I've spent the last hour or so sitting in the darkness of the apartment. I've got the blinds closed and my MP3 collection playing at fairly low volume on my PC. The only sounds aside from the tunes and the soft, slow hum of computer equipment is the constant fire of keys from where Twan and Lana sit. Even with those two in the apartment, sitting not more than 10 feet away from me I feel very much isolated and to some extent alone. I'm not saying that I'm lonely, just that I feel alone.
I'm awash in a sea of thought as I sit here. A number of things are weighing in simultaneously, which makes it difficult to process. I can multitask to some extent, although I admit to being better at said tasking when I'm under just the right amount of pressure. In conditions like that I can spread my focus across a number of things and my mind is wound tight enough that it can snap from one thing to the next without needing any time to readjust. It also is remarkably adept at finding workarounds or solutions to problems I'm faced with while with one thing while I'm devoting more of my time to a different thing. Sort of like a background process -- it chugs and chugs away, unattended but never faltering in its course to get the solution. Sorry for writing an analogy involving UNIX, but it was just rather apt.
One of the things that is bothering me at this point is this journal. I'm rather confused by my recent behavior to it. The way things used to be it was nothing for me to come home, have a cup of something, sit down at the computer and bang out a three page essay on why I hate [item of the day] for [unnumbered list of reasons] or write about what happened at work or ... something. It didn't matter how trite the topic was, I was able to just whip an entry out in next to no time and it wasn't total shit. These days I feel like the aspect of me that enjoys writing has taken on a terminal case of constipation. No matter how much fiber I shove down its throat, no matter how many laxatives I give it nothing works and I sit for three or more hours in front of the PC with the LJ client open and mocking me. It's frustration. Sheer, concentrated, spiteful frustration. It leaves me worried, because when I pair that with how badly some of my past entries have been I wonder what the hell is going on upstairs. Maybe I need to go ram my head into a brick wall until my teeth rattle -- perhaps then something will shake loose and roll back into place.
Funny... I'm writing a little more easily now. Perhaps the rum and coke helped ease the noose that was choking my words off. Maybe I'm just out of practice.
Another thing that's keeping me sitting quietly in the dark here is that I just don't feel very much like doing anything else. I feel like being quiet and secluded. Most of my friends are occupied this week, I guess. Very few of them seem to have much time to talk or, perhaps, very little inclination to talk to me. Maybe I'm projecting an attitude of "leave me alone" and that's what's keeping them away. EIther way, I'm not really upset about that, because I do know deep down that they're not ignoring me and that all I would have to do is ask and any number of them would drop what they were doing and pay attention to me. That's not the point, though. When I look at things from a slightly detached point of view I get a chance to see just how much of a social creature I am. Wait, that's not right either. By divorcing from myself a little and just watching how I react to situations like this past week -- where most of my friends have been preoccupied with other things and I'm not getting much exposure to them -- I see just how I react to that stimulus. When I'm with the right people, when I'm around folks I consider to be my friends and I feel comfortable enough I'm a great deal more outgoing. It isn't uncommon in the least for me to talk, tell jokes or little pointless anecdotes, try to entertain my friends and ensure that they're having a good time. If they're having a good time, I have a good time. I guess in a way you could call that "living vicariously." On the other hand, if I'm in a situation where I'm surrounded by strangers or people that I don't trust I become much tighter. My muscles bunch up, I withdraw, I hold my head a different way and speak in a different voice. I've noticed I tend to pickup and drop accents that are at times completely corny when I'm talking, each one reflecting just a little bit upon the subject matter or the company at hand. Those are the two states for me when I'm in company. When you remove the stimuli, however, I'm a lot like an elastic band that has been stretched too far for too long... I sort of sag into myself, I put aside all the masks and just feel very quiet. All the tension, all the energy I have going through me when other people are around -- all of it just fades away. I'm left feeling sort of wrung out, sort of tired but not sleepy, and usually left in such a state that it takes very little to coax my mood from one state to another. I guess you could say that I'm highly susceptible to suggestion in such a state.
