Is There Anybody Out There?

Do you ever have those heady weekends? You know the kind I mean. The kind where you realize your life isn’t what you wish it was, and here, now, in this 72-hour period, you will undertake to solve all your issues, and then you will lock-stock-and-barrel the conundrum of Cold Fusion when you’ve had your post-issue-solving cold beer. It’s all so fucking easy, after all, isn’t it?

Or is it? I’ve had just such a heady weekend.

Naturally, the Cold Fusion ditty’s posing a little challenge to me, but since I’ve solved all the other problems of my life, I’m feeling the checks are balancing all right regardless, y’know what I mean?

I have to confess: I came as close as I’ve probably ever come to having a nervous breakdown last week. I was so stressed, so fucking tired, and I was just about to snap. I can’t really comfortably express how hard it is to fight against the feeling that your world’s about to crash down around you. Man, was I fightin’. Then I realized something: I’ve been feeling like I’ve had no control over my life for god knows how many months now. This ain’t the tip of the iceberg, I thought. This is that big goddamn chunk below the surface and it’s about to fell the mighty, mighty Titanic. Sometimes it just takes a while to realize a truth you’ve been avoiding for far too long.

Now, though, I know it’s like some fuckin’ phantom puppet-master’s been toying with the strings all along. And then I realized something else: It doesn’t need to be that way.

So, I’ve been kind of slowly taking back control for the last week. Doing silly little things to step up the action a little. I’m bored, you know. Real fucking bored. See, my friends are all either ensnared in these happy-sunny relationships, or they’re new parents, or they’re just totally self-involved. It’s been a long time since I’ve tried to expand my friendship realm, but it’s time. I’m sick of being friends with people who are in different places than me. The whole married/but-I’m-just-so-in-love! thing sure has worn thin, at the least. I just need some good semi-single people to chill with, methinks.

The trouble is, I’ve been needing this for awhile. So, when I sort of went and got involved, I allowed that to fill the vacant holes. Bad Steff. Lovers ought never be allowed to serve as putty hole-filler. That relationship’s sort of in a holding pattern, which I don’t plan to explain to you, so because things have slowed a little, I’m getting resentful of being bored. And it dawns on me: My fault. It’s too easy to do this, become reliant on a significant other for our entertainment factor. Thus, we allow them to play the role of hole-fillers a la Spackle. And then when things go a little south, who do we blame? Well, them, but it should be us who’re faulted.

Now, I love my friends and most of the people in my life. I just have far fewer responsibilities than they do, and much more time on my hands. I’m 32, and I don’t fucking feel it. I wanna be checking out live gigs, getting in at 3am. I wanna do all the shit I used to love to do before my FRIENDS got OLD.

They got old, not me. I’m still ready to go, man.

Suddenly, I have this age crisis. A boredom crisis. I want more fun, more variety, more minds in the meeting, you know? It’s the people we choose to surround ourselves with that contribute the most to our headspace and our lifestyle. Without a change of scenery, things get redundant in a hurry. And I’m stopping at the redundancy station again and again, man. And I’m stopping at the redundancy station again and again, man. And I’m…

My scenery ain’t changed in forever and a day. My life was filled with enough chaos and craziness for long enough, that shaking up the social mix didn’t seem wise. You take continuity where you can get it. Even then, I was stuck working in a six-person office for six years, an office where there was always an element of Benedict Arnold under the skin, so I didn’t know how close I could really get to the others. Once you get screwed, you’re always looking to keep the ass covered, if you know what I’m saying.

So, six years of sitting there, my ass tied to a television monitor and a captioning desk, watching TV for a living with headphones on. Not exactly a social role for an outgoing chick like me to play. And every time I tried meeting new people, it was just the same ol’ thang yet again.

I tell you one thing: I’m too damned funny and outgoing to have a social life dry-spell like this. I’ve had a good weekend, doing my kind of shit my way. Funny thing is, one of the things I did to meet new people a couple years back was to start a scooter club in this city. There I was, a new scooter, and no scooter-type friends to hang with. Started up a club, promoted it, and here we are, a couple years later, and 300 members. So, naturally, I have a pool to dive into for amassing new people, but I’ve been neglecting it. I mean, the name they dubbed me with for so long was “Our Fearless Leader,” or “SteffOFL!” (Yes, there are some oddball scooter people out there, but honestly, do I need another stuffed shirt science or business type in my life right now? Variety, baby. That’s the spice this soup needs.)

I kicked off my personal “new year” on the morning of July 1st. It was the annual sunrise ride that I’ve been doing the last couple years on Canada Day. Meet at 3:30a.m., and ride scooters to the top of the 4,000 foot Cypress Mountain on the North Shore, and call it a day by 7 or so a.m. Being as exhausted as I’ve been, it nearly kicked my ass, but I did it with a couple others, and had a good time doing so. Got a few wicked photos, and it dawned on me: No monumental photography days have been had yet this season. What’s wrong with me? (I’d post this incredible view of the crimson city I shot from those heights, but that would involve installing PhotoShop and using up some of my free time today, so no pic for you.)

We forget ourselves, and far too often. We begin valuing ourselves through others and forgetting that there are things that make us tick. When we forget those things, we start to feel empty, then we resent those around us, but really, it’s the fact that we’ve not been taking charge and making decisions for ourselves that’s the problem. It’s stupid, it happens to us all, sooner or later, and every time, it kicks our asses.

So, I’m getting life in gear. I don’t know that I need yet another distraction on my plate, but if the price I pay for less distraction is this interminable sense of being sidelined, then maybe a little disruption in my life is exactly what I need. I used to be unstoppable, man. I used to be everywhere, like the wind. What the hell happened? I still don’t know, but I aim to change.

Let’s call it an experiment.