vehicle, preferring to be in situations where what I need is immediately accessible. I would later in life stick a toe into urban sociology and find out that everything I had come to believe about suburbs in high school was one hundred percent correct. Though they didn’t think so then, my parents would later come to see things my way, joking that “out there, there is nothing to do but check Facebook and kill yourself”]

Part of me wants to solely blame the marijuana for the coming delusion. But I think there are two other factors in play; notably the typical human over-active hippocampus (the part of your brain hat sees faces in wall-sockets and makes you associate every facet of your boring fucking life with episodes of Seinfeld) and my obsession with literature and making connection in the larger scheme of things. At the intersection of these three fields I went from thinking about being a child in a crumbling family, to feeling like a child in crumbling family, to feeling like I was in a crumbling family, and lastly to simply being in a crumbling family. The clichés of American life mounted in my head, and I will provide a lone to sane translation (in parenthesis); Here I was, stuck in this house (nope! Door was there all along, I just didn’t know where to go) with a woman whom I didn’t love and who didn’t love me (we were just friends and neither of us were looking for or interested in romance between the two of us), inebriating myself to feel something (I’m a glutton), whittling away the time between the meals (I had quit my last job and I didn’t really have anything to do, my own fault for being bored), which at that point were the only thing I was still living for (over dramatic bullshit of the inebriated mind). I had become the stereotype of a failed American man living in a failed American suburb and the failing American 21st century. And it crushed my soul.

Or so I was stupid enough to believe.

Marijuana being the drug that it is, what was a fleeting nightmarish thought morphed into something much longer simply due to the principle of time dilation that one experiences when one is high. My problem is that I tend to dwell excessively on my thoughts, a which (in this case) cause the thoughts to propagate in my head. Though the thought never came to me with this much clarity (the clarity one receives from 3 or so years of retrospect), in some brain addled way it dawned on me that a staycation isn’t a particularly good option for a person who doesn’t like to stay still. I may have signed up to stay at this house willingly, but suddenly I started to feel like I couldn’t fucking leave. I looked to the dog that I was obliged to walk, the cat I was obliged to clean up after, the meals I’d have to cook, or the dishes I’d have to clean, and slowly started to hate them all, as well as that city, and that quiet little neighborhood, that luxurious little house (one of which I likely could never own if I stayed in America).  I excused myself to go upstairs and read, where I really just watched Yotube videos till I passed out.

(…aaaaaaaaaaaaand we are still not done. Frankly, I am going to keep this damn story going until I can think of a better one to tell. God willing I conclude it next time.)



[1] I have now completely kicked not only marijuana but all mind altering drugs. In retrospect, they were never for me. Probably the best think I could have done. I like the person I am so long as I don’t think too much about it, but I absolutely detest the person I am when I am stoned and everything is brought to the forefront. You’ll see why as you keep reading.

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