There is a full blown junkie who lives in my neighborhood. Well, there is likely more than one. I’m poor. I live in That neighborhood. But this one is often out and about, walking the streets, begging for money. In broad daylight on a busy street she will offer to do things for money, not realizing just how far gone she is.
I feel bad for her (but not enough to do anything stupid about it. So relax). I don’t blame her, or think less of her, or any of the other negative shit. Mostly, I keep my distance from her simply because I don’t feel like being negatively accosted for money, and notice (because I can’t help but to notice) that she is walking around in freshly soiled pants.
I imagine she cannot help it. She cannot help but to go out about the town and scrounge up money for her next fix, and she cannot help but to hide herself in the construction yard on the weekends to shoot-up. I don’t think you can call it a choice for her in any real sense. But I would be lying if I didn’t confess to being morbidly curious.
I don’t think she understand how far gone she is. She has
likely been offering herself up for sex for any number of years (I will phrase this carefully – living in a small enough town means that she went to high school with my cousin. In a ‘six degrees of Kevin Bacon’ sense, this person is within my network of known people), and doesn’t likely really understand how far gone she is, that she has beaten whatever sex appeal she ever had out of her with drug abuse. She just keeps going through the motions.
We could shame her, and perhaps an older generation might. I instead end up thinking about myself, and a comparison.
Two comparisons, actually.
The more minor one is the realization that I am about 90 days off of cigarettes. Quitting in my 30’s was harder than quitting in my 20’s , but once again the same horrible realization is there – it’s the realization that for the rest of my life I will walk by people smoking and I will want a cigarette, that the compulsion is buried real deep, and will never truly die. This is what they tell you when you read books about habits – that brain pathways never truly go away, but they just atrophy and get replaced by other brain pathways. I have some skepticism. Sometimes, I just want a cigarette. Badly. I remember that even after having been a couple years quit, I still wanted one. The struggle was real.
But here is the real meat the point I am trying to bring up. Lately, I can’t help but search for work.
I found myself unemployed suddenly a couple of months ago, and I stepped into the job hunt with both feet. It hasn’t been any fun. For a whole lot of reasons, it has actually been extremely stressful. But I got into the job hunt pretty hard, and I soon found myself applying to numerous jobs every day. I really embraced my inner fordism and turned it into a damn assembly line process. At the end of any given month, I review my spreadsheet and found that I have applied to hundreds of jobs.
This is a numbers game, and that is what you are meant to do. But flash forward a few months and I am pretty burned out. My friends are not only commenting on it, but actively telling me to stop.
And here is the weird issue – I can’t seem to. I sit down in front of my computer, aiming to do something else, and I find that my brain overrides all that and takes me down he job hunt once again. It’s happened about everyday for the last two weeks, and I swear to hell it is a compulsion. It made me think of the junkies of my neighborhood. Yeah, it is a weird comparison. as there is a massive scale difference between the two things. I am not blind to that. But I guess it brought me a little more sympathy to the junkies. It was a reminder of to what extent we really are not as in control as we all like to think.