Fear and loathing on Long Island

Since the beginning of what I label my awkward years, age 12, I have had this conception of the passing of time as a way to bury unpleasant memories and shame, or at least a desperate hope that the passing of time would make the memories fade.  I always held out hope for a new blank slate in the next stage of life, where I could construct a new, more resilient self.  I thought the years gone by, would serve to brush dirt and sand over my old memories, it would serve as a bottle that contained these memories and would drift thousands of miles across an ocean and become so far away that they were no longer accessible to my conscious memory.

I pulled a one dollar bill out of my wallet today and it hit me for some reason, due to the unchanged design of the bill. When I look at a picture from my awkward teenage years, it feels as if no time has passed. I can forecast accurately the same dread I will feel looking at that picture 10 years from now. Whatever pain I have endured throughout my life stays with me: the missteps and the malicious sins that wounded others. The isolation of feeling like the majority of my life doesn’t have a record in someone else’s mind, the history of my lived life lingers somewhere in the untouched cosmos. So if it has only been recorded in my mind, there is this loneliness, that requires that I continually reconstruct and play these records over in my mind to convince myself I am normal and sane. When no one else is there to constantly remind me that I am worthy of liking and spending time with, I rely on memories.

I can safely say this way of approaching life, this reliance on and presumption of future cognitive dissonance(the presumption that I will forget my past inadequacies and start living without the baggage it includes), has not served me well. I feel lucky to not have been hit by a car, run into a wall or something or that sort when I engaged in my incessant need to run in a full on sprint in my black-outs. The part of me that is broken and incomplete will never be healed by a woman, or by being part of any group, the army, a book club, or any of that.  I want it so badly, that group-based identity, that brotherhood, yet I resist it at every turn. I was never a joiner, the people in AA say.

I have vivid memories that I can conjure at a moment’s notice, of feeling ostracized, alone, insecure, dreading another day at high school, another day in college, another day facing humanity, being forced to be a part of the whole, of the social constructs of groups that form based on similarities.  I have never felt excited to face people, only scared and intimidated, feeling it was only a matter of time until each person would uncover the absence of what one might call a personality or essence in me.  My self-image is an awkward, unnatural, detached person who doesn’t possess the capacity for empathy and doesn’t induce comfort in people.

I have spent hundreds, maybe thousands of Friday and Saturday nights alone, in the hope that somehow the party, the fun, the love, will find me, and it never magically comes to me.  In this sense, I suffer from a partially self-induced imprisonment, only deflecting my thoughts off the walls in my confined and claustrophobic mind until the anxiety mounts and any social interaction, even the weird kids, the freaks, the outcasts, can give me the much needed relief me from this closed prison I love to sequester myself in.

There have been stretches of time where I am a fluid, likable, social animal, and I build, step by step, and become fluent in the practice of social rituals.  The energy of each successful, or merely tolerated, interaction emboldens me for the next one.  I think, goddammit, why don’t I socialize more? Socializing invigorates me and weakens my attraction to solitude.   My challenge is in hardening and galvanizing the initial interactions into a more lasting connection, the way Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger melt and then harden a perfectly round metal bullet in the the movie The Patriot.

I constantly neglect the dire need I have for friends in order to stay mentally healthy.  This passive mode of daydreaming hijacks my mind for the majority of the day. The very rare times I can simulate and invoke the old reels in my mind, of euphoria, I know those positive experiences are possible again.  I operate as if I am rich with time, yet it is dwindling fast.

Am I in my late 20’s now? Does that mean I actually have to be a fully formed person, or at least a person that can navigate the process of finding a mate and having a kid?  I can’t think about that shit, its scary.  I want to be a kid forever, I don’t want to be accountable to another human being.  The way things are now, I can skate and elude any kind of concrete moral judgments about myself and rationalize any immoral behavior, because I am lone wolf, a loner, or simply a loser.  Losing the freedom to sulk and continually feed the narrative in my mind of the unique, misunderstood loner is what I so fear.  It would do some good to face up to the fact that I am similar to people, that maybe my burdens and emotional toil is not so bad and many suffer the same strife.

