Gone feral

I have a couple of friends who I met during my last stretch of office work way way back last decade. I joke with them that, having spent 10+ years as a freelance writer/intensely underappreciated author, I was no longer compatible with the in-office lifestyle. I’d gone feral. Put me in an office from 9-5 and I’d spend all the time hissing at my co-workers while lurking under my desk.

But my fear now is that I’ve gone feral in a general sense. Much like a cat that’s forgotten how to be domesticated, I’m no longer sure how to get along with regular society. I gotta blame the pandemic for a big chunk of this, but not all.

You see, I started to withdraw into the hermit’s life before that. I cut out the old hobbies that just weren’t any fun anymore. Sometimes you keep doing an activity that used to be fun, in hopes it will be fun again. That’s like continuing to chew a piece of gum long after it’s lost its flavour, hoping its going to get sweet again. Chasing nostalgia. But cutting the hobbies out meant cutting contact with the hobby-related friends.

And I also decided to back away from the volunteer organization I was a part of, citing a need to focus on my professional writing career (such as it is). And again, leaving the organization meant leaving that social circle behind.

Then two years of not doing much of anything outside the house happened. I found the limits of my introversion, and then went far beyond. I know I need to re-connect with peers, acquaintances and friends, but I’m frankly clueless on where to look for them.

Sprinkled on top of this situation is the spice of getting older. I just had my 48th birthday, and there was a little bit of reflection about getting older and needing people. When you start to see the hint of the downhill slope into old age and all the challenges and heartbreaks that come with it, suddenly being a lone wolf doesn’t seem like a beneficial thing at all. Shouldn’t I have some kind of robust support network by this age? Am I so churlish and coarse? I don’t think so, but the doubt pricks at my mind in the dark hours of the night.

Instead of leaving this post as a morose meditation on isolation, I’m going to put on my positivity pants. First, I’ve identified the issue, and I’m admitting it is an issue. That’s, like, 90% of the battle right there (estimated percentage may be optimistically high). Second, I know there are many opportunities to get out and meet new people and expand my personal network. And third, I have faith that there are many people who, even though I do not see them frequently, would do what they could to help me when needed, because they know I’d do the same for them. Oh and fourth, my wife really loves me and she’s my best friend in the best possible sense.

Back to your irregularly scheduled program

Where oh where have I been? Sitting here, waiting for all this to blow over.

But in all the waiting and such, my writing skills have atrophied to an alarmingly dismal level. Why? Because if you don’t practice, you get worse. Oh sure, I still had creative thoughts and such. But as I have said before and as I will say repeatedly despite people telling me to stop, ideas are cheap. The hard part is wrestling the greased pig of an idea into some shape of a legible story. I need to get regular writing practice, and I love attention. I mean I loooooooove it. It’s the Me show, starring me! So this blog is back to life, baby!

You’re going to get more posts. That’s the upside. The downside is that they will be more…spontaneous (AKA the hottest of hot takes, random theories that collapse under the lightest of scrutiny, occasional recipes, fiery diatribes about video games you don’t care about, et cetera, et cetera). If you’re hoping for well researched and painstakingly polished content, you are in the wrong place amigo. I might spellcheck, but no promises.

And if you have some particular nonsense you’d like me to expound upon, let me know (comment on this post, tweet me, shout at me from a passing car, whatever).

I’m here, not there

So here’s what I’ve learned and may be finally, fully accepting: social media is not good for me. It’s a firehose of outrage and knee-jerk, low information opinions. And I keep STICKING MY FACE IN IT. I keep going back for a few reasons:

  1. Attention-seeking. This is an isolating time for all of us, and I was already a semi-hermit before the plague. So I stumble over to twitter to share some joke or music opinion, or I spout a saucy political opinion, in hopes of getting a reaction. The trouble is, I either get no reaction, or I get into a fight that makes me feel worse than before. No thank you!
  2. Boredom. I troll through Twitter looking for new news, some sign that life is progressing. The wait for the end of this stupid pandemic has me looking for any indication that we’re moving to the next chapter and not stuck in an endless loop of suck. But what I find on Twitter is a neverending stream of things that upset me. I get drawn into a million pretend disagreements over things that I am not even personally invested in.
  3. Connections. I use the Facebook because it connects me to people I don’t see often. But the connections aren’t real. They are more real that the super-fake Twitter connections, but not anywhere near authentic human relationships.

I’m not using instagram, tiktoks or whatever the kids are into this hot second, but I assume they will also turn poisonous.

So I am backing away from all of them. I’m not ragequitting and storming away in a fit. I’ll keep Twitter and Facebook for now, but I’m just going to use them as a place to broadcast this blog. Here in this magical blogworld, I control the horizontal and the vertical. It’s my blog, and I’ll post what I want to. People who read it are here on purpose. They like the cut of my jib, and they choose to read more of what I write (thank you for that, by the way). I’m the boss of the comment section, so I can keep the internet barbarians from spoiling our little party. But the comment room is always available for you wonderful folks.