I suppose none of this really makes sense. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised; I never was able to make much sense of myself in times like these.
I'm spending a lot of time thinking about different aspects of my life. I think about my friendships. I think about my current relationship, my past relationships, what the future may hold. I think about death. I think about life. I think about income taxes. I think about a lot of things because my mind tends to wander easily from one thought to the next, a lot of it being free association. In times like this its music that is both my friend and my enemy: one song might uplift me, another other might crush me and leave me broken and sobbing. The power that music wields is stunning, so I wonder why it doesn't affect me like this all the time. Have I been able to build up a shield over the years? Am I losing my sensitivity to it except in extreme situations? Is this only affecting me or does this impact all? It's difficult to tell.
Times like this are hard. These are the times when my guard is down. I can speak about things I normally wouldn't. I'm more open to the opinion of others. The catch is that I can't use that to my benefit in either way as I'm only in this state because of the absence of people. Catch-22, and I think it's time to change the subject anyway.
On Wednesday of last week I finally hit the wall with my PS2. I couldn't take the frustration of watching movie after movie fail to play on the poor thing, especially after I had just dropped $140 or so on that birthday order from Amazon. As I drove home on Wednesday night I thought a lot about what my coworker Randy had been telling me about various TYT clone DVD players, in particular the Daewoo 5800 player, available for $89.95 at Sam's Club. Since I have a Sam's not too far from me and I have a membership I decided to just jump in and buy one. I have to say that I'm very pleased. For $89 + tax I got a player that's incredibly hackable with exceptional picture quality and a rather diverse featureset. It has digital (coaxial) audio out, component video, s-video and traditional analog. It plays so many types of discs I can't list them all here. By Wednesday night I had the system set so that region encoding meant nothing to it. Friday night I hacked in a new splash screen and had disabled Macrovision. Let's hear it for technology and using technology to beat itself. Now that I've purchased this player I've been watching all the DVDs that wouldn't play on the PS2, and I'm quite, quite happy with the results. I think this is probably the best purchase I've made in some time. It's also very slim, and the silver is something of a nice change from the rest of the black components (TV, VCR, PS2) that I own.
Also of note was the phone conversation I had with my family last night. Usually these calls result in me screaming a lot and wanting to take something very heavy and throw it at a wall, yet this one had a decided lack of yelling or desire to hulk out. The surprise came with a conversation I had with my father in the morning after talking to my mom for some time. My father seems to have been replaced with an alien -- he has made the rather amazing and kind offer to loan me a chunk of cash to use towards the downpayment on my house when I finally get my stuff in gear and go house-hunting. The amount isn't set in stone yet, it could be anywhere form $4,600 to $10,000 or more. This from the family that wouldn't send me the insurance check for my pickup at the beginning of the year because they didn't think I'd put it towards the repairs (which had already been done and needed to be paid to get the vehicle out from bodyshop prison). It's such an amazing turnaround I'm not sure I believe it. The goal, my dad stated, "Was to try and help supplement your money to get up to a 20% downpayment. That'll get you better terms on your interest rate, lower your monthly installment and keep you from having to pay the Personal Mortgage Insurance (PMI)." Wait, this gets even more surreal: the statement was also made that, "Well, if we can't make the 20% we can still give you that money, and then wire you another lump sum in the next 18 months that you can use to make overpayments on your house and help knock the principal down. Just make sure you don't have an early payment penalty clause." What the hell? I'm not sure what's going on here. My dad has always been an exceptionally good parent, he's always been generous in his own way, but it's not like him to make offers of $10,000-plus dollars. In a lot of ways I feel very undeserving of this. I wouldn't need his money if I had been more fiscally responsable three or four years ago. I've said a lot of rough things about him. I've not always treated him fairly. Yet through it all, he's tolerated me as best he knows how, and now he's making an offer that impacts his pockets significantly and will make my life that much better.
I guess that's what they say when they talk about the strength of a parent's love. I wonder if I could ever feel that and make that sort of choice... I wonder if I'll ever be presented with the opportunity to find out.
Now the sun's gone to hell
And the moon's riding high