I think back to the time a girl while in earshot of me, whispered to her friend in her freshman year of high school, “No I’m not inviting Peter and —-, they are loners.”  or the time in college my roommate was sitting with his friends, kids I was friends with and got drunk with regularly.  His back was turned to me and he was laughing as he said “Pete is autistic”.  I confronted him and cursed at him, but it basically served to strengthen the negative capability of my mind and further pervert my already masochistic tendencies.  His derisive label felt extreme but was almost tame in comparison to the things I would call myself on a daily basis.  That is the most hurtful one without a doubt, from over the years.

It can be like a warm, soothing hot bath, an old comfortable worn in couch, this self-pity thing.   Its a drug; addicting as sex, cocaine, nicotine, caffeine, sugar.

Things can be so much easier when friends and family are accepting and encouraging of your life path.  This is the tragedy of most people’s existence: their ease of accepting the status quo, their bent towards agreeableness, weakness in matters of bucking the trend, shunning conformity.  Brings to mind the Thoreau quote: “Most men live lives of quiet desperation”

Many of my childhood friends are slinking into the roles that society allots for them, as preppy, wealthy, former-college athletes.  They are finally solidifying their roles that they have been trained like dogs to assume their whole lives.  They have learned like good little doggies what are acceptable forms of recreation, what is acceptable in terms of standards of living, life-style, modes of earning income, forming the homogenous golf-loving, sport watching, TV binge-watcher, finance guy.  This wealthy white guy prototype will make good money and his mommy and daddy are proud of him and he found himself a nice, obedient wife who fits all of his parameters and measurements perfectly.  Intellectually, she won’t go pushing the envelope and challenging him to think outside of any conventional boundaries.  These friends have decided to get engaged at the age of 25 or 26.  She’s safe, dependable, convenient, they reason, like an affordable mid-sized sedan, great prices too, you shouldn’t miss out on such a great deal while its available.

So what’s stopping me from moving to Italy or Germany? Actually putting my money where my mouth is while I preach on this blog about non-conformity? When I get there I’ll probably say Italians are so goddamn lazy or, fucking Germans are workaholic robots/beer guzzling drunks, for one. I’ll always find something to complain about. This is a skill I have honed from many years of hard-nosed bitching and whining. Depending on the day in Spain I would say, Spaniards are so fucking lazy, does no one here work a soul crushing corporate job like people do in New York City    OR   Holy shit, the girls here are hot, you guys are just working with a more pure gene pool, and the girls in Spain are so good natured, I’m almost suspicious of it, they are nothing like the snobby NY girls.

I had the urge to tell this woman who was working out next to me at the gym looking at her phone in between sit-ups today,  Don’t you want a break from that thing?   This is the one place I come to get a break from my phone.   But I thought better of it and moved on. I am a bitter, scrunched up ball of anger and insecurity.  I go to a gym that is nestled in a town located not too far from me, in a wealthy enclave of Jewish families.

The weight machines and metal structures are adorned with slender, curvy, and trophy wives, sometimes enhanced with plastic in their face or silicon in their breasts.  Sweet, dutiful, home-makers that shuttle Timmy to soccer practice and stay in good shape for the husbands.

The trainers ask a simple question to the soccer mom and so begins the inane prattle from hot soccer mom.   Some of the trainers have the dull sense of humor and make their corny jokes and actually seem to enjoy the meaningless banter.  Other trainers I can tell, loathe the stupid back and forth and the contrived nature of the trainer-client relationship.  The self-aware trainers seem to be vaguely aware of the forced-ness of it and of the business transaction pretending to be genuine interaction and hearty encouragement.

I would hate having a trainer because then when I’m working out on my own I have to say hi to the guy and pretend that we like each other.  I don’t think I would have this problem if I was born in Germany where they despise fakeness and have no patience for surface level small talk.  Many people I have met from various countries share this view that Americans are overly polite and Why do you have to pretend to be happy to see people all the time?  

Right???? I say,  And almost give Lena a high-five in my enthusiasm.  This is one topic I am able to express pure, unbridled, child-like joy.  I just want to be my damn depressed and gloomy self and not pretend to be fucking happy for every person I encounter. Is that too much to ask?  Lena from Cologne, Germany asked me as we sat on the doorstep of an apartment building in Madrid.  A resident of the building came out and we got up, thinking the resident would shoo us away, “por favor, continua!” he said and I gave him a slight head nod, being thankful I was in the land of the romantics.

When I bend over to stretch my hamstrings at this gym near my house I have to strongly resist the urge to ogle her perfectly supple ass in form fitting yoga pants, sculpted from a militaristic kegel and squat regimen.

“I want to get me a wife like that one day daddy.” the toddler me might have said. I have always had larger than life dreams.

“If you work hard son, you keep your head down and put in the time.  You’ll only earn a living in this world through education and hard work. You’ll have a wife like that one day”

I highly doubt I will have a hot wife like that because women are attracted to self-confidence.  The external will match internal in my life. My paralyzing self-doubt will result in marrying a mediocre looking wife to match a mediocre life.  Yeah I’m a vain asshole, but the fact is that every human will seek the mate with the highest attractiveness level and then from there you get to all the oh he’s such a great person, our connection is totally beyond looks, blah blah holier than thou bullshit.

Louis C.K. said it best, “if you feel so fucking bad than you marry them.”  After the crowd ooooooohhhh’d at his diatribe about ugly people.

Movie/random thoughts/my inner Perez Hilton/TMZ/pop culture writer

Justin Timberlake was lights-out in the movies, Alpha Dog and The Social Network, he sucks in every other movie.

A likable psychologist dupes someone into thinking they are a GOOD therapist, because unlike her cheating deadbeat husband, he LISTENS, who knew that was the one key to getting laid, listen to these poor vulnerable women and you’re in.  This is what makes me nervous about becoming a therapist. I’m weak willed if the opportunity ever arised. Oh, the wrath of the neglected horny housewife, the humanity!

I could pair almost every single happening in my life with a scene from a movie, which is sad.  I was about to reference the insanely hot girl in Girl on the Train fucking her exotic, hunky Spanish therapist.

Its amazing how Vanessa Bayer’s impression of Jennifer Aniston on Saturday Night Live is the first thing to make me aware of Aniston’s repetitive, sing songy, faux-surprised routine throughout 10 years of Friends. You have to respect Aniston’s talent in taking what is repetitive and one-note, and making it believable and authentic.

A large portion of Friends episodes are predicated on keeping a secret from one of the friends, in order to save said friend’s feeling, and 90 percent of the time its Joey who spills the beans.

Plastic surgery of the face has never made a woman more attractive in the history of ever. Why, actresses, do you take those faces, the objects of millions of adolescents masturbatory fantasies and turn them into ghoulish, alien looking things?

American Psycho is Christian Bale’s best role and he will never top it.  Its pure magic, what he does in making you root for him as a psychotic, self-absorbed, serial killer with depraved sexual fantasies, who was handed everything in life.  What’s not to like?  It helps that the script was great too.   He gives vulnerability and depth to an unsympathetic, seemingly evil character, when asked why he keeps his job as an investment banker, he says, pulling up his headphones, “Because I want, to FIT. IN.” Its the only movie I can watch over and over and still laugh every time.

I suck at introductory text conversations with romantic prospects.  The robotic, ask a question, wait for her to answer the question and then ask another one to push forward this heavy, heavy boulder of stop-start, time lagged texting conversation.   I have always had shit “game” over text.  My new years resolution, in March, is to stop having these dull conversations and meet girls in real life.  I’ll sign up for yoga class.  There’s older women in those classes. Its distracting when I’m trying to do poses, drooling over their slender and/or plump bodies.

Kesha, I didn’t see you complaining about unwelcome sexual advances from your song writer/producer when you were raking in millions from all the hits he was writing for you to whine/sing and then get coked up and drunk for your concerts.

Is there a young tween disney star that hasn’t been uber-sexed up and turned into a star in adulthood?….Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus.   Yeahhh Disney is all about teaching kids good morals.   What female pop mega-stars aren’t hot?  OK Adele, Lorde…..ok fine Meghan Trainor too…..hmmmmm any others? What a coincidence. Industry Strategy: Let’s choose the hot ones, have the mind-control-pop-machine-factory write their songs, make them famous, so we can play their hypnotic sequence of catchy hook-strong baseline-repetitive chorus on the radio over and over until the peasants say NO PLEASE SIR MAKE IT STOPPP I can’t listen to anymore!!!! like the prisoners they are.  But they will learn to love the songs, because they like what we tell them to like.

Do Madonna’s kids enjoy the song Like a Prayer? 

Every single Spanish reggaeton song sounds EXACTLY the same, having that outsider looking in perspective can be telling.  Maybe they look at our music and think something similar.

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